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The leading association
of public opinion and
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American Association for Public Opinion Research

A Year of Transitions, With More to Come

by Patricia Moy, President

April is always an exciting time as it means the AAPOR annual conference is just around the corner. Of course, the conference also signifies the end of our Council term. The remarkable individuals that constitute the 2021-22 Executive Council have achieved something tremendous for our organization – a transition to self-management. Unlike many initiatives and undertakings that are outward-facing, AAPOR’s transition happened mostly behind the scenes. More importantly, it involved countless hours and moving parts – hiring personnel, setting up an office, and transferring everything from funds and website domains to processes and institutional knowledge. This transition was no small feat and is certainly something of which this Council, AAPOR’s 320 volunteers, and new incredible staff should be proud.
Having a dedicated staff has opened up a space for AAPOR Council to think strategically about how best to advance the organization. When AAPOR Council convened in March – our first in-person meeting since the pandemic! – we spent significant time discussing what the new AAPOR should or could look like. Fear not; our values and principles will remain steadfast. Rather, as the study of public opinion and survey research become more interdisciplinary and our work reaches different audiences, and as our methodological and analytical toolkit continues to grow, AAPOR has the opportunity to rethink where it wants to be in terms of membership. How much should AAPOR grow, and in what areas? Regardless of the answers to these questions, we will need to ensure that strong systems and mechanisms are in place to support our members.
Our March discussions also focused on efforts underway. AAPOR staff are currently reviewing proposals for a website design. AAPOR councilors are identifying efficiencies and synergies that will make the association even more robust. AAPOR is exploring NSF awards that can help AAPOR’s diversity pipeline. Such backstage activities are part and parcel of the strategic thinking that Council is eager to embrace.
Of course, strategic thinking cannot happen without consideration of budgetary implications. This means that any planning needs to factor in the findings and recommendations of the Future of AAPOR Finances Working Group. Chaired by Lydia Saad, this working group has worked diligently over the past year, collecting and analyzing data. It has reviewed AAPOR’s past financials and assessed the myriad impacts of COVID-19. Based on their findings, the working group will be providing recommendations about how to best ensure AAPOR’s financial stability. We are all extremely grateful for the time and effort Lydia and her team – Allyson Holbrook, Joe Lenski, Dawn Nelson, and Jeffery Stec – have devoted to this undertaking and look forward to seeing their final report in the coming weeks.
In addition to these developments and great accomplishments, this article wouldn’t be complete without a strong nod and hearty thank-you to our Conference Chair, Darby Steiger, and Associate Conference Chair, Brady West. Darby and Brady have partnered with their Conference Committee, dozens of volunteers, and AAPOR staff to plan an absolutely amazing conference, particularly one held as COVID-19 guidelines are changing almost by the day. You can read Darby’s column for more information about the full slate of programming and social events planned for Chicago.
Finally, on behalf of Council, congratulations to the newly elected Executive Council members. You are joining AAPOR’s leadership at an exciting time and we all look forward to great things.
I’m eager to see everyone in Chicago in a few weeks. Yes, come together!