[Asis-l] Important information and FAQs about ASIS&T Chapters

Chirag Shah chirags at rutgers.edu
Fri Apr 22 16:46:13 EDT 2016

Dear all,

As you may know, we (Chirag Shah and Daniel Alemneh) are the current Director and Deputy Director of the Chapter Assembly of ASIS&T. What this means is that we represent regional and student chapters’ interests and concerns to the ASIS&T board. Among other things, we help and guide the chapters with membership management and other resources you may need.

To meet this objectives, we have been reaching out to chapter officers to find out what is working well and also what challenges they are facing at the local level. Indeed, most of the chapters gave us valuable feedbacks and interesting ideas including the successes their regional chapter achieved and how they reached these achievements. Based on the preliminary result, we compiled the following FAQs, which we think will help the chapter officers (and future new officers) run their local chapters’ activities better. 

Some points about the regional chapters.

-          Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T) Chapters are chartered by the Board of Directors as local vehicles for fostering continuous communication among members in geographically-defined areas. ASIS&T Chapters consist of groups of 15 or more members living or working within 50-mile radii or some other well-defined geographic areas. All ASIS&T members are encouraged to participate in their local Chapters. All ASIS&T members whose mailing addresses are within a Chapter’s geographic boundaries are automatically members of that Chapter. Only ASIS&T members may belong to Chapters. There are 20 regional chapters, but 8 of which are currently inactive.

Active Chapters: Arizona, Asia Pacific, Carolinas, Central Ohio, Europe, Indiana, Los Angeles, New England, New Jersey, Northern Ohio, Pacific Northwest, Taipei

Inactive Chapters: Chicago, Florida, Metropolitan New York, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio River Valley, Potomac Valley, Wisconsin

Who the members of the Chapter Assembly Advisory Committee?

-          The Chapter Assembly consists of an elected or appointed representative from each Chapter. To assure Chapters of a voice in Society activities, the Chapter Assembly advises the Board of Directors on all matters involving the mutual interests of the Chapters. The Assembly Director, elected by the Assembly as its presiding officer, serves on the ASIS&T Board of Directors. The Chapter Assembly Director is assisted in matters relating to the Chapter Assembly by the Deputy Chapter Assembly Director, the Immediate Past Director, and the Chapter Assembly Advisory Committee.

Where is the official Websites for the ASIS&ST Regional Chapters?

-          The public website for the ASIS&ST Regional Chapters is located at: https://www.asist.org/find-your-groups/regional/ <https://www.asist.org/find-your-groups/regional/>. Make sure your Chapter’s information (Officers name, email, website, etc.) is accurate and up to date on the ASIST Student Chapter page. Otherwise let our webmaster Jan Hatzakos (jan at asis.org) know about the changes. There is also an internal wiki page to be used by Chapters (and other Committees of the American Society for Information Science and Technology) to facilitate the operation of their groups: http://www.asis.org/wiki/chapters-sigs/index.php/Main_Page <http://www.asis.org/wiki/chapters-sigs/index.php/Main_Page>
Do we have email list for the ASIS&ST Regional Chapters?

-       Yes, we have an email list that you can join by going to http://mail.asis.org/mailman/listinfo/chapters-l <http://mail.asis.org/mailman/listinfo/chapters-l> and signing up. Once joined, you can send a message by emailing to chapters-l at asis.org. Typical messages on this email list are about conference announcements, job postings, and other opportunities for members.

Can my chapter get some funds from the HQ to start project or revitalize a chapter?

-         Yes. Each Chapter plans its own programs to reflect the needs and interests of its local membership. ASIS&T is committed to providing assistance to help local Chapters to organize activities or special projects that revitalize and engage local members. Among other available resources and services, Chapters can apply for one of the Chapter Development Funds: https://www.asist.org/files/chapters/regional/ChapterDevelopmentFundsAppl.pdf <https://www.asist.org/files/chapters/regional/ChapterDevelopmentFundsAppl.pdf> 

I’m interested in revitalizing my local chapter that’s been inactive for some time. What do I do?

It varies from chapter to chapter and depends greatly on where the activities (and funds) were left off.

But typically, it involves the following:

1. Get hold of documents (membership list, chapter manual, by-laws) and funds.

2. Get the latest membership info. This could be done by contacting the HQ.

3. Email the members about the chapter being restarted. Ask if anyone would like to join the leadership (chair, program chair if applicable, treasurer, publicist, etc.)

4. Theoretically speaking, the chapter should then hold an election. But in practice, there may be only a handful of people interested in being in a leadership position. So just form a leadership committee using those people.

5. Get the web presence. At least have a blog or a website.

6. Announce these developments to the members.

7. Organize an event that marks the beginning of the chapter activities. Ask the HQ for help (tools, support, funds).

In general, once the chapter has some momentum going, they could ask us for chapter development funds (typically a few hundred dollars).

How do I start a new chapter?

Follow the advice from the previous question starting with step-4. Make sure to let us know as you embark on this journey!

Do we have the chapter manual? Where?

-          Yes, you can find the Chapter Officer’s Manual here: https://www.asist.org/files/chapters/regional/chofficermanual.pdf <https://www.asist.org/files/chapters/regional/chofficermanual.pdf>. We will update the manual, but the purpose of the Chapter Officer’s Manual is essentially to guide and alert new Chapter officers to certain procedures regarding Chapter organization and administration, to suggest possible Chapter activities, and to remind officers of certain deadlines. There are also a number of other useful documentations linked from the Chapter Resources page: https://www.asist.org/find-your-groups/resources/ <https://www.asist.org/find-your-groups/resources/>. 

Are the regional chapters expected to submit an annual report? What’s the deadline?

-          Yes, the regional chapters are expected to submit an annual report to the Chapter Assembly, highlighting efforts the chapter made to recruit new members, foster member participation in the chapter, and mechanisms to retain current members and to follow-up with members who did not renew their ASIS&T memberships. The report also contains the meetings, projects and services organized by the chapter and the efforts made by the chapter to communicate with its members. The annual report can be submitted via this web form: http://www.asis.org/Chapters/ChapterAnnualActivitiesReportForm.pdf <http://www.asis.org/Chapters/ChapterAnnualActivitiesReportForm.pdf>. If the Chapter Annual Report is submitted by the August 15 deadline, it will also serve as the nomination for the Chapter of the Year award. The Chapter-of-the-Year Award is decided by a jury. An awareness of the annual report and judging criteria can be very helpful in planning chapter’s activities for the year.

Questions or comments? 
-          We are very much interested in hearing from you what we could do to help you out. So please do not hesitate to contact us both Chirag Shah (Chapter Assembly Director): chirags at rutgers.edu and Daniel Alemneh (Chapter Assembly Deputy Director): Daniel.Alemneh at unt.edu.

Chirag Shah, Rutgers University
Daniel Alemneh, University of North Texas

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