Another decade for ARPAS has been completed and it is time to measure our accomplishments and admit to our shortcomings over that period of our 35-year history. I have been the Executive Vice-President for this entire decade so I will accept my share of accolades for the successes, as well as the penalties for the failures. In my University teaching days, letter grades were used to measure an individual’s performance, so I think it is only fair to ask each of you to “grade” ARPAS, and also me, as to how well we met your needs and expectations.
We were founded as a registry with the objective of:
- Assessing the professional qualifications of animal scientist by examination for admittance to the registry.
- Identifying and supporting sources of continuing education for our members to enhance their professional growth.
- Providing a code of ethics for our members and enforcing adherence.
Although our membership numbers have not changed much over this time, I believe ARPAS is succeeding in providing very good support for certification, continuing education, and adherence to our code of professional ethics. We provide applicants with readily accessible information about our testing program and feature example questions and suggested study materials for most discipline areas. The ARPAS exam can be taken at annual professional meetings or one-on-one with any ARPAS member. Steve Schmidt, Chairperson of the Examination Committee, with help from ARPAS members, makes sure our exam database is current and appropriate for testing the professional skills required of new members. Our exam database software allows us to select questions needed to balance exam content and to weed-out ambiguous questions. We do not encourage undergraduates to take the exam until they are about to graduate. Graduate students are readily encouraged to join and exam fees for graduate students continue to be paid by the ARPAS Foundation.
Over 100 professional meetings are approved annually for continuing education units (CEUs). We also approve webinars, workshops, and by invitation-only meetings offered by some of our supporting sponsors. We are always willing to review meetings and allocate CEUs to meetings you attend.
The ethics committee, chaired by the Midwest Director, Dwight Roseler, reviews our code of ethics annually, to see if it remains relevant to our mission and members. I am pleased to say that they seldom ever have an ethics complaint on which to act.
We have greatly enhanced our financial strength by adding to our investment fund to weather a lean year. Additionally, the ARPAS Foundation was established at the beginning of this decade for the purpose of building an endowment fund. Only the fund’s earnings are used to provide educational support for membership growth and to encourage our chapters to promote new programs for member education. The ARPAS Foundation has been paying the exam fees for graduate students, and in the past three years, we have had 75-100/year graduate students take an ARPAS exam.
Although our financial report, submitted by Treasurer Dana Tomlinson, will verify that ARPAS is in sound financial condition, an increase in dues is almost certain for 2021 in order to balance the annual budget. With accounting support from FASS and investment advice from a professional advisor at Morgan Stanley, Dana keeps us in balance and our funds prudently invested. Thankfully, we have had adequate reserves to initiate new programs and fund unexpected needs.
A very significant change in publication of our Journal occurred in 2015, as we moved from self-publishing to Elsevier, with the expectations that the journal would have more extended readership and become a revenue generator for us. Our long-term editor Wayne Kellogg retired in 2018 and Dave Beede was enticed to take over the reins. In 2019, the name of the Journal was changed to Applied Animal Science to help put it on a path to greater recognition and growth.
Editor Beede, President Kertz, the Executive Committee, and Susan Pollack (FASS) spent considerable time evaluating the performance of Elsevier as our publisher. We elected to initiate a new 5-year contract with Elsevier beginning in 2021.
I am now more aware of the needs, wants, and desires of the members of ARPAS and our Executive Committee than I was in 2010. Leadership is key to the success of any organization, and ARPAS has been fortunate to have a continuing supply of very capable leaders that quickly take command. That is not to say that each new group of leaders is immediately up-to-speed on every aspect of our more-routine operations, so I serve as the interface between our service functions and the President, Executive Committee, Chapters, and ARPAS Foundation.
My activities include membership issues, preparing agendas and participating in conference calls with our leadership and chapters, reviewing/updating our website, writing newsletter articles, reviewing collateral materials, preparing for meetings, evaluating conference and meeting agendas for CEUs, updating bylaws, coordinating and giving ARPAS exams, monitoring the ARPAS budget, and reviewing ARPAS expenditures.
A capable and efficient staff at FASS, headed by Jeremy Holzner, provides daily member support for ARPAS. Brittany Morstatter, our very excellent administrator, utilizes her creative skills and follows standard operating procedures to ensure our examination, membership, and daily processes are accomplished correctly and in a timely manner.
The growth of chapter membership and activities was outstanding in 2019. With the revitalization of the Pacific NW Chapter, we now have seven that are active. Each is worthy of recognition and I encourage you to review their individual reports. Leadership in a chapter provides the best training ground for future leaders of the ARPAS Executive Committee and Governing Council.
ACAS board certified membership is slowly declining, with more members retiring and eligible ARPAS members seemingly reluctant to engage in the rigorous testing process for certification. We do have ARPAS members that could apply through the “highly qualified” route. Please consider this avenue if you are eligible and give ACAS President Seymour a call.
The Distinguished Professional Animal Scientist award is bestowed annually on members of ARPAS who have achieved or are eligible for emeritus status and have made significant contributions to the animal sciences during while serving in leadership positions within ARPAS. Our recipients in 2019 were Dr. Carl Hunt, previous Treasurer of ARPAS and Dr. Robin Keyser, a past officer of the Washington D.C. chapter.
Where do we go from here? We need your help to grow membership and expand outside of the United States. You can help by becoming a champion for ARPAS within your organization, company, or university. Past-President Cole established a committee to help us communicate the value of becoming a professional member of ARPAS. Students, especially graduate students near to entering a professional career in Animal Science, are our best source of new members. Each university with an animal science program needs to have an ARPAS member as our liaison to present a seminar on the importance of ARPAS membership as a professional animal scientist. We have a power point presentation and other tools available to assist in this process.
The ARPAS Symposium at a national meeting (alternating yearly between ADSA and ASAS) has proven to be a challenge to each new President-Elect. President Cole (beef specialization) organized the program for our 2018 meeting with ADSA and Pres. Elect Kertz (dairy specialization) organized the program for our 2019 meeting with ASAS. President-Elect Kleinschmidt is now working on the 2020 symposium and trying to please everyone. This is indicative of the versatility and managerial ability of our leaders.
Bill Price, our historian of long-standing, continually updates the record of ARPAS history. Please visit the History section of our website for a trip through the ARPAS past.
Meetings I attended on behalf of ARPAS included the ASAS meeting in Austin; ADSA meeting in Cincinnati; Mid-Atlantic Nutrition Conference in Maryland, and the Penn. State Dairy Nutrition Workshop in Hershey, PA. I want to thank President Kertz for attending the California Chapter Symposium at Harris Ranch and the PAACO meeting in Kansas City, along with John Richeson and Paul Beck, our representatives to PAACO. ARPAS exams were given at the national meetings and by chapter members at several regional meetings.
Thanks to all ARPAS and ACAS members who gave of their time to work on behalf of this organization in 2019. Thank you for the privilege of allowing me to continue my work for ARPAS and for the continued support of our members.