Executive Review: Demonstrating leadership

by Diane Cushman, NCFR executive director
NCFR Report

Each year during the NCFR conference we welcome newly elected officers to the Board of Directors and bid farewell to those whose terms have come to an end.

This year we say goodbye to Board President Dr. Paul Amato and Affiliate Councils President-elect Dr. Rebecca Ward. Among other achievements, Dr. Amato has skillfully led the Board through revisions of NCFR's governance policies. We wish him the very best in his retirement. Dr. Ward moves on to become the President of the Affiliate Councils Board.

We welcome four new board members:

  • President-elect Dr. Anisa Zvonkovic
  • Affiliate Council President-elect Dr. Nathan Cottle
  • Board Member-at-large Dr. Jennifer Kerpelman
  • Students and New Professionals Board Representative-elect Kimberly Crossman

These new board members join current members Dr. William Allen, Dr. Sandra Stith, Dr. Karen Seccombe, Dr. Hilary Rose, Dr. Frank Fincham, and Dr. Rachel Engler Jordan to form the 2016 NCFR Board of Directors.

In addition to the members who volunteer to serve on the Board of Directors, we have many more members who put their leadership skills to work as Section Chairs, Focus Group Chairs, Board Committee Members, and Conference Program Chairs. We thank all those whose terms have come to an end and welcome those who recently stepped into new leadership positions. In case you missed the various announcements, here are the upcoming board-appointed annual conference program chairs:

  • 2016—Minneapolis, Dr. Lee Ann De Reus
  • 2017—Orlando, Dr. Maureen Perry-Jenkins
  • 2018—San Diego, Dr. Bahira Sherif Trask

NCFR offers many opportunities for members to experience leadership and we have been thinking of additional ways for members to develop leadership skills. For example, NCFR's Academic and Administration Leadership Focus Group is exploring a leadership training program in which participants would learn skills to lead from positions of university leadership such as dean, provost, chancellor, or president. If academic and administration leadership is of interest to you please visit the webpage of this Focus Group. Focus Group membership is free to NCFR members. When you join a Focus Group your email address is added to the online community platform and you will be able to communicate directly with others who have this interest in common.

Family science

Half of NCFR members have at least one degree in family science. As an interdisciplinary academic society, NCFR has members who represent many disciplines—more than 25—and even more professional positions with a wide range of job descriptions and responsibilities. Despite the significant diversity across the discipline, those whose educational backgrounds intersect with family science have a desire for this social science discipline to be visible, both within and outside of the academy. This is the goal of NCFR's Future of Family Science Initiative and the new micro-website, wearefamilyscience.org.

While the wearefamilyscience.org website is a work in progress and can be easily edited, we had to start somewhere to nail down a simple definition of family science and descriptions of the unique contributions family science makes to academia, families, and society. To date, the members of the Future of Family Science Task Force, NCFR staff members, and external consultants have worked together to create the family science website content. Now we are asking for your input and feedback.

Please visit the site at wearefamilyscience.org. Navigate through all the pages. Tell us what we got right; what could be improved; and whether you think this site communicates effectively to prospective employers of family science graduates, your colleagues across campus, high school teachers, students and their parents, members of the families you serve, and policymakers. You can email your feedback directly to me.

Be the change…

You've probably heard this adage many times: "Be the change you want to see in the world." Setting aside the controversy about who first said it and whether Mahatma Gandhi's lengthy comment about change and impact was shortened to better accommodate a bumper sticker, when you focus on the sentiment behind the statement, how does it speak to you?

I started this column by recognizing NCFR board members and other elected officers. But there are literally hundreds of members who step up to be the change they want to see in NCFR. By volunteering to lead projects or serve on task forces or other working groups they create a better organization to support those who choose to improve the lives of all families. Thank you all for investing in your NCFR and let me know if there is any way I can assist you to be the change you want to see in NCFR.

Copyright © 2015 National Council on Family Relations (NCFR). Contact NCFR for permission to reprint, reproduce, disseminate, or distribute by any means.