PFF 4 Summer 2001 Working Conference for Social Sciences and Humanities
Conference Report from Jerry Gaff, PFF Program Director .....
We just concluded a very successful PFF Summer Conference that was held last Friday through early afternoon Sunday in Boston. About 175 people came from around the country, divided about equally between graduate students, graduate faculty, and partner faculty. They shared their work in clusters and in professional associations in six disciplines - communication, English, history, political science, psychology, and sociology. I received many very positive comments and not a single complaint!
A stirring keynote speech was given by Jim Applegate, Vice President of the Kentucky Higher Education System (The University has had a PFF grant since 1994) and President of the National Communication Association (which has been a partner since 1999.). He argued that we need to rethink both graduate and undergraduate education, welcomed the graduate students into the reform movement, and asserted that learned societies need to embrace initiatives like the engaged campus if these initiatives are to be successful.
After most of the conference focused on aspects of PFF programs at the campus cluster level, it ended with a focus on the learned societies. Each of the society executives gave a brief action plan of specific steps each is planning to take this next year to embrace PFF ideas and programs and to highlight this work to the membership. Of course, we in the national office also shared our action plan to support both the clusters and the societies. I never expected to see six executives so excited and determined to provide strong leadership for PFF in their Associations in my lifetime! They are great partners for us. By working through their channels in the disciplines and our channels through the institutions, we hope to magnify the voices that either approach alone could affect.
The weekend re-affirmed to Anne Pruitt-Logan and me that PFF is so big, so important, so successful, and so well supported by influential people that it can only continue to march ahead.
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