2024 NPSMA President’s Priorities
Welcome to the newly revamped NPSMA website and the first blog post of 2024! I am thrilled to be President of NPSMA in 2024 and excited about our plans for the year. In this blog post I lay out my priorities and hope to excite you about what’s to come.
Our theme for the year is Building Community, which was chosen for a couple of reasons. First, the 2023 National Conference in Tampa was an amazing experience where NPSMA members gathered to learn from each other, network, and strengthen personal connections. It was a tremendous professional experience for those who attended, but attendance was not large and it became clear that we need to work on rebuilding and strengthening the PSM community.
Second, our 2023 President Seema Freer led the successful charge to broaden the PSM umbrella from “science” to “STEM”. She worked closely with the Council of Graduate Schools and challenged the PSM community to think more broadly about programs that could benefit from PSM ideals. Along the way we rebranded from the National Professional Science Master’s Association to the National Professional STEM Master’s Association and unveiled a new logo (see top left corner of this webpage). Seema’s charge to the PSM community was to be more inclusive and less exclusive. In 2024 we’ll take the next steps in fulfilling that charge.
As 2023 drew to a close, I wrote down a list of potential goals for 2024. In the end I settled on seven that I believe are achievable this year. With the help of our 2025 president-elect, Meghan Dovick, and the rest of the PSM community we’ll turn those goals into reality. Here is what you will see us working on over the next 11 months:
Increase Conference Attendance by 50%. Attendance at our annual conference has been decreasing the last few years and was attended by just over 40 people this past November. The 2024 conference will be held in Philadelphia at the Notary Hotel on November 6-8 and we are hoping to have 60+ people in attendance. Seema Freer (Temple) and Gerald Grunwald (Thomas Jefferson University) are co-leading the conference planning committee. They are both local to Philly, have many alumni and corporate contacts in the area, and a deep knowledge of PSM programs that they will use to create an outstanding conference program. You can expect a draft program to be released in April or May.
Meetings with Affiliated Programs. Zoom has made it possible to meet with anyone, anywhere, at any time. Meghan Dovick and I plan to take advantage of this technology to meet with each and every affiliated PSM program over the next six months. The purpose of these 30-minute meetings is to learn more about our members. What is your relationship to PSM? What are the best things about your program? What do you struggle with? How can NPSMA best support you in your role? What do you need from us? After meeting with affiliated programs, we will begin reaching out to previously affiliated programs to hear their stories. Hopefully, programs will see the benefits of returning to the NPSMA and re-engaging with our community. Please contact me (email@example.com) or Meghan (firstname.lastname@example.org) to request a meeting. We will also be reaching out to you.
Create Workforce Development Modules. We are in the process of adding the Canvas Learning Management System to the NPSMA website and will build out Canvas learning modules that are relevant to our members. Potential topics include how to embed professional skills into your curriculum, the use of publicly available resources in your professional skills courses, and a primer on using your advisory board to expand your professional network. We’d like to hear from you about other modules you would find useful – please contact me or Meghan with your ideas!
Provide Regular Website Content. The NPSMA website has been fairly static in the past, but it will be static no more! We have hired a graduate student to serve as our webmaster. Our marketing and outreach committee is busy identifying new content for the site. We will be reaching out to the PSM community for recommendations on alumni we can spotlight, programs we can highlight, and ideas for blog post content. We intend to make the NPSMA website a place you want visit each week!
PSM Badging. The addition of Canvas comes with the option to create badges for the PSM community. Students can put these badges on their LinkedIn profile to showcase the skills they learned in their PSM program to potential employers. We will start small by making badges available to any student who graduated from an affiliated PSM program. Additional badges will be added as interest demands.
Expanding the PSM Leadership Pipeline. As the PSM community grows, the leadership pipeline needs to grow with it. There’s a vast amount of talent in our community to tap into and we have plenty of volunteer opportunities for members who want to contribute to NPSMA. Meghan Dovick and I will be reaching out to individuals throughout the year to suggest roles they could play in our organization. We would also love to hear directly from anyone who wants to be more involved. You can reach us at email@example.com or Meghan.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finish the year in black financially. The NPSMA is currently on solid financial footing, but our cash reserves are not sufficient to provide all of the member benefits we’d like. By taking in more money than we spend we will continue to build reserves and make it possible to do even more next year.
These are my goals for 2024. I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas for this year and beyond. Please drop me a line at email@example.com.
Many thanks to Linda Strausbaugh for her keen editorial eye!
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