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The spring BOD meeting was hosted by the University of Central Florida in Orlando on February 23rd and 24th, followed by a DSO Orientation on February 25th. It was a very good and productive meeting that facilitated movement on current initiatives and outlined future plans. As always, your committee chairs and the Operations Manager continue to serve the Academy tirelessly as we work towards completion of the 2015-2020 Strategic Plan.

Highlighted below are some of the big changes addressed at this meeting:
1) The BOD voted to move the Annual Symposium from the fall back to the spring after approximately a decade. This allows colleagues with heavy fall teaching loads to return to the annual symposium and/or provide new host venues. Thus, following the Vancouver meeting (8-11 October 2019), there will be about an 18-month gap before our next symposium in the Spring of 2021 (accepting host proposals now). Hopefully this planned “off year” will save some money so more folks can attend the joint AAUS-CAUS meeting in Vancouver!

2) The 2020 “off year” also provides an opportunity for the BOD to focus on writing the 2021-2025 Strategic Plan. In the coming months, AAUS will poll the membership on a number of topics relative to our current and future goals. Please respond and make your voice heard. The BOD will seek the advice of membership as we prioritize these goals and continue building the Strategic Plan (2021-2025).

3) AAUS continues to look at ways to fund our operating budget and meet membership needs. While we had a recent dues increase in 2019, those funds will barely support day to day operations of the Academy and are not sustainable beyond the immediate future. The BOD is currently working on a sustainable Business Plan that we hope to unveil in Vancouver. However, in the near term, the BOD voted to raise IM dues, for the first time in history, to $50 per member (the $25 per student membership dues will be retained). We urge you to encourage all scientific divers under your OMs to join as individual members and stay tuned for a full AAUS Membership drive coming in the next few months.

4) The BOD identified a typographical error in the current AAUS Bylaws (v2016) regarding the terms of service for BOD Executive Officers. The details of the error to be corrected along with a proposal to modify the roles of the Presidency will be provided to membership for a comment period via a direct email in the next few weeks.

Note: Many of the committees working on these and other issues would welcome volunteers- please contact AAUS if you’d like to get involved.

Marc Slattery
University of Mississippi

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