Update on 2012 ECPN initiatives

What has the Emerging Conservation Professionals Network (ECPN) been up to? Between working on several ongoing projects, such as the mentoring program and the development of a student research platform, to starting new initiatives, including our regional liaison program and a forum call series, 2012 has been a busy year for us so far! On top of that, we’ve been working hard to prepare for our events at AIC’s 40th Annual Meeting in May.

For those of you who are not as familiar with our network, we just wanted to provide a summary of some of our projects. Read on to find out more! You can also find out more about our network’s mission on our webpage.

Network officers:

We’d like to extend a warm welcome to Gwen Manthey, who recently joined ECPN as our new Professional Education & Training co-officer. She succeeded Abby Aldrich, who was working with us in this role previously. Thank you Abby for your service to ECPN! You can find a current list of all of our network officers on our webpage.

Mentoring Program:

ECPN has been working with AIC staff to make some refinements to the AIC mentoring program. Some of the recent work has involved expanding the application form to include a survey that gauges applicants’ specific interests and goals, establishing a well-rounded review committee, and developing a mentoring program toolkit that offers suggestions to guide matches in their relationships. ECPN is in the process of assisting AIC staff to match pairs of mentees and mentors, and is continuing to promote the program and encourage mentor applicants. To learn more about the program, or to apply to be a mentor or to find a mentor, follow this link.

Student Research Platform:

Over a year ago, ECPN initiated the idea of an online student research platform, with a goal of sharing student work and research projects, which would otherwise be largely inaccessible to the conservation community. Last year ECPN created and distributed a questionnaire to directors of the North American conservation graduate training programs to poll them on their preferences and interest in an online student research platform. Based on this feedback, ECPN is now working to develop a revised proposal with a description of the platform, the audience, possible content, desirable features, and maintenance needs in order to ensure the platform’s sustainability.  There is international interest in this project, and the form that it will ultimately take is an ongoing discussion that we’re excited to be involved in.  

ECPN Liaisons:

ECPN has identified liaisons for several AIC specialty groups and committees and also for various regions across the United States. These liaisons are serving to promote events and opportunities for emerging conservators and to expand the reach of ECPN from the national to the local level.  A complete list of our current liaisons can be found on our webpage.

Forum calls:

Each month, ECPN officers meet via conference call to discuss ongoing activities. These calls are open to everyone, but are often focused on network business. Based on this, ECPN created the idea of a forum call series that would bring emerging conservators together to discuss topics of interest.  An online survey was recently distributed to gauge enthusiasm for the idea and gather feedback on possible topics. After very positive responses, network officers are moving forward to plan for the first forum call and to propose a schedule and topics for future forum calls. ECPN is working to identify the best platform for the “calls”, which will likely be web-based. Stay tuned for more information.

AIC’s 40th Annual Meeting in 2012:

A lot of our work lately has focused on preparing for our AIC Annual Meeting activities. If you attended any of our events last year, these may sound familiar to you!

On Tuesday May 8 we are holding an informational meeting at 5:00pm and a happy hour/mixer immediately afterward from 6:00-10:00pm. We are nailing down the final details about the location for the happy hour, but it will be within walking distance from the Hyatt Regency (the conference hotel)-look out for an announcement about this as it gets closer to the annual meeting.

On Thursday May 10, ECPN is holding two portfolio sessions, which will take place during the morning and afternoon breaks, from 10:00-10:30am and 4:00-4:30pm. We have invited a group of emerging conservators to bring their portfolios-including one digital portfolio-as well as several more established conservators, who will be on hand to offer advice about portfolios and presentation of work.

You will also see ECPN represented in the poster session. We are presenting a poster entitled “Creative Endeavors and Expressive Ideas:  Emerging Conservators Engaging through Outreach and Public Scholarship.” The poster will feature emerging conservators who are participating in a variety of outreach activities. We received so much great content for this poster that we are also featuring additional related content in a companion blog post. Our poster will be on view all week and on Thursday from 4:00-4:30pm one of our network officers will be standing next to the poster to share additional information and answer questions.

These are just some of the activities that ECPN is engaged in. We hope you see something that you like, and we encourage you to join us-either at one (or all) of our annual meeting activities, or on one of our conference calls, and hopefully on one of our new forum calls later on this year! Questions, ideas? Please leave a comment here or contact Molly Gleeson, ECPN Chair, at mcgleeson [at] yahoo [dot] com.