Letter from the President
My highest priority since assuming the presidency of UPCEA at our Annual Conference in Portland has been the implementation of our new Strategic Plan. I have had the advantage of not only playing a part, with so many others, in helping to set a new direction for the association as chair of the Strategic Planning Committee, but now also the pleasure of working to make the plan's vision a reality.
I am happy to report that we have made great strides in moving the plan forward on many different fronts. The new Network structure, replacing our Commissions and Community of Practices, has been put into place. This was critical for the association as the Networks, along with the Regions, are the pillars of the association and the vehicle for much of the work we hope to accomplish in the future. The leadership for the Networks -- chairs, chairs-elect and past chairs -- labored diligently at a two-day work session in Washington, D.C. in June to "jump start" the launch of the Networks. I would like to applaud the leadership of Network Senate Chair Burt Bargerstock and Chair-Elect Marshall Schott for their hard work in envisioning the strategy, policies and procedures for our new Networks.
The Strategic Plan calls for a more streamlined and effective membership structure as well as a more empowered Board. To that end, I have put into place a new Board Committee structure that I believe will accomplish the following: 1. address issues and functions typically addressed by boards through standing committees; 2. engage the full Board in issues previously handled exclusively by the Executive Committee; and 3. integrate the Board with the association's two main volunteer leadership units by allowing Region and Network leadership to serve on the new Board Committees. The committees will include the following: Finance and Personnel; Membership; Professional Development; Awards; and Diversity and Inclusiveness. The Executive Committee and Leadership/Nominating Committee will continue to operate, as codified in the By-Laws.
We have also made progress on several other fronts over the past three months. The Board approved my appointment of Kai Drekmeier, founder and president of Inside Track, to serve as the association's first non-voting corporate member of the Board. I wish to thank Kai for agreeing to serve on the Board in this new role. At our June meeting, the Board also approved the creation of a Policies and Procedures Manual for UPCEA, which is intended to augment the Association's new Bylaws.
The Board has also approved the "next phase" for UPCEA's new Center for Research and Consulting, which has experienced a very successful and profitable launch. The Strategic Plan calls for developing a stable of member consultants to meet member needs in several core areas. The specific goals of the UPCEA Consultants will include: 1. providing a systematic approach for members to obtain assistance with strategic issues, opportunities and problems; 2. providing experienced leaders of UPCEA (including recent retirees) an opportunity for continued growth through the consulting experience; 3. strengthening the field by providing timely advice to continuing, professional and online units in need of assistance, and 4. bringing new revenue to UPCEA.
This fall we will launch A Seminar on the Management of Online Programs in New Orleans, which we hope will be a place for CE leaders to come to discuss strategic issues in distance education, especially at a time when so much is happening in the field of online, open-source learning.
Finally, the Board has approved the creation of a new membership category for retired members of UPCEA. There had been no formal mechanism to retain members of UPCEA once they retired. This new membership will provide members with an easy and formal way to remain engaged with the profession and their professional colleagues, and it also makes available to UPCEA a continuing source of seasoned professionals. I would like to thank those members of the Focus Group, including former UPCEA President Muriel Oaks and Clark Hickman, who brought this idea to UPCEA leadership.
It has been an exciting three months and I want to thank CEO Bob Hansen and his great staff, as well as President-Elect Karen Sibley and Past President Jim Shaeffer, for contributing so much of their time and talent to bring about these successes.
I look forward to seeing many of you in the fall at our regional conferences and online and marketing seminars. Enjoy the rest of your summer!
With warm regards,