Strategic Priorities
 

Strategic Priorities

As a professional membership association, AFA’s priority is to produce the most qualified, thoughtful, and informed professionals. By having strategic priorities, we identify the most pressing needs of our association and develop a roadmap as to how we spend our time and our resources. Having an overarching framework provides the flexibility to be nimble as we meet the ever-changing needs of our members while identifying top priorities aimed at strengthening the profession. We will periodically update our successes and look forward to continual feedback as to how we can best serve you as an association.

 

Efficient operations and resource management is a component of every part of the board’s decision-making and the staff’s management of the association. As such, there will be components of this reflected in each of the other four priorities. Making sure our members get the most value for their money and we are making the best decisions to position AFA to be financially sound both now and for the future influences everything we do.

Key Component:

  • Continue to strategically position the association within higher education as the subject-matter expert on fraternity/sorority life.

 

Accomplished:

  • Appointed members that broaden our fraternal and higher education knowledge to the board of directors;
  • Executive Director continues to serve as a member of the NASPA Fraternity/Sorority Knowledge Community Leadership Team and ongoing specific programs with vice presidents to engage in conversations with SSAO’s;
  • Created a program with the Fraternity Executives Association (FEA) and the Association of Student Conduct Administrators (ASCA) to improve the student organization conduct process;
  • Facilitated interactions with peer higher education and fraternal associations to discuss common challenges, as well as potential partnerships;
  • Completed an institutional survey with a 59% return rate, which allows AFA to provide best practices in staffing, budgets, resource allocation, and programmatic responsibilities.

 

Future Plans:

  • Develop best practices and be the leading voice regarding information on staffing models and appropriate resources to support fraternity/sorority life offices;
  • Launch a program with ACUHO-I to educate members of best practices of fraternity/sorority campus housing;
  • Continue to work with partners (including FEA, ACUHO-I and ASCA) on specific programming initiatives to meet with multi-faceted needs of our members;
  • Participate in (as well as host) meaningful opportunities for interactions with groups such as NASPA, NIC, NPC, NPHC, NALFO, NAPA, and NMGC;
  • Continue to utilize the new Core Competencies as a way to demonstrate that fraternity/sorority professionals are equipped with the skills and knowledge to be primary decision makers.

 

Key Components:

  • Engage scholars and researchers in the advancement of knowledge and practical application related to the following areas:
    • Chapter transformation
    • Preparing fraternity/sorority members for the post-graduate world
    • Benefits of culturally-based fraternities and sororities, particularly at predominantly white institutions
    • Programming and leadership development initiatives focused on long-standing issues
    • Transgender membership conversations
    • Fraternity/sorority life as a profession
    • Fraternities/sororities within the larger “academy”
    • How membership in a fraternity or sorority influences one’s beliefs and actions
    • Corollaries and consequences of student engagement in fraternity/sorority life
    • Longitudinal analyses
    • Faculty attitudes, beliefs and dispositions
  • Educate fraternity/sorority professional on best practices regarding leveraging student involvement data and analytics.

 

Accomplished:

  • Developed research priorities that are reflected in the solicitation of applications for research grants;
  • Implemented a consistent process for submission, review, and awarding of research grants during 2018 and spring 2019 in which 13 out of 21 proposals received full or partial funding totaling $24,318;
  • Implemented the online research journal tool Scholastica to assist with the review process and consistent publishing of Oracle resulting in a more efficient and thorough process;
  • Continued the funding for the Oracle research writing symposium designed to teach and enhance research writing skills with the goal of facilitating more completion and submissions to Oracle;
  • Signed a Memorandum of Understanding with William & Mary to host Oracle, making the journal more accessible to the academic community.

 

Future Plans:

  • Launch a quarterly newsletter for the membership focused on existing research and ideas for new research;
  • Commission targeted research papers through the research committee to inform the membership on specific topics;
  • Offer a featured program at the Annual Meeting that will feature research on hazing;
  • Offer scholar-practitioners the opportunity to share their research at the 2019 Annual Meeting with our inaugural Research Paper Presentation with education on key findings and implementation in fraternity/sorority life;
  • Increase the awareness of the research grant process, particularly in areas of our stated research priorities;
  • Utilize partnerships with peer higher education associations to maximize the use of student data being collected on college campuses to tell the story of student satisfaction and success;
  • Continue the Oracle Writer’s Retreat;
  • Become a clearinghouse for relevant research on fraternal issues.

 

Key Components

  • Develop and deliver quality educational programming and resources grounded in the association’s Core Competencies.
  • Develop programming and resources that support the development of mid-career professionals.
  • Develop programming and resources that cultivate a culture of professional mentorship within the association.

 

Accomplished:

  • Unveiled the updated and comprehensive iteration of the association’s Core Competencies and the accompanying self-assessment – members have completed the self-assessment for a second year, which will provide information that will continue to drive programmatic decisions;
  • Continued the refocus of the Graduate Training Track with series of programs independent of the Annual Meeting;
  • Piloted a mid-level career track at the 2018 Annual Meeting with 40 participants – this will help shape the future direction of planning in that area; 
  • Continued to adapt current programs such as AdvanceU to meet the changing needs of our members, with 798 members participating from September 2018 through August 2019, with additional participation on demand.
  • Worked with industry partners to offer concentrated program on risk management topics, including marijuana and opioid usage;
  • Added resource guides on working with chapters under different governing bodies, as well as a guide on campus moratoriums.

 

Future Plans:

  • Utilize the aggregate results of the Core Competency self-assessment to determine additional program offerings and help members determine a professional development plan;
  • Utilize features of our new website to enhance the member experience;
  • Launch a stand alone mid-career institute to educate members on specific skills to prepare for career advancement;
  • Launch a program sponsored by NALFO through the AFA Foundation to increase awareness of and understanding issues pertaining to Latinx students.

 

Key Components:

  • Create engaging content that is relevant and easily consumable by the membership.
  • Effectively utilize technology to improve the creation and delivery of communication products, including the AFA website.

 

Accomplished:

  • Unveiled our new website to maintain a cutting edge visual representation and resource share;
  • Analyzed clicks/views/shares/downloads for patterns and trends of member usage to improve the member experience and continually improve our virtual presence;
  • Finished the process of rebranding AFA and the AFA Foundation;
  • Diversified our use of social media to help tell AFA’s story;
  • Won multiple recognitions at the Fraternity Communications Association Annual Conference. 2018 awards include outstanding single-page design/cover category for Perspectives and a Critic's Choice for the 2017 AFA Annual Meeting logo. 2017 awards include outstanding two-page spread for Perspectives and outstanding e-newsletter for Essentials.

 

Future Plans:

  • Launch a membership survey to assess the members current view of AFA.
  • Complete a climate study using an external consultant with feedback from the membership.
  • Continue to work with the editors of Essentials, Perspectives, and Oracle to define the purpose of each and ensure the highest quality with the most relevant information.

 

Updated November 2019.

 

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