October 26, 2015
Welcome to a new EDRA year!
On a glorious fall weekend, September's last, I joined the entire EDRA Board and staff for our Fall Retreat in EDRA's new headquarters and home city of Madison, Wisconsin. In the shadow of the Capitol, encircled all day Saturday by Madison's famous Farmer's Market alive with music, farm stands, food trucks and countless crowds, we set to work planning the year ahead. Our weekend goal was to take stock of where we are, talk candidly about our current programs, structure, and finances, and then turn to outlining and prioritizing strategic actions we will take as the year unfolds. Lively dialogue and hard work did indeed, by Sunday morning, produce three top board priorities On behalf of the entire EDRA Board I am delighted to declare them for the first time here.
For 2015-2016, we, the EDRA Board of Directors, are committed to:
- Developing and engaging EDRA's membership
- Strengthening EDRA's organizational structure and capacity, and
- Prioritizing EDRA's programs and projects with member input.
As a membership organization, the EDRA Board's work is made more meaningful with guidance, participation and input from our members. That is why, on the heels of our Fall Retreat, board members Jennifer Senick and Bob Marans (Emeritus) immediately set to work designing a member survey to be launched in early 2016. The survey is just one way we will be reaching out to seek your thoughts and insights. We hope you will participate, let us know what is important, and be part of charting EDRA's future as we approach our 50th birthday in 2019!
Directors of the 2015-2016 EDRA Board met for the annual Board Fall Retreat to reflect on past year's activities, re-visit the long-term strategic plans and set goals for 2016.
Madison, Wisconsin, Sept 26 & 27, 2015
Ways we connect
Throughout its long history, EDRA has been providing a home for novice and experienced researchers and practitioners in a growing base of disciplines from countries all over the world. The warmth, camaraderie, and supportive community of EDRA conferences sets us uniquely apart - many of us on the Board have benefited and grown from such experiences and are striving to maintain that essence of EDRA. We are all proud of the tradition of our annual conferences, each with their unique theme and setting. And we are also especially proud of our newest programs that expand EDRA's visibility and impact - the EDRA CORE (Certificate Of Research Excellence) recognition program and the bi-annual EDRA Translational Symposium. This year, the first EDRA CORE submissions were rigorously juried to select and recognize an outstanding group of recipients for impactful practice-based research. Please join me in congratulating the 2015 EDRA CORE recipients, and thanking all the dedicated individuals who spent long hours over the past two years working so hard to develop and launch CORE- thank you! Read all about CORE and the 2015 winners at http://EDRA.org/content/EDRA-core and consider applying in the next cycle.
While we made the difficult decision to postpone the 2015 EDRA Translational Symposium until 2016, we remain enthused about the value and potential of this nascent program. Many thanks go out to all those who have been working tirelessly these past few months on the symposium program, to the many speakers who have offered their valued time and expertise, and to those who enthusiastically registered to attend. We are truly sorry for any difficulties and inconveniences caused by the postponement and are committed to working towards delivering an even more successful upcoming symposium.
Looking forward with a new team
Last year was marked by transition as the Board searched for and hired a new association management company, AMPED, under the superb guidance of 2014-2015 EDRA Chair, Shauna Mallory-Hill. Today, we are working hard behind the scenes with a strong team led by AMPED CEO Lynda Patterson and our Executive Director, Marechiel Santos-Lang. Of course, changes, adjustments, getting up to speed and in sync are the norm with transitions like these. But we have all been working to create a seamless and high-value membership experience for you.
The EDRA47 Raleigh Conference Committee co-chaired by members Celen Pasalar and Andrew Fox at North Carolina State University, is busy producing a dynamic conference that takes us back on "home" ground, where the very first EDRA "1" was held. It was in North Carolina that a group of 'unbridled optimists' began to forge new connections between designers and social scientists and make the case for strengthening the role of research in environmental design. From those early beginnings has emerged a legacy and record of research and design contributions by countless EDRAites who have made environments safer, healthier, more humane, livable and vibrant. A glance at any of the past EDRA Conference Proceedings not only tells the story but also offers inspiration, guidance and cause for continued 'unbridled optimism' towards the role of research in environmental design.
Engage with the EDRA community
For those new to EDRA, we invite you to actively engage with the EDRA community in taking a closer look (on our website) at the multifaceted opportunities and resources that EDRA provides - consider participating in the conference by submitting your poster or work in progress, nominate your peers for an EDRA Award, offer your expertise as a student mentor, write an article for EDRA Connections or our newsletter, sign up as a reviewer, volunteer or sponsor, or nominate yourself or a colleague for next year's Board positions! Most importantly, don't just join EDRA and remain a passive onlooker. Rather, we invite you to take the opportunity to very actively engage and support our work. The best thing about EDRA is that there is something for everyone who chooses to engage.
For those who are established EDRAites and are already actively engaged in different ways, many thanks and kudos for all your contributions - we are much stronger because of it. Call or write to any of us on the Board with your ideas and questions, and join the conversations of the EDRA community on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
We appreciate your input, support and participation and count on you to make EDRA all it aspires to be! We would love to hear from you!
Gowri Betrabet Gulwadi, Ph.D.
2015-2016 EDRA Chair of the Board
Associate Professor and Area Coordinator of Interior Design
School of Applied Human Sciences
University of Northern Iowa
Cedar Falls, IA