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Governing Council Today: Communications Committee and You

What do NAPA members want? What do NAPA members need? These are questions that NAPA leaders would like to address. However, with a diverse set of member practitioners employed in a broad spectrum of workplaces, with a range of wants and needs, divining the proper answers is challenging.

As noted two weeks ago by NAPA President Leni Bohren, one way NAPA hopes to address these questions is by being more proactively open and public about what NAPA is actually doing. That is one reason why we have launched this bi-weekly blog series featuring members of the Governing Council (aka the GC, the elected officials and committee chairs who volunteer their time to provide the behind-the-scenes functioning of the association). Through their ongoing posts, it is hoped that NAPA members and other practitioners will better understand what NAPA does and how it does it, and then provide feedback on what is presented. Does NAPA activity dovetail well with member needs and wants? This might be one way to find out.

In this week’s post we discuss the activities of the Communications Committee (the CommComm, in internal parlance), one of the largest NAPA committees. As you might imagine, this committee is engaged in numerous activities to engage and support members, as well as the larger practitioner community, by communicating to and among practitioners about relevant issues.

Did you know that NAPA has some 10 media venues for communication? Eight of these fall under the CommComm. These include the website and this blog, of course, but also a Twitter page (https://twitter.com/NapaAnthro) with over 4,000 followers. This page is managed in exemplary fashion by Nancy Gillis, who serves double duty as NAPA’s Membership Committee Chair (and who is scheduled to provide the next GC blog posting in two weeks). It is an excellent resource to help you keep track of current events in practice.

The NAPA LinkedIn page (http://www.linkedin.com/groups/National-Association-Practice-Anthropology-1123547) has over 2,700 members, many of them from Europe and other international regions. There are usually several lively postings and discussions going on at any one time. The site is managed by Tess Poat, assisted by Nicole Conand and Kristin Keller. Nicole and Kristin also recently launched a bi-weekly interview series on the LinkedIn page. Every two weeks, they will post an interview with anthropologists covering current issues and trends in the practice of anthropology. Currently, interviews with exhibitors from the Career Expo at the 2012 AAA annual meeting are running. These interviews are scheduled for posting every other Tuesday, in the alternative Tuesdays when these website blog postings are scheduled. Thus, each week you should see some new content posted online by NAPA, either on this blog or on the LinkedIn page.

The NAPA Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/NAPA.Anthro) is currently undergoing redevelopment under the guidance of Charlotte Noble and Janelle Christensen. Feel free to post your comments, photos, activities, and news on our socially oriented Facebook page.

Last year, NAPA re-launched a scaled-down version of a newsletter called NAPA Notes, which is meant to be a concise summary of NAPA news and events, with links for further information. Emily Altimare publishes the newsletter three times a year, with Nicole Conand recently stepping in to assist. NAPA Notes appears at the start of fall, just before the AAA meeting, and just before the SfAA meeting in the spring. If you have something to contribute, let Emily know. The newsletter is distributed in PDF format directly to NAPA members by broadcast emails sent from the AAA, which is the primary tool used by NAPA to reach members directly. (You likely receive several direct email messages from NAPA over the course of a year.) Back issues of the newsletter are posted on the website at http://practicinganthropology.org/publications/newsletter/.

Do you remember the old ANTHAP listserv run by Jim Dow out of the U of Oakland in Michigan? NAPA is happy to announce that a new, practitioner-oriented listserv will be launched soon, spearheaded by Karen Greenough, Chad Morris (a GC member-at-large), and Jo Aiken. The final technical issues are being worked out, and announcements should be going out soon to let you know how to sign up. The list should provide an easy way to keep track of all the news and activities within NAPA and the world of anthropological practice.

Although outside of the mandate of the CommComm, committee member and incoming deputy chair Jo Aiken maintains the NAPA section of the online Anthropology News. The online AN has its own website, with the section news found at http://www.anthropology-news.org/index.php/category/section-news/. And of course the printed version of the Anthropology News produced by AAA is found in your mailbox (if you choose to receive the printed version) several times a year, with NAPA Secretary Lisa Henry coordinating the NAPA content in the section news.

The fact that you are reading this suggests you are already familiar with the website, which is currently undergoing a redevelopment process. Corinne Wilder is working with the Career Section, while Shane Pahl and Angela Ramer are reviewing the Student/Faculty Section for developments. We have a long way to go, but we also have come a long way so far. For example, a major resource will be announced soon for the Mentoring section of the site; stay tuned!

Last and not least, of course, is this blog series, managed by Dan Jordan. He has the thankless task of herding the cats and managing the scheduling for these GC posts. You are welcome to submit your responses, and also to send in your own announcements and information to post on this blog.

The CommComm has other volunteers contributing to larger efforts as well. Grace Munene, print media coordinator, has been working on a sorely needed NAPA brochure, which members should see soon. Ann Pitts is our special projects coordinator, and most recently was active in tracking down photos from practitioners to use on the website.

The CommComm also benefits from an Advisory Board of long-time members and past presidents. Their role is to advise on CommComm activities, and to serve as an institutional memory for the committee. Advisory Board members are Elizabeth Briody, Alexandra Mack, Susan Squires, and Christina Wasson.

Those are some of the tasks undertaken by the Communications Committee, and the people who make it happen. What else should the CommComm be doing? What would you like to see? NAPA is very interested in evolving and adapting to meet the needs of members. Don’t forget to tell us what you want, and what you need. If you are not a member, let us know what would help move you to join this solid and useful association.

And we are always looking for volunteers! If you would like to be a part of the CommComm or any other NAPA committee, contact NAPA Volunteer Coordinator Jason Lind via the “contact us” form on this site.

Thanks for reading, and come back again in two weeks for the next “GC Today” update.

Terry Redding

Communications Committee Chair

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