From the Hart: Blogging with STC President Hillary Hart

by James Cameron on 10 March 2011

We introduce today the first blog post by STC President Hillary Hart, From the Hart. As her predecessors did, Hillary will grace STC’s Notebook regularly during her term as President on a variety of topics.

As I settle into my second month as STC President, I’d like to give you a brief summary of the State of STC.

Membership renewal rates are surpassing last year’s—they are 4% higher, in fact, at 53%. And new memberships are exceeding expectations—over 900 so far this year. I will provide an updated picture of membership after 31 March, when the renewal period is over and the lists have been cross-checked and finalized. The 31 March figures will tell only part of the story, however, since STC typically gains another 10-15% in renewals between the end of the grace period and 30 June. That would bring us very close to our annual target renewal rate of 70%.

We are also very pleased with the membership response to version 1.0 of the new website thus far. The integration of the new CMS with the social media portion of the site and the existing membership management system caused some unforeseen complications due to customization based on member preferences. Version 1.1 is on track to go live by the middle of April, but we hope it may be sooner than that.

In addition, we are continuing development of Project Phoenix initiatives. These include revised publication strategies, a global marketing plan, and working with the TC Body of Knowledge committee.

Development of the STC Certification program is on schedule, thanks to the good work of Steve Jong and other volunteers. You will have the opportunity to see program details at the 2011 Summit in Sacramento, and you will even be able to sign up for certification. More information on this program will be provided in a future blog post.

Recently, the STC Board of Directors received its first membership petition to amend the bylaws since 2006. The proposed amendment would extend full voting rights to student members. Last year, STC conducted a survey of members on this topic: 41.6% supported students voting on all issues, another 21.6% favored student voting but only for elections, and 28.4% were completely opposed to any student voting, while 8.5% had no opinion. Comments indicated that those who opposed extending the vote expressed the most vehement opinions. Having wrestled with this issue in the past, the Board is excited that members care passionately about student voting. Since the annual election has already opened, we cannot include the amendment on the ballot because the bylaws require a 30-day notice of a proposed amendment prior to a vote. The next earliest time for consideration is at the upcoming Annual Business Meeting at the 2011 Technical Communication Summit in Sacramento, California, on Monday, 16 May 2011. We will openly debate the topic and hold a binding vote if a quorum is present. A two-thirds majority of the members present is required to pass the amendment.

Speaking of the Summit, I am extremely excited about Tim O’Reilly as our keynote speaker and Honorary Fellow. I look forward to hearing his speech, participating in (at least some of) the multitude of education sessions, and attending the Honors Banquet with all our honorees.

And, finally, the renewal period ends 31 March. Let’s all get out there and encourage our colleagues to renew—and it’s not too late for new members to join, either. The Board, the staff, and I are working harder than ever on improving membership benefits, with new and updated items in the works for 2011 and 2012. We look forward to having you with us as STC continues to improve.

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