As you may recall, over the last year, a presidential task force composed of prior ACPA convention and program chairs have been working to propose updates to the Convention Site Selection Guidelines. The previous guidelines have been in place since 2014 and needed to be updated, given the seemingly ever-evolving global and national landscapes and contexts affecting higher education and our members. Led by Kelvin Rutledge, Director of Professional Development on the ACPA Governing Board and ACPA20 Convention Chair, the task force was charged by 2023-24 ACPA President Heather Shea with proposing recommendations on future convention site selection, including advising on strategy for how to deal with the increasing number of states/locations experiencing travel bans or advisories. Additionally, the task force was asked to consider possible structural changes to the annual convention.
In late 2023, the Future Conventions Task Force advanced two components of their proposed work for the Governing Board’s consideration: the first being revised Convention Site Selection Guidelines and the second being a new set of Convention Site Relocation Guidelines. From September to December 2023, the ACPA Governing Board adopted these new guidelines into practice. A copy of the Future Conventions Task Force Report and updated Site Selection and Site Relocation guidelines is linked to this message.
The work of the task force was initiated following member challenges in joining us in 2018 in Houston, Texas and in 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee due to the locations connected to discriminatory state/local laws or travel restrictions imposed by state agencies in response to that legislation. The task force report states:
“Increasingly polarized political climates and culture wars within, and outside of, the United States have added to the complexity of site selection since the creation of the original ACPA Site Selection Guidelines in 2014. From state-issued travel bans to threats against trans identities and reproductive justice, there are few states or cities, if any, that have been untouched by the ongoing political, physical, and emotional violence we have witnessed and experienced in recent years.”
The task force report also acknowledges the tension of avoiding certain locations where many of our members live, work, and are engaging in important advocacy initiatives connected to the values of our Association:
“ACPA’s Core Values call us to make decisions with ‘active engagement with issues of inequity,’ ‘outreach and advocacy on issues of concern,’ and ‘cultural humility, inclusion, and human dignity.’ As a result, it is this Task Force’s recommendation that ACPA cannot and should not contribute to silencing and erasure experienced by members of our Association and the higher education community in states and locations that have been or feel neglected and/or unsupported by their lawmakers. We will not abandon our colleagues in these locations; we know there are college student educators in these locations battling for their jobs, their academic freedoms, and even their livelihoods.”
The ACPA Governing Board reviewed and accepted the task force’s proposal to create a four (possibly five) year, geographic rotation for the Annual Convention that includes: 1) An Atlantic U.S. location, 2) A Central U.S. location, 3) A Pacific U.S. location, 4) A South U.S. location, and possibly a 5th year/site considered to be a high-interest destination (which may or may not occur every 5th year). The expectation is that in at least three out of every four-year rotation, the Association will select a future convention location that does not have discriminatory laws or restrictions on reproductive health, rights, or justice at the time of site selection.
Following the newly adopted Site Selection Guidelines, we are excited to announce the future locations of the ACPA Annual Convention currently under contract. We have previously announced the locations for the 2025 and 2026 annual events, which will be Long Beach, California (16-19 February 2025) and Baltimore, Maryland (29 March – 1 April 2026). The Governing Board has additionally selected Toronto, Ontario, Canada as the site of the ACPA27 Convention and Atlanta, Georgia as the location of the ACPA28 Convention.
Based on the approved Site Selection Guidelines, the intended geographic and destination rotation will be achieved over the next five years:
ACPA24 Convention –– Chicago, Illinois –– Central region
ACPA25 Convention –– Long Beach, California –– Pacific region
ACPA26 Convention –– Baltimore, Maryland –– Atlantic region
ACPA27 Convention –– Toronto, Ontario, Canada –– High interest destination
ACPA28 Convention –– Atlanta, Georgia –– South region
The Future Conventions Task Force and ACPA Governing Board are still working to consider future structural changes to the annual convention that may be implemented as early as the ACPA29 Annual Convention, which has yet to be selected. Based on the existing rotation, ACPA members can expect we will be considering Central and Pacific locations for hosting the 2029 and 2030 ACPA Annual Convention when site selection for those future events begins.
We recognize that the Annual ACPA Convention is a source of learning, connection, and renewal for our members. Borrowing from the report, the Future Conventions Task Force and Governing Board both recognize, “there is no ‘perfect’ site, ACPA is committed to choosing locations that align with our mission/core values, including both equity/inclusion and fiscal responsibility.” Mark the dates on your calendar now and make plans to join us at our future annual conventions so that we can continue the important work of boldly transforming higher education anywhere and everywhere we gather.
Kelvin Rutledge, Ph.D.
ACPA Governing Board Director of Professional Development and Future Conventions Task Force Chair
Heather Shea, Ph.D.
2023-24 ACPA President
Chris Moody, Ed.D.
ACPA Executive Director