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Posted By kysh On June 4, 2010 @ 7:25 am In Uncategorized | Comments Disabled
By Sue O’Brien, Council of Division’ chair, 1994-95 and Glen Bleske, Council of Division’ chair, 2002-2003
It’s been called an endurance contest, a chess game, a war.
Like an Outward Bound rope course or a fraternity hell night, it takes on mythic dimensions when survivors describe it to the uninitiated.
The scheduling session, affectionately known as the “Chip Auction” is imposed on us by the sprawling interests and geography of the AEJMC membership and the finite dimensions of summer convention days and hours. The 18 groups with programming rights of not so many years ago are now 30. But the basic model of a four-day conference, with one pre-conference day, still holds. The length of the regular conference day, in fact, has even been slightly shortened.
The medium of exchange that makes it work is the metaphorical “chip.” Each chip entitles a group to one sole-sponsored 90-minute session or two co-sponsored sessions of the same duration. Group business and executive board meetings are free. Seven chips go to each group with full programming rights (the 17 divisions, plus the Commission on the Status of Women, Council of Affiliates and Community College Journalism Association). Nine interest groups receive 3-and-a-half chips a piece. (In August 2004, the CoD approved a rotating reduction in order to accommodate new groups, so this number changes for some groups each year.
The format of the Winter Meeting chip session is simple. Sitting at tables arranged in a hollow square, following a rotation determined by lot, the heads and vice heads of the programming groups ante one chip or half-chip at a turn to nail down favored times for panels and research sessions. The coveted mini-plenary slots usually disappear in the first round as members via to get the best times for the best sessions.
Once all the chips are spent, you will get a chance to move any of your sessions to any open time slot. You will then schedule offsite social and meal functions and finally, pre- or post-conference events.
Within the economy of the chips, relatively few additional rules apply. Those that do are commonsense: regular sessions may not begin before 8 a.m. or compete with previously scheduled all-convention events; no sessions may be scheduled after the 5 p.m. block; parties can’t begin before 6:45 p.m.; and a group cannot schedule two events that compete with each other. (The phrase “compete with each other” means that, whether it’s a sole-sponsored or co-sponsored session, your group name cannot appear more than once on any time block in the grid.)
Amazingly, plenty of creative room exists within this seemingly rigid structure. Each year, still more variations are discovered, giving groups more bang for their programming bucks. But remember that quality programming might be better served by programming fewer sessions. Here is a rundown of some things you should know:
• AEJMC JOINT POSTER SESSIONS have become popular events, with no other sessions scheduled at the same time. Each group receives an equal number of paper slots (which depends on the size of the room available for the session so this will vary from year to year) in the Poster sessions, which are free and do not cost any chips. You might also consider finding co-sponsors for other poster sessions that are available for scheduling during the second and third day of the conference. Other poster sessions would cost chips.
• MEMBER MEETINGS AND EXECUTIVE BOARD MEETINGS are “free” and cost no chips; however, member meetings must be held during Day Two or Day Three of the conference and will be scheduled before the chip auction. Evening meetings can be open-ended if they are scheduled in the final slot of the regular programming day.
• THE PRE-CONFERENCE DAY, where time slots are flexible and need not conform to the rigid grid of the rest of the week, is ideal for longer-format labs, workshops and planning sessions. Pre-conference slots cost no chips, and a group can’t schedule competing events.
• OFF-SITE SESSIONS, which don’t require conference-hotel meeting space, may be scheduled — one per group — without program chip investments. Off-site meetings, however, may not compete with other events sponsored by the same sponsoring groups and must be announced at the end of the Winter Meeting scheduling meeting. Off-site sessions may run longer than sessions in the regular program grid, but it is helpful for them to be timed to correspond with the start and stop times of the regular grid. Off-site sessions may NOT be moved back into the hotel later.
• BACK-TO-BACK SESSIONS may be scheduled to accommodate long workshops or activities that relate directly to each other.
• CO-SPONSORSHIP is the single most effective way to extend a group’s programming power. Although any joint session costs each sponsor a half-chip each, regardless of whether there are two or 20 co-sponsors, effective programming partnerships have seen, for instance, four groups combining to schedule two back-to-back sessions, with two groups sponsoring one time block and two separate sponsors scheduling the remaining time. And one of the most effective uses of co-sponsorship is the mini-plenary, which costs two whole chips but limits a time block to only four sessions. Mini-plens offer the best circumstances for your special programming.
Joint sessions also offer some of AEJMC’s most satisfying opportunities to get to know people from other divisions. But if you want to find co-sponsors two years running, it’s wise to observe the etiquette of joint planning. Even if the session was your group’s idea and you took the lead in scheduling, it’s only courteous to 1) consult with your co-sponsors before you nail down panelists and final session plans; and 2) be sure that each co-sponsoring group gets to designate at least one participant per panel.
Let’s wrap this up with helpful hints from some of the Council’s most successful chipmeisters:
1. Make your programming pacts before you go to the Winter Meeting, but also remain flexible. If you or your group knows what you want and have formal partnerships before you get to the winter meeting, your program is much more likely to get on the program, but flexibility may result in more exciting programming. The informal Council reception the night before the chip auction offers a convenient opportunity to cut your final deals.
2. Develop a strategy for picking time slots. Is there a session you must have late in the day to accommodate a particular speaker? Know that you need to schedule it first. Does your group like its sessions spread throughout the conference or concentrated in a day or two? Plan accordingly. Is research more important to your group than teaching? Plan accordingly. One way to plan is to begin with last year’s grid of time blocks. What did your division schedule and when was it scheduled?
3. Make sure you schedule an adequate number of sessions for juried research papers. The best plan is to assume you will need the same number of research slots that your group had at the last conference.
4. Don’t over schedule. If your group has three or four ideas it really wants to make happen, do those. Leave the programming ideas that people are less passionate about for other years and other sites. There’s nothing wrong with leaving some of your chips unspent.
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URL to article: http://www.aejmc.org/home/2010/06/officer-resources-chips/
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