To Conference Or To Not Conference

Right now, Bill H-D (when he isn’t eating, drinking, or juggling) is at a conference in Denmark, Collin is getting ready to go to the Rhetoric Society of America conference, though he is writing here about the Computers and Writing Conference, and, more specifically the “Get Info” project, where presenters offer one minute “teases” or “trailers” on their presentation. Here’s an example from Dan Anderson, though I’m not sure if all of these have to be or are going to be electronic.

I, on the other hand, am trying to get myself motivated to do a little house-cleaning and a little more gardening. I’ll check in on my online class today, though the big day will be tomorrow (a rough draft for peer review is due). I have a couple of meetings next week. And I know I’m playing golf on Monday, at least. In other words, I am most certainly not preparing for a conference.

Originally, I had planned on going to the Computers and Writing conference this year. C&W is easily my favorite annual conference. In short, these are my people. But I didn’t go last year because I couldn’t justify/afford two trips to the San Francisco Bay area in one year, and I’m not going this year also because of money. Mostly.

What it boils down to is the support at EMU for travel, like many under-funded universities, is less than stellar. I can generally get enough money to cover one conference, two if one of those two is cheap. I had originally planned on going to the CCCCs in Chicago and to C&W, but while the CCCCs was not too expensive for me this year (I drove), it wasn’t exactly cheap, either. And Lubbock was going to pretty expensive. Before I even thought about the conference registration fee, I think travel and lodging was going to be close to a grand.

So basically, I did a cost/benefit analysis and Lubbock came up short. Not to be too crass or anything, but I don’t really need to go to conferences anymore, certainly not in the way I did when I was seeking a job and then seeking tenure. And, no offense to the folks in Lubbock (Lubbockers? Lubbockians? Lubbockites?), at this stage of my life, if I’m going to spend $1,000 of my own money to go someplace, that someplace has to be one where I’d actually want to visit on purpose. C&W and the Buddy Holly Center just isn’t enough of a draw for me.

Besides, I’ve got enough going on this summer. I’ve already mentioned my online teaching; beyond that, my “to do” list includes getting a research project on blog writing going, getting my defunct textbook online, revising the layouts of my blogs, setting up a blog/web space for stuff on writing for the web, setting up a blog/web space for an online version of a graduate course I’m going to teach next year, getting geared up to be the interim writing program administrator, etc., etc., etc. There’s a ton of things to do around the house, it is golfing season, and there’s family travel plans, including an August trip to Europe. Looking at it now, it kind of feels like going to C&W this year would have just been “piling on.”

Oh well, have fun in Texas. And I’ll certainly see everyone next year at C&W in Detroit. In fact, since I will more or less not have any travel or lodging expenses, I might even just “attend” and not present….

One thought on “To Conference Or To Not Conference”

  1. I don’t think they’re all electronic–I assumed that because they capped the number of participants, it’s a live session for the most part. If it were electronic, they could just put them all on the web pre-conference…

    And it sounds like EMU and SU are about the same when it comes to travel. I’m paying for RSA entirely out-of-pocket…


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