Making Your Case to Attend the Annual Meeting

The American Historical Association’s annual meeting is the largest gathering of historians from all fields and professions. It represents an unparalleled opportunity to discover the latest trends and knowledge in all areas of history. This guide is designed to help you demonstrate the benefits both to yourself and your organization as you request financial support and time off to attend.

You’ll return from the meeting rejuvenated, full of fresh ideas and insights for your own professional and scholarly interests, and ready to influence those around you with your knowledge and enthusiasm. When making your case to attend, make sure you present a clear plan of how you will share what you have learned during the presentations, networking sessions, and informal conversations. It might consist of a workshop, presentation, one-to-one meetings, a written report, or a mix. Commit to implementing one or more of the new ideas you have picked up and report back on the results.

Here are some practical tips to help you make your case and convince your organization about the value of attending the AHA annual meeting.

Attending the Annual Meeting Will Help You:

Increase Your Institution’s Profile

The AHA annual meeting is the perfect opportunity to make connections with your peers and colleagues. Not only will you be increasing your own network and standing, but as a representative of your institution, you will increase its profile within the history community. You’ll be able to represent your institution at presentations, panel discussions, roundtables, receptions, and other informal social events.

Become a More Effective Advocate for History

The theme for the 2016 annual meeting is Global Migrations: Empires, Nations, and Neighbors, and you’ll meet both historians and professionals from other disciplines who share your concerns and interests. Exchange ideas during the meeting and learn new strategies for promoting the discipline.

Expand Your Network

The AHA annual meeting offers numerous networking opportunities, at sessions and discussion groups, poster sessions, informal conversations, and receptions and tours. Study the participants’ index and pick out some likely people to contact.

Bring Back What You’ve Learned

By allowing you to attend, your institution is showing its clear commitment to professional development and continuous learning. Perhaps there is a burning issue in your department, or something that you feel you should know more about. Study the online program (to be posted later in the year) to compile a list of sessions to attend on behalf of your department, and explain how you will share the information afterwards.

Rejuvenate Your Work and Advance Your Professional Goals

Consider your own professional interests and identify sessions that will directly enhance your own research and development. Many presses will have editors attending who are keen to discuss new projects. If you are working on a piece for publication, meet many potential publishers all in the one place.

Refresh Your Strategies for the Classroom

For educators, there is an extensive Teaching and Learning track during the conference. Many of the sessions will provide practical ideas that can be taken straight back to the classroom. Not only will your students benefit from fresh new approaches, but by sharing the ideas with your colleagues all of their students will benefit too.

Keep your Institution’s Resources Cutting-Edge

The meeting’s Exhibit Hall will feature over 75 publishers of journals, books, databases, and many other resources for historians. Allow some time to browse the exhibits to discover the latest new titles and preview new texts and electronic resources. Make a list of interesting titles to recommend to your subject or faculty librarian.

Become a Mentor

With the student group rate program, members can bring up to three students for an additional small fee. This is a great way to mentor students and clearly demonstrate to both students and other attendees your institution’s commitment to mentoring and developing future historians. Participation will advance the students’ pursuit of their own educational and professional goals.

Take Advantage of a Great Value

Attending the meeting represents exceptional value for money. We offer a range of registration rates, including subsidized rates for students, K-12 teachers, the retired, and the unemployed. Teachers and faculty can also bring their students for only $10 each. The AHA has negotiated discounted hotel rates for the duration of the annual meeting, and for the three days before and after the meeting, making the average cost of a hotel room less than $120 per night. Preregister to ensure you take advantage of the most favorable rates.