Dear Fellow Planetarians,
Firstly, I want to thank you for the tremendous response to our special invitation to host the IPS 2018 Conference. Within two weeks of posting the invitation on our website, we received 11 responses.
I understand that not all will actually submit bids, but your enthusiastic support was overwhelming and welcomed. I am grateful to the IPS Council members who rallied to the cause seeking potential hosts. I am also grateful to those Council members who are currently assisting potential hosts as they complete their bids for IPS 2018.
All bids were due by June 1, 2015. Watch the website for further developments and information about these potential sites. A decision will be made by IPS Council in August of this year during our annual meeting, being held in Montreal.
Meeting on the Space Coast
February 21-22, the IPS officers, Thomas Kraupe, Shawn Laatsch, Lee Ann Hennig, and Ann Bragg, as well as Vision 2020 Initiative Chair Jon Elvert, met at my house on the Space Coast of Merritt Island, Florida. If you have ever worked with these people, you know they show up on time, get coffee or tea and begin working immediately. It doesn’t stop until it’s time to eat and have coffee, and we are back at work.
We covered a lot of business in two days—the most important of which was the means by which IPS will develop as the new organization we all desire.
IPS is an all volunteer society, and I can see it is time for a change. For any of you who have volunteered on various committees in your local communities and/or IPS, you know there is a great amount of effort made by a few and often things don’t move as quickly as you would like.
Although I am no stranger to volunteer work, I have never served on an IPS committee or Council nor as an officer. I had no idea of the amount work our officers and certain committee chairs and members have been doing. I didn’t realize the amount of time, focused attention, and work through very late night skype meetings, face to face meetings, emails, writing, calls, etc. devoted by a few to the business of IPS.
Working and collaborating with all of these IPS warriors is a great honor and privilege, for which I am grateful. With the Vision 2020 Initiative team illuminating the path to our future, we are discovering there is even more to accomplish to be the resource our community requires. What does that suggest to you?
As stated by Jon Elvert, “In order for IPS to take on leadership roles, provide programs and resources for the membership, IPS must be the very best source for planetarians to get/receive professional development.”
I agree with Jon. In order to accomplish this, I believe that IPS needs an advocate, a full-time mouth piece, an enabler that can foster cooperation between international regions/societies. I think the best option to make sure IPS achieves its desired outcomes would be to hire a full-time executive director. This is an opinion that I know I share with some. There are others who would prefer we stay a volunteer society. As president of IPS, I believe we can do both— and do it well.
Finding the best way forward
As a team, the IPS officers are searching the best way forward. We tasked Jon Elvert to identify professional facilitators, experienced with our business, who can help IPS develop our organization to the next level. Of the candidates Jon provided, we have retained Elizabeth Monroe-Cook, Ph.D. She is a consulting psychologist whose organization development work includes facilitation, training, and groups at all levels of an organization. Some of her past clients include GLPA, Kavli, and NASA programs. She will be meeting with the entire IPS Council during our August meeting in Montreal. We look forward to that meeting and seeing her recommendations.
Meeting in Poland
In late April Shawn and I met with Maciej Ligowski and Monika Malinowska in Warsaw, Poland to continue planning for IPS2016. The conference site is beautiful—and perfect for our conference. All of the luxurious space, services, and facilities required for a successful event are under the roof and on the lovely grounds of the Copernicus Science Center.
On April 27 we also met with some of the vendors who will be sponsoring IPS2016. There is always a great deal of planning for the vendors prior to any conference. Present at that meeting were Jan Burionek and Zdenek Rychetnik from AV MEDIA representing Zeiss, Glenn Smith of Sky-Skan, Benjamin Cabut of RSA Cosmos, Cecilia Ohrner of SCISS, and Marzia Muradore of Skypoint representing Evans & Sutherland, along with Maciej, Monika, Weronika Sliwa, Kamil Zloczewski, and Maciej Mucha, all from the Copernicus Science Center.
The staff of the Copernicus Science Center is committed to making IPS2016 a rich and rewarding experience for each participant. I don’t want to spoil the surprises they have planned, so I will just give you a little hint: Don’t expect anything to be like you have experienced in the past with vendor demonstrations, paper sessions, workshops and panel discussions. The bar has been raised exponentially.
All of the creative planning that has gone into IPS2016 is for you, your knowledge and development as a professional planetarian. As part of the preparation, you will be receiving an early call for papers this fall. Stay tuned for new developments. In the meantime, be sure to put June 19-24, 2016, Warsaw, Poland on your calendar.
We are focused and moving forward together!
Fondly and respectfully yours.
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