Announcement Archives

Program Chair Update

June 27, 2012

First, apologies for the silence. We ran into some transition issues between the old team and the new team you just elected that resulted in no one having access to the list serve after the Annual Meeting. We've fixed that and I will be the transition contact for the next couple of weeks until the new leadership team is in place and set up for managing the SIG. So, some updates:

SIG Elections

May as well go with the big one first. As you are probably aware, our elections occurred very late in the process. AERA is very insistent that we have two individuals nominated for each open position. That did not happen, so we were required to go through additional steps in the process to receive approval to have a write-in option as second candidate for chair and secretary before AERA would run our election. Voting closed last Friday, June 22nd. It will take a week or two for AERA to certify the new officers, so I will be serving a transition role until then.

2012 Vancouver Meeting

We had a great slate of sessions this year. We were allotted two full sessions, two roundtable sessions, a poster session, and our business meeting. The two sessions were both symposia: one featuring the efforts by the Waters Foundation to create systems-based schools with systems thinking integrated into both school organization as well as the learning curriculum; the other a coordinated set of presentations on the use of game theory and its integration into instructional design models, including Quest to Learn in New York City. The two roundtable sessions were lively and engaging with one focused on practical applications of systems thinking to classroom learning and the other focused on systems thinking frameworks for thinking about education. Lance Vikaros delivered the keynote for the business meeting, presenting his paper on using knowledge visualization to better understand how students engage in systems thinking. I've attached a brief program report to this message is you're interested in the specific stats for this year.

2013 San Francisco Meeting

By now you should have received a reminder from us to consider submitting a proposal for the 2013 meeting in San Francisco. The theme for 2013 is Education and Poverty: Theory, Research, Policy, and Praxis. This is an ideal theme for those of us engaged in systems and systems thinking. The interaction between poverty and educational achievement as well as attainment has critical implications for children and for our future. Those of you engaged in school improvement efforts are well aware of the importance of context in implementing turnaround, transformation, or improvement efforts. We'd love to see some submissions that address the role of a systems perspective in addressing school improvement, student achievement, and educational attainment. Submissions are due July 22. Midnight, Pacific Time, is the witching hour, so get your laptops revved up and get those submissions coming in. Conference sessions are allocated based on the number of submission each unit receives as a proportion of the overall number of submissions that come into AERA. Over the past three years, we've been able to increase our allotment each year - thank you all! So, let's keep growing our presence on the program.


For the past two years, membership has hovered between 108 and 130. That is down from three years ago when we had 215 members. A large part of the drop is linked to people letting their AERA membership lapse. Let's see what we can do to build our membership back up. Spread the word about the SIG, encourage people to go to San Francisco and to go to SIG sessions as well as the business meeting. Get people involved in systems thinking. It's a much bigger field than just examining systems - there's a wealth of possibilities for using systems paradigms in research, evaluation, and practice. So, let's work to grow this year, both in level of submissions as well as membership. And, please, if you attend AERA in 2013, do make a commitment to attend the business meeting and SIG sessions. Some great networking conversations came out of all our sessions this past year - we'd love to see you involved in those conversations next year.

That's our update for now. As your outgoing program chairs, we have enjoyed working to build the SIG and look forward to supporting the new leadership team as they come on board.

Jan Noga and Gary Skolits
Program Co-Chairs
Systems Thinking in Education SIG