Task force prepares membership survey

By Troy Reeves, University of Wisconsin-Madison

This March in Phoenix at the OHA mid-winter meeting, I volunteered to lead a year-long working group we called the Membership Task Force. While I did this certainly to get a chance to be in Phoenix (instead of Madison) for a couple of days in early March, I primarily offered my help for two reasons.

First, I wanted to help the organization collect data that will assist and inform its new executive director and host institution, to be named later this year.

Second, in my many hallway conversations at recent OHA annual meetings, attendees have furnished their opinions about what could make our organization better, so I felt I held enough anecdotal information that a task force’s work would bear fruit. (Why me? I don’t know. Friendly face? Seem to be in the hallway more than I should?)

I also knew I could make time for this effort, because I would not do it alone. I asked several colleagues to join me in this effort: Carlos Lopez, Christian Lopez, Sarah Milligan, Sarah-Jane Poindexter, Stephen Sloan and Janneken Smucker. Graciously, they all agreed, because they, too, feel strongly about OHA and its future. And Allison Tracy has joined us as Council liaison.

Our primary charge and the bulk of our early work has revolved around creating a survey to send to members and former members. We have used Google’s Hangout feature to meet virtually once a month since March, crafting by early June a list of draft questions. We will work more this summer to refine the survey, in hopes of having a draft ready before the annual meeting. Those who come to Minneapolis in October should expect to be asked by me or one or my task force colleagues, “Have you filled out the survey yet?”

Eventually – preferably before the end of the year – we will submit the survey results and our thoughts about them to Council. Also, as a secondary part of our charge, we will communicate with Council our thoughts about how best a membership group – whether it be called a committee or task force or something else – should liaise with OHA’s leadership in the future.

If you have any thoughts or suggestions, we’d love to hear them! Please email me at troy.reeves@wisc.edu.

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