News & Press: InSider

President's Message: Building Recognition of AIS

Tuesday, February 11, 2014  

Jane Fedorowicz, AIS President
Bentley University


I write you from home as a foot of snow caused my university to shut down for the day. Those of you in temperate climates do miss out on the delights of a "snow day”!

The 20th anniversary of AIS brings with it a fair amount of introspection. Based on what we hear from members, we provide excellent conferences, e-journals, networking opportunities, SIGs, Chapters, and other products and services to support our member needs. Our focus has slowly begun to move beyond members to other stakeholders, such as our departments, universities, students, and peer associations. The branding initiative, in particular, aimed to help these groups better understand Information Systems and better appeal to potential and current students. One of its unanticipated outcomes, not surprising to many of you, was to verify the limited visibility our association has beyond our own membership.

Recently, AIS has begun a number of initiatives to make itself better known and understood by a broader audience. In my last letter, I wrote of some of these, such as our upcoming appearance at a STEM Festival, our recent table at the Society for Information Management’s annual SIMposium, our co-branded Job Index that has been mailed to many leading IS departments and deans, and our new Consumer Web site. These efforts, although individually valuable, need to be part of a broader plan to get our name recognized outside of our own domain.

We need to move quickly to broaden our visibility. This will require us to improve our relationships with many stakeholder groups, such as industry, government funding agencies, practitioner societies, and the media.  I have asked a number of valued members of our community to be part of a fast-moving Task Force on Outreach to jump start these efforts.

The task force has been asked (1) to recommend a campaign for AIS to become more widely recognized among academia and by practice as the preeminent professional association for Information Systems academics, and (2) to recommend plans and policies to more effectively share AIS’ educational and research products and findings outside of our own community. Sub-issues to be addressed include:

  1. Assess our current outreach efforts to determine what we are currently doing (or have done in the past) and the value of these efforts
  2. Assess our current external visibility in academic institutions and by practitioners
  3. Determine to whom we need to reach out (i.e., a list of leading stakeholder groups, associations, Internet or trade press outlets, and/or types of individuals to focus our outreach efforts) 
  4. Propose policies and/or plans to achieve successful outreach
  5. Suggest metrics to measure penetration  

The members of the task force are Helen Hasan, University of Wollongong (R3); Richard Baskerville, Georgia State University (R1); Kevin DeSouza, Arizona State University (R1); Remko Helms, Utrecht University (R2);     Helmut Krcmar, Technische Universität München (R2) (ex officio); and Michelle Syen, Staff Liaison.               

If you have any creative ideas, suggestions or additions to the task force’s charge, please share them with me or with the Chair of the task force, Helen Hasan.  

As I look out across the unbroken expanse of snow outside my window, I envision footprints creating paths in linear patterns across the clean, white snow. This task force will map out which paths will bring AIS where we need to be across our clean expanse of the future. I thank each of its members for volunteering the time and expertise to make this a successful endeavor.    

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