ATA61: Planning in a Time of Unpredictability

The past month or so has been a whirlwind for all of us. With the COVID-19 pandemic in full swing, events, trips, meetings, and so much more have been cancelled or postponed. I know this crisis is affecting everyone right now, so it feels a bit odd to be planning and sharing about ATA61 in the midst of everything. That said, I see our Annual Conference this year as a way to reconnect with one another after a rough start to the year.

Whether we are able to hold the conference in Boston or are forced to move it completely to an online platform, rest assured that we are aware that this year is different than any other, and we are planning an online component to the conference. No matter the format, our conference remains an opportunity to come together with more strength and perspective to move forward in our professions, learn from one another, make up for continuing education opportunities lost from cancelled events in the first half of the year, and spend time in community with cherished colleagues and friends.

Now, for an update! The call for proposals for ATA61 closed on March 2 with a total of 494 proposals. I think it’s safe to say that we’ll have quite a roundup of fascinating sessions to attend this year. For those who took our Professional Development Survey at the beginning of the year, thank you! It was a great tool to help us see what kind of content you would like from our Professional Development Program, and it guided me in creating a call for proposals that fit your preferences. Without giving too much away, let me just say that our colleagues delivered! Stay tuned for more information in the July–August Chronicle.

Professional Development Opportunities to Take Advantage of at ATA61

In the meantime, and assuming we get a chance to meet in person in Boston, let’s take a look at what to expect this year! In addition to the 174 regular conference sessions taking place Thursday through Saturday, we’ll kick off the learning events on Wednesday with a series of Advanced Skills and Training (AST) sessions. We’ll have quite a lineup this year, so if you make plans to arrive earlier in the week, make sure you check out the variety of three-hour, intensive workshops and grab a seat once registration opens.

For those interested in taking ATA’s certification exam, there will be two morning AST sessions for English>Spanish and Spanish>English exam preparation. Speaking of the exam, there will be two opportunities to test at the Annual Conference again this year—one on Wednesday afternoon and another on Saturday morning.

The Annual Meeting of Voting Members will take place on Thursday. You’ll have the opportunity to hear from the candidates for the three available director positions and present a question for them to answer. So, be sure to:

  • Watch for the statements from the candidates in the September–October Chronicle.
  • Subscribe to The ATA Podcast to hear interviews with the candidates (watch for details in ATA Newsbriefs).
  • Become an Active Member so you can vote in the election.
  • Attend the Annual Meeting of Voting Members.
  • Attend the Thursday morning Breakfast with the Candidates in Boston.

As usual, we’ll hold our Annual Meeting of All Members on Friday. This is your chance to hear about the big-picture items from the past year, including the treasurer’s report, updates from our stellar Public Relations Committee, and much more.

What Else Can You Expect at ATA61?

You can expect many of the same events you know and love. We’re also introducing a few new items to this mix this year.

For those who are early risers, we’ll have our energetic morning movement and exercise options available. And for those who prefer to start their day at breakfast, watch for several groups with reserved tables for students, mentors, and mentees in our Mentoring Program, and our annual TweetUp!

When it comes to evening events, we’re changing things up a bit by holding the Job Fair on Thursday evening and Friday at lunchtime, including a “grab and go” lunch option on Friday that’s open to all conference attendees. Our popular Business Practices Brainstorm Networking and After Hours Café will be held in the evening as usual, and we’re expecting a great turnout for both! Finally, be on the lookout for an exciting change to our Closing Session, and join us at the Closing Reception as we raise our glasses to a week of networking and learning opportunities with one another.

Of course, all these events are on the calendar as long as we’re able to meet in person in October. If it should happen that we need to move fully to a virtual conference model, we’ll keep you informed and I’ll do my very best to ensure that we have the best conference we possibly can. Whether in person or virtually, I look forward to seeing you there!

Some Helpful Links

ATA Conference Webpage
(Also, be sure to check out the schedule of events, photos, and videos from ATA60 in Palm Springs,

ATA on Twitter
(Follow ATA on Twitter and search for the hashtag #ATA61 for the latest conference updates.)

The ATA Podcast
(Subscribe on your favorite podcasting app!)

Active (Voting) Membership Review Process
(Become an active (voting) member today! It only takes five minutes to complete the form.)

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