**SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT FROM AMY CHAFFEE, ATHE FOCUS GROUP REPRESENTATIVE:**
"June 1, 2020
Recently, VASTA @ATHE members received an email from ATHE that addresses plans for our 2020 virtual conference, which will take place July 20-25th and July 27-August 1st. These are very different dates than the in-person conference that they were to have held. Hopefully they will work with the VASTA online colloquy being planned!
In the absence of our annual in-person VASTA conference, and hopefully in harmony with our online gathering, we hope that some of you will consider joining this amazing interdisciplinary conference this year. We have a dozen VASTA-specific panels and several of our members are on multidisciplinary panels, as well.
I am amazed by the work the conference committee has done to make our conference both possible and affordable. If you have not yet seen the news, please visit the www.ATHE.org page.
The conference (like our new membership structure) will be on a sliding scale and will range from $25-100, for two weeks of programming. There are also plans in the works that will enable members to sponsor the attendance of other members. And the debut panel for VASTA presenters will likely be comped completely!
Now, perhaps more than ever, we need to come together to share our scholarship, our teaching practices, and our creative solutions for addressing the particular needs of our discipline. The theme of the 2020 conference is DRIVE.
This theme, in the face of the uncertainty, unrest and unprecedented moment we are in, certainly feels prescient!
As we look towards the fall in online, hybrid or hy-flex situations, I often feel like I am the car while being responsible for building the road, too.
As we face the all the new and unusual demands that this pandemic presents, we will need our shared expertise and the support that ATHE provides us.
There is also going to be a VASTA-specific panel reflecting on best practices in this moment (online? voice sharing software? Loss of connection?Latency? Cutting edge research on breathing, aerosol transmission, and the perils of in-person work? Anything we want it to be!)
On this panel, we share best practices and what discipline-specific recommendations ATHE might make to help guide practice-based teaching while social distancing. The conference committee has designated space in the programming for these conversations.
And, Ann Marie Pollard has already begun a Teams group the VASTA Remote Teaching Task Force, and so stay tuned for more information on such an endeavor which might be shared at ATHE, as well.
If you are not a member of ATHE, they have adjusted their membership fees downward and on a sliding scale to make it more affordable for those most in need of support in their early careers or during a fallow time. You have to be a member to attend and join a panel. But, I'm hoping that many of you will consider this opportunity to step out of your comfort zone while never changing out of your comfy pants!
-Amy Chaffee, ATHE Focus Group Coordinator
P.S.: As plans for the virtual conference move forward, our conference planners, Stacey Cabaj and Colton Weiss will be in touch."