Everyone agrees visibility is crucial to maintaining a strong presence in one’s field. For many, however, the very thought of chumming around conjures up visions of the colloquial, “old boys network,” as well as words like cronyism and nepotism. Still, there is virtually no more effective way to successfully network than being an active member of an association, board, or agency, building one’s reputation or “brand” in the field or the academy. This advice holds true for maintaining an active research agenda, speaking, and presenting at conferences and – more frequently – being published.
Let’s examine the advantages of each:
Maintaining a Research Agenda
If you’ve run across this blog, you are likely involved in an institutional setting, a faculty member, chair, or staffer who is on the cusp of needing to begin or maintain an active research agenda. If you are a member of the University of Phoenix (UOP) community as an alumnus, faculty, staff, or chair, for example, and have not joined one of our research centers, please become an affiliate today!
Since you can only join one research center, I welcome you to consider joining ours, The Center for Leadership Studies and Educational Research (CLSER).
If you are not part of our UOP network, explore options at your institution. Many institutions are home to research centers, labs, and other organization research concentrations. Such an affiliation is a great way to build camaraderie with likeminded academics which can immediately propel your contributions on any number of research projects or to help spur one of your own. As your research agenda blossoms so too will your brand. This will attract others who are interested in collaborative efforts.
Presenting: Speaking About Best Practices or Research
Other potential associations that can assist with research are virtually any academic association that offers its own conferences or peer-reviewed publications. However, joining is one thing; actively participating is another. Beyond the standard conference calls, consider volunteering to be a presentation proposal reviewer. This is a great way to examine the breadth and depth of research studies colleagues are currently cultivating. My recommendations include the Association for the Advancement of Computers in Education (AACE), the Online Learning Consortium (OLC), and the International Leadership Association (ILA).
Most associations like these need affiliates to serve in many other capacities including chairing conference presentations, as well as serving on their boards. While some of these board positions are elected, some are not. Being visible in any of these areas can lead to the type of idea generation and cultivation needed to spark a healthy research agenda. It can also lead to opportunities to actively present about it which can spur outside consulting business or paid keynote opportunities!
Many other associations exist whose first line of expertise may not be academia but rather the field itself. This includes hundreds of groups whose subject matter expertise lend itself to for-profit and non-profit endeavors. Groups with excellent track records that are related to many of University of Phoenix degree offerings and that have an excellent track record of networking include the American Management Association, American Business Association, and the American Marketing Association, Servicing on their boards, committees, and sub committees allows you to perhaps shape policy and develop new discipline standards or measurements while propelling your brand as a leader in the field.
View opportunities to get involved here at the University of Phoenix >>
Joining to Get Published
Speaking of the American Marketing Association (AMA), it was that exact association that led to my very first professionally published article more than 25 years ago dubbed, Teamwork Delivers a Clear Implementation Document. I’ve previously discussed how striving for publication takes much patience and tenacity. To this day, the AMA produces its weekly magazine dubbed appropriately, Marketing News. Joining offers affiliates the chance to get published as an excellent perk. Of course, you are competing with other members and each manuscript is judged by its publication guidelines, importance, and timeliness.
No matter the association’s focus, those that offer newsletters, website editorials, blogs, and magazines, afford professionals like you the chance to make your subject matter expertise mark. Perhaps more so than any other available marketing tool, getting published is something that associations are often so instrumental in nurturing particularly when such publications allow members to serve as reviewers among their editorial boards. A simple examination of their journal masthead should reveal the board and their submission particulars.
So what are you waiting for? Consider researching associations and groups that will help effectively tie your brand to the field. Then start by actively getting involved today! Want to share your own association success story? Please comment below or contact me directly at email@example.com. I’d be grateful to share your story with our center!