Executive Review: Update from the executive director

by Diane Cushman, NCFR executive director

NCFR Fellows

Fellow status is the highest honor bestowed by NCFR. Congratulations to our three new Fellows: Rodney Cate, Professor Emeritus of Family Studies and Human Development and Communication, Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences, The University of Arizona; Bahira Sherif Trask, Professor and Associate Chair/Graduate Coordinator, Department of Human Development and Family Studies, University of Delaware; and Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan, Professor in the Department. of Human Sciences, The Ohio State University College of Education and Human Ecology.

The Fellows induction ceremony will be held during the President's Reception in Vancouver at NCFR's 2015 annual conference, November 11-14 at the Hyatt Regency Vancouver. I thank the Fellows Committee, chaired by Marilyn Coleman, and Jeanne Strand, NCFR staff, for their excellent work.

Journal editor news

NCFR has been fortunate to have among our members talented and highly published researchers with an interest in editing. Last year the Board, through the work of a member search committee, recommended Dr. Jason D. Hans, Associate Professor in the University of Kentucky's Department of Family Sciences, to succeed Dr. Ronald M. Sabatelli, of the University of Connecticut, as the editor of Family Relations: Interdisciplinary Journal of Applied Family Studies (FR), one of NCFR's three family research journals. Over the past few years NCFR has moved to an editor transition process that allows a full year of overlap for the incoming and outgoing editors. Dr. Sabatelli will remain the editor of record through the final issue of 2015 while all new manuscript submissions effective January 2015 will flow through the University of Kentucky FR editorial office for the 2016 volume year. Congratulations, Dr. Hans, and thank you, Dr. Heidi Stolz and the FR search committee.

Dr. R. Kelly Raley's term as editor of the Journal of Marriage and Family ends with the final issue of the 2016 volume year. The search for Dr. Raley's replacement is underway. If you have an interest in this prestigious position, please email Jeanne Strand.

Continuous improvement for NCFR annual conferences

Soon after the conclusion of every NCFR annual conference, the staff meet to discuss all aspects of the conference, from the academic program to the registration process and everything in between. No stone goes unturned in our "after-action review," and as a result we identify numerous opportunities for improvement as well as celebrate the successes of the conference. In addition to staff feedback, we review all conference attendee feedback, including the formal post-conference survey and less formal sources of information, such as the notes left on the Inclusion and Diversity Committee feedback board in The Gathering Place. To this we add the recommendations of the Conference Improvement Committee, a small committee lead by Conference Program Consultant Cindy Winter and made up of the current, future, and many past conference program chairs plus several NCFR staff. All opportunities for improvement are assigned to one or more staff members with the goal of implementing viable suggestions by the next conference.

Through this process significant improvements have been made in the conference submission and review process, speaker arrangement procedures and guidelines, host hotel site specifications, reception programming, and many other elements of the conference. One change on which the staff had been working prior to the 2014 conference was the inclusion of gender-neutral restrooms in the conference meeting area. Because of limitations at the host hotel in Baltimore, we had not planned to implement any changes in 2014. However, at the preconference meeting with the hotel staff we were informed by the hotel staff that they could identify a set of restrooms as gender neutral. We decided to take advantage of the opportunity presented by the hotel and, as those of you who attended the conference know, we had less-than-ideal results. In hindsight it is clear that such a change must be accompanied by advance communication and awareness to conference attendees.

Since the conference in Baltimore, a number of NCFR members, as well as the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Straight Alliance Focus Group, have volunteered to work with staff to develop a plan for the provision of gender-neutral restrooms at the 2015 conference in Vancouver. By planning ahead, we will have the opportunity to communicate with NCFR members and 2015 conference attendees about the change. Sometimes it takes more than one attempt to get it right. NCFR staff, working with members and the hotel staff, will make every effort to provide for safe and comfortable restrooms for all conference attendees from this point forward.

Future of Family Science work continues

As we move along, more projects are added to the Future of Family Science initiative. One of the primary goals of this work is to open up new employment opportunities for family science graduates. To that end, Dawn Cassidy has teamed up with Deborah Bailey, Ph.D., CFLE, LMFT, and Associate Professor in Education and Human Services in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Central Michigan University, to explore employment opportunities, challenges, and the specific issues involving access to jobs in Michigan's public and private agencies. A task group is forming in Michigan to explore and better understand the state's practices and credentials for child protective service and foster care workers. If you are interested in this project, please email Dawn Cassidy.

On a related note, a quite serendipitous thing happened while I was visiting with a friend who is a consultant with the aviation industry. The Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) is identified as "an industry-driven, applied research program that develops near-term, practical solutions to problems faced by airport operators." ACRP is managed by the Transportation Research Board (TRB) of the National Academies and sponsored by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Aviation contractors are selected to conduct the research through a competitive proposal process. One project now accepting bids is for "Establishing a Coordinated Local Family Assistance Program for Airports" for use in the midst of aviation disasters. The opportunity to bring a family science professional to bear on the creation of standards to serve families—well, by the end of the evening my consultant friend was asking for names of folks who could add family systems expertise to her proposal. The connections have been made, and now we wait to see how the proposal evolves and which consulting firm wins the bid. The point of sharing this story is that there are opportunities to share what we know about families in all aspects of our lives and we, the staff and members of NCFR, must lead the way.

An update from headquarters

Nancy Gonzalez has returned to NCFR, as a volunteer, proving that you can take Nancy out of NCFR but you can't take NCFR out of Nancy. She attended the Baltimore conference and will be contacting members to write for future issues of the Family Focus section of NCFR Report. We are delighted that Nancy has found room in her life to continue to support NCFR and family science in a way that is near and dear to her heart. Jennifer Crosswhite will finish out this and the next issue of Family Focus and will then be able to devote more time and energy to our policy initiatives.

One final note: Please plan ahead for NCFR 2015 in Vancouver. You'll need to present your passport to enter Canada and re-enter the United States. Those of you in the United States on a visa may have additional regulations of concern. Start now by checking the status of your passport, expiration date, and visa restrictions. If NCFR can be of any assistance, please email Tahera Mamdani. We want to see you in Vancouver.

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