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The President's Environment

The President's Environment is published 3x/year. Past Issues of the President's Environment can be found in the archives of The Bulletin.

Our New Five Year Strategic Plan (2014-2019)

By President Randy Fuller

January 2014


Our new 5 year strategic plan is beginning to take shape. At this time, the Long Range Planning Committee has shared the first draft of our next strategic plan with the Board of Directors and given them an opportunity to provide input and suggestions. It will then go to Chairs of standing committees and we hope to have a draft available on the website for membership review in early February. As I said in the President’s message last summer, this document is a blueprint of goals and initiatives for our Society that will guide us for the next 5 years. Our first strategic plan in 2009 resulted in many changes for our Society, including a new Society name, a new journal title, the Instars Program, new membership levels (early career), the establishment of regional and international Chapters, and continued support of the taxonomic certification program.

Our next 5 year strategic plan will focus on collaborations both to strengthen current collaborations such as the Consortium of Aquatic Science Societies (CASS) as well as consider forging new collaborations. A part of the first goal is to heighten awareness of SFS as a key source of information for science-based management and policy decisions pertaining to conservation of freshwater resources. This does not mean we advocate for a particular position, but instead we try to provide the best scientific information that leads to workable, sustainable solutions to regional and global water issues. We also propose to renew our efforts to promote the development of aquatic science educational resources and materials for K-12 education, post-secondary education, as well as resources that can be used in public outreach activities. We will continue our efforts to grow and diversify our membership by continuing to promote new Chapter initiatives and by developing programs for both undergraduate and graduate students as well as develop policies and activities that attract younger members and help retain current members. In 2013, our membership declined by almost 10%, and we need to develop programs and activities that help attract and retain members as we go forward. We also will continue to support and promote the taxonomic certification program since this is a hallmark activity for our Society.

Other sections of the strategic plan address business related issues of the society, including defining a process for providing funds annually to be used to support goals and initiatives identified in the next strategic plan. We also retained a description of a possible Executive Director position from the previous plan, but we recognize that given current declines in membership we cannot at this time move forward with this initiative.

As part of the development of the new strategic plan, the Long Range Planning Committee conducted a membership poll this past autumn that asked members to comment on previous goals and initiatives in the last strategic plan and make suggestions for new goals and initiatives. Your comments have helped focus the attention of new or revised goals and initiatives as part of the new strategic plan. Once we get the next draft to the Chairs of standing committees, we will also post that draft in early February on the Members Only area of the SFS website where you can review the draft and send comments, etc. to either me (rfuller@colgate.edu) or Mark Luttenton (Chair of the LRPC – luttentonm@gvsu.edu). We want this to be an open and collaborative process, and we welcome your input throughout the development of our strategic plan. In April, we will place the final version of the 2014 SFS Strategic Plan on the website where all can review it before the Portland meeting. During the Business Meeting in Portland, we will ask the membership to vote to accept the new strategic plan. Again, this is a document that will define the direction of the Society over the next 5 years. Our last strategic plan assisted the Executive Committee and Board of Directors in determining how Society funds would be spent to support different initiatives, and this document will be used in much the same way. So, please take a close look at the next draft of the plan when it is posted in February and again in April before the Joint Aquatic Sciences Meeting in Portland.

I look forward to hearing from you about the draft or the final version of our next strategic plan, and I hope to see many of you at the meeting in Portland . It is going to be a fantastic venue and a great place to meet old friends, as well as provide multiple opportunities to make new friends from the other three societies!

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