A Minute with the Board

by Joshua Welch

Spring has SPRUNG, and so too have most of our brackets; now, many of us are eyeing the end of the spring semester – sprinting toward the finish line. Spring is an exciting time to see projects come to fruition or the promise of new growth opportunities. The Association of Fraternity and Sorority Advisors is getting to do both. The AFA Board of Directors most recently convened for our spring meeting in Chicago, Ill., and I am excited to share some fresh updates about our ongoing efforts to advance the Association’s strategic initiatives. 

While significant focus has been paid to enhancing the governance of the Association, it’s critical that we also emphasize our commitment to achieving our mission and goals through our strategic plan, “Forward to 50.” Through significant work from our staff, volunteers, and partnerships, we’re seeing the plan’s progression in the areas of Advancing Research, Advocating for the Profession, and Developing Professional Competency.  

In Advancing Research, the staff has made great strides to relaunch the AFA/Journal of Sorority and Fraternity Life Research & Practice Writers’ Retreat after its temporary interruption due to COVID-19. This program will continue to be a central hub for scholars who will conduct research within the fraternity and sorority profession. 

Additionally, in Advocating for the Profession, we’re thrilled to collaborate on the launch and continued support for AFA’s Legal and Legislative Update in partnership with Fraternity/Sorority Law Group and TA Strategies. This will provide a valuable resource to all of us as we endeavor to do our work in an increasingly complex and evolving legislative environment. 

Our work in Developing Professional Competency has led to the introduction and launch of AFA’s home for on-demand professional development, “AFA Learning.” This allows for the access and delivery of professional development to our professional community on their schedule, and further supports AFA’s commitment to Student Affairs Certification as a founding partner in the Certification Consortium. These developments within the strategic plan are exciting realizations of aligning our work to advance AFA, truly moving Forward to 50! 

As we continue to push the strategic plan forward, the AFA Board has identified key objectives within the plan where we can support staff and volunteers in their efforts to realize the future of our association. Each Board member is serving as a “Champion” for a specific objective in Forward to 50. Key objectives we’re focused on include: 

  1. AFA will develop a robust professional development strategy that meets the needs of fraternity/sorority professionals, from graduate student/early-career professional to senior level administrator (Pillar 1, Stretch Goal 1).
  2. AFA will invest in community development and educational programming efforts designed to increase the amount of emerging and established researchers in fraternity/sorority life (Pillar 2, Stretch Goal 3).
  3. AFA will strengthen its public voice within the broader higher education and fraternity/sorority industries through a more robust use of public positions, policy papers, and research briefs (Pillar 3, Stretch Goal 4).
  4. AFA will build out a comprehensive affinity/identity space structure that supports communities amongst salient identities and professional roles (Pillar 4, Stretch Goal 1).

As “Champions” Board members will be reaching out to others in our community for input and support. They will also compile information, cultivate relationships, and access resources that can help clear the runway for our staff and volunteers to effectively advance operational initiatives related to these strategic objectives. You can expect to hear more updates this summer, and at the Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, on how this work will translate into tangible tools, resources, and experiences that will help add value to your AFA membership. 

Let’s keep the momentum going! Together, we’ll make strides toward our goals and ensure AFA’s success. Here’s to progress and growth ahead!