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President's Letter

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mgw
mgw's picture
President's Letter

Hello AAVSO members and friends,

This is my first message to members since becoming AAVSO president. I want to briefly update you on the results of the November council meeting and highlight our priorities for the next year. Periodically during the year I’ll send out messages like this so you know about council plans and activity.

The council represents you.  In order to effectively guide the organization, council members need to hear your views about the organization - specifically, is AAVSO meeting your current needs, and do you agree with our plans for the future. I strongly encourage you to contact council members - including myself - to share your thoughts.  You can post messages on the General AAVSO Discussion forum, the AAVSO members-only Governance forum, or contact us directly.

We had a very successful council meeting in Flagstaff. In addition to the regular review of organization status and plans, much of the meeting was spent finalizing a six-month effort looking at how work being done by the staff aligns with the organization’s priorities.  In general, there was a good match.  The analysis produced one major decision – the council authorized hiring a programmer/IT professional to address many of the issues and challenges that have been a concern to both staff and members. Also, there were some lower priority activities that will be put on hold to free up staff time for higher priority work.

In addition to these near-term actions, there are two key strategic questions we need to answer over the coming year.  The first is – what is AAVSO’s future?  More broadly, what is the role of amateur astronomy in the 21st century. As I’ve spoken with various members, it’s apparent this is a very complicated and critical question.  The world of astronomy has dramatically changed since AAVSO was founded.  Scientific knowledge and understanding of the universe have exploded – and new fundamental questions arisen.  Modern technology and instruments are now available to both amateurs and professionals. These have transformed the ways we can observe variable stars.

At the same time our culture has changed – the way people communicate, the role of organizations like AAVSO, and the way people want to work together to achieve common goals. We need to understand the future objectives of the AAVSO – supporting our members personal interests in astronomy, supporting professional astronomers, and potentially supporting education efforts addressing STEM education. It will take a concentrated study to develop a cohesive strategic plan.

As we develop our strategic plan, a second key parallel question needs to be answered - how will the AAVSO fund its activities in the future?  The endowment has been our lifeline – but additional funding will be necessary if we want to grow and fulfill our mission.  Resources can come from grants, contracts and donations – from members, individuals and organizations supporting scientific research and education. What strategy can we develop to address this very pragmatic but real need?

Over the next few months we will develop plans to study these two key questions.  If you have thoughts about either, and/or want to personally participate in study efforts to create plans to address both, please let us know!

May 2019 be a healthy and prosperous year for you, and, as we always conclude, may you have clear skies!

Gordon

Bikeman
Bikeman's picture
new logo? :-)

Thanks for the update from the Nov council meering. Just curious: the teaser on the home page about this message seems to show a new logo .... is there a story behind this?

CS

HB

mgw
mgw's picture
not a new logo...

I checked and it is not a new logo - just a sketch someone created...

conan
conan's picture
Fund raising ideas...

So you want ideas for fundraising? If someone does have an idea, where do they send it?

mgw
mgw's picture
Fundraising suggestion

Conan,

You can send the suggestion straight to me - gordonmyers@hotmail.com

Thanks!

Gordon

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