AEFP 46th Annual Conference

Promoting Equity and Opportunity Through Education Policy Research

Held Virtually from March 17-20, 2021

Update on the 45th Annual AEFP Meeting and Coronavirus

AEFP goes virtual!


March 13, 2020: Conference Updates

Thank you for the outpouring of support and positivity in regards to the conversion to a virtual conference! Many of you commented that AEFP is a home and family, and we are so glad you are all a part of it.

We are looking forward to #AEFP2020 next week! Here's (almost) everything you need to know for the conference.

How to access sessions?

All sessions will be accessible via Zoom. You can find the links for each session in two places: through the AEFP website and through the AEFP app. Download the app on Google Play or the Apple Store today! When you download the app, you will be prompted to create an account. When creating your profile, you are not required to upload a photo (but free to do so if you would like!). You will only need to login one time.

Sessions will be accessed via Zoom, which you can use via computer, phone, or tablet. We recommend downloading the app and setting up an account (it's free) before the first session.

You can download it here: Need to call in? Access guides/instructions and call-in details here: We encourage you to bookmark/download these guides for easy access during the conference.

How to prepare for virtual sessions?

Find some helpful tips about presenting in a virtual format online through Zoom, Forbes, and Stanford University.

What time are sessions?

We will be following the same program as originally planned. All session times listed on the program are in CENTRAL TIME.

Will the sessions be public?

Many of you have asked if the sessions will be public or not. We set up the virtual conference so that it will mirror the physical conference. Sessions will only be available to those who have registered for the conference. A password will be mailed out the day before the conference so people can login to the sessions. As with previous conferences, please indicate whether any of your session can be shared publicly.

AEFP's media policy: In all sessions, each presenter is responsible for indicating whether or not the work may be cited, tweeted, photographed, recorded, or otherwise disseminated. Audience members are expected to respect each author's policy and act accordingly, as work may be embargoed. Similarly, questions from the floor or other session dialog may not be disseminated without explicit permission. All presentations are assumed to be off the record unless the presenter otherwise specifies.

What about poster sessions?

Following the rest of the conference, we will also be switching the posters to a virtual format. Poster presenters will upload their poster to our website, which you can then view. We encourage you to comment on other posters to give them feedback too! Do this for poster session I and poster session II by clicking on papers you are interested in and sharing your feedback. If you do post a comment, please leave your email to respond to questions, or ask your own questions. Please note: you will only be able to access posters and comments by being logged in to your account on the website. Although in a different format, we thank Florida State University for your generous sponsorship of the poster sessions!

Interested in networking?

We know that a valuable part of the AEFP conference is the networking. Following the formal programming of the general session, we will be hosting an informal networking session. Join the session at approximately 5 pm CST for a networking session. We will be placing attendees into groups for 15 minute networking sessions, after which the groups will change. We hope to see you there! Look for more details through the app and on the website.

Many of you have generously offered time to meet with individuals through your own Zoom (or other accounts) - this is part of what makes AEFP so great! We would encourage anyone interested in meeting with other people to share the time you are available. We suggest 1 - 1:45 pm CST on Thursday, March 19 or 12:15 - 1 pm CST on Friday, March 20. Share networking opportunities with #NetworkAEFP.

How to participate in sessions as an attendee? We will use a chat feature through Zoom to manage questions. As presentations are going, you can chat in your questions. Following the same format from past years, chairs will facilitate the discussion after by directing questions.

What about elections? Elections will still kick off during the conference via an electronic vote. A separate email will go out to each member with a unique voting link. Look for that email Thursday morning. Elections will stay open from March 19 through March 29 (they will close at 3:00 pm CST). Learn more about the board of directors candidates here.

One final note.

We understand that some presenters will be juggling child care and presentation. It's o.k. if your presentation is interrupted by future AEFPers. We ask chairs to be accommodating when imposing time constraints on presentations.

Along the same lines, feel free to ask your chair for accommodations on presentation order if that will make participation easier.

Join in on Twitter with #AEFP2020!

March 10, 2020: Update from AEFP President Tom Downes

Dear AEFP members,

On Tuesday, March 10th, the AEFP Board made the decision to convert the physical conference to a virtual conference on the same schedule as the physical conference (all events will still be Central Time). This is in line with WHO recommendations against large gatherings, limiting the possibility of community transmission of the coronavirus. 

Many of us consider AEFP to be our intellectual family and home. As such, your safety and health are paramount to our considerations. The safety and health of the larger community are also of critical importance to us. Recommendations are clear that spending long amounts of time in close proximity to others is not advisable at the current time. The Board felt that holding the physical conference would not only put our members at risk but would create risks for the rest of society. Doing that is counter to the ethos of AEFP.

AEFP provides a valuable space for researchers to share their work and get useful feedback. Holding a virtual conference allow us a synchronous opportunity to share our research and to engage fellow researchers, policy actors and practitioners, as well as provide an opportunity for emerging scholars to share their work. More details will be coming in the next few days about how to share your research and attend panels and the poster sessions via Zoom.

We know that the opportunities for socializing will not be there if the conference is virtual. We will explore opportunities to network throughout the year at regional get-togethers once doing so is safe. We understand that a virtual conference is likely to have glitches, but, for several reasons, we feel that it is the best alternative available to us.

We are a lean organization and outright cancelation of the conference would bankrupt our association. Although we hold event insurance, several factors beyond our control mean that our insurance will not cover any of our losses. While we have been fortunate enough to build a balance over the last several years, we do not have the resources to cover the costs we have already incurred to prepare for the conference and the charges that will need to be paid to the hotel as a result of the cancellation, while also refunding the conference fees of all the attendees. This is because, in order to be a welcoming organization, AEFP has kept its membership and registration fees low.

What does this mean for the conference program?

All events will that are included in the virtual conference will happen at the same time as planned, CENTRAL TIME. The General Session will happen as planned; we will update you later this week on the logistics of the General Session. And some elements of the physical conference cannot be preserved in the virtual conference. There will be no Policymakers and Practitioners Breakfast, Ambassadors Breakfast, Past Presidents\' Lunch, or Diversity Scholars Program Breakfast. We will hold the scheduled Diversity Scholar Sessions and hope that the Diversity Scholars will join us for the rest of the virtual conference.

How Will the Panel Sessions Work?

We will use Zoom to host the virtual panels. Since the Zoom platform will allow you to do your presentation from your computer, each presenter will open their presentation on their computer and share the presentation with everyone in the panel. One of the AEFP board members will serve as the host of each panel. The chair and each presenter can participate using the Zoom link that will be provided, but they will not need to manage the hosting of the session. The panels will all be held at the same times as listed in the programs and all members will be provided the Zoom link to log in and virtually attend if they so wish.

How Will the Featured Policy Talk Work?

The policy talks (both featured and those in concurrent sessions) will work just like the panel sessions.  If participants have any material they would like to share with the audience, they will open that material on their computer and share the material with everyone in the policy talk. One of the AEFP board members will serve as the host of each policy talk. The policy talks will all be held at the same times as listed in the programs and all members will be provided the Zoom link to log in and virtually attend if they so wish.

How Will the Poster Sessions Work?

Again, we ask the poster session presenters to upload their presentations to the AEFP website using the Upload papers link on the program page. Each day during the time of the poster session, the AEFP Board members and other conference participants will post comments on the posters. And we guarantee that each poster presenter will receive at least five comments. Poster presenters will be able to respond to those comments.

How Will the Election Work?

We will be running the election electronically starting on the morning of the first day of the conference, March 19. Elections will run for 10 days. Look for a separate e-mail with voting instructions. And please vote.

We know none of this is perfect, but the Board views this as trying to make the best of a bad situation. And we thank you for your patience both for the time it has taken to make this difficult decision and for the glitches that will occur as we go virtual.  We will all miss the warm welcoming and engaging scholarly and professional exchange that the AEFP conference has provided us for over four decades. 

What you should do:

If you are registered at the conference hotels - the Worthington Renaissance Fort Worth Hotel-- you should contact the hotel directly as soon as possible to cancel your reservation. 

Renaissance Phone Number:   817-870-1000

If you made reservations elsewhere, reach out to that property.

Many airlines have relaxed their refund/rebate policy.  Please check with your carriers as soon as possible.


As noted above, because the conference is going off as planned, we are not going to be refunding conference fees. As always, we will consider hardship requests for conference fee reimbursement.

And, most importantly, be safe and healthy!

Tom Downes

AEFP President

March 7, 2020: Update from AEFP President Tom Downes

Since we understand that many of you are wondering if the AEFP conference will proceed as planned, we wanted to update you on its status. As of yet, no decision has been made. The Executive Committee of the AEFP Board is meeting on Monday to discuss options; the full board will meet by Wednesday. We are weighing many factors in making a decision that is wise and rapid regarding the Conference. We are considering a number of options that we have in confronting the risks related to the coronavirus. We expect to reach closure as soon as we can and will provide an update to members and attendees as soon as we have reached a final decision.

Stay safe.

March 3, 2020: Update from AEFP President Tom Downes

We look forward to welcoming you to the 2020 Annual Meeting in Fort Worth, TX, March 19–21, for a highly engaging and rewarding convening of education researchers, practitioners, and policy leaders. AEFP’s leadership, volunteers, and staff are hard at work putting the finishing touches on the conference and look forward to what we know will be an exciting exchange of ideas!

All of you are aware of the growing number of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the U.S. As of yet, there are zero confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Dallas-Fort Worth, no evidence of coronavirus circulating in the city, and no recommendations to cancel activities.  At this juncture, there appears to be no imminent risk of becoming infected by virtue of being in Dallas-Fort Worth. AEFP will continue to monitor statements from the City of Fort Worth, Tarrant County in Texas, Texas Health Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization regarding COVID-19 and follow guidelines from these agencies and the local health departments. We will inform Annual Meeting registrants if changes happen.

Finally, we understand that some of you may not be able to travel to Fort Worth because of the existence of travel restrictions.  We will happily reimburse conference registration fees for anyone who had planned to travel to the conference from China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran.  We will handle other reimbursement requests on a case by case basis, playing close attention to the recommendations of the CDC and the WHO concerning the advisability of travel.