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December 2020 President’s Column

Dr. Brian Detlor PhD ASIS&T President

Dr. Brian Detlor PhD ASIS&T President

It is with great pleasure and excitement that I write my very first “President’s Message” for Inside ASIS&T in my new role as President of the Association. I am very happy and honored to serve in this capacity and I look forward to working with ASIS&T staff and the ASIS&T membership over the next year.

The Annual Meeting was a great success. Attendance was healthy (more than we had expected given the online context) and we learned so many things about how to run an online event. We had always wanted to provide more online offerings at the Annual Meeting, and the COVID-19 pandemic served as a catalyst to figure out exactly how to do that. Importantly, after the Annual Meeting, members of the Program Committee and the Board of Directors met to do a post-event analysis of the things that went well and the few things that could have been run better. We will use this knowledge to deliver online events and Annual Meetings in the future.

My goal over my tenure as President is to oversee the strategic plan and set the Association up for success in terms of delivering the four goals, 15 objectives and 39 tactics outlined in the plan. We have established dates/times for regular Board meetings. At these meetings, I want the Board to review the health and performance of all strategic tactic items. I think regularly monitoring and tracking progress on these strategic tactic items, such as through a performance dashboard, will allow the Board to react quickly if progress on any particular item is delayed. If items need quicker attention, the Executive Board can meet between regular Board meetings.

We have a lot of strategic tactics on our plate! I do not expect all items to be done or worked upon at the same rate, but during my term, I feel the following items are particularly noteworthy: bringing back the Annual Review of Information Science and Technology (ARIST); launching marketing campaigns; increasing and engaging the membership; creating new publication outlets (e.g., Information Matters); and developing opportunities to generate new funds.

To ensure work on these strategic tactics gets done, I believe the Association should leverage its reserve funds to seed fund these items, with the ultimate goal that these initiatives would be self-funding and rolled into Association’s operational budget down the road.

I encourage all members of the Association to take an active role in carrying out and implementing the tactics outlined in the strategic plan. I believe that many hands make light work and that the responsibility of implementing the tactics should not be borne by just a few, but rather spread across the membership and the Association’s various SIGs, chapters, and committees.

A few weeks ago, I attended the ASAE CEO Symposium with our Executive Director, Lydia Middleton. It was a great learning experience and an opportunity to learn best practices regarding how Boards function and the relationship between a Board and senior management. Boards provide governance and strategic oversight; senior management is accountable to the Board but has authority over the operational side of the enterprise. My goal is to have ASIS&T function in such a way, where the Executive Director is viewed as a leader of the Association and charged with operationalizing the strategic plan and maintaining proper finances, while the Board is concerned with the strategic direction and policies of the Association, and not involved in daily headquarter operations.

Lots of activity has occurred over the last couple of months. The Association now has a new curator, Deanna Hall. In that role, Deanna will be responsible for monitoring the discovery, preservation, and accessibility of resources relating to the history of ASIS&T, both in the Association's possession and elsewhere, and for making recommendations as appropriate. Thank you, Deanna for serving in this new role.

ASIS&T also has a new editor of the Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, Dr. Steven Sawyer. Welcome aboard Steve! I know you will do a great job. Dr. Sawyer succeeds Dr. Javed Mostafa who has been editor since 2016.  Thank you Javed for all the good work you have done for the journal over this time!

Other exciting news is that the call is now out for submissions to the Annual Meeting in 2021 in Salt Lake City! Dr. Jim Jansen has done an incredible job in stepping up to serve as Conference Chair, making a call to the membership and selecting a dynamic and impressive team to help him deliver a strong program.  The theme of the conference is “Information: Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, Justice, and Relevance.” Importantly, the conference will run October 30th to November 2nd. I am very much hoping the pandemic will be under control by then to allow us all to meet together in person!

Again, am looking forward to an exciting year. And as 2020 winds down, I like to wish everyone the opportunity to find time to relax and regroup over the next few weeks. Happy Holidays!


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