13 October 2014

AGU September Board Meeting: Boring, Not!

Posted by Carol Finn

Continuing what seems to be a trend, the AGU September Board meeting was both intellectually stimulating and inspiring.

Every fall, the Board evaluates AGU’s progress in pursuit of our vision and goals. Last year, we asked staff to create a comprehensive plan to translate these goals into specific strategies and tactics, mapped over multiple years. We asked that it be cohesive, measurable and quantifiable from a resource and financial perspective. Not a small ask. But we were not disappointed. The result was AGU’s first Multiyear Implementation Plan.

This extensive body of work lays out how AGU will enhance and expand its bread-and-butter programs – the publications and meeting portfolios – as well as provide valuable resources to scientists at all career stages.  It also offered new approaches to drive societal awareness of the implications of Earth and space science, strengthen volunteer engagement, develop and iterate a digital strategy to integrate our content and build community, and embrace and support AGU’s international scientist community. And all of this is underpinned by a technology roadmap.  We’ll share more about these plans on this blog, and in Eos, as they are further developed.

Last year we also asked staff to conduct a review of our Headquarters Building. One of our primary jobs as a Board is to protect AGU’s assets, and ensure that AGU is sustained for the long-term. With all of the financial facts, analysis and options in front of us we concluded that the best path forward was to preserve and improve this iconic building in the heart of Dupont Circle. Next, staff will lay out an approach to designing a state-of-the-art, open, collaborative, technology-enabled workplace. It will reflect our mission and values, and serve as an even more welcoming home-away-from-home for visiting AGU members and other societies. We are grateful for the foresight of those responsible for the design and creation of this building, which was erected in 1994. We are building on a strong foundation.

We did some brainstorming around the preliminary findings of the Scientific Trends Task Force. These provide a strong basis for understanding and anticipating the implications of changes in science and society. You’ll hear more about this work from the Council in the coming weeks. The Board also reviewed AGU’s financial performance, and provided guidance for the 2015 budget. AGU’s finances are strong, and we are in a good position to continue to achieve a break-even operating budget while making strategic investments, as we have done these last few years.

Many Board members also attended a presentation on the development of the new Eos.org; they are excited about the re-launch of Eos online (in addition to print, which will continue), and offered several helpful suggestions. You’ll hear more from Chris McEntee soon about the plans for Eos.

Last, but hardly least, we began preparations for the leadership transition that happens every two years. After the next meeting in December, I’ll step into the Past President role, Margaret Leinen will assume the President role, and Eric Davidson will join us as President Elect.  Several Board members will cycle off, and new members will join us. At that time we will celebrate these transitions, and most important, ensure that the continuity of the Board is preserved so that it can continue to guide AGU toward its vision – to galvanize a community of Earth and space scientists that collaboratively advances and communicates science and its power to ensure a sustainable future.