This is an excerpt from the research conducted by Cid Conley of the Florida Gulf Coast University, and Bruce W. Hall of the University of South Florida, entitled An Oral History of the Florida Educational Research Association: The Story of the Origin and Evolution of a Grassroots Professional Organization, which is available on our website link ,History of FERA in its entirety .
“The Florida Educational Research Association (FERA) is a professional organization that began fifty five years ago to promote the investigation, research, and discussion of educational problems and issues impacting the state of Florida. It was instituted on the premise that the myriad concerns facing schools and teachers are amendable to orderly, systematic inquiry, and such inquiry can be nurtured and sustained through the collegial association of state and district based educators, university professors and personnel in public, private and non-profit educational agencies” (3).
“It maintains its contacts and promotes its goals through periodic newsletters, a professional research journal and an annual meeting” (4). Every year, the fellowship of FERA sends out newsletters in the spring and the early fall. Over the last three years, the Florida Journal of Educational Research (FJER) has moved to an online venue to reset its presence and attract research from across the state. (For more information on FJER, click on the Journal link on our homepage.) The annual meeting is held each year during the week before Thanksgiving and offers a professional development session, along with noted speakers from the Florida Department of Education, national testing and research organizations from across the United States, and participating vendors who generously sponsor the events that foster collegiality, and provides them an opportunity to present their research findings. FERA affords researchers from all walks of the educational spectrum, an opportunity to present their latest work to their peers, and be nominated for the Educational Researcher of Year, Russell Kropp Award (named after one of its founding fathers) or the most Distinguished Paper. Graduate students from across the state, may participate in the organization of the annual meeting; in addition to presenting their work in either a paper or poster event which offers its own award.
Since its inception of approximately 20 members, the membership of FERA has grown and fluctuates somewhere around 175 active members. The membership has consistently attracted the constituents it initially anticipated would build community and foster alliances across the educational entities that feed the state, but has also grown to incorporate many national entities. It is within this mindset that the organization began, and it is within the same vein today that many of the active members would attest to the fruition of being a part of the Florida Educational Research Association.