At the 2011 annual conference in Chicago, the Board of Trustees charged the regional directors to conduct an audit of regional practices. Progress has been made in several areas during the past year.
At each regional conference, a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis was conducted relating to the delivery of programs and services at the regional level. These conversations continued with Leadership Team component groups and the Central Office staff. Additionally, two Association-wide online town hall meetings allowed for member input.
Information from the different groups was compiled, and the data were coded to identify common themes. The Association’s biannual needs analysis also contained questions that provided additional information for the task force.
The results of the SWOT analyses identified the strengths of the regional structure as:
- Regional involvement, leadership, and volunteer opportunities
- Network of regional professionals
- Student involvement/student programs
- Regional professional development
Weaknesses of the regional structure were:
- Lack of diverse institutions
- Lack of opportunity for regional involvement
- Lack of brand consistency across 15 regions
The results of the Association-wide needs assessment showed:
- Regional programs/services are not consistent from region to region
- Connection to ACUI is deeply rooted in the regional experience, including awards, programs, and history
- Quality of programs is more important than travel distance
These common themes helped guide focus group discussions at the 2012 annual conference in Boston—five with Leadership Team component groups and three with diverse groups representing the general membership. The following two questions were asked:
- If you had to evaluate/measure the effectiveness of the regional structure in delivering top quality programs and services to members, what criteria would you use to make that evaluation?
- If you were tasked with increasing the efficiency of our regional structure, what would you consider as priorities in the process?
Data from the focus groups are still being analyzed. As the task force moves forward, it continues to strive for transparency and an ongoing dialogue to determine the most effective and efficient way to deliver regional programs and services to the Association’s membership.
For more information about the regional audit, contact task force co-chairs Jeremy Schenk, Missouri State University, and Brenda Evans, University of Massachusetts–Lowell, at firstname.lastname@example.org.