Strategic Plan Survey Report – 2011

2011 Strategic Plan Survey Report

Download PDF of 2011 Strategic Plan Survey Report

Where should the AFS NCD focus strategic efforts in the next few years? Thanks to a dedicated 2011-2015 Strategic Plan Revision Committee, the American Fisheries Society North Central Division (NCD) is updating its strategic plan.  To help guide this process, the committee prepared questions for an online survey which was then programmed, posted and tabulated by Dr. Dan Witter, DJ Case & Associates. All current NCD contacts with email addresses on record (2,276) were invited to respond to a web survey posted by NCD between 3 March and 5 April, 2011. Seventy-seven percent (77%) of the 398 respondents indicated membership in the parent society. Thanks to all who participated!
Transition was an overarching theme for responses to the NCD 2011-2015 Strategic Plan survey, reflecting a time of change on many levels for fisheries in the region.
Regionally-relevant issues highlighted by respondents were:
•Rapid shift in administration from older to younger employees – Retirement of baby boomers will quickly propel younger staff into positions that require historical knowledge, technical understanding of field techniques and administrative skills. More experienced staff will need to be open to new ideas and flexible approaches while younger staff will benefit from historical knowledge and robust technical skills
•Challenging impact of global and landscape-level changes – Both the profession and society must be prepared to deal with the complex impacts of international trade and economics such as biosecurity, invasive species, climate change
•Increasing demographic diversity – Greater equity for women is progressing in the profession while still demonstrating a need for improved ethnic diversity and clear recognition of Tribal affiliations and issues. A quarter of the agency staff and nearly one-third of university participants were female. Young professionals (particularly women) tended to be most inclined to parent society membership


Objectives identified by respondents that may address these issues:
Deliver unbiased authoritative scientific information to decision-makers
•Largely leave political advocacy to other organizations
•Support outreach by other entities (governments, nonprofits) that facilitates citizen understanding of and participation in critical fisheries issues
•Most positions should be addressed either close to the problem (locally in chapters) or on the national or international scale
•Enable staff to participate in development of key regional consensus-based positions outside of constraints in their agencies
Provide appropriate and accessible professional development
•Promote professional development and networking among agency administrators as key aspects of a professional biologist’s career
•Attend to continuing education needs of mid-career professionals in addition to students
•Remove impediments to training (cost and travel restrictions) by using online tools and supporting local courses, particularly at the state level where agencies are unable or unwilling to provide these services
•Review both university curricula and continuing education to emphasize field techniques, new technology, global impacts, public outreach, participatory democracy, administration and decision-making skills
•Continue an appropriate focus on inclusivity to support women’s involvment and improve ethnic diversity
•Be more intentional about formally recognizing Tribal affiliations and including Tribal issues
•Archive history at an appropriate location (e.g., DC Booth or in state institutions) to properly document history and mentoring to transfer experience-based knowledge to guide future decisions
•Encourage the Midwest Fish & Wildlife Conference to shift dates to a time when weather and university finals are less likely to interfere with attendance
Bridge communications
•Provide avenues for sharing lessons learned between chapters and student subunits within the Division
•Promote interactive opportunities across various levels of AFS, including participation in sections and other fisheries-related organizations for networking among disciplines
•Act as a conduit for information in both directions between chapters, student subunits and the parent society
•Partner with other regional organizations with common resource-related goals
Revisit the value of AFS services
•Young professionals seem satisfied with the cost of AFS parent society membership, perhaps as a result of significant reductions in membership dues several years ago. In contrast, mid-career state agency staff and retirees indicate that the cost of AFS membership and certification do not match perceived benefits
•Modify unit awards to more broadly reward achievements across the Division, rather than repeatedly recognizing the same subunits
•Connect members to parent society products such as travel awards and electronic services
•Develop a strategic plan that provides vision and some specific direction without being overly prescriptive for units in the Division. Level of specificity may vary with the topic. Include introductory guidance for new members, elected leaders and student subunits with some sample suggestions to jump-start unit ideas and actions
Open-ended comments provided a great deal of detail about many aspects of AFS function within the Division and beyond. For more information, check out what your fellow survey respondents said in the report on the division website by clicking HERE or contact Gwen White at [email protected] or 317-281-9445. We intend to have the 2011-2015 Strategic Plan for your review later this fall. Please keep an eye out for it.