New IPEd Model: Not Group Suicide

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IPEd WP4 Response to Ed Highley's Letter

IPEd's Transition Working Party (WP4) is a group formed under the auspices of IPEd Council but its members are long-serving and loyal members of their own societies. Our aim throughout this process has always been, and will continue to be, to consult as widely as possible and make fair and objective recommendations based on feedback from society committees and members. On this basis, we welcome rigorous debate and hope that each society will publish this letter in response to Ed Highley's recent letter, entitled 'Still time for a rethink on IPEd'.

Societies whose members vote to accept transition plans for a direct-membership IPEd will not be committing group suicide.

IPEd's Transition Working Party (WP4) is well aware that for many members of Australian societies of editors the prospect of losing their identity is a major concern. However, this will not happen. These societies will certainly cease to exist as incorporated bodies; however, they will retain their distinctive identities and personalities as branches. They will also retain most of their established methods of operation.

For example, they will determine the training needs of their members and plan their own training programs; they will continue to organise speaker meetings, AGMs and other gatherings for their members; they will be able to continue paying honoraria or other forms of incentives to committee members; and they will have their own sections in the IPEd website and newsletter.

In other words, the decisions about everyday branch activities will continue to be made by branch committees. The primary relationships members have with other members will still be based on branch membership, though a direct-membership model will also offer the possibility of individual networks developing across branches, outside of national editors conferences. Ensuring the greatest possible flexibility in branch operations is one of the major aims in transition planning.

What a direct-membership IPEd will do is to provide support for branches that have struggled in the past to find committee members willing to take on such time-consuming responsibilities as membership administration, society finances, training, and website content and administration.

Branch committees will be required to take on some new tasks, such as preparing and submitting budgets to obtain IPEd funding for their activities and providing tentative training schedules and details of individual professional development programs for funding, administrative and promotion purposes. However, IPEd contractors will relieve them of the burden of maintaining and updating membership databases, doing all the administration and promotion of professional development activities and registration of workshop participants, and handling every aspect of financial administration. In fact, branch committee members will shed a significant amount of their workloads.

Transition to a direct-membership IPEd will certainly enable IPEd to provide all the aspects of the accreditation program that have not been possible to date, such as effective promotion, and provide similar promotional and financial support to the now completely national mentoring program. It will also bring other benefits to members, such as increased promotion of the profession and advocacy for its members, and increased access to professional development activities for distance members and members of smaller branches.

Rosemary Noble, AE
Project Manager, WP4
on behalf of WP4