6 January 2021

AAS Strategic Assembly to Seek Input on Draft Strategic Goals

Kevin Marvel

Kevin Marvel American Astronomical Society (AAS)

A draft version of the Society’s Vision, Mission, Values, and Goals is ready for review and comment from our membership. Please email us with any questions or comments. 

A few years ago the Society established a Governance Task Force that worked for more than a year to consider changes in how the Society’s governance operated. Their report recommended new AAS Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation and created a new governance structure including the Board of Trustees and Strategic Assembly.

The role of the Strategic Assembly is to recommend to the Board the Vision, Mission, Values, and Goals for the Society. Composed of the full Board of Trustees, the Chairs of the Divisions, and the Chairs of non-prize Committees, this group convened during our June 2019 meeting in St. Louis, Missouri, to begin the process of strategic planning. Good progress was made six months later at the Honolulu meeting, and then the pandemic arrived and significantly delayed further progress. Thankfully, with the help of a consultant and the leadership of Past President Megan Donahue and current President Paula Szkody, the Assembly has been making steady progress since April 2020. A draft version of the Society’s Vision, Mission, Values, and Goals will be ready for review and comment from our membership at the upcoming AAS winter conference.

The draft document, which will ultimately become the strategic plan recommended to the Board for approval, will be posted online, and an email address has been established to collect input from the community. In addition, President Szkody will chair the AAS Strategic Assembly Town Hall (1:40-2:40 pm ET on Wednesday, 13 January) at the upcoming conference to discuss the planning process so far, the next steps, and the details of the draft plan as it stands now while reserving plenty of time for input. To facilitate both real-time and asynchronous input, a Slack channel associated with the Town Hall has been established, which will also include a direct link to the draft plan on the Society’s web page.

It is often said that the point of strategic planning is not the plan itself but the act of responsibly undertaking the process of planning. The engaged members of the Strategic Assembly have invested significant effort to think broadly, assess current priorities, and document our shared values as an organization. That work is demanding but ultimately rewarding, as it leads to a stronger organization and a clearer set of shared goals that will help guide the Board in the coming years. These are challenging times with an uncertain future, but the Strategic Assembly looks forward to hearing your thoughts and concerns as they continue to work on the strategic plan and goals for the Society in the coming months.

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