ICA newsletter February 2018
As a digital media scholar, I am always interested in how we can use digital media to engage in rigorous dialogue and communication across our organization, taking on the span time/space restrictions and other limitations of virtual communication platforms. We have taken on this challenge recently, as the ICA BOD voted to migrate our annual face-to-face January board meeting to other structures and processes in order to save expenses. Incidentally, we moved some of these savings directly to division and interest group budgets so that members benefit directly. We have put in place a range of communication and participatory mechanisms by which the EC and Board can engage in enhanced exchange, dialogue and team work, throughout the year, rather than situating engagement primarily on two annual face to face meetings. As well, we have migrated our January board meeting to other venues and made our meetings more frequent; this includes the option of an online virtual meeting every other month with the EC for intensive conversation, or where board members can field ideas, share comments and make recommendations. In addition, our face to face meeting has been migrated to extra hours appended onto our board meeting at the annual conference. Finally, our superlative ICA staff is writing our first ever “on boarding” manual explaining the role and objective of various ICA organizational positions, including Division positions, as a material, sustaining information resource. We have also added special meet and greet sessions at the Prague conference so that ICA representatives can make personal, social connections and networks, and share best practices with newcomer reps.
There is much work being done particularly by divisions and ICA leaders in a range of working groups and task forces, which is being supported by some of these new practices. The work of these task forces is worth looking into, as the recommended changes could alter the organizations practices in a number of ways. I mentioned in a post San Diego column, for example, that we had launched a Task Force on Ethical Considerations to review and consider altering our Mission statement, which houses our ethics statement. As well, the Sponsorship Task Force has been working the past two years to scratch out a policy on sponsorship guidelines. A professional development Task Force was created to meet increasingly needs voiced by ICA members, particularly from less represented regions and our emerging scholars; those members seek training in research and publication, mentorship, leadership and more. The Task Force on Divisions and Interest Groups became a standing committee, looking after your interests and sharing best practices for conducting your work. These reports from our hard-working, expert teams, will be issued in April to Division Chairs; you, as members, are welcome to review and provide feedback to your Chair on these reports.
Meeting face to face has a range of benefits that can’t be disputed- they help us to forge trust and social bonds and build community. We will look forward to that face time in Prague. In the meantime, we are hoping that we will enhance deliberation and dialogue between the Board and EC, and across ICA by utilizing a range of tools- teleconferencing, monthly newsletters, extra face to face opportunities at the annual meeting, digital document sharing, and more. Sometimes too we go analogue and just pick up the phone and call members seeking input and advisement. So don’t be surprised if you hear from someone at some point— via old or new tools— in this effort to keep us all engaged in our ICA’s important work.