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Your advice will help shape AGU’s next 100 years

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By Robin Bell, AGU President, and Susan Lozier, AGU President-Elect

We hope your new year is off to a great start! 2020 will be a big year for AGU in many ways, but one major opportunity we have ahead of us is finalizing a new strategic plan for AGU that will set the organization’s course for the next decade and beyond. Because the strategic plan will drive the work of AGU’s leaders, volunteers and staff, getting broad input from as many people as possible is key to its development and AGU’s future. This post is part of a continuing effort to keep members engaged with the strategic plan.

Broadly, the new strategic plan will define AGU’s mission, vision and core values, and outline strategies to ensure AGU remains a leading convener in the Earth and space science community. The new plan is designed to ensure AGU both accelerates scientific discovery and solutions to societal challenges. To be successful, we will need to develop new partnerships, expand our community, drive a culture change in science, prepare future leaders and foster greater public awareness of science.

How did we get here? As you may recall, our strategic planning process started in October 2018, when “AGU Executive Director/CEO Chris McEntee set the tone of the Board meeting with a report on trends in global politics, economics, and culture. She presented a data-infused synopsis of trends, as well as a sober assessment of the implications of the rise of nationalism for international collaboration. This is important context that must underpin our strategies going forward,” AGU Board Member Lisa Graumlich wrote in a post on From the Prow.

For the six months following that meeting, AGU conducted member engagement activities, assembled focus groups and interviewed small groups to collect and understand ideas about the future of our community. Based on this information, along with input from student and early career leaders, the AGU Council, our publications committee, the editors-in-chief of AGU journals, and a critical uncertainty survey, AGU created four different scenarios for the future of earth and space science. These scenarios encompassed the possibility of a future where there is low public trust in science to one where there is high trust in science, to a future in which science is open and collaborative and also to one where it is closed and competitive. Our goal was to design a plan for AGU so that it could thrive within any one of these realms of possibility.

At the 2019 Fall Meeting, the AGU Board and Council discussed the strategic plan at their meetings, and we set aside blocks of time at AGU Central and the Student Lounge and Career Center for AGU members to give input and answer our questions: Did we prioritize the issues correctly? Are we focusing on the right issues and key audiences? We also sent out surveys to AGU members and staff to solicit ideas and feedback, and we talked one-on-one with many of you about what you want AGU to look like as we head into our next 100 years.

With your input in hand, we are now working to achieve the right balance in these areas to ensure AGU is well-positioned for the next decade and beyond. We will have the next refinement of the new plan ready to share in late February. With new feedback from you, and especially the Council, we will finalize the strategic plan by April, and we look forward to working with all of you to make the vision we create a reality.

If you would like to share any additional thoughts or concerns you may have, please email [email protected].

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  1. James Nicholls

    AGU, along with many other organization both science and non-science focussed, are striving to increase diversity. Diversity in gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation are the three areas of main concern. I would suggest a fourth area become a concern: nationality. How many prizes, awards, and especially positions on councils are filled by people from countries other than the US?

  2. Andrew Senior

    The AGU is a wonderful institution for which I am daily grateful. But what makes you think there will be another 100 years of it? The headline is a disgraceful piece of click-bait. All your attention, energy and money should be directed to putting the brakes on a climate (and therefore diversity) disaster barrelling towards you and me right now.
    Be brave. Fight.


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