This last year has been a hardship on all of us, and ARPAS has also been affected. The online format to our professional meetings last year was great for maintaining involvement but did not supply the fellowship and interaction we thrive on to keep our programs centered.
The lack of in-person meetings has hampered our recruiting efforts, which usually occur at regional and national meetings of ASAS and ADSA among others. We are fortunate that Brittany Morstatter, Steve Schmidt, and our Examining Board had already been working on online testing, and we were able to administer ARPAS exams virtually.
ARPAS membership is down; we have a new initiative to bring in new members to ARPAS through a “Highly Qualified Individual” (HQI) route. This will allow nominations of prospective members who have been active in university, industry, or governmental agencies and who are widely recognized for their accomplishments to become members based on their credentials, without taking an exam. The vote by the membership was to approve these bylaw changes and allow for the HQI Route to membership. We will be developing the application process and be ready for applicants soon. Now it is time to go out and recruit and nominate new members to ARPAS who should have been members years ago!
Long-term sustainability is and has always been through recruiting graduate students and other young members who bring longevity and vitality to our organization. Take the time to recruit students and young professionals to take the online exam. This can be proctored by yourself, or exams can be taken during regularly scheduled, remotely proctored online exams.
The reduction in membership has led to a budget shortfall over the last few years, which is eroding the once strong financial foundation of ARPAS. The Executive Team is taking steps to help correct these issues, but membership services must be maintained to retain and recruit new members.
Also, mostly to be blamed on COVID-19, the majority of our Regional Chapters have been inactive over the last year. The regional directors and past leadership of Regional Chapters are currently working toward rebooting these Regional Chapters. Look for communication from your chapter. You are not required to be active in the chapter in your region. Find the ARPAS chapter that fills needs for your continued education and career, and find ways to become active in that chapter.
Our Regional Directors (Aaron Park, Midwest; Tom Hickley, Northeast; Shelby Filley, Western; and Jenny Jennings, Southern) are refilling the ARPAS Standing Committees, which are Ethics, Membership, Publications, and Professional Relations. We hope to get these filled soon and start the work of defining goals and objectives for Standing Committee activities in those areas. If you would like to be more active in ARPAS, one of these committee roles is an ideal way to get started.
If you want to volunteer for ARPAS committees, reach out to the following:
Ethics—Aaron Park, firstname.lastname@example.org
Membership—Shelby Filley, email@example.com
Publications—Tom Hickley, firstname.lastname@example.org
Professional Relations—Jenny Jennings, email@example.com