Academic journal article Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences

Members Identify Priority Issues for the Association

Academic journal article Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences

Members Identify Priority Issues for the Association

Article excerpt

People in the U.S. are ethnically diverse and older. College and university enrollees are increasingly nontraditional. Global interdependence and communications are increasing our dependence on the economic well being of other nations. Technology is expanding our life expectancy, the foods we eat, [and] our access to knowledge and education in our homes and communities; it is also increasing the potential for infringement on our privacy. Hunger is increasing and access to health care is declining. The women's presence in the workforce is increasing the need for more and better childcare, parental leave, and flex-hours. The rise in anti-social and risky behaviors of youth, the divorce rate, and other factors are increasing worries about family-oriented values and too little time spent at home with family members.

These trends, identified in 1994 by the Critical Issues Identification subcommittee, provided contextual understanding for the 1996-2000 AAFCS Plan of Work. They are helpful in interpreting the most recent Critical Issues Identification subcommittee report.

Last year's subcommittee was charged with doing a different kind of study than that of Peck, Meldon, and Bobroff in 1994. The purpose of the 1997-98 Critical Issues survey was to solicit help from AAFCS members and allied association representatives in identifying the most pressing concerns facing individuals, families, and consumers. The results are intended to guide the Association's Strategic Planning Committee in development of the Program of Work for 2001-2005.

This [most recent] study is sequential to the 1994 environmental scan written by Peck et al. who analyzed already published research. The 1994 report provided contextual understanding used by the Strategic Planning Committee to generate the Association's 1996-2000 Plan of Work. The 1998 Critical Issues Identification study obtained direct input from members and representatives of allied associations who have had first-hand experience with the conditions and trends in society. The survey sought professionals' judgments about problems or issues they considered most important for AAFCS to address within that context. Although the environment described in the 1994 study has changed some, it still provides a reasonable foundation for interpretation of the results of this Critical Issues survey. The Critical Issues report also provides individual AAFCS sections and divisions with their members' responses to the original open-ended survey and the subsequent rank-order questionnaire. Although the number of responses was very small for some sections and divisions, these reported subsections may be useful in their individual program planning.'

The original survey data were collected through an open-ended questionnaire distributed in registration packets during the 1997 AAFCS annual meeting in Washington, D.C. The questionnaire also appeared in the Journal (JFCS), in Action, and on the AAFCS web site. In addition, the AAFCS Board of Directors and members of its sections, divisions, and committees were mailed the survey. Approximately 100 allied association executive directors or presidents received a mailed copy of the survey as well. In total 199 persons responded: 193 AAFCS members, only 5 allied association members, and 1 undesignated respondent.

A draft of this report was distributed to the Critical Issues Identification Subcommittee and the Strategic Planning Committee at the June 1998 AAFCS Annual meeting in Atlanta. Members of the two committees worked together to convert the findings into clear issue statements that could be presented to attendees of the annual meeting for their prioritization. The resultant rank-- order survey was distributed and collected during the Fourth General Session at the AAFCS annual meeting on June 30, 1998.

Since neither of the samples used for these two questionnaires were random, the results cannot be generalized to the whole membership. …

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