Sandra Hirsh

Sandy Hirsh

2015 ASIS&T President
Director and Professor
School of Information
San Jose State University

Editor’s Summary

The ASIS&T strategic plan has been the predominant concern of ASIS&T board members leading into, during and following their retreat in July 2015. After updates from committees, chapters, SIGs and others, the Board, along with past and future leadership, focused on the findings of the Strategic Planning Task Force (SPTF). These included analysis of member input and reports from internal and external sources, together with a resulting compilation of proposed strategic directions. The directions identified generally address membership, programs, communications, outreach and institutional knowledge. The Board brainstormed goals and objectives for each of the five strategic directions. Individual board members will join working groups representing each of the directions to refine the goals and objectives. A draft strategic plan will be posted online by October 2015 to stimulate and solicit member feedback. The draft will be revised and presented to the Board for adoption at the 2015 Annual Meeting, and subsequently reviewed and revised as appropriate. Thanks are extended to the many members and leaders who participated in the strategic planning process.


Association for Information Science and Technology
strategic planning

In July, I hosted the ASIS&T Board retreat at San Jose State University School of Information in San Jose, California. Board members travelled from as far away as France to attend this working meeting! The July Board retreat provides the time and space for board members to work intensively together in person for two consecutive days. The rest of the year, board work is completed through email discussions and through periodic teleconferences.

We had the unusual situation where we not only had the past president (Harry Bruce), current president (me), and president-elect (Nadia Caidi) in attendance, but we also had the good fortune of having the incoming president-elect (Lynn Silipigni Connaway, currently director-at-large) at the retreat. Having all four of us attending presented a great opportunity to build continuity in leadership that extends beyond the typical three years for past, current and president-elect.

Pres page Photo (1)

ASIS&T presidents, present and future at the ASIS&T July Board retreat, San Jose, California, left to right, 2014-15 president-elect Nadia Caidi; 2014-2015 president Sandra Hirsh, and director and 2015-2016 president-elect Lynn Silipigni Connaway.

In addition to hearing progress reports and updates from committees, task forces, executive director, president-elect Nadia Caidi, treasurer, SIGs and chapters, we spent the majority of our time together focused on strategic planning. In preparation for the July retreat, Michael Leach, chair of the Strategic Planning Task Force (SPTF), submitted two documents to the Board for review:

  1. A summary of the key findings from the data collection that took place from November 2014 through May 2015, which included data from focus group interviews, surveys, environmental scans and an SPTF analysis of reports from other units within ASIS&T and other institutions
  2. A description of the strategic directions that emerged from this research.

To learn more about these findings and the five strategic directions (identified below), see the full report, ASIS&T Strategic Planning Report: Key Findings and Strategic Directions at

Michael Leach kicked off the strategic planning discussions by reviewing the work completed to date and answered questions about the data collected. He also reviewed the five strategic directions that emerged as key themes from the data analysis. These strategic directions are 1) membership, 2) programs/services/mentoring, 3) publications/communications/social media, 4) publicity/outreach/advocacy and 5) institutional knowledge.

After this overview, the Board was actively involved in brainstorming goals and objectives for the strategic directions. For each strategic direction, the Board broke into three to four groups and spent approximately 30 minutes brainstorming goals and objectives and then another 20 minutes reporting out the results from the small group to the rest of the Board. To capture the ideas, we took photos of the flip charts and shared everything with the Board in the strategic planning dropbox.

ASIS&T directors Lauren Harrison (left) and Jamshid Beheshti at the July Board retreat.

ASIS&T directors Lauren Harrison (left) and Jamshid Beheshti at the July Board retreat.

Board members continued to work on the strategic plan after the retreat. Each board member volunteered to join one of the small working groups – we had one for each of the five strategic directions – so that they could help the SPTF consolidate the ideas generated during the retreat and further refine the goals and objectives as well. Board members worked in their small groups after the retreat and sent their suggestions to Board and to the SPTF.

The SPTF is using the input from the Board to help develop the draft strategic plan, which will be distributed and available for comment in September/October 2015. The draft strategic plan, and all other information about the strategic plan, will be posted at We will hold virtual town hall sessions to solicit member feedback on the draft strategic plan and will send out more information about the dates and times for these sessions soon. Your feedback is a very important step, and our goal is to spark discussion and solicit input on the final draft of the strategic plan. The plan will be revised based on member feedback and the revised strategic plan will be presented to the ASIS&T Board of Directors at the 2015 Annual Meeting for adoption. The strategic plan will be a living document, which will be reviewed and revised regularly by the ASIS&T Board of Directors.

Left to right, Beheshti and Harrison with ASIS&T past president Harry Bruce and Strategic Plan Task Force chair Michael Lynch

I would like to thank the Strategic Planning Task Force Members for their great work! They have been working tirelessly on this ambitious initiative. Chaired by Michael Leach, the task force members include Naresh Agarwal, Shanju Chang, myself, Maric Kramer and Heather Pfeiffer (listed alphabetically by last name).

I would especially like to thank all of you who have participated in the strategic planning process to date. Your contributions are helping us to create a shared future vision for ASIS&T and to ensure that ASIS&T will be set up for success for many years to come. I hope that you will continue to participate actively in this process when we share the draft strategic plan in the next couple of weeks. You can email us at, tweet to us @asist_org, post on our Facebook page or post on our LinkedIn group. I look forward to seeing you in St. Louis in November.