There is no hiding the animosity, awkwardness, sibling rivalry like behavior between members of two of the largest professional associations in higher education. If anything, the latest convention plans only solidified each other’s members into some form of, “We thought of it first!” “Yeah, but we will do it better!” type scenario.
Knock it off.
This type of bickering and comparing is absurd. You know what isn’t absurd? The fact that both organizations are now taking risks and changing their practices (FINALLY) to reflect what today’s higher education professionals need as professional development.
I don’t care who came out with an idea first or what has a better website for their conference/convention. Some siblings are good at things that the others aren’t and vice versa. What matters…what really matters is as we get to watch the two biggest associations battle it out trying to out do each other or keep up with each other, we are going to benefit.
You know what would be even better than trying to make the next conference or convention the coolest, most innovative, most adaptable, most unconference-like? Racing to lower the prices. Too many professionals are shackled in their professional development opportunities because their professional development funding depends on their presenting at the conference. That’s the reality. You know what? The reality sucks. How are professionals, who are trying to become better professionals by networking and meeting people at these national meetings, suppose to get any better without the luxury of these opportunities?
I applaud the two associations for their efforts and this little competitive spirit they have going on or at least the members seem to. Keep in mind however; I’m clapping in my seat. Neither gets a standing ovation.
You want me to stand and clap your efforts?
Show me an association that is going to lower their prices.
Show me an association that is going to find a way to offer online-passes at a discounted rate to live-stream select presentations (or why not any presentation?).
Show me an association that is going to meet the members where they are at developmentally, financially, regionally.
Show me an association that isn’t going to over think everything.
Show me an association that is truly member-driven.
In the meantime, I’ll keep getting involved in each association as much as I can so that my words go ahead to push my actions and hopefully changes can happen.
Just don’t tell me change can’t happen because a small-dedicated group of people is the only thing that ever created change in this world and I know each association has that group of people within it.
If changes don’t happen because everyone gets caught up in the bickering and the competition and the comparisons, there is a small group of people who are going to create an alternative that will lead to standing ovations.
We are committed.
We are curious.
We are creative.