Phone conference- March 7, 2014

NJCA Executive Board Phone Conference
Friday,  March 7, 2014 – 9:00am

In attendance: Chris Caldiero; Barna Donovan; Shawn Kildea; Christopher Lynch; Gina Marcello; Anita O’Malley; Evelyn Plummer;

1. Conference Updates:

a. Planning –

- A brief, meeting of the executive board (approximately 40 minutes) will be scheduled for 4:30pm, after the last panel session.  Both sets of board members will be in attendance: outgoing as well as incoming. The agenda will include addressing the ongoing issue of promoting membership and participation.

-  Presentation of the best paper awards will occur at the luncheon.

-  Chris Lynch has enlisted at least 25 student volunteers to assist at the conference in various ways (including collection of the interest questionnaires (discussed below in section 2)

- Chris L. is still soliciting panelists for two sessions: Governor Christie & “Bridgegate” and community college /four year institution panel

b. Participation & Submission Rates – Chris L. reported an overall respectable submission rate but the conference may not achieve the original goal of 200 attendees. Most submissions were from students. Chris L. will be approaching the current Members-At-Large to read the students papers in order to determine the winners for the two top papers (graduate and undergraduate). Chris Caldiero will forward the judging template used last year.

c. Registration –

- Several factors were discussed concerning the issue of Institutional memberships (traditionally = a $ 275. fee providing conference attendance for 2 faculty and 3 students). Ultimately it was agreed to allow flexibility in some cases but not others. For example, one faculty + 4 students was acceptable but a configuration including no faculty and 5 students would not be. It was also agreed that trying to make faculty slots regularly equivalent to 2 or 3 student slots was not advisable because that would quickly create a financial disadvantage to NJCA.  However the support of institutional members will continue to be valued and acknowledged through listing in the program and mention during the luncheon.

- Chris L. requested updates on registration information both in terms of institutions as well as raw numbers. Gina Marcello will be in contact with Todd Kelshaw about accessing the databases.

2. Promoting Participation & Engagement:

- Although board members have been carrying out the initiative of directly contacting  department chairs, the submissions received still do not reflect a strong representation throughout the state.  In addition, attempts were made to solicit interest by placing the CFP on the Rutgers student Listserv.

- After considerable discussion on the need to promote wider and more consistent participation by the communication faculty (fulltime and adjuncts) and institutions (2 year & 4 year) throughout the state, it was enthusiastically agreed that the next step in addressing this problem should be to conduct some “market research”.  The overall strategy includes several steps: initially, Chris L. will devise a short survey to be included in the conference packet. Information gleaned from this assessment will help us devise a 5-7 question online survey instrument to be distributed to communication faculty throughout the state. Anita O’Malley pointed out that response rates can be enhanced through offering an incentive (e.g. free registration to the next conference, a gift card, entry into a drawing). Information gathered from such a survey can lead to a clearer understanding of interests and needs, thus enabling better targeting and more personalized solicitations.

3.  Nonprofit status:

- Shawn Kildea reported on engaging the services of an accountant to complete the steps & paperwork necessary for NJCA to regain nonprofit status. Currently, the anticipated cost for the process is for a few hundred dollars--less prohibitive than originally anticipated.


Respectfully submitted by Evelyn Plummer, Recording Secretary, 3/8/14