As 2017 comes to a close, I am in complete awe of what the SRAI Membership Committee has accomplished this year. Our leader through most of the year, Annedorte Vad, led some amazing initiatives this year!
- Ambassador Program: This subcommittee was charged with reaching out on a broader level than meetings to be ambassadors to our members across the globe. They have made changes to the directory where those who want to self-identify as an ambassador can do so. They are working hard to shape this program into making this a year-long effort where we reach out to our members and share what SRAI has to offer each and every one of them. Thank you to Lynda Olin, Domenica Pappas, and Gloria Greene for their efforts and hard work!
- Membership Package: With a lot of help from Linda Wilson at SRAI Headquarters, we were able to continue welcoming our new members with a packet when they join and a small “welcome gift.” Many other organizations do this for their members and we have received a lot of positive feedback. Thanks to Ed Black for his continued support on this one!
- RAMP: The Research Administrators Mobility Program is a way that SRAI will financially support two members in their efforts to learn more about other programs. It offers two scholarships of up to $2,500 per person each year and provides the opportunity for you to go to another institution and learn how something is done in your profession. Learn more about this at RAMP. Application deadlines are March 30, 2018. Deepest thanks go to Jennifer Freeman, Susan Blum, Lynda Olin and Gina Hedberg for pulling all of this together!
- Travel Awards: Travel awards are now available for those that want to travel to one of our Partner Societies. The Speaker Travel Scholarship provides up to $2500 for expenses for someone who has been accepted to speak at a Partner Society and meets certain criteria. Please see Speaker Travel Scholarship for all of the details. Applications are due February 16, 2018. Kudos to Angela Willis and Susan Blum for their hard work making this available to all of you!
- Mentoring Program: We are just about ready to implement our pilot year of the SRAI Mentoring Program. This will allow for up to ten people looking for an opportunity to be mentored by our seasoned experts in the field for one year. We will be looking for those individuals in the next few months to pair up and let us know how it works. Please be watching for that to roll out. My deepest thanks to Lynda Olin, Gloria Greene, Heather Kraus, and Domenica Pappas for bouncing all of these ideas back and forth and getting it going with me.
- Membership Categories: Membership categories were simplified this year! Now we have three with specific definitions. This is much easier to manage from the Headquarters perspective and less confusing for all of us as members. Thanks to all of the people that have been working on this for several years!
Our committee grew by another member, too! We welcomed Cira Mathis as the Western Section Chair. Cira is no stranger to SRAI. She joined in 2010 and has been the President Elect for the Southern Section (2012-2013), volunteering for various things along the way. She left the USA in 2013 to work in Saudi Arabia for four years. She says that this was the most challenging year of her life (so far). She started a new job in a new country and had her son that year. New job, new parent, new country – Cira did it and amazing well. She has made it back to the USA and is the Associate Director of Sponsored Programs at the University of Northern Colorado. We are thrilled to have her spirit of volunteerism and cheerfulness back among our group!
I am excited and honored to serve as the new Membership Chair. Looking back at the years as a committee member and the leaders that were there before me, I know I have some great shoes to fill. Katie Watkins and Annedorte Vad are tough acts to follow. I have a great team of colleagues working with me and for all of you so I know that we will continue to do great things.
On behalf of the entire Membership Committee, I wish you all the best for the holiday season and a safe and wonderful 2018.