The request for proposals for presentations for the 2014 IEA Conference has been sent out and people will soon be able to submit proposals. Some significant changes were made to the process last year and we have made some tweaks again this year. The two biggest changes last year were putting the proposals through a blind-review process and eliminating the category of ‘invited presenter.’
Conference committees always face the challenge of trying to balance the sometimes conflicting responsibility to be fair and unbiased and responsibility to ensure high-quality presenters. We receive between 80 and 100 proposals each year, and there is no way that the committee can fully vet each and every potential presenter. Further, we want to ensure that new presenters are given an equal chance to get onto the schedule, thus brining fresh voices and ideas into the fold.
In the past, some people were invited to present based on the high quality of presentations they had done in the past. Over time, this list grew to such a large number that there were fewer and fewer spots left for others. As the conference committee considered how to narrow the list it became clear that the only fair way to do it was to do away with the list altogether and have everyone submit a proposal. (The only exceptions we made were standing invitations to the IEA’s founders to present without going through the proposal-submission process.) Not everyone was happy about this, of course, but the vast majority of our formerly invited presenters saw the logic and fairness of the decision.
To ensure fairness in selection, the conference committee solicited the help of a number of highly respected Enneagram practitioners to review the proposals and rate them without knowing the identity of the author. Each proposal was scored on the quality of the proposal itself, not on the reputation or renown (or connections, for that matter) of the individual. This approach can create a new set of challenges – someone may write a great proposal but be a less-than-great presenter. Or, they may be a great presenter and a less-than-great proposal writer. Therefore, this year the conference committee will add a second step to the review process, and after the scores from the blind review are submitted the committee will factor in a second score based on feedback (if any) received on previous conference presentations. (So it is more important than ever for you to fill out the online feedback form that is distributed after the conference each year.)
No system is perfect, and there will always be fixes and improvements to make, but it is important to us, the IEA board, to be open and transparent in what we do. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at [email protected] with questions or concerns.