APA President End-of-Year Message
The Academic & Professional Assembly (APA) was formed in 2003 to give professional staff a voice with senior leadership and university administration. I applaud the founding officers for their efforts to create a representative voice and everyone who sustains that effort by strengthening the APA community, either through service on the Board of Directors or participation in APA programs and events.
We began the 2012-13 APA program year with a strategic planning retreat (May 2012), where the current Board of Directors spent half a day discussing and brainstorming how best to serve you. Our primary goal was to better understand the changing needs of APA members in order to create programming you value. We fielded the 2012 APA member survey in July 2012, and thanks to your feedback, we modified APA programs to ensure speaking events were held at locations with plenty of parking (26%), mostly in the afternoon (50%) and primarily featuring administrative guest speakers/leaders (22%). In future years, it’s clear that professional development activities (36%) should be included in the APA program schedule.
In addition to traditional speaking programs, we incorporated a variety of program formats in the 2012-13 APA schedule, including several facility tours, lunch ‘n learns, networking events and a booth at the UF Benefits Fair. I’m very pleased to report that five of the 13 programs reached maximum capacity this year, and we hit a definite sweet spot with facility tours – these attracted a combined total of nearly 200 APA members.
Building on Past President Debra Amirin’s 2011-12 initiative to enhance the APA website, Online Communications Chair, Jeff Stevens, re-skinned the APA website in August 2012 with the UF template. With more than 50 university events or initiatives posted on the site since September 2012, the APA website is now a place where members share information and promote university activities. Web traffic increased from less than 200 unique visits per month to almost 800 unique visits in some months – a substantial increase after allowing the site to be used as a promotion tool. I encourage you to continue posting and shaping APA website content to meet your needs.
Serving on UF Presidential Committees is one of the most effective ways to participate in university governance. 35 APA members volunteered to serve on at least one UF Presidential Committee this year, an astounding increase from the nine who volunteered the year before. Special thanks to those of you who are giving your time to help guide university committees and strengthen the voice of professional staff on campus. There are many ways in which the APA can have a strong voice, and service on committees is just one. APA member participation is increasing, and many who are getting active are staying active. I encourage you to get involved in APA programs, network with other members and reach out to the board. This organization exists to serve your needs, so make it yours – organizational strength and effectiveness relies on your voice.
We enjoyed a strong year of APA programs and participation, all of which were not possible without the incredible support from APA Sponsor and Vice President for Human Resource Services, Paula Varnes Fussell, HRS support staff, Lizette Bloom Classen and Janice Adkinson, and Tiffany Sosa, for her assistance throughout the year. Sincerest thanks to everyone who took time out of their busy schedule to present at an APA program, guide a tour or facilitate an event: Anna Prizzia, Joseph Glover, Dianna Morgan, Cassie Macias, Bernie Machen and Aaron Hoover, Jason Steuber, Jane Muir and Gayle Dykeman, Reed Erickson, David Burdette and John Bevis, Whit Curry and Marsha Mott. APA was honored to co-sponsor several programs this year, and we look forward to future collaborations with the Academic Association for Women, Gator Business Administrator Services and Finance & Accounting.
My most important acknowledgement and heartfelt thanks is to the outgoing APA Board of Directors. I am very fortunate for the rare opportunity to spend an entire year with such a cohesive, dynamic team, and my deepest appreciation goes to the outgoing Board members who made it all happen:
- Debra Amirin, Past-President
- Chris Gough, Secretary/Treasurer
- Melissa Orth, President-Elect
- Martin Smith, Membership Chair
- Whitney Smith, Publicity Chair
- Jeff Stevens, Online Communications Chair
- Sara Weitzel, Program Chair
By far, the single most rewarding experience of serving as APA President was the opportunity to reconnect with old friends and meet new colleagues. As the year progressed, my motivation for service as president strengthened from my constant interaction with the APA community, whether it was the friendly email exchanges as part of the event RSVPs or bumping into old colleagues before or after the programs. I found myself jazzed about attending APA programs because I knew I’d get another chance to connect with members and share a few laughs.
As the 2012-13 APA year comes to a close, keep in mind that often the most important activities are usually not the urgent ones. I know it’s easier said than done to navigate the countless demands on your time, but every once in a while, try to step outside your daily grind. You might find motivation in surprising places. It’s been an honor to serve you, and I look forward to another strong year.
APA President, 2012-13