President’s report to Rheotric Society of America members
As we approach RSA 2018 next month I want to share some important recent actions of the RSA Board of Directors and Officers that members should know about.
But first, a reminder:
It is election time for RSA! The four-year terms of five of our ten members of the Board of Directors will expire June 30, and voting is now ongoing to replace them. If you have not voted, please do! You can vote until April 7 on the Members section at rhetoricsociety.org.
Now, the report. We send frequent news bulletins via email to RSA members so I won’t re-announce everything here. But please notice below two important matters that have not yet been announced and three others that merit repeating.
- RSA Strategic Plan. Since 2012, RSA leaders have been guided in decision and action by priorities and goals that are stated in a five-year strategic plan. During 2017 we reviewed and revised the 2012-2017 plan to guide the Society for the next five years. I charged a committee led by Immediate Past President Kendall Phillips to develop a draft of that new strategic plan, and it was accepted by the Board of Directors at the October 2017 meeting.
The essentials of the 2018-2023 RSA Strategic Plan are:
For RSA leaders, three priorities: (1) managing the Society’s affairs, (2) providing ongoing services to members, and (3) advancing new initiatives.
For leaders and members alike, four goals to focus RSA activities through the next five years: (1) increase inclusivity, (2) develop more broadly available opportunities for leadership, (2) attend energetically to mentorship, and (4) enrich RSA’s public presence.
- New Endowment Fund. Through the last decade RSA has deposited budget surpluses in an investment account. That account is now approaching a principal amount that will support an annual payout. At the October 2017 meeting, the RSA Board voted to establish that account as a general endowment producing interest that will be used support new opportunities for members. We expect to start making those annual interest earnings available in 2019. Stay tuned.
- Membership Categories & Fees. As you know, we recently revised membership categories and fees in a way that moved the Society toward a two-year membership structure. We did this to ensure RSA’s financial stability and, by creating new membership categories, to make participation in the Society more readily accessible to people in a wide variety of professional situations.
- Administrative Officers, Renewed and New. In 2017, the Board renewed the contract of Jerry Hauser for a second four-year term as Executive Director. They also appointed Casey Boyle as Electronic Communications Officer, Jennifer Malkowski as the new Public Outreach Officer, and Dave Tell as the new Public Humanities Officer.
- New RSA Summer Project. Through 2017, RSA leaders collaborated with members from the University of Nevada, Reno to develop a second RSA summer event for 2019. This event will be offered in addition to the 2019 RSA Institute at the University of Maryland. The RSA Summer Project will be smaller and more focused than an RSA Institute, aimed at bringing members of diverse expertise into a close collaboration that will apply several methods of rhetorical studies to a complex, practical problem. More information coming soon.
Finally, the 2018 Conference in Minneapolis next month, under the leadership of our incoming president Kirt Wilson and his stellar team, promises to be our best conference yet. I remind you that this conference will mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Rhetoric Society of America with special anniversary panel and events. Kirt will be in touch with details very soon.
I hope I see you there!
Gregory Clark, President
Rhetoric Society of America