In February the NCTE Executive Committee approved our newest student affiliate, the National Council of English Teachers Conference on English Education—Graduate Student Affiliate (CEE-GSA) at Arizona State University. This is a unique group, as the long moniker might indicate. It’s the only current graduate student assembly and it has at least one foot in NCTE’s Conference on English Education. Its mission is
“to promote graduate student interdisciplinary learning by providing professional development opportunities for graduate students interested in the English Education Department; in addition, to support for graduate student needs that promote an interdisciplinary learning environment.”
Sometimes a new arrival is the best time to take stock of the numbers. And, so, I began to count.
Did you know there are 36 NCTE Student Affiliates—groups of 10 or more NCTE student members plus a faculty sponsor? You’ll find them listed by state with the other NCTE affiliates. If you were to read through the list you might note that Pennsylvania is replete with student affiliates—seven total—while Arizona, Colorado, and Michigan each have three; Indiana, Missouri, and South Carolina two; and the rest of the states that have them, one each.
Each of these groups has its own reason and way of being and is highly dependent on two things: 1) the continuity of the faculty sponsor and 2) the ability of fast changing leadership to plot a course for the year and then turn over the reins to the next leaders.
Interested in forming an NCTE Student Affiliate? You might want to check out this Affiliate Conversation on Forming an NCTE Student Affiliate featuring the student affiliate at the University of Iowa which is now 25 years old. (This is a link to a webinar recording which will take a few minutes to load. If you’re having trouble, take a look at their troubleshooting website.)
Bonnie Sunstein describes a number of activities the group does, but she adds,
“We do what we can do and we try to remember our history…[The students] get to do professional things that English teachers will be doing the rest of their lives…An organization like NCTE gives you the family, the cohort.”