Professional Development at 2012 SAAS Meeting

This past week I was fortunate to attend the Southern Association of Agricultural Sciences (SAAS) meeting in Birmingham, Alabama. I primarily attended the Southern Rural Sociology Association Conference but also dabbled into other sections such as the Southern American Association of Agricultural Education and the Southern Agricultural Economics Association Conferences. It was an excellent opportunity to broaden my knowledge about a variety of topics and see what other folks are researching, as well as see how other folks are working on issues. A lot of active and thought provoking learning occurring. I was also fortunate to present some preliminary work on my dissertation and co-present about work within a grant that supports my assistantship. Overall, interest in both projects was high and we received a lot of good questions, comments, and feedback. Besides catching up with old friends and colleagues, the best part of the conference was learning what other faculty and graduate students are working on. It’s great to see other folks as passionate about their work and topics as I am about my work. In the future, I would really like to see SAAS provide more opportunities for cross-disciplinary conversations and bring together the distinct disciplines under one tent. I can understand there are probably some good reasons for structuring the conference with each individual association meeting by discipline but in this changing and dynamic world, and with the growth of inter, multi, and trans-disciplinary collaborations within higher education, I believe there is a lot of real value in bringing the different disciplines together. Instead have ‘tracks’, rather than individual conferences. I am already looking forward to attending a few other conferences this summer which will once again provide great opportunities for learning, networking, fellowship with friends and colleagues, and professional development. All and all, a success!

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