1999 report, professional development committee

Presented to the AFA National Council and the AFA Business Meeting,  American Forensic Association Annual Convention, Chicago, Illinois, November 3, 1999

The AFA Professional Development and Support Committee has been active during the last year, engaging in several projects intended to serve the discipline.

1. 1999 American Forensic Association Distinguished Service Award

Effective with the 1997 award, the chair of the Professional Development and Support Committee has been charged with the responsibility of initiating a formal call for nominations in the AFA Newsletter, and for presenting these nominations to the committee during the annual meeting to enable the selection of a winner. In response to this year's duly published call, the committee is very pleased to report that the nomination process has culminated in the selection of Professor Joseph W. Wenzel, Professor Emeritus of Speech Communication at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as the 1999 recipient of the AFA Distinguished Service Award.

2. Ongoing Call for Innovations and Professional Development Materials Pertinent to the Forensics Professional

At the 1998 annual meeting, the Professional Development and Support Committee approved the initiation of an ongoing call to be published in the AFA Newsletter soliciting the submission of short informative articles regarding innovations, tenure and promotion issues, or state-of-the-forensics-arts issues of interest to the forensics community. Initiation of the publication of this regular call is the responsibility of the committee chair.

3. New Committee Website, http://americanforensics.org/ProfDev/

Due to the work of AFA webmaster and President, James Klumpp, the new website is available for use. The committee has been charged with the responsibility of identifying information and services which should be included as this website is developed further. A motion passed at the November 3, 1999 meeting specified the prompt inclusion of the "Quail Roost" materials; additional input from the committee is planned.

4. New Committee Bylaws

In response to President Klumpp's 1998 charge to develop formal committee Bylaws, a Bylaws document was composed by the committee chair; after discussion and modification, the Professional Development and Support committee approved the Bylaws document in an unanimous vote at the annual meeting held on November 3, 1999.

5. Update on Research and Assessment Report on Diversity in Forensics

In keeping with its responsibility to the forensics community, and in response to a request from President Klumpp for an assessment report centering on diversity in the discipline, the committee formally proposed at the 1998 annual meeting that the AFA allocate $1,000 to fund an assessment project involving primary research. Subsequently, the committee chair placed an advertisement calling for applications for the position of primary researcher in the AFA Newsletter. I am very pleased to report that this call has drawn a successful response, leading to the selection of Professor Mike Allen of the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee as our primary researcher. We feel confident that his expertise will insure the production of a useful study.

The chair has appointed an ad hoc committee to facilitate this important project; members are: Dr. Michael Bartanen, ad hoc committee chair; Dr. Mike Allen, primary researcher, Dr. Anthony Schroeder, and Dr. Mary Trejo. The ad hoc committee has been communicating by email and fax, and will meet on Saturday, November 6 during the Chicago convention to finalize plans for the assessment.

Dr. Allen has designed a survey to be mailed to persons affiliated with the following organizations:

  • American Forensic Association
  • Delta Sigma Rho-Tau Kappa Alpha
  • Pi Kappa Delta
  • American Mock Trial Association
  • Cross Examination Debate Association
  • National Educational Debate Association
  • Phi Rho Pi

At the November 3, 1999 annual meeting, committee members suggested inclusion of the following organizations to Dr. Allen's initial list: NPDA, NDT, APDA, ADA, and NFA.

Further, Dr. Allen has proposed this timetable:

Diversity in Forensics: ACTION PLAN AND SCHEDULE

1. Final approval of survey and letter--November 10, 1999
2. Approval, Internal Review Board for Use of Human Subjects--December 3, 1999
3. Duplication of materials for mailing and envelope stuffing--Dec. and Jan, 1999
4. Mail out all surveys, January 15, 2000
5. Data entry--February to April, 2000
6. Data analysis--May, 2000
7. Report Writing--June and July, 2000
8. Distribution of initial report for editing and feedback--August, 2000
9. Editing and final report--September, 2000
10. Presentation of report to AFA, NCA in Seattle, November, 2000

Therefore, the committee requests the inclusion of a report on this primary research project contributing to an assessment of diversity in forensics on the agenda at the 2000 convention.

6. Proposal to Fund a Researcher to Complete an Annotated Bibliography of Tenure and Promotion Materials to be Posted on the Committee Webpage

Aware of its responsibility to represent the professional interests, development and support of forensics professionals, the following motion was passed unanimously by the committee at its November 3, 1999 annual meeting:

"...that the AFA Professional Development and Support committee request $750.00 in funding for a researcher to complete an annotated bibliography relating to tenure and promotion in Forensics, with the product being posted on the AFA Professional Development and Support webpage." Given AFA approval of the research project, the chair will publish a call for a researcher in the AFA Newsletter. It is intended that research and creation of the annotated bibliography will be completed, posted on the webpage, and available to be included as a report in time for the 2000 convention.

Therefore, the committee requests that this item be included on the agenda of the AFA Business Meeting, November 3, 1999, and also requests that this item be included in the AFA budget.

7. Election of 1999-2000 Professional Development and Support Committee Chair

Mary Trejo was elected to serve a second 1-year term as Professional Development and Support Committee chair by unanimous vote on November 3, 1999.

Respectfully submitted,
Mary Trejo, Ph.D.
Chair, AFA Professional Development and Support Committee