The winter break is fast approaching as I write this email. We’ve already had two hearty snowstorms in Waterloo, so winter as I know it in Canada is definitely coming in with some force!

While I could do a “year in review” as is common at year-end, I have news to share with you at this time instead. Here are recent highlights from the POD Network:

  • Conference registrations reached 950 for our first-ever virtual conference—a huge thanks to our conference team, session facilitators and presenters, and the many participants! It was very encouraging to have such strong support from our new and existing members (1,400+) and be able to bring together those interested in the educational development field from the United States, Canada, Brazil, Taiwan, and 7 other countries.
  • Our conference (thankfully) generated enough income to bring our operating budget out of a deficit situation, so we can now commit funds to some key projects, including making headway on an equity-focused organizational assessment, getting DEI-focused training developed for conference proposal reviewers, and providing physical awards for the 2020 recipients.
  • For those members who missed registering for the conference, we are offering access to all the recorded sessions (plenaries and asynchronous interactive sessions, research presentations, and posters) for $225 USD. You will be able to access all online materials until May 31, 2021. You can register via the conference website. All conference registrants also get free access to longer workshops (normally held before the conference) starting in January—details coming out soon.
  • At the Core meeting, we discussed our continuing work on multiple diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives to support and advance the POD Network’s commitment to equity and our diversity and inclusion strategic priority from our 2018-2023 strategic plan. We look forward to engaging with our various committees, special interest groups, and general membership in the coming months in relation to this important work.
  • The call for self-nominations for the Core Committee comes out this month! Each year, we welcome five new Core members for a three-year term, and thank five members who have completed their service. We especially encourage colleagues with demonstrated commitment to advancing racial equity to self-nominate, given the organization’s prioritization of DEI. The election will occur in late January, with the results coming out shortly afterwards. Please remember to vote!
  • Another election will also occur in the new year: the Core Committee will vote on the incoming President Elect. Within five years of rotating off the Core Committee, a past Core member can self-nominate for president, which is a three-year term that rotates through President Elect, President, and Past President. Normally we would announce the results of this election at the conference, but with the delayed Core meeting and limited virtual meeting time, this election was postponed to the new year. We will announce the results as soon as they are available.

Once again, I marvel at all the hard work that our various colleagues engage in on behalf of our organization, and I so appreciate everyone’s ongoing commitment to staying connected and involved with POD. I know that 2020 has been one very challenging year, and many of us are experiencing various degrees of burnout. I hope you can all unplug for at least a few days over the break to get some much-needed rest and peace to help you recharge for the new year.

Best wishes all,

Donna

Dr. Donna Ellis
POD Network President
Director, Centre for Teaching Excellence
University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON Canada
donnae@uwaterloo.ca