AIS Student Chapters – Five Years of Excellence
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
James Parrish, VP of Student Chapters
Nova Southeastern University
As the AIS student chapters program enters its fifth year of existence, I feel now is a great time to reflect a bit on how far the program has come in the past five years and to share a bit about my vision for the program as I settle into the role of VP for Student Chapters. The program was initiated, in part, as a way to help deal with the enrollment issues that our discipline was facing in the late 1990’s by providing a mechanism to increase student enrollment and retention. The program has been very successful with 68 total chapters and the number of new chapters has almost doubled over the past three years. Much of this success has to be attributed to the efforts of my predecessors, Munir Mandviwalla and Lise Urbaczewski, and the tireless efforts of the AIS Student Chapter Advisory Board members.
As the current VP of Student Chapters, I am particularly passionate about keeping this momentum going for several reasons, of which I will share two. First of all, being a graduate of a program that was shut down due to low enrollments, the issue of attracting and retaining students has been something that I have been very sensitive to throughout my career. My second reason is much less personal: I truly believe that the student chapters program is a critical component of AIS in order to achieve its mission. For those that aren’t familiar with the AIS mission, it is “to serve society through the advancement of knowledge and the promotion of excellence in the practice and study of information systems. AIS is the premier professional association for individuals and organizations who lead the research, teaching, practice, and study of information systems worldwide.” While we can certainly make a profound impact on this mission through the contributions we make in our research, I feel the cumulative contribution we make to society through the thousands of students we educate and inspire to do great things in the world is of equal importance to the fulfillment of the AIS mission and as AIS members we all share a responsibility to see the mission succeed.
Having shared some information about the past of AIS student chapters along with my motivations for participation in the program, I would like to now look towards the future. As I stated earlier, I feel it is imperative to keep the growth momentum going as more chapters will help to strengthen the AIS student chapters brand which will benefit all of our chapters. In order to do this, I feel it is important for the program to provide a strong value proposition to current and prospective chapters and also to provide them the resources they need to be successful. We recently sent out a survey to the AIS membership to help us with this effort and I have engaged a task force within the advisory board to analyze the survey results to determine the specific initiatives that we will engage in to deliver value to our chapters and the AIS membership in general. I also plan on being a visible advocate for the student chapters program during my tenure. So don’t be surprised if you receive some sort of communication from me in the future touting the successes of the program or listing the reasons why you should charter an AIS student chapter. It’s been a very successful five years, but our work is just beginning, and I look forward to more success in the future.
If your school does not yet sponsor an AIS Student Chapter, please contact me and we’ll get you started. The process is easy and the benefits are long term.