In 2019, the APECS ExCom initiated the Organizational Review Committee (ORC) to perform a critical review of our organization. This was a tremendous undertaking by Hanne Nielsen, Ruth Vingerhagen, Elizabeth Orr, Renuka Badhe, Jenny Baeseman, Jennifer Cooper, Meagan Dewar, Agnieszka Kruszewska, Hugues Lantuit, Burcu Özsoy, Allen Pope, Jennifer Provencher, José Seco, Michael Sparrow, and Alex Thornton who comprise current and former APECS members, as well as senior members of the polar community. The 2019 review builds on the first ORC, which occured in 2015 and produced valuable guidance that helped APECS develop its Strategic Plan 2016 - 2020 and grow into the thriving, 3400+ member organization it is today. APECS is currently transitioning from a grassroots movement to an established and well-respected organization within the polar research community, which comes with unique challenges and opportunities. The goal of the 2019 review was to develop strategies for APECS to stay relevant and to continue providing resources and professional development opportunities for early career researchers.
The ORC’s thorough process incorporated a comprehensive survey of APECS members in 2019, which received a total of 115 responses. The review also included informal interviews and conversations with APECS members, APECS mentors, and members of the wider polar science community. The ORC’s insights and recommendations will help APECS leadership develop a strategy for the APECS development in the next 5 years.
The 2019 ORC’s major recommendations include:
- Maintaining a diverse membership base, which is one of APECS’ most important strengths
- Improving transparency of APECS leadership roles
- Improving the internal communication between the ExCom, National Committees, Council, project groups, wider membership, and beyond
- Strengthen National Committees by prioritising supporting National Committee events and promoting grassroots level activities.
- Accommodating a high turnover of members and frequency of member absences by well-documenting procedures and delegation plans when key volunteers and staff are away/unavailable
- Increasing financial transparency and planning
The Organizational Review Committee’s full report can be accessed here. The report contains the full results of the membership survey as well as the committee’s full recommendations.
APECS is very grateful for the dedication and hardwork of the entire ORC and is already taking steps to incorporate their recommendations to improve our organization for the future.