American Society of Andrology.

ASA Strategic Plan Draft 1.8 April 17, 2012

Please send comments regarding this document to dr.donna.vogel@gmail.com.

Mission: To advance discovery and education in andrology, the study of male reproductive health, through promoting cross-fertilization and integration of knowledge and expertise in the basic and clinical sciences.

Vision: The American Society of Andrology seeks to be an international leader in the promotion, education, and discovery in the field of male reproductive health by nurturing the careers, expertise and ideas of diverse stakeholders in andrology, including scientists and clinicians; and by informing the public.

Core Values:
The American Society of Andrology promotes the following values and culture:

  • Promotion of male reproductive health in humans and animals
  • Curiosity, integrity and rigor in male reproductive health research
  • Dissemination of knowledge through peer-reviewed scholarship, academic collaboration and collegiality and educational venues
  • Diversity and inclusivity of members from research, education and practice
  • Excellence in the promotion of career development in andrology

Strategic Plan: 5 yr plan

Strategic priority I: Provide the highest quality scientific knowledge of male reproductive health through the society journal, annual meeting and other media venues.
I.1 Challenges related to the Society journal Andrology
  • The goal of the recent merger of the ASA journal, Journal of Andrology, with that of the EAA, International Journal of Andrology, is to foster development of a stronger and more widely read journal, Andrology, that encourages submission of the best basic and clinical andrology work. Because it is not possible to calculate an Impact Factor (IF) for Andrology for several years, we need to communicate to our authors that they can average the IF of Journal of Andrology and International Journal of Andrology during this window of time. We also need to concentrate on getting the new journal started off with high quality publications that will ultimately result in a high IF and thereby help self-perpetuate the submission of additional high quality manuscripts. It is also imperative to support the new Editors in accomplishing a rapid turnaround time from submission to the final decision and make it widely known that the new publication model with Wiley-Blackwell includes elimination of page charges to authors. Equally important is to support the concept of open access to the fullest extent possible within the new publication model and keep costs to the authors for open access as low as possible. The immediate challenge is for Andrology to rapidly establish itself as a high impact journal and become the first choice journal for submission of basic science and clinical andrology manuscripts.
I.2 Objectives related to Andrology:
  • Attract the best basic and clinical science papers, ensure rapid and high quality peer review, publish a balance of basic and clinical science papers. Mechanisms that have been put in place to promote and maintain the quality of the science published by the journal include a Journal Oversight Committee composed of members from both the ASA and EAA and the selection of highly qualified Associate Editors. The new journal will also use a publisher, Wiley Blackwell, rather than have the ASA publish the journal to minimize overall costs, and facilitate the publication process.
  • Maintain Journal of Andrology subscription loyalty after the journal merger.
I.3 Challenges related to the Annual ASA meeting:

The ASA annual meeting is a highly interactive forum for the dissemination of new basic and clinical scientific findings in Andrology. An exciting meeting is critical to engage existing members, to recruit new members, and to enhance the public image of Andrology. However, as in many societies, membership has decreased and with it, attendance at meetings. This decrease likely reflects the world economic situation and a declining number of younger scientists entering the field. The mix of basic and clinical topics at the ASA annual meeting, while providing the diversity and breadth generally considered a strength of the Society, may dissuade some scientists from attending. Furthermore, a lack of understanding of the ASA mission and its membership by the lay public impedes positive interactions and increased support of research in general. The annual meeting also must generate profit to contribute to the financial stability of the ASA.

I.4 Objectives related to the ASA annual meeting:
  • Understand reasons behind loss of meeting participants. Survey members who no longer attend about why they stopped.
  • Identify mechanisms to enhance meeting attendance by such actions as:
    • Formalize modular (ala carte) style of the annual meeting.
    • Include both front and back end sessions/workshops for laboratory andrology, basic science, contraception, toxicology, veterinary/zoo/comparative species, and/or clinical focus groups. Allow attendees to “tailor” the meeting to fit their needs. Reach out to needs of specific groups.
    • Continue to connect clinicians and scientists and maintain a core balance of speakers in the symposium. This can be done by including basic, clinical, and translational speakers within the same symposium.
    • Use location strategically. Have meetings in highly desirable locations that people want to visit. Travel money is very precious and meeting 3 location may be a decisive factor even when the scientific program is maximally appealing.
  • Make the meeting appealing to more diverse audiences by such actions as:
    • Develop educational tools to enhance trainee attendance/participation in the annual meeting, including special sessions devoted to trainee speakers, and sessions tailored to fit trainee needs (postdoc applications, writing papers, jobs).
    • Enhance participation among minority and underrepresented groups. Provide support for students from underrepresented groups to attend meetings. Reach out to minority schools/universities to identify potential students.
    • Increase involvement of the public: provide educational sessions. Write press releases or blog highlighting abstracts to be presented at the annual meeting.
    • Increase international participation.
  • Develop joint programs with sister societies to attract non-participating members, those who have dropped membership or who are non-members.
  • Evaluate the importance of the annual meeting as an income-generating event in the context of the overall ASA budget, and then set goals for income generation.
  • Publish meeting proceedings in ways that promote but don’t replace attendance.
  • Make some elements of the meeting more accessible to international audience, e.g. through webcasts or podcasting plenary lectures. Members who can’t afford to attend every year would likely value this and if accessible only to members could be a way of attracting and retaining members.
  • Enhance the exchange of ideas between ASA membership and funding agencies (e.g. Epididymal workshop)
I.5 Challenges related to development of other media venues.
  • The ASA needs to utilize other venues including social networking or a blog to rapidly disseminate information to and get feedback from its membership and/or the public including position statements. The society also needs a mechanism to allow interactions/discussion among its members outside of the annual meeting, such as holding a “town meeting” webinar to discuss society and/or policy issues of broad interest. This is especially critical when key issues need to be discussed and/or voted on. A challenge will be to maintain some control as well as possible to ensure scientific quality and rigor and prevent misinformation.
I.6 Objectives related to development of other media venues.
  • Identify and develop a blog or some other interactive forum for exchange of information between society members.
  • Identify and develop a mechanism for the rapid dissemination of information to the membership and public.
  • Consider developing Androlog into a blog for daily distribution of information.
Strategic Priority II: Promote/enhance the value and image of the ASA.

The ASA is the “go-to”society for discovery and education in the science of male reproductive health, and our excellent reputation needs to be conveyed to all relevant stakeholders.

II.1. Challenges:
  • The impact of research and discovery in male reproductive health depends on its perceived value by trainees, colleagues, medical practitioners, health advocacy groups, the public and policymakers. The ASA must reach out to each of these constituents to increase its visibility and convey the value of its impact broadly. ASA could also take actions to enable other groups to access the expertise of its scientists (e.g. speakers bureau), and celebrate their achievements as individuals (press releases or blog about breakthrough articles and awards.
II.2. Objectives:
  • To increase the Society’s visibility to constituents, we must formulate a proactive communication plan for each of them:
    • Trainees:
      • Increase engagement through social media avenues such as actively managed Facebook and Twitter sites and an updated and relevant Society website. Encourage blogging activity.
      • Increase engagement through tailored educational venues for students such as webinars, laboratory forums and ongoing visible support of student-initiated collegial events.
      • Increase the role of trainees in day-to-day society functions including participation on committees, program development and peer review.
      • Support clinician trainee attendance at annual and other meetings through travel awards, student forum/mixers to support collegial growth.
      • Increased mentorship of trainees through co-moderating at meetings, relevant on-line workshops and webinars.
      • Through increased endowment giving, offer competitive academic scholarships (1-2 yrs) for young andrologists in the Society.
    • Colleagues:
      • Improve collegiality by inviting and recruiting animal husbandry/zoologists to meetings and to journal publication.
      • Support the ongoing development of targeted relevant social media venues such as andrology chatrooms (Androlog), relevant website redesign that is informative and relevant (classifieds/Wanted/Job postings). Website could become the “Craigslist” for andrology needs and services.
      • Promotion of new international journal.
      • Promote a la carte meetings (epididymal conferences, clinical symposia, testis workshops) that serve the highly specialized segments of Society membership.
      • Establish a formal liaison between the ASA membership and funding agencies to allow the exchange of ideas and sharing of information (organized workshops at the annual meeting, liaison committee).
    • Public:
      • Become relevant to the public through interaction with press on timely andrology topics (Officers commenting on press releases)
      • Highlight 1 or 2 published papers/month through specific on-line press releases and encourage press attendance at meetings to disseminate late breaking/exciting research.
      • Consider developing relevant position statements or clinical guidelines for public consumption.
      • Consider having “Mini-Medical School” or “Science and You” sessions for the invited lay public at national meetings.
      • Develop and promote a quarterly (online) Society newsletter that is sent to membership and guest lecturers at meetings that encourages gifting, commentary and otherwise increased involvement.
    • Policymakers:
      • Inform national organizations of hot topics, achievements of members, position papers and clinical guidelines through email and social media venues.
      • Develop and promote a quarterly newsletter distributed to national and federal organizations highlighting membership achievements.
      • Increase Society involvement in government meetings and initiatives such as CDC strategic conferences and NIH white paper meetings, and National Action Plans. We want to be the “Go To” Society for issues on the Science of Men’s Health.
      • Maintain collegiality with sister societies and appropriate Federal partners such as the FDA, CDC, EPA, USDA by responding in a timely fashion to requests for workgroup members, reviewers and speakers.
Strategic priority III: Broaden membership base, meet the needs of members.

ASA currently enjoys an internationally-based membership, with a diverse mixture of clinicians and research scientists. Our membership includes leaders in the field of andrology. ASA members enjoy a joint membership with International Society of Andrology. The strong, formalized trainee mentorship program provides incentives for student membership. However, the ASA has been steadily losing members over the last 3-5 years, a trend that must be reversed if the Society is to remain viable.

III.1 Challenges Related to Membership
  • Declining membership as the “boomer” members retire with fewer younger members to replace them
  • Less economic ability to hold multiple memberships
  • Lack of knowledge of membership demographics
  • Loss of senior membership due to retirement
  • Loss of clinical laboratory scientists, veterinary scientists, and basic scientists
  • Lack of jobs in the field for new graduates
III.2 Objectives Related to Membership
  • Identify areas of loss and understand why
  • Survey members regarding their membership in other societies. This could be done with annual membership renewals-we need data to develop a strategy for partnering with sister societies in ways that benefit both sides.
  • Create benefits of membership beyond getting the journal (which some people may not care about) and getting reduced meeting fees (which also may not matter to some people) – lectures on line, discounts, networking, position placement, web based training
  • Improve the website so members find useful info there
  • Develop strong marketing materials that explain why membership in the ASA provides benefits
  • Identify professional groups we need/desire as members such as clinical lab directors and technologists, sperm banking professionals, young professionals
  • Work with sister societies to develop reduced co-membership fees (e.g. belong to three for cost of two)
  • Find new ways to engage the membership in the Society besides Committees, Council and Officers
  • Develop ways to use social media to connect members, especially younger members
  • Consider adding a lay membership for educators, politicians, organizations interested in men’s health and reproduction
  • Consider adding a section to webpage (and facebook) that is specifically designed to be a resource for the general public such as “fact sheets” or short summaries of selected papers in Andrology that explain the findings in public friendly terms and include how the information may be useful to them. Such a site could also include links to good material available from other sources.
  • Develop mechanism for open discussion of society issues outside of the business and council meetings (e.g. town hall webinars)
  • Enhance diversity among ASA membership
Strategic priority IV: Strengthen leadership and fiscal stability
IV.1 Strengths in Leadership:
  • Society leadership is well integrated across basic and clinical science
  • Qualifications for Society Leaders are delineated in Society By-Laws
  • Elections held annually and calls for Society involvement through volunteer opportunities permit engagement of active members in Society
IV.2 Challenges related to the Society leadership:
  • Loss of senior membership
  • Declining numbers of viable candidates to serve in active leadership positions
  • Loss of potential leaders through election process among limited numbers of qualified candidates.
  • Leadership can sometimes be honorific
  • Communication pathways of leadership
  • Rotating leadership (officers, Council, and committee chairs) and lack of succession planning
  • Lack of Corporate memory
  • Thought leadership is not translating into prominence of society
IV.3 Objectives related to the Society leadership:

Build leadership capabilities in every facet of the Society and ensure organizational and infrastructure mechanisms to maintain the Society’s mission and vision.

Strategies:

  • Expand the training period of Society leaders (e.g. Vice President-Elect > VP > President > Past-President)
  • Clarify specific roles for Vice-President, President-Elect and Past-Presidents. Loss in valuable training and loss of forward motion. Develop SOP.
  • Create more time for leadership to enact change (e.g. expand to Immediate Past-President > Past-President) (Immediate Past-President may continue activities started in previous year. Past president year may be more advisory. Good for corporate memory. Need SOP).
  • Assess election process (monitor to see if lose leaders because we have gone back to former election process of two candidates).
  • Engage members in Society functions through active recruitment. (emails, send in CV, what committee are you interested in serving on? Sign up online for a committee and say why. Engage in society process. Build on strength of excitement of younger members).
  • Develop future Society leaders through mentorship pathways and defined mechanisms.
  • Institute longer terms for committee chairs and draw from members for future chairs. Presidential chain can work together on continuity and strategic turnover of chairs rather than expecting the President-elect to appoint all new chairs and reinvent the wheel.
  • Enhance mechanisms for more frequent interactions between Society leadership (Officers, Council, Committee Chairs); e.g. monthly pre-scheduled conference calls.
  • Employ technology to improve communication in society leadership. (e.g. blog open for 24-48 hr discussion. Have President, immediate past president and past president in the meeting sessions. Webinar town hall meeting for members with ASA membership).
  • Expand leadership capabilities. Keep involvement.
  • Enhance communication between management society and leadership 8
  • Annual updates of SOPs
IV.4 Strengths in Fiscal Stability
  • Society has built a solid asset base
  • Society has built a solid structure of fiscal oversight and Checks & Balances in the Bylaws
  • Management team oversees Society payments, income, contracts and a CPA provides monthly COA to Society Officers. (= solid infrastructure).
IV.5 Challenges related to Society fiscal stability:
  • Need to evaluate changes in revenue stream regarding Journal merger.
  • Decreased funding mechanisms for Annual Meeting and Workshops (declining corporate support; NIH funding decrease)
  • We have not explored “Other Peoples Money” (OPM) opportunities
  • Insufficient Endowment
  • Economic viability
IV.6 Objectives related to Society fiscal stability

Strengthen fiscal stewardship and reinforce strategies for fiscal growth that will support long-term viability of the Society

Strategies:

  • Maintain (mandate?) a balanced budget for general society operations.
  • Build strict oversight for Society spending (contracts, obligations, approval process). (Need written guidelines).
  • Establish Society goal for long-term fiscal stability: establish a reserve for emergencies (e.g. assets equivalent to 2-4X annual operating budget), establish an endowment for sustaining specific activities and funds for one time or intermittent improvement initiatives. These functions may require different investment strategies.
  • Ensure opportunities for continued fiscal growth
    • Income through publications and meetings (continue to ensure sustained and predictable annual income based on clearly defined goals and limits)
    • Pursue grant opportunities
    • Pursue corporate and industrial support mechanisms
    • Update Investment strategies and goals, especially for endowment funds.
  • Build Society Endowments
    • Establish a robust Endowment Fund Committee
    • Identify Endowment Strategy: Accrual vs Raise & Spend cycles (Ford Foundation). (Accrue principle? Or raise money through fundraising and spend down for growth?)
    • Define Endowment needs: General Society support (can income streams from dues, subscriptions and registration sustain operations or is income 9 from investments needed to supplement general operating expenses?) Lectureships and Awards (sustain these through endowment income and thereby reduce annual operating expenses?), Trainee travel (currently “money-in” “money-out”, is a more stable income needed such as income from a protected endowment?)
    • Specify (re)investment strategies to maintain continued growth of Endowment Fund principal (in keeping with inflation) in parallel with utilization of Fund profits for stated purpose of Fund. (e.g. 3% of $100,0000 needs to go back to fund to keep up with inflation so can continue to use this fund for what it was established for. Fiscal oversight needs to be strongly enforced. Trainee endowment needs to be grown)
  • Identify goals for Endowment Fund Committee and develop a five-year plan to realize these goals.

Strategic Planning Committee: Gail Cornwall, Paul Turek, Gail Prins, Susan Rothmann
Review and comments: Donna Vogel, Patricia Morris, Rex Hess, Erv Goldberg, Jacques Tremblay, Alan Diekman, Kate Loveland