Strengthening the Profession Through Chapter Involvement
John R. Stevens of Utah State University, 2014 Chair of the Council of Chapters Governing Board
Like many ASA members, I have greatly benefited from associating with statisticians in academia, industry, and government in my local geographic area. The chapter structure of the ASA provides a natural environment to make such connections, which are professionally rewarding and personally refreshing. A recent Amstat News article gives an excellent history of the development and current state of this chapter structure, including the Council of Chapters (COC).
In addition to supporting individual chapter-level activities and association-wide initiatives (such as the traveling course program), the COC is dedicated to making use of JSM to strengthen chapters (and by extension, strengthen the profession). For each JSM, all chapters are encouraged to send a representative to two meetings sponsored by the COC and held on Tuesday. The first is a breakfast meeting, where chapter-related business items are addressed and ideas are shared between chapters. The second is the late-afternoon Officer Appreciation Reception and Workshop, where ASA members are recognized for service to their local chapters and topics relevant to chapters are explored. Usually, chapters send their elected chapter representative, but any chapter officer or their designee can represent their chapter at these meetings.
The JSM 2013 workshop included roundtable discussions titled “Using Chapters to Influence Local Science Policy,” “Keys to an Active Chapter,” “Using Chapters to Foster Local Academic-Industry Connections,” “Using Chapters to Develop ‘Soft Skills’,” and “Chapter Career Days.” These discussions were led by Ann Cannon, John Schoolfield, Rishi Chakraborty, Janet Buckingham, and Harold Dyck, respectively. All in attendance left with ideas to share with their chapters and a renewed energy to strengthen the profession through their chapter involvement. The JSM 2014 workshop promises to be equally enriching, and all chapter representatives (or their designees) are encouraged to attend.
Like all other branches of the ASA, the COC relies on volunteers to serve and welcomes participation. In addition to serving in your local chapter, consider service at a national level by running for election to the Council of Chapters Governing Board (COCGB). If you are interested in being considered for a position on the COCGB, contact COCGB Nominations Committee Chair Linda Young at firstname.lastname@example.org.