First-Time Attendees at the 2019 NCFR Conference

First Time Attending the NCFR Annual Conference?

Here's what to expect:

  • Several preconference workshops on Tuesday, such as the Theory Construction and Research Methodology Workshop
  • Four days packed with research and practice presentations by your colleagues — paper presentations, symposia, roundtables, and workshops
  • Four plenary addresses (the major presenters at the conference)
  • Special sessions featuring invited presenters
  • Five super-sized poster sessions
  • Several social receptions
  • NCFR member group meetings (e.g. sections, focus groups, committees)

You deserve to have the best conference experience possible, so we've put together some info to help you jump right in to your conference activities:


Conference Hours

Sessions and meetings are scheduled from about 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Friday. Saturday regular sessions wrap up around noon. See the full schedule.

You may have requirements for your job or school program about which or how many sessions you need to attend. Otherwise, it’s up to you to choose how many sessions you'd like to attend. Be sure to plan a schedule according to your needs and include time for breaks!

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Guide to Conference Services

Where can I … Access WiFi? Use a printer? Get food? Find help or ask questions? Check out our on-site amenities for these answers and more ways to navigate NCFR 2019.

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Conference Tips

These tips were suggested by NCFR conference veterans.

  1. Go to the Newcomers Welcome event (Wednesday, Nov. 20, 10–11:15 a.m., session #120). Mix and mingle with other first-time attendees, as well as other family scholars and professionals attending the conference. There are refreshments, prizes, and more information to help make the most of your conference experience and involvement with NCFR. 
  2. Students: Take advantage of the student aide program. You’ll meet other professionals, students from other schools, and get a discount at registration. Please note: Student aide signup is closed for 2019.
  3. Attend sessions marked “SNP." That stands for "Students and New Professionals." These sessions are designed for anyone who is currently pursuing a degree or earned their last degree within the last five years, but anyone is welcome! Find a filtered list of SNP sessions in the conference schedule.
  4. Connect with presenters. Attend sessions on topics you’re interested in, take notes, and introduce yourself to the presenter(s) after their session. Arrange a time to talk with them later during the conference or ask if you can call or email them. A big part of the conference is networking and making connections, and most presenters are happy to see people take interest in their work and discuss it further.
  5. Remember to eat and take breaks. It can be easy to get swept up into the busyness of the conference. There are places within the conference hotel to eat and relax (including grab-and-go and sit-down options), as well as options outside the hotel a short distance away.
  6. Download the conference app to create your own schedule. It’s also a quick and easy way to review past or upcoming sessions and get the latest updates when you’re on the go.
  7. Book your hotel room using our special conference rate. You’ll save time, money, and be close to all the action by being onsite at the Omni Fort Worth Hotel. Please note: At this time, rooms are sold out at the Omni Fort Worth for most nights of the conference; please see our hotel webpage regarding alternate arrangements.

Have fun! Tag your social media updates from the conference with the hashtag #ncfr19 and see what else people are posting. You might learn about an upcoming session or make a new connection.

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Conference Session Etiquette

  1. Arrive on time to sessions. If you're going to be late, enter quietly and try to find a seat without disrupting the proceedings. If the room is full you can stand in the back.
  2. Move in toward the middle of seating rows. This helps make room for more attendees on the outer edges as they enter the room.
  3. Remain quiet during the presentation. Silence or turn off personal devices.
  4. Leave quietly during sessions. You do not need to stay for the entire duration of a session, but please be polite and exit quietly. Sit near the back if you think you may need to leave early.
  5. Ask questions! But do wait for the appropriate time to do so. Any attendee — students and new attendees included — may ask a question of a presenter. Usually there will be an allotted time at the end of a presentation for questions, and the session facilitator should make it clear when that is. Here’s a helpful guide if you’re unsure what to ask.
  6. Be mindful when eating. You may bring food and beverages into sessions but please be considerate of your fellow colleagues and keep noise and mess to a minimum. Make sure to clean up and throw away your trash. Another session may be starting soon afterward in the same room.
  7. Guest registration is available to allow a friend or family member to attend any of the conference receptions with you. To attend any other conference session, your guest will need to purchase either the one-day or full conference registration. See all registration rates.

Please review our conference code of conduct to ensure a great conference experience for yourself and others.

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Conference Terminology

A glossary of common terms and lingo you’ll encounter throughout the conference.

Session Types

  • Plenary Session: The main, featured addresses at the conference (usually there are four). The topics of plenary addresses fit closely with the conference theme. Plenary presenters are all well-accomplished in their fields.
  • Special Session: Sessions for which the presenter/s were invited who are all well-accomplished in their fields. Special sessions are organized by one or more of NCFR's sections.
  • "Invited" Session: This means the presenters were invited to present. All conference attendees are welcome to attend these sessions.
  • Concurrent Session: Presentations in different locations that are occurring at the same time. There are several concurrent session blocks throughout the duration of the conference. A concurrent session could be a paper session, symposium, lightning paper, or workshop format.
  • Paper Session: Three or four presentations given about papers that revolve around a common idea or theme.
  • Lightning Paper: A group of seven-minute paper presentations with time for audience discussion.
  • Resource Exchange: Roundtable format where presenters showcase professional resources
  • Roundtable: A presenter introduces a topic and leads discussion. At roundtables, participants could visit more than one roundtable discussion during the session.
  • Symposium: Three or four presenters all address the same topic with remarks by a discussant. Each presenter's work approaches the theme from a different perspective. Often a chair or facilitator will also take part.
  • Poster Session: Many detailed poster displays that summarize research or practice; grouped by topic.
  • Poster Symposium: Presenters (typically 3-4, as many as 12) present posters that all address the same topic; 30 minutes of group discussion is included.
  • Workshop: A presentation related to best practices in Family Science, research methods, family service, Family Life Education, and more.

Roles at a Session

  • Discussant: Gives five minutes-worth of "take-home" remarks about the presentation material, after the presentations have been given — how the papers are connected, issues for elaboration and discussion, etc. Provides implications of the research presented. The discussant also introduces the presenters.
  • Facilitator: Facilitates the post-presentation discussion / questions between the presenters and the audience. Prepares questions about each paper in advance to aid discussion; limits discussion time.

NCFR Sections and Other NCFR Groups:

  • Advancing Family Science Section  (AFS): Expands, strengthens, and enhances Family Science as a scholarship discipline.
  • Affiliate Councils (AC): State, regional, and student chapters of NCFR.
  • Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE): NCFR offers the CFLE credential, which is recognized widely for Family Life Education (FLE) professions and recognizes professional expertise and understanding in each of 10 FLE content areas.
  • Education and Enrichment Section (EE): Shares information on effective Family Life Education, teaching materials and methods, and marriage enrichment interests.
  • Ethnic Minorities Section (EM): Unites members who are concerned with issues pertaining to ethnic minorities families, to help create a better understanding of the variations in families from diverse ethnic groups.
  • Families and Health Section (FH): Promotes the health of diverse families and their members across the life span through interdisciplinary activities that facilitate excellence in family health practice, research, education, and policy development.
  • Family Policy Section (FP): Devotes itself to promoting effective social action for individuals and families by monitoring pressing policy issues, evaluating the potential impacts of new policies, working for effective change, and creating strategies to educate and raise awareness resulting in improved quality of life for individuals, families, and society.
  • Family Therapy Section (FT): Unites members who share common interests, goals, and purposes in marital and family therapy.
  • Feminism and Family Studies Section (FF): Works to integrate feminist scholarship and perspectives into theory, research, and applied work with families.
  • Focus Groups: Topic-interest groups for NCFR members. The topics are more specific than Section topics (e.g. families and technology, adoption), and so they tend to be a smaller group of members.
  • International Section Section (IN): Generates better understanding of unique variations of family process throughout the world by promoting cross-national family research, facilitating communication among international family scholars, sharing information on current and proposed research projects, and sponsoring educational cross-national family programs, presentations, and seminars.
  • Religion, Spirituality, and Family Section (RSF): Furthers the cause and study of religion and its relationship to the family. The study and examination of the impact of religion on family life is examined as well as the relationship of religion to other family-related disciplines.
  • Research and Theory Section (RT): Facilitates research and theory activities in all content areas related to marriage and the family.
  • Students and New Professionals (SNP): Includes anyone who is a student (undergraduate or graduate) or a new professional (within five years of last degree).
  • Theory Construction and Research Methodology Workshop (TCRM): A forum for the discussion, development, and refinement of theory and research methods relevant to the study of families.

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