Summer 2015 Advancing Family Science Section update

Robin Yaure, section chair

One of the most interesting things that I have learned in the short time that I have been the Advancing Family Science (AFS) Section Chair is how much work goes on behind the scenes to prepare the NCFR Annual Conference.

As you know, the conference proposal deadline was at the beginning of March. What you may not know is how much has been happening since then. Proposals were examined by Section Chairs and NCFR staff to make sure they had been submitted to the most appropriate section, were assigned reviewers, and were reviewed by up to three volunteer reviewers. Now the monumental tasks of figuring out which proposals will fit best in different formats (posters, papers, symposia, workshops, paper symposia, special sessions), and then how they can be pieced together with presentations from the different sections, are being completed. It seems to me that the whole process is similar to putting together a gigantic jigsaw puzzle, with the goal being a cohesive and meaningful vision of the state-of-the-art research, practice, and pedagogy on family science.

I feel very fortunate to have a lot of help from the NCFR staff and the AFS board and other NCFR members to figure out what I am supposed to be doing as AFS Section Chair to help put this great puzzle together. I feel lucky to have a preview of the great work that will be presented at the conference, and I am excited to see how all of this comes together.

In addition to the work being done on putting together the conference program, some of the initiatives that the AFS Section had identified to help reach the Section's goals, which were laid out at the November 2014 meeting in Baltimore, are also proceeding smoothly. I am constantly impressed by how willing people are to step up to help out when a call for volunteers is put out. The AFS Section is lucky to have these great volunteers:

  • Eboni Baugh, Assistant Professor from East Carolina University has started the Advancing Family Science Section blog to help highlight topics and individuals important to the field of family science. If you are interested in contributing a blog, feel free to contact Eboni.
  • Tonya Ricklefs, a doctoral student at Kansas State University, has stepped up to run the AFS Twitter account (@NCFRFamSci) and the Facebook group (NCFR Advancing Family Science Section). These are both active ways for the Section to reach out to its members. Be sure to sign up for one or both of these social media outlets.
  • Silvia Bartolic, an instructor from the University of British Columbia, and Lauri Etheridge, a doctoral candidate from the University of North Texas, have both offered to help with a resource exchange at the November conference. More information on the resource exchange will be forthcoming as plans for the conference come together.

What does all of this wonderful progress mean to the AFS Section and to me, in particular? It means that great things are on the horizon for the conference and for the section. The best type of project, in my mind, is one that is collaborative and feeds on the activity and excitement of many people. Both the conference planning and section activities are a result of the collaborative efforts of individuals who feel these are worthwhile endeavors and who want to share in the creativity and excitement that such work elicits. I am very glad to be a part of it, and I look forward to continuing to build opportunities for many to become involved.