Executive Review: Expanding NCFR’s Resources for a Changing World and Dynamic Discipline

Diane Cushman, NCFR Executive Director
/ Fall 2018 NCFR Report

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NCFR members and staff are busy preparing for what promises to be a stellar conference this fall, and we can’t wait to see you there in San Diego, Nov. 7–10. In the meantime, I wanted to share with you some of the ways NCFR continues to adapt its programs and resources to the needs of its members and an ever-changing world.

Annual Conference Poster Sessions

Submissions for the NCFR Annual Conference continue to set records. This year there were 896, compared to 845 in 2017 and 705 in 2016. To accommodate the increased submissions yet keep the program at three and a half days, we’ve expanded the poster sessions from 313 in 2016 to 450 in 2017 and again this year. There are now five sessions, each lasting either 60 or 75 minutes, with 90 posters on display per session. We have kept programming opposite the poster sessions at a minimum so that conference attendees are able to focus on the posters during those sessions. 

In addition to increased submissions, the changes to the poster sessions came about as a result of feedback from conference attendees and the work of the staff-led conference improvement committee. Goals of this work included increasing the status, energy and visibility of the poster sessions, and decreasing the number of sessions and the overlap with other non–poster sessions.

A consequence of more posters during each session is the need for more floor space in which to hold the sessions. We have shifted to using a ballroom in most properties, but that eliminates needed space for other functions. We’ll be exploring other options for future conference sites, including use of convention centers.

Expanding Online Tools for Member Networking

Our long-awaited enhancement to Listservs is now firmly in place, with discussion groups for every section and focus group, as well as Certified Family Life Educators (CFLEs), affiliates, Students and New Professionals, and an all-member group. Discussion groups can be found by logging in to www.ncfr.org and clicking on the Discussion Groups tab or by logging in with your member login at groups.ncfr.org. Work continues on the website user experience, with the goal of having a single sign-on that allows access to the discussion groups as well as the NCFR Store and Learning Center.

Once logged in to the discussion groups, you can see the groups you are in, create a new post, or respond to posts by others. The most frequently used group to date is CFLE, where discussions are happening about tracking professional development, screening for internships, family support systems in courts, and many other topics of interest to Family Life Educators. All posts are archived for future access. If there is a topic about which you have an interest and want to share with or hear from your colleagues, please consider using the discussion groups as a resource.

If you are having trouble accessing the discussion groups or setting your notices for the desired frequency, you can contact Bethany Cox, NCFR member relations manager for assistance.

Online Resource Collections

In response to member interest about the treatment of immigrant families at the United States borders, NCFR’s Immigration and Families Resource Collection was revised and updated (ncfr.org/resources/resource-collections/immigration-resources ). Additional online resource collections include the following:

  • How to Talk to Children About Tragedies
  • Coping in the Wake of Shootings, Mass Violence, and Terrorism
  • Support for LGBTQ Individuals and Families
  • Understanding Racism in Society
  • Ambiguous Loss
  • Families, Media, and Technology
  • Explaining CFLE to Employers
  • Crafting Scholarship  

If you have an interest in assisting with the creation of additional resource collections or suggesting the addition of resources, please contact NCFR staff at [email protected].

Focus Groups

Included in this issue of Report is the schedule for focus group meetings at the annual conference in San Diego. It’s worth noting that the number of focus groups (23) is on the rise, with five new focus groups in the last 24 months: Extension Network, Families with Disabilities, Home Visiting, Korean Families, and Social Justice Network.

When the original seven focus groups were created in 1980, they were required to be sponsored by and made up of members from one section. That changed in 2013 when the Focus Group Task Force recommended that focus groups be independent of sections. Focus groups receive support in a number of ways, including a discussion group and time on the agenda at the annual conference. Focus group membership is free to NCFR members.

Each year, many of the focus groups discuss ideas for conference submissions, including symposia, which can be submitted to the appropriate section for consideration. The criteria for the establishment of a new focus group includes 15 current NCFR members and a family topic that is not currently addressed by an existing section or focus group. If you have an idea for a new focus group, or wish to propose one, contact Member Relations Manager Bethany Cox.

Whether through the online discussion groups, focus groups, resource collections, or annual conference, I hope you are making good use of the resources of NCFR and the opportunities to connect with your colleagues, electronically or in person at the annual conference in San Diego. Safe travels!