ED-Notes – Late 2020 Keeping in Touch

Notes from the Outgoing & Incoming Executive Directors

Notes from the Outgoing Executive Director

Steve Daniels – Utah State University

Interim Executive Director April – December 2020

Transition. The word seems to be on people’s minds these days. IASNR is undergoing transition as the current slate of Executive Officers cycle off and new ones step in. Unlike as in other arenas, this transition has been on-going for several months and the new Executive Officers and Council members have been participating in council meetings and from Day 1 will be fully able to continue to move IASNR forward. I have every confidence in the abilities and commitment of the incoming leadership.

As professional organizations go, IASNR is small, with several hundred members scattered across some 45 counties. That creates a certain existential vulnerability, but it also creates a family feel to our events that larger organizations cannot duplicate. It creates a reciprocal obligation and opportunity for the members to be involved in creating a professional/academic organization that makes a difference in both the careers of its members and in the larger world.

Having served as Executive Director for less than a year, let me say how humbled I am with the energy that people devote to IASNR. While Council members are all on committees and undeniably move the organization forward in critical ways, the demand on the bandwidth of the executive officers is at a whole different level. Courtney and Zhao deserve everyone’s virtual applause; I merely tried to stay out of their way and not slow them down.

A final shout out that I would make is to Jessica, whose devotion to IASNR goes far beyond her employment contract with the organization. The successful virtual conference that occurred last summer was due hugely to her energy and vision for the event, not to mention her persistent nudging of Luddite members such as myself. Her institutional memory of how things have been done over the years is a source of stability as elected leaders come and go, and we are ever so lucky to have her.

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Notes from the Incoming Executive Director

Bill Stewart – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Executive Director 2021 – 2023

Our world has changed drastically this year – before the pandemic to living through the pandemic. Although we cancelled the in-person IASNR conference scheduled for Cairns, Australia, we quickly re-grouped to host the virtual conference to share ideas about scholarship that connects human communities with their environments. We’ve learned a lot from hosting our first virtual conference and excited about implementing the changes for next year’s virtual conference in 2021. Life under the pandemic has left much of the world’s people in greater appreciation of the benefits connected to their environment and natural resources in ways that underscore the importance of the work we do.

As the incoming Executive Director, I’m grateful for the strong leadership of the out-going IASNR executive team with Steve Daniels and prior to him Kathy Halvorsen as Executive Director, Courtney Flint  as Treasurer, and Zhao Ma as Secretary. It’s been fantastic to already begin working with Becky Schewe (incoming Treasurer) and Lee Cerveny (incoming Secretary), and a slate of great Council members and Editors for Society & Natural Resources. IASNR has become a more resilient organization due to the creative energy of the previous leadership team and has set a “high bar” for our future.

The IASNR conferences have been central to my growth as a scholar. My first conference was at Corvallis in 1986 as a graduate student, and with some lapses, has been my “go to” conference for grounding me in contexts of interdisciplinary social science and expanding my frameworks to understand human relationships with the environment and natural resources. An important part of my scholarly identity is a strong commitment to diversity and building an inclusive society through research, teaching and public engagement. Over the years I’ve appreciated the mission of IASNR related to diversity and have welcomed its sustained dialogue of “doing better” to promote an inclusive organizational culture that cares deeply about equality. I like working hard on things I care about, and excited to engage the leadership team of an organization that has given me so much.

Please stay tuned for opportunities to get involved in IASNR and its activities.  Our committee structure is the backbone of our operations. We are always looking for ways to engage our members and bring us forward together.  I am glad you are part of the IASNR community.