Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Demographic Information Issue in the Proposal System


Recently, it came to my attention that the system we use to gather proposals for the CCCC convention sent demographic information back to those who registered by email. This was information that proposers provided when they submitted their online proposals. If the proposer used their institutional email, technically this may give that institution access to the proposer’s personal information, which they may not wish to share with that institution.

Once this information was brought to our attention, NCTE quickly initiated changes to prevent the proposal system from sending the demographic information as part of the submission confirmation email. As of about 2:00 pm on Monday, May 08, the system stopped doing this. Again, this will NOT happen from this point forward. We are very sorry to those this may have affected.

I’d like to explain why we are trying to collect this information and what we’ll do with it. Because of how NCTE and CCCC information is structured, we cannot just find out who attends CCCC or proposes panels and presentations. But this kind of information in the aggregate is important in helping us understand where we can be more inclusive and equitable in our practices.

Thus, I feel it is important to begin collecting demographic data because without it, we cannot know how convention attendees identify themselves, and what groups attend, propose, and present. As the 2018 Program Chair, I’d like to know this information. While many of us may have a sense of who is not coming or is denied a spot on the program each year, as a convention and organization that looks to make sound, ethical decisions that affect all its members, we must make such decisions based on evidence gathered, not impressions or anecdotes from those in our limited circles of colleagues. This evidence starts by understanding who is proposing and who is attending. So we’re asking for this demographic information this year as a start, and hopefully we can continue the practice in safe, ethical ways. We’ll get better at it as we continue to do so.

And so you know, you’ll also be asked for the same demographic information when you register for the conference, and I’ll promise that this problem will not occur at that time.

I and the rest of the executive officers appreciate your understanding and help in these matters. The purposes of this data is ONLY to help us understand where our weak spots are so that we can be a more inclusive and diverse convention and organization.

Asao B. Inoue
2018 CCCC Program Chair