Executive Review: Taking Stock and Planning for the Future

Diane Cushman, NCFR Executive Director
NCFR Report

As the end of the year approaches, we look back at our accomplishments, take stock, and begin to plan for the coming year. Below are brief updates on some of the larger projects finished this year and still under way at NCFR headquarters, as well as other notable news from 2016.

NCFR Website

The entire NCFR staff, led by Director of Membership and Marketing Allison Wickler, has been working on a rebuild of the NCFR website. Set to roll out in early 2017, the site will have a new look and a structure that reflects the usage data we have collected over several years on our current website. We have been able to determine which webpages are most and least accessed, and as a result we are able to design the website to better meet member needs.

NCFR Journals

New journal covers that reflect NCFR's new graphic design will debut with the first issues of 2017, and in the case of Family Relations, a new title. To continue to carve out a deeper identity for the discipline of Family Science, the "Studies" in the title will be replaced by "Science," making the new title Family Relations: Interdisciplinary Journal of Applied Family Science. (A more dramatic title change was dropped after we learned that one consequence of a complete title change would be the loss of citations in transferring from the old title to the new title.) This small but important title change will have no effect on future impact-factor calculations.


The staff has provided considerable support to the NCFR Board of Directors in its policy work, including the administration of a member survey on policy. Policy preconference workshops were held in conjunction with the 2015 and 2016 conferences, and progress continues on policy and research briefs under the editorial leadership of Dr. Joyce Arditti.

Networking Tools

NCFR member interest in connecting with colleagues in meaningful ways around common research, practice, and professional development goals has spurred technology developments to support online learning and online meetings and networking, as well as a robust online discussion group platform that NCFR is scheduled to roll out in early 2017. The online discussion groups will replace the email lists for sections, focus groups, and other groups. Stay tuned for more information about this transition.

Two examples of distance networking are our academic leadership conference calls organized by our Academic Administration and Leadership Focus Group, and the online Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE) Continuing Conversations, begun in response to CFLE interest in starting and managing a family life education business.


Under the leadership of NCFR member Dr. Susan Walker, University of Minnesota, work is under way to determine how NCFR can provide professional development opportunities on using technology in family life education. And after several years of experimenting with online systems and apps to house annual conference program information, NCFR made the switch to a new app and a primarily electronic conference schedule format in 2016.

Zippy News

In an effort to increase the rate at which Zippy News—NCFR's weekly email newsletter—reaches its subscribers, we migrated to a new email marketing platform in the third quarter of 2016. Feedback on the value of Zippy was the impetus for adding new and easy ways to opt in to Zippy News delivery, roughly doubling the rate of new subscribers. Currently, more than 11,500 people interested in the family field subscribe to Zippy News.

NCFR Headquarters Location

Finally, work is under way to find a new home for NCFR headquarters. The current lease expires at the end of June 2017, and plans for the building do not support a lease renewal. As this issue of Report goes to press, we continue to explore options.

NCFR Leadership Transitions

In November, we welcomed two new members to the NCFR Board of Directors: Stephan M. Wilson, Ph.D., an NCFR Fellow who is dean of the College of Human Sciences and Regents Professor of Human Development and Family Science at Oklahoma State University; and Karen Benjamin Guzzo, Ph.D., an associate professor of sociology and associate director of the Center for Family and Demographic Research at Bowling Green State University. Transitioning off the board in November were Frank Fincham, Ph.D., Rachel Engler Jordan, Ph.D., and Hilary Rose, Ph.D. Those of us who worked closely with Drs. Fincham, Engler Jordan, and Rose will miss their wit, honesty, integrity, international perspectives, and sense of fun they brought to the board.

At the conclusion of 2016, the Journal of Marriage and Family (JMF) editorial office will move to Ohio State University under the skillful leadership of editor Kristi Williams, Ph.D. We thank Dr. Kelly Raley, University of Texas at Austin, for an outstanding five years of leadership in the role of JMF editor. Dr. Raley brought innovation to NCFR journals through the Early View initiative and worked with NCFR members to expand the qualitative research published in JMF.

Every volunteer leader is a gift to NCFR. We want to recognize the outgoing and incoming section and focus group chairs (ncfr.org/member-groups) and those serving on the board committees: Elections Council, Fellows Committee, Audit Committee, and Inclusion and Diversity Committee.

New Staff in 2016

As I reported in the fall 2016 issue of this magazine, Rebecca Luxenberg joined the NCFR staff in July as our new director of finance. In September, Brian Boese was hired as our new manager of communications, the position previously held by Allison Wickler. Welcome to both new staff members!

In Memoriam

We lost some Family Science icons in the past year and some very dear NCFR members: Joan Jurich, Murray Straus, Alan Booth, and John Sorenson. If you know of others, please contact the NCFR office. We have a place on the NCFR website to honor members who have passed away (ncfr.org/news/memoriam).

Happy New Year!

As we come to the close of another good year for NCFR, we wish you all a joyous, healthy, and fulfilling 2017. See you in Orlando next November!

Copyright © 2016 National Council on Family Relations (NCFR). Contact NCFR for permission to reprint, reproduce, disseminate, or distribute by any means.