Summary of the Winter Board of Directors Meeting
Your Board of Directors met over two days in mid-February. Read on to learn more about the new strategic plan, Diversity and Engagement Task Force, LevelUP update, and future meetings.
The Board of Directors met during the weekend of February 19-20. This was less than four months after the October meeting yet so much has happened. When last I wrote, there were no approved COVID-19 vaccines, and the rate of new cases was skyrocketing at an exponential rate. Now there are two approved vaccines with more on the way and returning to a more familiar way of life and work seems closer at hand. But I digress.
The Society leadership has been diligently executing the strategic plan approved more than 4 years ago. The mark of a solid strategy is when it addresses issues you didn’t even know you had. For example, updates to our information technologies over the past two to three years with the intent to better manage the Society have paid untold dividends as the platforms that made our rapid shift from in-person to online meetings possible. That strategic plan, however, has run its course and a new plan is in development. The new plan will build on the successes of the current plan and introduce new initiatives. For the plan and the Society to be truly successful, the leadership has to understand your needs for education, training, networking, mentoring, career development, etc. The new (and old) social media platforms, SRAI Connect, Catalyst, and good ol’ email are excellent ways to make your views know. This is your Society. Don’t be shy about voicing how it can serve you better.
The newly established Diversity and Engagement Task Force made its first report to the Board. In only four months, they have laid a substantial foundation for the work ahead. Through the use of surveys, Coffee Talks and other venues, the Task Force is evaluating the Society and educational programs with a goal to incorporate a culture of diversity, inclusion and engagement throughout our many activities. More Coffee Talks and at least one more survey are in preparation. Please take a few minutes to respond to the survey when it arrives. Your experience and opinions are vital to the success of this initiative.
While I’m on the topic of engagement, there is no better way to drive change than to be its leader. Nominations for the Board of Directors are on the horizon. Identifying qualified candidates has been an ongoing challenge for the Nomination Committee. Please consider submitting your nomination or nominate a colleague for office. The work ahead is more important to your success and that of the Society than at any time in recent memory.
Among the strategic initiatives is a revitalization of the Society’s Divisions. The working group is redefining the divisions and their role in the mission of the Society. Representatives of the Membership Committee and Education and Professional Development Committee also take part in those discussions. Look for more information in future communications and an updated report in July.
The pandemic has disrupted the finances of many companies and organizations. In my last update, I reported that the Society was implementing a number of changes to its fiscal management. The officers and Executive Office leadership have been true to the task and the Society remains in good financial health. SRAI recently underwent its annual financial audit. We continued our long history of clean audit reports. Congratulations are due to the Treasurer, Executive Director, Chief Operating Officer and the Development and Finance Committee for their outstanding leadership, foresight and management of the Society’s resources. Among the financial matters brought for Board action was approval of the budget for the 2021 Annual Meeting to be held in New Orleans in October. This meeting will be our return to in-person educational conferences. Acceptance of workshop and session proposals will be closing soon. Everyone knows something that the rest of us can draw value. Don’t wait until the last minute to submit your proposal.
The International Section is in the process of preparing its first conference in nearly four years. This meeting is being planned as a virtual event to permit the broadest participation for the international community. The Board enthusiastically support continuing the planning of this meeting. More information will be provided as it becomes available.
The LevelUP Micro-credentialing programs continue to exceed all expectations. New organizational memberships continue to be strong among large and small institutions. In just the past week, the new modules for biomedical and clinical research were launched. Two other introductory programs are slated for release in the coming months. Additionally, modules with intermediate-level content are being developed for the established programs. These will provide a progressive pathway of professional development opportunities and advancement.
The Board continued planning to enhanced engagement with Predominantly Undergraduate Institutions, government agencies and others. These activities will provide better outreach into the research administration communities and more opportunities for SRAI members to engage, mentor and educate.
In a final note, the Leadership Portal has moved to the SRAI Connect platform. This will provide more uniform access to leadership materials and make the work of governing the Society much easier (you are submitting a nomination, aren’t you?).
As the pandemic continues to affect institution budgets and restrict travel, the Board will next meet online in July. Remember that the Board meetings are open to all members (with the exception of brief in camera sessions). The Board welcomes the engagement of the membership at its meetings and hopes you will accept the invitation.
Until we are all able to travel again, SRAI continues to be your premier source of education, training and networking in research administration. SRAI members and staff have developed more online educational programs and professional development training than at any time in our past. Our combined knowledge and collegial collaboration will allow us to meet the challenges put before us. We will survive the pandemic and emerge a much stronger community.
Stay well and be safe,
Bruce Steinert, PhD, CCRA
Authored by Bruce Steinert, PhD, CCRA, Regulatory Manager
Medical College of Wisconsin, Cancer Center