President’s Spotlight—AAFS Membership Survey

Source: Jeri D. Ropero-Miller, PhD, AAFS President and Laura C. Fulginiti, PhD AAFS Vice President and Membership Outreach Ad Hoc Committee Chair

As promised, here is the next Presidential Spotlight in which I have invited the AAFS Board of Directors to contribute to inform the Academy membership of activities and resources of benefit to you. In this spotlight Laura Fulginiti (Fulgi), AAFS Vice President and Membership Outreach ad hoc Committee Chair, is seizing the opportunity to address you informally about a year-long campaign to build our membership. Each of the incoming presidents has a particular vision that once they join the executive board, they have up to five years to achieve their goals which always centers around the Academy’s mission and on you, our membership.

The Academy is the flagship organization in forensic science. We are all proud to carry membership status in this premiere association. We have a unique opportunity to explore new avenues for our younger practitioners, to provide reliable digital content, to expand our international presence, and to reach out to colleagues in the forensic sciences who might be unaware of the Academy and its mission. Now is the time to encourage promotion within sections, increase registrations, and revitalize in an effort to promote a sustained and resilient professional organization.

AAFS Officers Jeri Ropero-Miller, Carl McClary, Laura Fulginiti, Ken Williams, and Kip Thompson are of one accord. We have three primary initiatives to foster: economic sustainability for the American Standards Board, rapid deployment of AAFS Connect with increased content capacity, and membership outreach. The latter is passionately championed by Vice President Fulgi. The membership outreach ad hoc committee has a “million ideas” for ways in which to build our membership from within, to explore new relationships nationally and internationally, and to cement AAFS as the pre-eminent forensic science entity. The Academy is aging, and our membership is waning. The combination is altering our ability to maintain front line visibility and reliability for our community, and to the outside entities that look to us for guidance. We all need to participate in a revamping of the Academy and to that end we are reaching out to you for input. Your viewpoint is critically important to us and we are eager to hear your thoughts.

You will be receiving a link to an important survey aimed to tease out those benefits of Academy membership that you value, those that have no value, and those about which you are neutral. We are interested in your thoughts about appealing to a younger generation through social media, regional meetings and on-line content provided throughout the year. We want to know how you navigate the annual meeting, your thoughts about the Journal of Forensic Sciences, and ways we can expand our membership. We are hopeful that this survey will provide us with nuanced data that will allow us to prioritize our initiatives and move into the future with optimism and a strategic plan.

We are keenly aware that surveys can be tedious. We have limited ours to primarily quick “click the box” questions to make it easy, yet, so valuable. That being said, we exhort you to complete the survey thoughtfully. The survey results are only as good as the input we receive. There are a few places to add comments. If you feel strongly, or if you have ideas, please share them. Some of the most important feedback comes from specific, individualized comments. We guarantee that the data will be scrutinized to ascertain the will of the membership. If you feel that Academy improvements can be made, let us know. If you think the Academy should be a haven for all that is formal and regimented, let us know. If you like the benefits you receive, let us know. Likewise, we want to know what is valuable to you as members. The current leadership is committed to you, we take our responsibilities very seriously and we have the momentum and will to accomplish change. Please join with us to renew and bring continuous improvements to the Academy as a leader in the scientific community. Thank you.