President’s Spotlight—July 2021

Source: Carl R. McClary, MS, 2021-22 AAFS President

Greetings members! As we approach the middle of our summer season, I’ve taken the time to update you on happenings within the Academy. Some of the staff and your board members have had opportunities to partake of much-needed breaks; however, they have not been idle with respect to their work on your behalf. Our executive committee meets every month and the board every other month to conduct the organization’s business and brainstorm improvements. This has entailed crucial decisions including planning our mid-year executive committee meeting, and consideration of our 2022 meeting format. Foremost in the planning of the latter is, of course, the COVID-19 climate in Washington state and Seattle. Be assured that although we are currently planning primarily an in-person meeting, variations on that format will be explored. In the meantime, please keep the September 1 abstract submission deadline on your calendars and remember that answers on the online form are expected to secure your permission to provide presentations in a virtual format!

Our Membership ad hoc Committee has been active revisiting membership structure and requirements, the International Affairs Committee has collaborated with the International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program, ICITAP, on webinars soon to be uploaded to AAFS Connect, and our mentorship and committee on nominations ad hoc committees are busy with full agendas and goals. Additionally, our staff is working diligently to improve our website and upgrading and streamlining our abstract submission process. If you haven’t viewed our tutorial on this, by all means catch it on the website!

The Board of Directors appreciates your confidence as we modernize the Academy and continue to make administrative changes. As your representatives, we work diligently to carry out mandates that arise in the sections. Last year we conducted numerous surveys to gain insight into membership values and many initiatives have resulted. Stay tuned for more on those action items. Although not all initiatives emanate from survey questions, please realize that our decisions are never made lightly or without the full input of every member of the board. The Academy has had to react quickly to change in the past year, but we believe we responded well to very serious challenges, including the pandemic, the retirement of our long-standing Executive Director, the hiring of a new Finance Manager, and replacing two employees in the Meetings & Education Department. Thank you for your consideration and patience during these moments of change. We strive daily to conduct the business of the Academy in a professional, productive manner that remains true to our mission, and to you, our membership.

In closing, for those of you who have been considering promoting to the next level of membership, now is great time to do so! Increasing your status in AAFS not only boosts your own credentials but reflects the value you place on the Academy and the sections to which you affiliate.

Have a great rest of your summer season and I look forward to updating you again soon. Be safe.