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Student Column: “So What Can We Do for ICA?” The First Virtual Meeting with ICA Student & Early Career Representatives (SECRs)

Posted By Sarah Cho and Myrene Magabo, Co-chairs of the ICA Student and Early Career Scholar Advisory Committe, Wednesday, March 4, 2020
Updated: Monday, March 16, 2020

On 23 February, SECAC invited SECRs from all ICA divisions and interest groups to join our first virtual meeting. We had a wonderful time learning about the roles, expectations, and conference resources. This was not an official ICA meeting, but rather a friendly gathering organized by SECAC to welcome our current and incoming SECRs. Julie Arnold, Senior Manager of Governance from ICA headquarters, also joined and provided a great overview of the overall structure of ICA and expectations for our newly elected SECRs. We had a productive open forum to discuss student and early career members’ participation in ICA. This meeting was recorded with attendees’ consent and shared with the SECRs who were unable to attend. Below are some of the ideas shared during the get-together:


First, we addressed the support system for ICA’s student and early career members. Student members represent approximately 25% of overall ICA membership. Many members have finished their terminal degrees within the last five years and are in the early stages of their careers. To support the needs and interests of these members, each division and interest group has a SECR, formally elected through the official ICA election process. SECRs can organize events for the student and early career members with the chair/vice-chair of the groups they represent. Two elected Board Student and Early Career Representatives (BSECRs) hold seats on ICA’s Board of Directors representing the SEC population at the leadership level. The BSECRs also co-chair SECAC, an ICA standing committee, comprising the co-chairs and up to four members, appointed by the ICA President. SECAC support SECRs serving within and across the ICA divisions and interest groups. During the virtual meeting, the attendees shared their experiences organizing Blue Sky workshops, communicating via social media, and coordinating inter-division/interest group events with other SECRs.


We also asked attending SECRs to share about topics such as work-life balance, the internationalization of ICA, and collaboration among SECRs across divisions/interest groups. Our discussion of work-life balance for SECRs led to a question about the ideal way to communicate with SECRs worldwide while respecting their time for studies and their personal lives. The attendees shared great ideas, such as opening an SECR bulletin board on the ICA website, offering SECAC virtual office hours for SECRs, providing a shared folder to put ideas, and shifting meeting times to accommodate more SECRs worldwide. In terms of respecting diversity and internationalization, we raised another important question: What can ICA do to support non-English speaking early career scholars in getting their work presented at the conference? Suggestions included asking ICA to offer a language-editing service for non-English speaking students and early career members, providing virtual presentation option for members from the global south, and inquiring about the diversity of the reviewer pool. SECAC will share SECRs’ needs and interests regarding diversity and internationalization with the ICA task force for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access. We’re waiting for more student and early career members’ ideas to continue this discussion. Please join our Facebook group (facebook.com/groups/386119558234727) and follow our Twitter account (@ICASECAC).


(NOTE: the meeting being reviewed was held prior to the decision that the 70th Annual ICA conference would be held virtually due to COVID-19, the following information is now outdated, but left for preservation of what was discussed during the SECAC hosted meeting on 23 February) Lastly, we discussed the upcoming annual ICA conference on the Gold Coast. We reviewed the ICA travel-funding opportunities including the available support for student members from each division and interest group and accommodations. Also, we invited SECRs to SECAC events during the upcoming conference, specifically the reception, business meeting, and Blue Sky workshop, which are open to all ICA members. For more information about conference resources, please visit https://www.icahdq.org/page/ICA2020.


Previously SECRs could be elected or appointed at the discretion of the division/interest group chair. Last year, during the annual conference in DC, the ICA Board of Directors voted in favor of all SECRs being determined through the official election system, a meaningful step for supporting our student and early career scholar community. SECAC will continue to actively communicate with our student and early career members using multiple channels. To access the content shared in the meeting, feel free to contact us at sarahcho@umass.edu.



Tags:  March 2020 

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