Updates from the AKRI Board

Dear Members,

I’d like to thank everyone who was part of the 50th Anniversary Celebration and Dialogues IV.  Over four days at the Cenacle in Chicago, we shared our work and ideas, told stories of our history, and debated our future.  It was a profound and meaningful experience for me, and I’m enormously grateful to everyone who contributed to making it happen.

I’m writing you today to update you on some things that occurred at the Board meeting following the Dialogues.  The Board doesn’t hold a separate retreat when there’s a Dialogues, but we worked through Sunday after the closing plenary and I’d like to update you on what we did.

We wanted to make the most of our time together, both to take in what had just happened at the Dialogues, as well as manage our own transitions, honoring outgoing Board members and welcoming new members in their roles.  As a first order of business, we needed to fill the officer roles on the executive committee.  Seth Harkins and Keith Lequay were re-nominated for Secretary and Treasurer respectively and agreed to serve in their roles for another year.  After two years as Vice-President, Ian Pritchard decided to step down and we needed to fill that role.  Sheri-Ann Cowie expressed interest and soon accepted the nomination and was unanimously confirmed.  We’d like to thank Seth and Keith for another year of service, and Ian for his two years as Vice-President.  And congratulations and godspeed to Sheri-Ann on taking up the vice-presidency during her second year on the Board. 

We also welcomed Tyrome (Ty) Smith, Michael Lindsey, and Ray Bakaitis to the Board.  I’m excited by what these new members bring to AKRI governance.  I don’t think it’s any coincidence that Ray and Michael’s recent roles with AKRI have been around the re-affiliation efforts (Michael on AKRI’s Affiliate Relations Committee and Ray as President of GREX).  And Ty has his roots in the Washington Baltimore Center, thus representing a connection to another part of AKRI’s history and our Group Relations community.  Together, these Board members didn’t have to wait long before making contributions, helping make the Board meeting rich with ideas and debate.

We had much else to consider during our abbreviated time together, including vacancies on various committees and planning upcoming events, but we also wanted to be sure to leave time for farewells to our departing Board members.  Having just shared the experience of the Dialogues reminded us all of what Ellen, Laura, and Neil have brought to the Board and to the AKRI community.   Ellen and Laura both participated in panels on university-based work they’ve done, and their leadership—as conference directors, as academics, and as board members—enriched both the Dialogues and their years on the Board.  And Neil joins Jack Lampl and Sarah Rosenbaum as presidents who have led AKRI through a period of recovery, re-connection and re-birth.  Their contributions are what make this second half century possible.  We’re grateful and we’ll miss them on the Board.

Finally, as Seth mentioned in his Secretary’s update at the Dialogues, we’re making several efforts to increase Board transparency. We’ll be posting minutes of Board meetings on the website and working to open portions of Board meetings to members via Zoom.  I’ll also follow this with other, more frequent updates. Previously, I’ve posted updates like this on the AKRI blog (and this will be posted there as well), but my sense is that the blog is only seen by a portion of the membership, so I’ll send updates out so that we can all feel more included in the work that’s shaping AKRI’s future.  Please be in touch.  All this works so much better if we’re doing it together.



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