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Power in Networking

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This article was reprinted from the AAFCS website.  The concept of an Academy of Family & Consumer Sciences is a bold initiative to address some of the problems plaguing our profession.  Read the article and then join the conversation on the AAFCS website and LinkedIn.

A new model, the Academy of Family & Consumer Sciences, is being developed to strengthen and expand the network of individuals, institutions and organizations committed to providing a unified source and voice for individuals, families, communities and the field of family and consumer sciences.  Collectively, the Academy would represent more than 250,000 people.  The Academy model continues to be collaboratively developed with multiple opportunities for input to help shape the outcome.

Why form the Academy?

  • Family and consumer sciences organizations face numerous challenges – declining memberships, fewer resources, and lack of public awareness and recognition.  The odds of positively impacting these challenges rise exponentially by combining forces.
  • Today’s societal issues are ones that family and consumer sciences content addresses.  Now is the time to come together to be seen as the field with research-based information that creates healthy and sustainable families. 
  • Collaborating on resources and leveraging the niche of each related organization reduces redundancy and increases our capacity to effectively advocate for individuals, families, and the profession.

What would the Academy do?

  • Connect people from across the spectrum of family and consumer sciences specializations and organizations.  There is power in numbers.  Imagine a united front speaking as one voice for the benefit of individuals and families.
  • Strengthen and leverage the collective resources of over a quarter million members to maximize our return on investment across the family and consumer sciences network of organizations.
  • Advocate in a timely manner for increased public awareness and sound public policy to address social and economic issues in the interest of strengthening individuals and families and advancing family and consumer sciences.

How would it work?

  • Organizations and institutions that support family and consumer sciences could become Academy partners. 
  • Every partner organization would have a seat on the Academy Council of Advisors. 
  • The Academy Board of Directors would be the governing body and policy makers for the Academy.
  • Members (individuals or institutions) of partner organizations in the Academy would be members of the Academy by virtue of their membership in the partner organization. 
  • Those who so choose would be able to join the Academy directly.  Thus, individuals and institutions not in one of the partnering organizations and those who want to provide direct support could strengthen the Academy’s “voice.”
  • Affiliates would extend the Academy model through collaborative groups at local, state or regional levels.
  • The American Association of Family & Consumer Sciences (AAFCS) would transition its governance and operating structure to become the Academy of Family & Consumer Sciences.  Existing AAFCS resources, including financial assets and intellectual capital, would establish the Academy.

What would it cost?

  • The financial projections are being developed as the specific scope of the Academy becomes clearer.
  • In the proposed funding model, each partner organization would pay a fee to the Academy with each determining how they would generate those funds (e.g. pass on to members, redirect funds for work that the Academy could accomplish, etc.)  Individuals and institutions joining directly would pay membership dues.

What’s next and when?

  • Engaging multiple audiences in ongoing conversations and exploration during 2013-2014.
  • Collecting your feedback.  Input can be submitted by email at FCSAcademy@AAFCS.org.
  • The Academy could be proposed to the AAFCS Senate in June 2014 and could be launched in January 2015.