CMS Regional Chapter

everett_williamWilliam Everett, University of Missouri, Kansas City
CMS Vice-President

It continues to be an honor to serve CMS as its Vice-President. I look forward to another successful year for the Regional Chapters. Plans are set for eight Regional Conferences in spring 2013. (One chapter will not hold a Regional Conference in 2013.) Furthermore, two chapters have already planned a joint conference for 2014, and most chapters have preliminary plans in place for 2014.

All nine chapters held Regional Conferences in spring 2012. Chapter Presidents relate that these were successful events, with healthy programs that featured papers, performances, lecture-recitals, workshops, plenary addresses, common topic panels, and of course plenty of time for lively and engaging conversation, often over shared meals.

We had our first WebEx meetings of chapter presidents in late spring 2012. Due to scheduling conflicts, we held two separate sessions. I cannot state enough the value of these virtual meetings. They were tremendous opportunities to welcome new chapter presidents and to engage in meaningful dialogue between returning and incoming chapter presidents. These virtual sessions made our corporeal breakfast meeting at the National Conference in San Diego more meaningful and useful. During the WebEx meetings, issues from conferences were fresh in everyone’s mind.

Peter Park has prepared extremely valuable and indeed vital handbooks for Chapter Presidents, Chapter Treasurers, and Chapter Program Chairs. Some chapters use these effectively and efficiently, while others need more encouragement to do so. Special thanks go to Peter for keeping the handbooks current.

I send e-mail messages to all Chapter Presidents several times a year that include reminders of upcoming deadlines and other pertinent information. Peter Park, in his role as Director of Professional Activities, also sends group messages to the Chapter Presidents.

Most chapters are functioning very well. Some long-standing issues in certain chapters are being resolved in a positive manner. One chapter is presently experiencing organizational challenges and will not hold a spring 2013 meeting; Peter Park and I have been working with members of this particular chapter to help renew its vitality.

The Regional Chapter Presidents had a productive breakfast meeting at the National Conference in San Diego. We reviewed Quick Starts from 2011-12. The following Quick Starts were completed:
1. An active student chapter creates a video to showcase its activities. Appalachian State’s Student Chapter has done this.
2. Use technology to enhance Regional Conferences. The Great Lakes Chapter offered an electronic version of its conference program. Since more opportunities for growth exist in this area, this Quick Start is being carried over into 2012-13.
3. Have a videoconference of Regional Chapter Presidents in the spring. Two sessions took place on WebEx that were eminently successful, as discussed above.

The following Quick Starts from 2011-12 are being carried over into 2012-13:
1. Chapter Presidents collectively create a video on the merits of being a chapter officer. These were filmed in San Diego and are awaiting editing. (See below.)
2. Chapter Presidents create videos on CMS Regional Chapter benefits and opportunities. These were filmed in San Diego and are awaiting editing. (See below.)
3. Chapters create 4-minute films with footage form the Regional Conferences that could serve as both a report and a teaser for the next year’s conference. A great deal of discussion ensued on this Quick Start during our San Diego meeting.
4. Name student awards for outstanding presentations. Some chapters have done this, while others are considering it.
5. “Honor the Past” through honorary members and free conference registration for retired members who have made significant contributions to the chapter. Some chapters have tried this, and others plan to do so.
6. Use technology to enhance Regional Conferences. This is a continual effort, with some applications having already taken place.

The following new Quick Start was added, which falls under QS3, “Develop a network of liaisons…”
1. Find ways for CMS Regional Chapters to work with student organizations on campuses, particularly through CMS Student Chapters.

Some chapter presidents mentioned issues regarding some new initiatives as well as some ongoing and emerging concerns. Regarding new initiatives, two chapter presidents expressed concern about creating quality, non-amateurish videos from their Regional Conferences. One stated, “We are ready to take on the filming project at the 2013 regional conference using student volunteers, but wonder if we have equipment that will provide the quality of video and editing expertise that is required from the site.” Another commented, “High quality video recording costs are financially out of reach for regional budgets.” During our meeting in San Diego, a great deal of time was spent discussing videos stemming from Regional Conferences.

Finances constitute another issue for a few Regional Chapters. According to one Chapter President, “We continue to be concerned about the rising costs of running a conference. The rising expenses in terms of recording concerts, renting halls, and catering food for attendees often limit the choice of venues. We are also faced with discontinuing the paper programs due to printing costs in the interest of staying solvent as a region.” Another remarked, “The current amount given by the National Office for a keynote speaker is not usually enough to attract a speaker with a national reputation. If the keynote speaker is one of the primary attractions, supplementary funds need to be given from the regional chapters.” These issues, while significant, do not seem to be universal among the chapters.

As the CMS Board addresses the format of CMS conferences, it is worth considering what one Chapter President included in her report, “Several members have voiced concerns that the conferences no longer serve the needs of their participants in their current form. One solution is to include fewer papers and more concerts, creating a festival model instead of a traditional conference.”

Most Chapter Presidents made short videos during the conference. Larry Kaptain and Tom Cook facilitated the interviews, which are to be edited and posted on the CMS YouTube channel. Thanks to Larry and Tom for their great work in making this happen.

The Common Topic Panel on “ADVOCATE!” took place at the National Meeting. We had a healthy-sized audience that grew in number as the session progressed. Each Chapter President presented a short précis of discussions that took place at their respective chapter meeting. An engaging, invigorating, and productive discussion followed.