It is hard to believe that in just 10 short weeks, we will be at another Joint Annual Meeting (JAM)! Time has just flown by. At the close of the 2010 JAM, I transitioned from President-Elect of the American Society of Animal Science (ASAS) to President of ASAS, and was fortunate to inherit a society with a dynamic strategic direction, a growing and engaged membership and a strong financial position. I am happy to report that when I turn the presidential reins over to the very able hands of Margaret Benson this July, she will inherit an even stronger professional society.
Three of the most enjoyable tasks associated with serving as ASAS president include: 1) designing and supervising implementation of the president’s annual plan, 2) traveling to international meetings to update our international associates on ASAS activities and 3) traveling to each of the ASAS sectionals to provide a bridge between the National and Sectional Societies.
The ASAS annual presidential plan is a way for the ASAS President to leave a unique imprint on the society as a whole within the membership-directed strategic directive. Important elements of this year’s plan included:
- Increase ASAS engagement and visibility in Washington, D.C. in the public policy arena.
- Expand our portfolio of scientific programming.
- Formalize our partnership and policies and procedures associated with JAM.
- Increase student engagement.
- Allocate resources to increase content generated for newsletters, web-sites, public documents and additional meetings and symposia.
- Begin an extensive review of our Awards Programs.
- Work to ensure the successful launch of the ASAS Extension and Teaching Peer Reviewed Platform.
- Deepen our contact / network with allied industry.
- Put full plans in place for successful Latin America meeting in Argentina in 2011.
I am pleased and astonished to report that with the help of outstanding and dedicated members and staff, we have made progress on all of these initiatives. Highlights include:
- ASAS sponsored agency visits, by members of ASAS.
- ASAS leadership with the Federation of Animal Science Societies (FASS) has begun producing FAIR 2012.
- ASAS created new mechanisms to recommend and support ASAS member travel and presentation of science as necessary to policy makers.
- ASAS successfully launched the monthly web-chats program.
- ASAS increased yearly webinar programming.
- ASAS has worked to ensure the launch of the new animal agriculture “journal” magazine: Animal Frontiers.
- ASAS is funding multiple new workshops at JAM (i.e., Poster and Oral Presentation Workshop and the Grant Writers Workshop).
- ASAS, in conjunction with ADSA, has hired a consultant and empowered a joint committee to review JAM and create a 10-year strategic vision for the meeting.
- Created a new Board Committee to work with ASAS Grad Directors, graduate students and undergraduates to ensure quality programming for our students that has instantly become very active.
- ASAS increased distribution rates of our newsletter: Taking Stock, and beginning in August of 2011, Taking Stock will be available twice a week.
- ASAS began releasing interpretative summaries of JAS articles to increase and enhance understanding and dissemination of information.
- We will formally launch the ASAS Teaching and Extension Platform in July after significant planning by the Communications Committee.
- ASAS has a committee currently reviewing the structure of ASAS Awards Program. The committee will provide a detailed report to the ASAS board in July of 2011.
- ASAS will partner with AAPA in the Fall of 2011 to launch the first ASAS-AAPA meeting in Argentina.
Only a few weeks after JAM, I had the honor of attending the European Federation of Animal Science (EAAP) Annual Conference in Crete. At this meeting as at the ASAS Southern Sections and the American Dairy Science Association (ADSA)-ASAS Midwest Section Meeting, I had the privilege of updating our international colleagues and sectional members on the ASAS “vital statistics” and new programs! I believe that this is indeed one of the highlights of serving as the ASAS president. It provides the opportunity to return to their routes or to visit new sections and experience the “distinct” flavor of each section, to meet with the sectional board and listen to their specific society concerns and needs, and to further build international relationships for the society. Of course, these trips may have been more enjoyable because of the banner year that ASAS had in 2010. In addition to the new programs listed in the annual plan highlights, I was able to report the following vital statistics:
- Since ASAS launched our new strategic plan in 2008, our membership has increased 13.7%.
- In 2010, ASAS finished the year with a budget surplus of approximately $430,000 and an increase in net worth of over $600,000.
- JAS published a record number of pages in 2010 and has an impact factor of 2.467.
- ASAS through partnership with FASS has reinvigorated our Washington DC presence.
- The ASAS Foundation is growing and will add 5 new Appreciate Clubs in 2011.
- The ASAS Sections have had record large meetings in the last three years.
The only sad part of my time as president was saying goodbye to our beloved Associate Executive Director, Paula Schultz. Paula retired in September of 2010 to spend more time with her family. Please join us in honoring Paula at the 2011 ASAS Awards in New Orleans where Paula will join us for one last ASAS Awards Ceremony (to make sure we get it right!). We were blessed to be able to welcome Jacelyn Friedrich to our team as the Associate Executive Director for ASAS in January. She has already made a major impact, particularly in further developing our marketing and membership services efforts. And, of course, Meghan Wulster-Radcliffe continues to provide extraordinary leadership as our Executive Director.
This is a critically important time in the history of the American Society of Animal Science. The major challenges ahead to feed a growing world population with fewer resources while creating sustainable energy systems has captured the global stage in the past couple of years, and our field by default must be a major player in this arena as people demand more and higher quality protein. We are well positioned to be the “common sense” source of science in meeting these challenges and need the efforts of every one of you. What a phenomenal time to be in the agricultural and life sciences and in ASAS – see you in New Orleans in a few weeks!
Ronnie D. Green