The 2016 Annual Meeting featured major events to mark AERA’s Centennial, including a special Opening Plenary Session and Gala anchored on the theme of “Discovering Our Past, Creating Our Future.” With more than a thousand in attendance, the Plenary celebrated AERA’s 100-year milestone, highlighted the breadth and significance of education research as it has evolved around the world, and took a critical look at the current “state of the field.” After the Plenary, the celebration continued at the Centennial Gala.
The centerpiece of the Plenary was an open Forum moderated by Donna E. Shalala (Clinton Foundation). Forum participants included Patricia A. Alexander (University of Maryland, College Park), Patricia Albjerg Graham (Harvard University), Gloria J. Ladson-Billings (University of Wisconsin, Madison), Kenneth Prewitt (Columbia University), Joseph P. Robinson-Cimpian (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), and Joy Ann Williamson-Lott (University of Washington). The format enabled incisive comments, reflections, and consideration of challenging issues that drive the field.
Shalala posed questions on such topics as accountability and measurement, forces that have shaped the field of education research, the education debt for minority students, and the impact of research on public policy. Attendees added to the plenary with an engaging town hall segment with further questions and comments that could have continued well into the evening.
In addition to the Forum, the Centennial Plenary featured many special moments, including musical performances from The Washington Youth Choir, a video highlighting AERA's first century as an association, and a letter from President Barack Obama. A birthday cake and song concluded the Gala and opening celebration.
View the 2016 Centennial Plenary Program here.
Watch the entire Opening Plenary Session and view photos from the event below.