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April 2021 President’s Column

Hello ASIS&T members.

Time is flying by fast. It is already April. For me personally – living in Canada – this is exciting news in that it means it is almost the end of the academic term (I taught my last class yesterday) and Spring is in the air. I look forward to warmer weather and more sunshine!

As you may recall from my last President’s Message, I reported that our long-time Parliamentarian, Steve Hardin, was retiring. However, I am happy to report that we have found our new Parliamentarian: Dr. Chris Cunningham who teaches at North Carolina Central University. Welcome Chris! So glad to have you serve as Parliamentarian. And thank you Steve for mentoring Chris over the next little while he transitions into his new role. This is much appreciated as it will certainly help Chris to hit the ground running.

One of the biggest insights I have gained since serving as President is realization and awareness of all the numerous activities that go on behind the scenes at ASIS&T to make things run smoothly. This includes not only the work of ASIS&T staff, but also that of the Association’s large number of volunteers who participate in wide variety of activities such as committees, SIGs, chapters etc. Thank you to everyone for your contributions to the Association. Your involvement makes ASIS&T happen. To get a sense of all the work being done, I encourage members to visit our strategic plan. On that webpage, we are tracking the progress being made on all our strategic tactics, many of which are carried out by committee volunteers. Note that we regularly post calls for volunteers as new opportunities arise. If you haven’t volunteered yet, consider doing so! It is a wonderful way to meet colleagues, build resumés, and give back to the profession.

At this time, I wish to highlight two specific activities that have occurred over the last couple of months. The first is that Wiley was approved by the Board to be our publishing partner for ARIST. The Publications Committee did an excellent job in soliciting and vetting proposals from a variety of potential publishing partners. I thank the Publications Committee for its great work in moving the ARIST strategic initiative along.

The second activity is that the Board decided to revert all ASIS&T committees back to an Annual Meeting to Annual Meeting schedule. As you may know, we have two schedules in our Association: i) the fiscal year (July to June); and ii) the Annual Meeting to Annual Meeting schedule (November to October). Over the past year or so, we experimented with having committees operate on the fiscal year schedule. Historically, committees operated on the Annual Meeting to Annual Meeting schedule. Transitioning committee terms from a November-October to July-June term was done to accommodate the need to have committee recommendations incorporated into the annual budget and synchronize with our planning cycle. However, other than budget planning which happens in March/April, our planning cycle is more aligned with our administrative year which runs Annual Meeting to Annual Meeting.

The Board decided to have committees switch back to an Annual Meeting to Annual Meeting schedule for several reasons. One, as the strategic plan was approved last October, the five-year cycle began in October, so progress for individual years will be measured from November-October, not July-June. Two, committees are recommending items requiring funding primarily through reserves (as the Board agreed) which are extra-budgetary and therefore do not need to align with the fiscal year. Three, new committees are appointed by the President-Elect. It is confusing to have a committee appointed by the President-Elect but still governed by the President for the first four months of their tenure. Last, allowing new committees to launch at the Annual Meeting (assuming the ability to hold face-to-face committee meetings) is a much more natural and comfortable transition point for committees.

Thank you to the many Committee Chairs and Committee Members who kindly agreed to extend their current service appointments an additional four months from June 30th to the Annual Meeting which runs Oct 30th to Nov 2nd, 2021.

Speaking of the Annual Meeting (AM), I am very excited that the 2021 AM will be offered in hybrid format to allow attendance and presentations both virtually and in person! We are offering a virtual format since we understand that many people will be unable to travel to Salt Lake City due to travel restrictions, financial considerations, or safety concerns. We are offering an in-person format since we recognize that it is not easy to replicate the social and professional interactions that occur face-to-face in a virtual format, and we want to provide that opportunity for those that are able to attend in person. I encourage all members to visit the AM21 FAQs webpage. There people can access answers to many questions that people may have when contemplating to attend the AM in-person or virtually.

Last, but not least, I hope everyone is handling the COVID-19 situation well. Though there are disparities among nations on access to vaccinations, and various points of views on the benefits and risks of getting vaccinated, I wish everyone stay safe and healthy!

Best regards,