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ERIC Number: ED545535
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Aug-20
Pages: 68
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
Strategic Planning Evaluation of Creating a New Professional Association
Arendale, David; Barrow, Hilda; Carpenter, Kathy; Hodges, Russ; McGrath, Jane; Newell, Pat; Norton, Jan
Online Submission
Creating a new professional association to more effectively serve both current and potential new members has been the focus of the College Reading and Learning Association/National Association for Developmental (CRLA/NADE) Working Group. The group considered not only the issue of effectiveness, but also the merits of expanding the mission and vision of a new professional association. Building upon the past success of CRLA and NADE, the Working Group identified many areas that such a new association could better serve its members and also have a greater influence in society. The major findings from this strategic review include the following: (1) Significant and systemic change is required. The external threats to the existing organizations for not engaging in dramatic change and renewal far outweigh the advantages of no change. The organizations have worked incredibly hard with a strong volunteer leadership structure to implement their strategic plans. Progress has been positive but slow and incremental due to limited resources and the volunteer leadership base available through the organizations. The organizations have been working at maximum capacity for a long time. The unmet needs of their association members require a dramatically different structure. An analogy illustrates the current state of the professional associations. A well-known parable cautions against placing "new wine in old wineskins." When it was common practice to place wine in a leather pouch that was stitched together, fresh leather was always used since it would stretch when the new wine expanded during its fermentation process. Use of a previous old wineskin container that had already been stretched out would rupture if new wine was placed within it. This analogy describes why a new association "container" is necessary to achieve an expanded set of services for members and increased influence within society. (2) A strategic review of creating a new professional association identifies a long list of potential strengths for such a new structure. This review also identifies potential external threats and weaknesses. The Working Group identified potential solutions for dealing with each. One of the biggest challenges is the process of creating the new association. A basic law of physics is "where there is movement, there is always friction." The final section in this report identifies a suggested calendar of events to engage more people in the conversation to encourage buy-in and support for change. (3) The Working Group identifies that in addition to the current profile of association members, there are other groups within postsecondary education that could find affiliation with a new organization desirable. A new association with an expanded mission, vision, and more inclusive language could encourage active membership by these groups. More than 60,000 professionals work in the field served by CRLA and NADE. However, less than 10% are members of these associations. A new association would be more attractive to these nonmembers if they could access more services through venues outside of conferences. (4) The reason for change is not rearranging organizational patterns. It is all about increasing the quality, quantity, and venues for professional development of individual members. CRLA and NADE host excellent chapter and national conferences. However, a careful review of other postsecondary professional associations finds that they offer many more services for their members through rich web sites, multiple publications, on-line conferences, webinars, and conduct research that identifies best practices for their members. (5) A new professional association serves as a catalyst for new language, expanded mission, and reinvented vision for serving a wider community. While the reason for change is about professional development and service of its members, the organizational language and structure have an impact upon the association's capacity to serve its members. Some examples of these potential changes for conversation among a larger group inside of CRLA and NADE include: (6) A wider conversation needs to occur concerning the ideas and possibilities presented in this report. The final section of this report identifies a possible scenario for this wider discussion. The inclusion of more voices and ideas will generate an even better vision for a new future. The following are appended: (1) Profile of CRLA/NADE working group members; (2) Strategic analysis of a new professional association; (3) Lessons from other organizations; (4) Comparison of the ACDEA affiliated organizations; and (5) Additional questions to investigate.
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
IES Grant or Contract Numbers: Contract from CRLA and NADE