Our national topic for this past year was "ADVOCATE!" The term "advocacy" can mean many things. We've seen this in the variety of ways the topic has been addressed in our regional meetings, our national conference in San Diego, and in the very first CMS webinar on advocacy held online, November 9th with some 35 members in attendance. I hold a broad view of what "advocacy" means. We are not very good as a professional organization at beating on trash can lids, picketing, wearing sandwich boards and the like.
I see "advocacy" for CMS as any initiative that builds connections and partnerships through groups from within the academy or to organizations from without—those groups whose mission shares a common ground with ours. CMS advocacy is rooted in our professional scholarship broadly defined. Perhaps advocacy for us, as Robby Gunstream shared with me, is about "engagement" through our professional work. This is something we have found in the past few years that we excel at as an organization.
From Without the Society. There are two major initiatives reflected in the Quick Starts for last year and this year that reflect advocacy from WITHOUT the Society: (1) developing alliances with other organizations and (2) reaching out globally with our new international ambassador program.
CMS has maintained alliances with organizations such as NASM, PKL, ATMI, and SMTE for many years. We began to expand our alliances last year through new relationships with Imagining America (thanks to the work of the Community Engagement committee) and with NAMM (a relationship that began with our Summit in Anaheim this past January and continues with the work of the Business & Industry committee). NAMM stands for the National Association of Music Merchants. We have great expectations for this relationship and we continue to work with the NAMM leadership as a key bridge to careers outside the academy.
In addition, past events have set the stage for our next Summit on the "Developing the Artist Citizen" on the SMU campus in Dallas in January 2013. Bill Everett as the Summit chair person and his program committee have arranged an impressive list of participants including Jose Antonio Bowen, Eric Booth, Robert Blocker, Joseph Polisi, Kevin Bott from Imaging America, Gigi Antoni from Big Thought, people from Playing for Change, and more. This cast of participants is an excellent example of our advocacy foundation working to build new partnerships and alliances from without the Society.
After many years of false starts, it is exciting to report that the CMS international ambassadors initiative is finally launched (thanks to our International Initiatives Committee). We have some 43 inaugural ambassadors who have agreed to serve as representatives to a host of countries. We need more to fill in our global advocacy map! We need more volunteers who have expertise in as many world countries or regions of countries as possible.
From Within the Society. Turning now to advocacy from WITHIN the Society. When the 2008 economy tanked, we had a significant drop in membership. Rebuilding our membership is now a high priority for our organization.
Our new "advocacy foundation" provides the framework for building membership "within" at the campus, regional, and national levels through student initiatives (with our Student Affairs Council), and career mentoring for both young professionals and aspiring administrators (through collaboration between our Career Mentoring and Administration and Leadership committees). One major population we lost in membership is those members engaged in careers outside the academy. This latter group is the impetus for our new Careers Outside the Academy committee and the critical importance of our relationship with NAMM.