November 01, 2023
November Greetings to you, Montana ASCLS Members!
It is a little hard to imagine that it is already November; It seems like summer fun was just a moment away! I hope you all had a wonderful summer and fall and are embracing those memories as we prepare to embark upon the long winter that Montana usually has in store for us. The holiday season is just around the corner as well. Henry David Thoreau said, “I am grateful for what I am and what I have. My Thanksgiving is perpetual.” What a nice reminder to find thankfulness and purpose in each day!
Now, for some ASCLS updates. We are in the middle of some important work. Several of our Board members and ASCLS members were able to attend the recent Legislative symposium. It was held in Alexandria, Virginia and on Capitol Hill October 23 and 24th. Representing Montana in-person at the event were Grei Sebastian (Board of Directors) and Ethan Mercer (ASCLS-MT member). In addition, myself and Anne Tate were able to attend the symposium virtually. During these two days, we attended seminars and got updates on current Legislation that may affect the laboratory industry. In addition, they helped educate us on advocating for the Laboratory. How do you approach your state representatives? How do you make an impact on them in the short window of time you have with them? We were very pleased that Grei and Ethan were able to personally meet Senator Jon Tester, and discuss Montana laboratory issues with him.
In other news, our Board is in the process of working on our lapsed member campaign. Have you forgotten to renew your ASCLS membership? If so, it is not too late! Just go to ASCLS.org and renew now! Also, we would sure appreciate it if you spread the word in your own laboratories about ASCLS! Let’s recruit some new members to our Montana society. ASCLS is the ONLY professional organization dedicated solely to the Medical Laboratory Science profession. We pride ourselves on being a grassroots organization that serves to provide a voice and be of service to our local and regional members.
We have already begun work on planning our 2024 spring meeting. The meeting next year will be held in Billings, MT on April 11-13th. Mark your calendars now for this great event! We have a planning committee in place and are working on coming up with a theme for the meeting and we are beginning the process of booking a full slate of talented speakers. The meeting will be at the Big Horn Resort again this year, as they were such wonderful hosts to us in 2019. I am looking forward to seeing you all there.
Here are a few ASCLS events coming up for you to be aware of:
· 2024 Emerging Laboratory Managers Collaborative Conference. Being held virtually only this year on January 19-20th. Recent ASCP vacancy surveys showed that nearly 1/3 of managers in the core lab planned to retire in the next five years. For some areas like hematology and microbiology, that percentage is higher. As an entire generation of laboratory professionals leave the workforce, younger, less experienced laboratory professionals are being pressed into service in management positions they didn’t train for. A need exists to prepare these professionals to take on new roles. Check it out at the link here: https://www.elmc2.org. Scholarships are available!
· 2024 Clinical Laboratory Educators Conference (CLEC). Are you an educator? This is the conference for you! It is being held in sunny Las Vegas, NV this year on February 22-24th. Visit https://www.ascls.org/clec/ for more information or to register!
2024 ASCLS-MT Spring Meeting. April 11-13th in Billings, MT. Plan on attending and get all your annual CE’s in one fell swoop while getting to network with colleagues from around the state as well as exhibitors.
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, and I’ll talk to you soon,
2023-2024 President, ASCLS-MT
IMPORTANT LICENSING SURVEY UPDATE
Thank you to those of you who contacted ASCLS-Montana Board members with your concerns regarding a survey that you received on Friday from the Montana Department of Labor and Industry. The introduction to the survey states that the purpose is not to do away with our Licensure, but they are asking about removing our Licensure Board and having it directly handled by the State. We are VERY concerned about this for a number of reasons. Cara Bushmaker, ASCLS-Montana MLN Editor and Past-President and I have both been trying to respond with comments. The front page of the survey includes a link for responding but that link is not valid. Cara found this email from the website to submit comments.
As many of you pointed out, the survey questions are very leading and do not include answer options that accurately represent our position. The available answers all lead to removing our Licensure Board.
It is imperative that we all speak up on this and let the DLI know that this proposal is unacceptable and not in the best interests of the citizens of Montana.
The following is the response that Cara is attempting to send regarding the survey:
To whom it may concern,
In review of the licensing survey sent out from the state regarding professional licensing, the American Society of Clinical Laboratory Science Montana received many questions. We believe the need for more clarification of survey questions, more background information, and unbiased leading survey questions are a concerning issue and should be addressed. Please consider the following notes from the survey and provide clarification or explanation.
2. The original license question does not cover state transfer from a non-licensed state. The question only provides two options that do not cover all potential scenarios. Yet there is no other option to provide accurate information.
4. Why is the licensing board composition combined with members of my profession and public? This question is very leading and makes it seem like any member of the community can change our scope of practice? The underlying tone presents the board as questionable oversight in a very biased manner. Explanation of the current makeup of the board and their scope is left out.
Table block of questions on next page:
Last question series in that block are leading and do not give you an option to oppose. It is as if this decision has been made and we are being fed information to support it or to oppose the work the current licensing board is doing.
5. Two choices seem like we have no option to choose something else, no option to write in comments and verify the difference of a board vs. a program. Again the survey forces you to put in one of their desired answers.
The question regarding fees seems leading and all tied back to the state’s funding for licensing boards. Fees were raised to pay for the function of the board several years ago. If people say it's too high you are leading the justification for taking away the licensing board by using that previous complaint against survey participants, if they say too low do you propose raising fees as the only way to keep the current licensing board in place?
The last question regarding a national certifying board overseeing licenses does not explain that these agencies only monitor competency and continuing education. It does not delve into complaints or violations against a licensee. Our licensure board provides that manual review/audit of licensee issues, a national certification agency would not be filling this role, nor do they currently. Once deemed competent as long as continuing education is performed there would be no governance of violations or licensee complaints. This background and proposed plan information was not explained via the survey.
As the major Laboratory professional organization in the state of Montana we feel our members will need more information or a new survey in order to accurately answer the questions as this survey is currently. Please help provide answers to this questions and concerns listed as soon as possible so that we may share this with our membership and concerned members. I expect you will be receiving similar emails from other members of our board.
Cara Bushmaker, MLS(ASCP) CM
on behalf of the Board of Directors of ASCLS-MT
"It is the month of June, the month of leaves and roses, when pleasant sights salute the eyes and pleasant scents the noses." – Nathaniel Parker Willis
It's hard to believe that we're already into the month of June! This year has flown by and we'll be closing it out by taking a delegation of Montana members to the national meeting in Grand Rapids, Michigan the last week of June. As you know from many messages throughout the past year, we will be voting on an amendment to remove the adjective, Region, from the elected position of Region Director. This would result in 10 At-Large Directors on your ASCLS Board of Directors along with the remaining officers for a total of 16. We've held several informational meetings on this across Region VIII and your delegation is prepared to speak up at the House of Delegates. If you have anything you would like to share with us prior to leaving, please don't hesitate to contact me or any of our delegation: Sadie Arnold, Jessica Wolcott, Anne Tate, Emily Haight, Holly Weinberg, Terah Rash.
Along that same line, if there is anything else you would like us to bring to the national meeting, please let us know. We are there to represent you and your concerns!
The Region VIII Leadership Academy (R8LA) is open and looking for interns for the 2022-2023 Class. This is a wonderful opportunity open only to ASCLS members. We opened the first R8LA Class in 2013 and have graduated a class every year except 2021 due to, what else, the pandemic! Participation in the Academy is open to all, no matter your age, your years of membership, or your work situation. If you wish to learn new leadership skills, enhance your current leadership skills, learn more about ASCLS, or just have the opportunity to meet with and work with folks from across our region, raise your hand and say I'm IN! Abbey Wichman is our Region VIII Leadership Academy Coordinator for the coming year so reach out to Abbey or myself for more information. Application materials are on our website, www.ascls-mt.org/region-viii-leadership-academy.
Remember to Mark your Calendars for our 59th and FINAL Intermountain States Seminar (IMSS) in Jackson, Wyoming, October 6-8. This is going to be an exciting celebration of the longest running regional meeting in ASCLS! The planning committee has many things in the works and our educational program is top-notch. Watch the IMSS website for updated information. Reserve your room NOW! We were able to secure more room blocks in Jackson in addition to the Snow King block, here is the link to the accommodations page on the IMSS website; asclsregion8.org/IMSS/imss-2022/accommodations. We'll be celebrating the decades so pick your favorite decade and come dressed to celebrate – I look forward to seeing you in Jackson!
Happy June! May the warm days ahead fill you with joy!
All things seem possible in May!
-Edwin Way Teale
Such a fitting quote for an amazing May ASCLS-Montana Community Gathering -Resilience-Emerge Stronger. After 2 years of virtual spring conferences, this was such a wonderful treat to be able to gather in person and reconnect. We finally emerged into the sunlight and celebrated our friendships, our profession, our RESILIENCE! Thank you so much to General Chair, Abbey Wichman and her planning committee for bringing us an outstanding conference!
Program Chair, Tori Rensink, put together an excellent array of scientific sessions covering many areas of laboratory science. Social Chair, Brittney Hagberg provided us with great food and networking opportunities including an opportunity to put our ‘right brain’ to work creating paintings of all designs. We discovered we have some very talented members! Venue Coordinator, Kelsy Diekhans worked tirelessly with the hotel to keep everything running smoothly and on track. Exhibits Chair, Anne Tate, brought in over 30 exhibitors, including Ortho’s van, and they were so happy to be able to join us. Anne did a great job getting them on board. Publicity Chair, Susie Zanto, created another first-class program booklet that was very professional and did a great job shining a light on our conference and our organization. Anna Adams, Sponsorship and Social Chair wowed us with her work on the Silent Auction, bringing in $1481 to donate to Shodair Children’s Hospital. Way to go Anna and everyone who participated!
We held the annual Membership meeting on Thursday afternoon. The members present at the meeting voted to approve the budget for the coming association year which begins August 1. We also voted to approve the Bylaws amendments and the new format of the Bylaws/SOP document. Elections were held for Officers and Delegates to the ASCLS Joint Annual Meeting (JAM). We installed our new Officers on Friday morning, Congratulations to our new Officers and our Delegates to JAM:
President- Sadie Arnold, Billings
President-Elect – Jennifer Wolcott, Billings
Secretary – Sherri Nichols, Wise River
Board Director – Grei Sebastian, Lewistown
Awards and Scholarship – Kelsy Diekhans, Great Falls
Nominations – Emily Haight, Billings
Finance and Audit – Anne Tate, Bigfork
Delegates, Professional – Sadie Arnold, Holly Weinberg, Jennifer Wolcott, Anne Tate
Delegate, Ascending Professional – Anna Adams; Alternate is Emily Haight
Delegate, Developing Professional – Terah Rash; Alternate is Erin Buhler
Friday morning, we recognized those individuals who volunteer so much of their time, energy, and resources to make our Society strong. Director, Stephanie Mihane, presented updates from the National Board of Directors. There are items coming to the Annual House of Delegates in Michigan in June that your Montana delegates will be voting to approve or not. We need your input! I am holding a Town Hall for all Montana members on June 1 at 6:30 pm via Zoom. Please mark your calendars and plan to attend:
Topic: ASCLS-Montana Town Hall
Time: Jun 1, 2022 06:30 PM Mountain Time (US and Canada)
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Meeting ID: 874 5730 2684
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Happy May: May you see flowers all around you!
April is a promise that May is bound to keep.
― Hal Borland
April is here and that means our annual ASCLS-Montana meeting is just around the corner, May 5-7 in Great Falls. Program Chair, Tori Rensink has put together a wonderful program of speakers and topics with something for everyone. Exhibits Chair, Anne Tate is busy connecting with our industry partners to fill the exhibit hall with many exciting new things. Sponsorship Chair, Anna Adams has already come up with valuable Silent Auction items and is happy to take more donations – please think about donating something and then come to the meeting and bid High, bid Often!
Hurry and register now, we have individual registration as well as facility registrations available. Also, remember to reserve your room in Great Falls before April 18th to get in on the room block, all links and information can be found on the ASCLS-Montana website, https://www.ascls-mt.org/conferences.
IMPORTANT! Be sure to come to the annual Membership meeting during the spring conference. This is your meeting and your chance to make your voice heard. Items that we’ll be covering include:
· information about ASCLS-MT activities
· vote on the budget for the coming year
· meet our Region VIII Leadership Academy Interns
· election of Officers and delegates to the National meeting in June
· updates about the new website and logo
· vote on the proposed bylaws/SOP document and amendments.
Information regarding nominees for office as well as the Bylaws amendments will be coming out shortly for your consideration.
Friday morning, we have the Awards and Installation of Officers and our Region VIII Director, Stephanie Mihane, will present updates from the National and Regional levels. There are items coming to the Annual House of Delegates in Michigan in June that your Montana delegates will be voting to approve or not. We need your input!
I hope to see you all in Great Falls as we celebrate our profession and our RESILIENCE through all the stressors of the workplace and beyond.
Happy April! May the warmer and longer days ahead fill you with joy! See you in Great Falls!
Even though it's only March, in fact it's already March!
In March winter is holding back and spring is pulling forward. Something holds and something pulls inside of us too."
― Jean Hersey
The snow is still lingering but signs of spring are everywhere. I'm still relishing my spot by the wood stove while looking forward to spring. The Osprey will be returning at the end of March and daffodils will be popping their heads up in preparation for April.
In ASCLS, we are looking at springing forward to our Great Falls meeting in May. Have you reserved your room yet? We have a lot in store for the meeting including the MMLS student poster presentations, annual membership business meeting, awards and installation of officers, exhibitors, an excellent educational program, and many networking opportunities including a Silent Auction to benefit Shodair Hospital, the Montana CMN Hospital. Donated items for the silent auction are always welcome and of course, participation in the bidding is a must! Bid High and Bid Often!
It's time to think about applying for the Region VIII Leadership Academy class of 2022-2023! The Academy opened in 2013 with the first class graduating in 2014 at the National meeting in Chicago. This year will be our 8th class and both interns are from Montana; Jennifer Wolcott and Zanna Hartrich. Over the years, the R8LA has graduated 24 Region VIII Members, 7 from Montana. The Leadership Academy is an excellent opportunity to learn leadership skills that help you not only in ASCLS but in your workplace and all areas of your life. The curriculum covers a wide spectrum of topics such as communication skills, leadership skills, professionalism, advocacy, presentation skills and more. This is also an opportunity to make lifelong friends with fellow interns and with faculty members. I have watched interns gain in self-confidence and move into leadership positions after participating in the academy.
The Region VIII Leadership Academy is open to all ASCLS members in Region VIII; there is no tuition associated and the condo at Jackson is paid for by the Region. There is no age limit or requirement as to years of membership in ASCLS. Abbey Wichman is our new R8LA Coordinator for the next class and Ashlee Ketchum and Sadie Arnold are two of our Montana faculty members. Abbey and Sadie are graduates of the R8LA and past-presidents of ASCLS-Montana, and Ashlee graduated from the National Leadership Academy and is also a past-president of ASCLS-Montana. The faculty has ASCLS members from Idaho, Colorado and Montana and a combined treasure trove of leadership knowledge and skills. If you're interested in participating or have questions, please contact Abbey or myself.
The End of An Era
In 1964, the first Intermountain States Seminar was held and was a joint venture of Idaho, Montana, Utah, and Wyoming. In 1970, Colorado joined the team to help make the IMSS the well-recognized, professional endeavor it is today. The purpose of the Seminar was to provide a continuing education activity with a high-quality program at a reasonable cost to participants. To maintain planning and presenting the seminar on a yearly basis, the Coordinating committee was established in 1967.
In the mid-2000’s, concerns regarding the structure of IMSS and the future of IMSS began in earnest. Many meetings were held and after many member surveys, state level discussions, and region level discussions, a final discussion was held at the Region VIII Fall Council meeting in 2012. The outcome of that discussion and all of the background information gathering, was that IMSS continued to fill an educational and networking need as well as provide revenue to the region and the states in our region. The decision was made to continue with IMSS as long as a profit can still be made but to disband the Coordinating Committee structure and put the responsibility for IMSS planning under the umbrella of the Region VIII Council. The 50th Anniversary of IMSS was in 2013 and was the final conference hosted by the Coordinating Committee. 2014 was a transition year, with the Coordinating Committee members working with Region VIII to host the seminar, then in 2015 the IMSS Coordinating Committee was disbanded and their charter revoked. The Council devised a schedule splitting the chairs up across the states so each state was involved in planning the meeting but nobody had to fill more than one to two committee chairs. A schedule of co-chairs and chairs was set up so co-chairs could be mentored by the chairs before taking on the role of chair themselves.
IMSS has been held in Jackson, Wyoming for over 50 years, primarily at the Snow King Resort. This year on October 3-5, Region VIII will present the 59th and FINAL IMSS.
This was an extremely difficult decision to make. The conversation has come up more and more frequently as to the sustainability of IMSS. With the recent motions by the ASCLS Board of Directors regarding regional finances combined with the exorbitant costs now being demanded by the Snow King, the writing was on the wall. As you have heard from past messages, the ASCLS Board of Directors voted at the Fall, 2021 BOD meeting to require all Regions to liquidate all assets and direct those assets to the states on a per capita basis. This created a large problem for IMSS financing requiring that we either make IMSS its own tax entity involving large attorney and accountant fees or move the account to one of the state’s budgets impacting that state’s tax status. Meanwhile the Snow King sent a draft contract for 2023 which moved the meeting dates to the last 3 days of October, increased room rates that when combined with resort fees and taxes would push rooms to >$300/night, and more than doubled the minimum required food and beverage cost from $17,500 in 2022 to $37,000 in 2023. Taking all these items into account and adding in decreased attendance at the meeting, the Region VIII Council reached consensus on closing the page on IMSS. Thank you to those of you who responded to the recent survey regarding IMSS, the responses came back 60% discontinue so as you can see, this is not a unanimous feeling across the state or region.
You have one last chance to attend IMSS and join with your friends from Colorado, Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah to celebrate the rich history of this amazing conference! Our 59th IMSS will be held in Jackson at the Snow King from October 6-8. The Planning Committee is working on putting together an amazing meeting celebrating the many years of this conference and the friendships gained through the years. If you want to help with planning, let me know – we still need a Publicity Chair. The theme is A Year to Remember and we will take a look back through the years - come dressed in your favorite decade There will be the usual excellent line-up of speakers, many opportunities to catch up with friends old and new, interact with the exhibitors and of course, eat LOTS of food! We have a room block with room rates running $159/night (plus resort fee and taxes) – you can access the link through the IMSS website, http://asclsregion8.org/IMSS/imss-2022/accommodations/. I suggest also looking at condo options in the area through vacation rental sites for good deals - grab a carload of friends and share a condo. Mark your calendars for October 6-8, get those PTO requests in now, and come to Jackson to celebrate the amazing professionals across our great Region!
February in Montana
Welcome February! I once read that “February is merely as long as is needed to pass the time until March”, I like to think of February as a time to regroup for a new year. January is still in Christmas hangover but by February, the Christmas decorations are put away, all those goodies are just a memory, and thoughts turn to spring blooms and gatherings.
Your Montana leadership is eagerly looking ahead to the Spring. We held the Winter Board Meeting on January 22nd and covered a lot of business affecting our state Society. Our Nominations committee is working on filling the slate of candidates to be voted on this spring. If you’re interested in serving on the Board of Directors, raise your hand and say Count Me In! It’s a great experience and an opportunity to work with folks from across the state. You can let me know directly, contact any of our Nominations committee (Maria Rodriguez, Zanna Hartrich, Abbey Wichman), or fill out the Volunteer opportunity form (Get Involved), https://www.ascls-mt.org/get-involved, on our Montana website.
Speaking of our website, our new webmaster, Anna Adams is working with Susie Zanto getting acquainted with our current website and learning about the new platform coming later this year. Watch for updates about the website as they develop.
Another thing to watch for is news about the newly updated Bylaws combining them with our Standard Operating Procedures. Abbey Wichman is chairing this task force and has submitted our draft document to the ASCLS Bylaws Committee for review and approval right after Thanksgiving. We received initial feedback with a few minor edits and have resubmitted. When we receive the final approval, we will publish the proposed document to all of you for review prior to presenting it for a vote at our Annual Business Meeting in May. The Bylaws/SOPs will be in a table format with the Bylaw in the left column and the corresponding SOP in the right column. I’m very excited about this project and looking forward to sharing with all of you soon.
Have you seen the postings for the annual Lab Week Run? Registration is now open, https://labweekrun.com/! Individual race packets are $30 each or you can register a group of 5 for $125. These early bird prices end Feb 15; after that the rates go up to $35 and $150. This is the 7th year for this event, it’s a lot of fun and easy to do. Grab a group from your lab, take many photos and post them, and bring your medals to Great Falls for a large ASCLS-Montana group photo! I’m already registered, how about you?
If you haven’t responded to the Future of IMSS survey, there’s still time, https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/JX59LS3. It’s vitally important to get as much input as possible before the Region VIII Council meets on February 16th. We will be voting on the future of IMSS – will it continue as an annual in-person meeting, will it move to a virtual platform, will it alternate platforms, will it move to every 2 or 3 years? As you can see, there are many questions, and your input is needed. No matter what decision is made on the 16th, I do know that IMSS will not be held at Jackson after the 2022 conference. The Snow King is the only venue in the area that can accommodate our meeting and they have become far too expensive to be able to continue there. If we do continue in-person IMSS, we need to determine where to hold the meeting and a rotational schedule. If you haven’t completed the survey, please do so by the 14th of February. I will keep you posted on decisions made by the Council and if the decision is to continue with IMSS, watch for volunteer requests to help decide where and when to hold IMSS. We will also need to fill a planning committee so think about what you would like to do to help with planning.
I hope you are all staying healthy and safe, I know that as Covid continues to rage our laboratory professionals are working overtime and dealing with supply chain issues on a daily basis. I am so proud of every one of you hanging in there and doing what you do so well. Stay strong, stay resilient and remember to take time to breathe and smell the snow flowers.
To all ASCLS-Montana members,
You have probably been hearing and reading items regarding a proposed change to the structure of the ASCLS Board of Directors. I don’t know all of the facts behind the proposal but I will share what I do know to bring you up to date.
Beginning with a bit of background for our newer members. ASCLS is divided into 10 regions. This came about in the 1950’s to help support constituent societies (state societies). The regional structure is noted in the ASCLS bylaws and defined in the accompanying SOPs. Montana is in Region VIII along with Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado. Region VIII is a strong region in the way we network across our region, largely due to the formation of the Intermountain States Seminar in 1963. Our Region VIII Council consists of the Presidents and President-elects from each of the 5 states, plus a Secretary, Treasurer, Membership Chair, Leadership Chair, Government Affairs Chair, Political Action Committee representative, Ascending Professional Chair, Developing Professional Chair, and the Region VIII Director. The Council meets 3 times per year and serves as a source of communication among the states in our regions while also getting information from national committees and the national Board of Directors. Not all ASCLS Regions function in the way that Region VIII does, nor do they have the close-knit friendships across the region. All regions have Councils and guidelines but do not meet regularly nor communicate across the states in their region. Region VIII is more active as a region by way of hosting IMSS for 58 years and the development of our Region VIII Leadership Academy in 2014.
At the 2021 Interim ASCLS Board of Director’s meeting, a proposal was made to look at restructuring the Board of Directors by dropping the regional designation for the 10 Regional directors. This was then presented by the Region VIII Director, Stephanie Mihane, at our ASCLS-MT annual business meeting in April. The BOD provided an opportunity at the June 30, ASCLS House of Delegates in Louisville for an informal discussion of the proposed change.
Reasons for the change as stated by ASCLS BOD (the following excerpts are taken from talking points given to us by EVP Jim Flanigan):
Membership is more concentrated in the eastern regions so those members have fewer opportunities to serve on the Board of Directors.
The current structure does not allow for diversity across the Board; basing Board representation only on a geographical basis restricts the opportunity for diversity of talent. Using regions as the primary criterion for board membership produces boards that are less diverse than the membership and the profession. In the proposed model, diversity of experiences, skills and expertise allows board members to bring a collectively broader set of perspectives to decision-making. For instance, the Nominations Committee would consider a broader range of criteria when vetting nominees for the board including what kinds of communities they serve (e.g. rural, urban, suburban), in what settings they work (e.g hospital, POL, university), certifications, and other demographic factors.
Current implementation of “regions” has not evolved.
When formed in the 1950s, regions served a purpose for coordinating the activities of a wide-ranging national organization. The structures were necessary for information to be effectively shared. Since that time, the need for communication has been eliminated by contemporary communications networks. Systems for coordinating activities have evolved and improved dramatically.
With the use of electronic communications, the structure for a regional director (and subsequently, a region) is no longer necessary for communication between the national BOD and the members of ASCLS
Maintenance of a failing systems prevents the devotion of resources to better models
It’s challenging for leaders to think beyond strongly held paradigms. If solutions all arise from within a 1950-60’s paradigm, obvious opportunities will be missed. For example: smaller collaborative relationships between states within a “region” or across regional lines.)
Human resources are required to maintain the structure instead of devoting those committed volunteers to more productive work at the national or constituent society level.
A lack of clear purpose tied to mission for regions leads to a lack of engagement, recycling of leaders and burnout.
Comments that were made at the House of Delegates ranged from strongly in favor of this proposed change to strongly opposed. A sampling of those comments include:
ASCLS-Alaska President discussed the unique challenges in Alaska and the importance of having a Regional Director who understands those challenges
ASCLS Ascending Professional Director spoke to the need for ASCLS to modernize our structure to allow more Ascending Professional and Developing Professional members the opportunity to serve in national positions
Several members spoke to the current system serving as an effective tool for mentoring potential leaders from state to regional to national roles. Also, the need for one-on-one communication is still as important as ever, the idea that contemporary electronic forms of communication have eliminated the need for personal communication at the regional level was strongly disputed.
2 ASCLS Past Presidents agreed that change is always a good thing – when there is a reason to change, not just change for the purpose of change. Bot past presidents brought these issues forward:
What is the current situation, pros and cons and what are the current issues that need to be resolved? We heard much about how the developing and ascending membership. groups are restructuring to meet their needs. What can we learn from them?
What are the goals of any reorganization? What does it need to look like? What outcomes are we expecting? I heard many - flow of funds, improving diversity to reflect the diversity of our profession, but absent in our current leadership
An important step in the process is to develop a set of criteria that will be used for future member representation on the board? How will the nominations committee, recently expanded, use those criteria to select candidate to lead our organization?
How will we ultimately measure that we have achieved our goals? We need data to support the criteria and the goals we set.
What’s next? It appears the process was not handled according to the current ASCLS bylaws which is why it has been moved ahead to vote at the mid-term House of Delegates. However, the bylaws state that any amendment must be voted on at the ANNUAL House of Delegates so that might delay this until next June. We were told there will be many ‘town halls’ this fall to discuss this potential restructuring. Some members who spoke at the House of Delegates raised potential modifications to the proposed plan. Those ideas were:
Maintain the regional designation as is and add 2 at-large Directors to satisfy the need for more opportunities in more populous regions and to add more diversity to the BOD
Maintain the regional designation but reduce the number of regions to 7-8 and add 2-3 at-large Directors which would keep the BOD at the current number but add more diversity
This appears to be the first step in a larger restructuring of ASCLS. The BOD appears to be poised to first, remove “Regional” from Regional Directors; then to remove regions entirely. That is another discussion and largely depends on what happens with the first item. As a member of ASCLS every one of you has a say in what you wish to see happen in your organization. We are a grass-roots organization and it exists for its members. Please don’t hesitate to speak up and make your feelings known, be they positive or negative. A consistent thread in the discussions in Louisville was that we, as a membership, do not oppose change. We do oppose change for the purpose of change; we wish to see more data behind the change, more specifics as to next steps (just removing a word leaves many unanswered questions), and how do we determine the effectiveness of the change.
Holly Weinberg, 2021-2022 ASCLS-MT President