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Membership Structure Update

Membership Structure Update


Dear AHRD Member:

About two weeks ago, on behalf of the AHRD Board, I announced to the AHRD Membership a decision that was intended to allow every member a "personal choice” in how they received each of their four AHRD journals. Specifically, based on the individual member’s personal preference, all AHRD Members could choose to receive their journals from one of the following formats: (1) on-line, or (2) in-print/hard copy. This decision was originally scheduled for implementation on December 1, 2009.

Since that announcement was made, the AHRD Executive Committee and AHRD Board have received considerable positive and negative feedback to this decision. Positive feedback has focused on member’s appreciation to choose and customize their subscription selections, glad that AHRD is "going green,” etc. Negative feedback has focused on questions and concerns that suggested this decision will hurt the perception of HRD scholarship, undermine the reputation of our journals, harm our journals' efforts to pursue SSCI certification, harm the scholarship quality of manuscript submissions to the journals, cause an elimination of the journals, offend our academic partners, and other adverse consequences.

While we have appreciated the positive feedback we have received from our membership, we are most concerned about the negative feedback we have heard from our members. The AHRD Board and Executive Committee take this feedback seriously.

Regardless of the feedback that has been given, let me assure you that the AHRD Board and Executive Committee had every good intention in making this decision. Before the decision was made, we believed we had sought and received answers to many of the questions and concerns being raised about the decision. We consulted with knowledgeable others (e.g., publishers) — and based on their feedback, we believed that we could move forward with our decision to help our AHRD Members by (1) expanding your freedom to customize your personal choice between (a) on-line and/or (b) in-print hard-copy. And, for those who chose the on-line format, (2) also offer members expanded access to back issues through an archival search system.

However, while explaining how this process unfolded, the main purpose of this email announcement is NOT to argue the merits of our AHRD Board’s decision-making process. While on the surface, there are a number of appealing benefits associated with the decision that the AHRD Board has made as described above, from the immediate feedback and counsel we have received about the decision, it has become increasingly clear to us that the AHRD Executive Committee and AHRD Board need to step back and study the broader impact of this decision more fully before it is implemented.

Simply--we want and need to get this decision right! The decision is too big and the consequences are too significant for us if we don’t get it right. Obviously, in serving our membership, the AHRD Board and Executive Committee want to make the healthiest decision on behalf of research in the HRD discipline, and promote healthier relationships with our respective academy partners, our members, our publishers, our journals, and host of other stakeholders.

And thus, the main purpose of this email is to let you know what the AHRD Executive Committee and Board intend to do to help get this right.

Because we have listened to the voices of concern — this past Monday (November 16), at our AHRD Board meeting, I asked the AHRD Board to table this decision and thereby delay the decision's implementation until a more in-depth study could be made. Additionally, I recommended to the AHRD Board the need to appoint a Journal Task Force that will be charged with helping us develop a long-term strategy for the AHRD journals as well as develop a strategy for the journal we share as partners with the University Forum for Human Resource Development (HRDI).

At this time, the specifics of "who" the members of the Journal Task Force will include and "what charge" they will be given have not been determined. However, I can assure you that the charge will be comprehensive and will include the need to develop and investigate multiple strategic questions and gather factual information and fact-based perceptions from multiple audiences associated with the journals.

The AHRD Board and Executive Committee agreed to this recommendation by tabling the decision and will begin the process of working with me in creating the Journal Task Force. As this process unfolds in the weeks ahead, I will share more information about the Journal Task Force. But for now, here is what I can share with you.

At the 2010 AHRD International Research Conference in the Americas, in Knoxville, Tennessee, it is my intention to announce the members and the charge of Journal Task Force. Once commissioned, the Journal Task Force will commence its work and will develop recommendations — based on their charge — to be given to the AHRD Board at its Fall 2010 Board Meeting. Based upon those recommendations, the AHRD Board will revisit its original decision. And once those recommendations have been reviewed by the AHRD Board, the AHRD Board and Executive Committee will bring those recommendations to you.

Until that time, all AHRD Members will continue to receive their journal subscriptions (i.e., HRDQ, HRDI, ADHR, & HRDR) in hard-copy print form. And for now, regular membership dues will remain at $225, program excellence network membership dues are $150, student member dues are $125, international trial members are $80 the first year ($225 after), and SIG-only memberships (not entitled to receive any AHRD journals or access to the members-only area of the website) are $50.

Again, my main intention is to communicate with you, our AHRD Membership, what we believe are the next steps. Hopefully, in doing so, we will ease the existing concerns that have come to the AHRD Board’s and AHRD Executive Committee’s attention about our decision. By appointing this Journal Task Force, it is our hope that the questions and concerns that were raised will be answered in a satisfactory manner — for ALL of us.

Throughout my two-year term as AHRD President, I have stressed the importance of "doing good things” to increase our value proposition for ALL of our AHRD members. To give our AHRD members a choice in selecting how they received their journals was another effort in support of that goal. If the decision that the AHRD Board and Executive Committee made was indeed "a good thing” — the findings of the Journal Task Force will further reinforce our original direction and it will become clear to everyone that this was indeed the right course. But, in the meantime, taking additional time to more carefully study the broader implications of a decision that impacts our HRD discipline, our AHRD journals, our partnerships, and most importantly you — our member — is never a bad thing.

Michael Lane Morris, Ph.D.
AHRD President

Academy of Human Resource Development

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