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Membership and Chapter Relations Report

Membership and Chapter Relations Report
Adam Safir, Chair
Nancy Whelchel, Associate Chair

The 2009 membership year is off to a great start. As of February 28, 2009, AAPOR had 1,642 members - the most ever for the first two months of the year! This follows a record-setting 2008, when AAPOR closed out the year with 2,213 members (see Chart 1).

As shown in Chart 2, the distribution of membership remains heavily academic (36.7 percent) and commercial (31.2 percent), with smaller groups of members coming from the non-profit (11.7 percent) and government (6.7 percent) sectors.

Membership chairs continue to pursue a number of recruitment and retention initiatives, including updating the AAPOR booth, redesigning the membership brochure, improving the usability of the online membership directory, and coordinating short courses with the regional chapters.

A few highlights of recently completed or in-progress activities include:

  • Introductory AAPOR Discount for Chapter Members - The Executive Council passed a motion at the March 13 meeting extending the successful Introductory Discount for Chapter Members promotion for another three years. This one-time introductory membership discount of $50 is offered to existing members of any regional chapter who have never been a member of the national organization. In 2008, we doubled the success rate of 2007, and are now looking forward to a banner year for the promotion in 2009!
  • Tracking Report - Growing out of a review of progress since the 2006 Long Range Strategic Plan, the Membership chairs are developing an annual membership tracking report to be presented at the Annual Business Meeting in May. Just one more reason to attend the upcoming Annual Conference!
  • Membership Directory - As a complement to the online searchable membership directory, a printable membership directory will be posted to the website before the conference. As in past years, the membership directory will feature a front section with updates on the award winners, committee members, regional chapter representatives, and agencies that support AAPOR.

Finally, AAPOR's regional chapters continue to offer exciting and informative events for their members. Brief updates from five of the regional chapters are included below.

We're looking forward to seeing everyone at the Annual Conference in Hollywood, Fla., in May. In the meantime, please don't hesitate to contact us with any questions about membership or getting more involved in the organization!

MIDWEST CHAPTER (MAPOR)

In November, MAPOR held its annual conference in downtown Chicago, drawing a record 182 registered attendees. Many of the 100-plus paper presentations addressed public opinion theory, survey research methodology, international issues, and media effects, while others focused on the conference theme, "Are We Ready for Change? Public Opinion Research in the 2008 Presidential Election." Keynote speaker James Innocenzi, President of Sandler-Innocenzi, Inc., regaled conference attendees with stories and video footage of strategies employed in various election campaigns. MAPOR's Pedagogy Hour featured AAPOR Vice-President Peter Miller of Northwestern University, whose talk concerned theory and measurement of media exposure.

MAPOR bestowed a few awards at its annual conference. Cited for his numerous contributions to the field, Robert Groves of the University of Michigan became a MAPOR Fellow. The MAPOR Fellows Student Paper Competition Award was given to Melissa Gotlieb, Itay Gabay, and Stephanie Edgerly of the University of Wisconsin for their paper "Effects of Gain-Loss News Framing and Political Ideology on Audience Sympathy." Teresa Myers of Ohio State University earned an Honorable Mention designation for her paper "Public Opinion about Public Opinion: An Examination of the Use of Public Opinion Polls as a Normative Political Communication Tool between the Public and Representatives."

The latest election results also were announced at the MAPOR conference: Weiwu Zhang of Texas Tech University was elected Vice-President/President-Elect and Kenneth Blake of Middle Tennessee State University was elected Conference Co-Chair. Ken will be working with Dominique Brossard (University of Wisconsin) to organize the 2009 conference. Lindsay Hoffman of the University of Delaware and Dianne Rucinski of the University of Illinois-Chicago joined the MAPOR Executive Board in November, and will sit alongside Edward Horowitz of Cleveland State University, John Loft of RTI International, and Joe Murphy, also of RTI International and who serves as MAPOR's Secretary-Treasurer.

The MAPOR Executive Board will meet this May to begin planning the 2009 conference. If you have any questions or ideas, please feel free to contact us. In the meantime, more information is available at the MAPOR website.

-- Patricia Moy, MAPOR President

New England Chapter (NEAAPOR)

It's getting to be spring again, and NEAAPOR is working to make sure that this is the last year it continues as an unincorporated entity. Separately, the chapter is encouraging NEAAPOR members to attend the April 17 conference on Survey Quality at Harvard. For more information, see the web site.

NEAAPOR is also looking for a few volunteers to help grow the chapter. An Executive Committee is being formed to write by-laws, incorporate, hold elections, establish a bank account, and transfer AAPOR funds to the account. Following those activities, the Executive Committee will turn its focus to member recruitment, outreach, programming, and an annual conference.

If you're interested in getting more involved in the chapter, please contact Chapter Administrator Chase Harrison at charrison@gov.harvard.edu.

-- Chase Harrison, NEAAPOR Administrator

Pacific Chapter (PAPOR)

The Pacific Chapter is looking forward to an exciting and eventful 2009, and to help us accomplish this, we are fortunate to have an extremely knowledgeable and dedicated council - Ginger Blazier, President; Floyd Ciruli, VP & President Elect; Jill Darling, Treasurer; Carolina Gutierrez, Secretary; Paul Melevin, Conference Chair; Amy Simon, Associate Conference Chair; Quin Monson, Student Paper Competition Chair; Councilors at Large - Bob Davis, (Membership); Leora Lawton, (Webmaster); Susan Pinkus, Mark DiCamillo, and Anthony Salvanto.

Our 2008 Annual Conference in San Francisco was outstanding. It began with an excellent short course featuring Don Dillman, followed by exceptional panel sessions, and ending with our Chapter luncheon and Annual Meeting. We were pleased to have Nancy Whelchel, AAPOR's Associate Membership/Chapter Relations Chair, in attendance. We also were rewarded with the generosity of our conference sponsors - Research Now, Western Wats, Field Research Corporation, Apperson, Davis Research, Goodwin Simon Victoria Research, ISA, Ciruli Associates, and Directions In Research. Philip Brenner, University of Wisconsin, who presented "Overreporting of voting participation as a function of identity salience," was our 2008 Student Paper Competition winner and runner-up was Ashley Burton, Brigham Young University. We are currently planning this year's PAPOR conference, tentatively scheduled for 12/10 & 12/11 in San Francisco, and are pleased we already have a sponsor for the 2009 Student Paper Competition - thank you, Western Wats! Student Paper Competition details for 2009 will be announced in our next newsletter.

Upcoming plans include local events such as discussion of papers that will be presented at AAPOR for those unable to attend the national conference in Florida. We also plan on offering webinars, some of which will be eligible for PRC credits. The Professional Researcher Certification program, sponsored by the MRA (Market Research Association), is designed to recognize the qualifications and expertise of marketing and opinion research professionals.

For those Pacific Chapter members and AAPOR members located in the Western region who attend the AAPOR conference in Florida, please visit our chapter table at the New Member/All Chapter Reception on Thursday, May 14.

Lastly, check out our new and improved website for additional PAPOR Chapter information.

-- Ginger Blazier, PAPOR President

Southern Chapter (SAPOR)

In October 2008, the southern chapter of AAPOR held its 2008 annual conference amidst the beautiful fall colors of Raleigh, N.C. Our theme, "Public Opinion Matters", focused on the impact that surveys and polling have on policy and democracy. Thanks to the efforts of our members and volunteers, SAPOR has experienced a renewed interest in our conference and increased our membership over previous years.

In March of 2009, SAPOR hosted its first annual Mid-Year Event in Atlanta. The event featured a short course, Cell Phone and Survey Research, facilitated by John Hall, Linda Piekarski, Mario Callegaro, and Howard Fienberg. The course presented new research on the impact of cell phones, coverage issues, statistical weighting methods, and legal and ethical issues surrounding surveying in the age of cell phones. Participants then had and opportunity to network with new colleagues and catch up with old friends in a social hour that included a traditional Southern bluegrass ensemble. Finally, the evening wrapped up with an engaging and entertaining keynote address by Brian Evans on the technological solutions to challenges in survey research.

Planning is currently underway for the 2009 SAPOR conference, which will be held in Raleigh, N.C. This year's theme, "Surveying in an Economic Downturn", will address the challenges and possible solutions to collecting quality public opinion data with fewer available resources. Our short course this year, "Practical Content Analysis for Survey Research", facilitated by Dr. Mark West from the University of North Carolina at Asheville, will be a hands-on course focusing on how we understand and analyze the large number of databases of textual data that are available to us.

As we move into 2009, we look forward to the opportunity to expand and grow our membership as we offer new events to our members. For more information on what we are working on, please visit us on the web.

-- Kelly Foster, SAPOR President

Washington-Baltimore Chapter (DC-AAPOR)

The Washington-Baltimore Chapter of AAPOR hit the ground running in 2009. We started the year with a short course by Paul Lavrakas on the framework researchers should use when considering the use of incentives.In early February members participated in a planning meeting that offered the DC-AAPOR Council several great ideas for 2009 events that would add real value to membership. In fact, DC-AAPOR's next event emerged directly from that planning meeting. In early March, Mary Losch, current Standards Chair, led an open discussion of AAPOR's Code of Professional Ethics and the recent Burnham censure. That same night, DC-AAPOR held a reception for the AAPOR Executive Council.

Also in March, DC-AAPOR hosted a "Meet the Author" event with David Moore sharing from his book, "The Opinion Makers." We capped off the month by offering members the always popular "Introduction to Survey Sampling" short course led by Karol Krotki. Aprilwill beequally busy with several events taking place, including a "Meet the Candidates"reception for those running for the 2010 chapter council, a seminar by Scott Keeter on new research about interviewing cell phone samples, and finally, the first-ever MOCK-POR, where chapter members whoarepresenting at the national conference in Maycan practice their presentation and get feedback from fellow members.

In the coming months DC-AAPOR will provide members with an opportunity to hear about new research from Stephen Blumberg, participate in a panel discussion on marriage and civil unions, and attend a workshop based on the POQ special issue on web surveys.

For more information please visit our website or contact Chapter President Paul Schroeder, p.schroeder@srbi.com.

-- John Fries, DC-AAPOR Treasurer

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