Winter 2014 Advancing Family Science Section update

Bahira Sherif Trask, section chair

I extend a heartfelt thank you to all members of our Section and the extremely helpful officers Robin Yaure, Michael Sturm, Donna Hoskins, and Tammy Harpel! Every time I have sent out an e-mail asking for reviewers, help at conference meetings, evaluations of grants, etc., I have received virtually immediate helpful responses! Each of the officers has worked hard to make things easier for me and to make sure that the business side of our Section functions smoothly, and this is greatly appreciated. The membership has been equally fabulous to work with. Every single time I sent out a request for reviewers, I have received many, many helpful responses, often with a pleasant note about the work of our Section!

I think our greatest accomplishment over this last year has been to raise the profile of our Section—in part by debating the Section's name but, more importantly, by questioning the purpose of the Section and its relationship to the field. In part, this raising of consciousness has also led to a larger discussion in the NCFR community about the role of Family Science in our local environments and disciplines, our nation, and our world. In particular, many of us have struggled with the following issue: We all know, teach, and study the importance of families in all their various permutations, and yet the family field is often marginalized at our universities and in the larger national dialogue.

At last year's Section meeting the group decided that "Advancing Family Science" would be the most appropriate name (we received about 20 different suggestions) and that we needed to have the whole membership vote on the name. Since then, I have received a number of e-mails questioning whether a name change would accomplish the purpose of redefining and clarifying the issue of what this Section is about.

I have thought a great deal about the issue and have come to the following conclusions: No name will (1) satisfy every constituency, and (2) every name comes with its own set of connotations. The name we have agreed on as a membership, "Advancing Family Science," at least encompasses a dynamic notion of disciplinary movement and allows us to have the theoretical debates that are so crucial in order to keep our field current with rapidly changing social phenomena.

As we continue to conduct and promote research about the role of the field; as we continue to sponsor plenaries and special sessions that deal with disciplinary identity; and as we continue to engage in an active, relevant dialogue we thereby advance the field and do that about which we all intrinsically care: support and strengthen families. Thank you all!