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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Rethinking Regional Conferences?

I encourage you to consider the benefits and opportunities Delta Kappa Gamma membership provides and HOW you access those opportunities. Annual international meetings—conventions and conferences—serve to enhance women educators professionally and personally. Members can attend any international conference, not only the one hosted in their regions.

That raises this question: Why do we continue to divide this international organization by region? Why not have international conferences instead of regional conferences? International conferences focused on various educational topics would benefit the modern educator. A Leadership Conference at which you train the state organization leaders as well as any members who want to develop their leadership knowledge would be efficient and productive. Other international conferences emphasizing educational trends or research or technology would better serve the modern educator. This would necessitate changing a paradigm.

Travel from any state or member country is easy. Communication is inexpensive and instant. That has not always been the case. Regions were created when there was a need for them. During World War II, the Society was developing patterns of events. We had national conventions every year from 1930 to 1943. The fourteenth national convention in 1943 could not be held because permissions to travel could not be secured from the Office of Defense Transportation. Nevertheless, 131 Executive Board (renamed the Administrative Board in 1952) members and delegates who could travel met in Chicago. Voting was done by mail on proposed amendments to the constitution and the election of officers.

In August 1944, President Dr. Margaret Stroh convened 14 Society leaders to project the work for the coming year. Among the considerations was a suggestion that I did not approve made by previous president Dr. Emma Reinhardt—that regional meetings would be a way to spread enthusiasm and information about Delta Kappa Gamma. At the meeting, the idea was expanded to include the proposal of having regional directors.

As a result of the discussion and wanting to generate support for the Society, the group made plans for seven regional (or sectional) conferences. Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana members gathered in Seattle in November 1944. California members met in Los Angeles in December. War restrictions caused the other five to be cancelled.

With the war over, the 1945 National Executive Board business included a unanimous vote to adopt a plan for regional meetings that had been tried and then discontinued because of transportation difficulties.

The result is that 73 years ago, regional conferences begun with difficulty due to war-time regulations became a part of the national pattern of regular events.

In 2018 members do not have the same travel and communication constraints that we had in the early years of Delta Kappa Gamma. An improved economy, more freedom for women, instant communication, and ease of long distance travel erase the need for meetings based solely on geography.

I want you to consider the best way to meet the needs of women educators in this modern world. Women educators seek personal opportunities, of course, and also professional experiences. You have access to instant information, and you want to improve what you teach and how you teach. Delta Kappa Gamma is the ideal avenue for your personal and professional development.

Focused-topic conferences would serve women educators more fully than a conference based on geography. When you are making decisions about the future of Delta Kappa Gamma, you must base those decisions on solid judgment and not on emotions. Make decisions using what you know and not just what you feel.


  1. I am sure this topic will be a "hot" one. There are many things to consider for this change and well worth the discussion. I will need more time to consider it but I'll begin with my first thoughts to get the discussion going. If this is change is going to be considered, I'd suggest the location be centrally located in the US, for those of us living in the continental US. The International Conventions are far more costly than the regional conferences. Could our members afford to attend every year? I also have to wonder if this would make a difference in having our members volunteer to be state leaders who need to attend the leadership trainings. I feel strongly that that leadership training is very important for all officers and other members of our society. I like the idea of having the all inclusive training but there are many things to consider.That's all for now. I hope there is some conversation about this going forward.

  2. Travel is expensive. So are the registration for conferences and the hotel fees. I think that if you eliminate regional conferences and only go for the international conventions that attendance will drop. People who will attend a more local conference will not opt to travel further.

  3. My first thought was that cost to attend the international conference is significantly more than the regional conferences I have had the opportunity attend. In addition, the down-home feeling of seeing people who live close-by is not only welcoming, but also an encouragement to attend. I have found the regional conference an opportunity to develop relationships with women in neighboring states, thinking we might be able to work together in some way toward mutual interests, initiatives and goals. The international conference is very inspiring and joyful, but there is not the sense of intimacy of the regional. I have been grateful for both opportunities and experiences.


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