Wednesday, June 01, 2022

Professional association thoughts

 Hey, so, I just became president of a professional association. Kind of wild.

I've been thinking a lot about this lately (one of the luxuries afforded by a sabbatical is that I have time to think, kinda), and I'm going to write a more-or-less stream-of-consciousness list of things I think I believe that are maybe going to guide my two years as president. (Note the enormous amount of hedging in that sentence, however.)

1. It's OK for professional associations to move slowly in some ways, but also to be driven by groundswells of urgency, innovation, etc. as they occur.

2. This association in particular (and probably many) has an enormous "diversity problem," but also, diversity is not a 'problem' to be solved. We need to understand why our organization is so white.

3. Outreach seems crucial. We can't control who decides to join the organization, but we can make people more aware of it and make it more hospitable to more people.

4. People who have access to institutional pro-d funds should pay more; grad students, part time employees, etc. should pay little or nothing (for conference, membership, etc. fees). We should use the money we have to pay people to do important work for our association, especially graduate students.

5. We need to understand what our association does well and continue to do them well and better; we don't need to try to be all things to all people. The association is not the discipline, the discipline is not the association. We can be a node in a network; we don't have to be the whole network.