ARNA celebrated its one year anniversary on November 2. The first formal meeting of the “Network Initiators” was November 2, 2012. This meeting originated as a follow up to preliminary discussions through the summer of ideas for forming a hemispheric network first introduced at the 9th Annual San Diego Action Research Conference in May 2012. The initiator group consisted of Cathy Bruce, Eduardo Flores-Kastanis, Margaret Riel, Lonnie Rowell, and Joe Shosh. Given our diverse locations (Ontario, Canada; Chihuahua, Mexico; Los Angeles and San Diego, California; and, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania) our first meeting was a Skype session. Although, sadly, we lost Eduardo to cancer in late April 2013, the other four initiators are still involved, as are many more people. ARNA working groups now include 16 network members, with more becoming involved each month. The working groups are our ‘laboratories for leadership development,’ and as we enter our 2nd year and the tasks taken on by ARNA increase so will the importance of the working groups.
There is much to celebrate as we enter the start of the 2nd year. A recently concluded Founding Member campaign with a discounted membership fee yielded a total of 95 members. The Founding Member option, now with a slightly higher fee, will continue through December 2013. Our goal is to reach 100 paid Founding Members by January 1st and 150 by the ARNA Conference in May. If you are not a member yet, please join now. The stronger the membership base, the bigger the impact ARNA can have on the culture of research in education and other social domains throughout the Western Hemisphere.
Our 2014 Conference Planning Team, led by Conference Co-Chairs Joe Shosh and Cathy Bruce, has begun laying the foundation for an exciting and successful conference in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania in May. Three special features for the 2014 Conference include the first East Coast CARN Study Day, the first Conference Proceedings publication for ARNA, and establishment of the annual Network Business Assembly. The Assembly will be our opportunity to address ARNA strategic priorities, acknowledge our volunteers, and strengthen our solidarity as a network.Thank you to all our working group volunteers and to all those who have expressed support for ARNA over the past year. It is this ‘connectivity’ that is fueling the development of the network. The ARNA website has had more than 2,000 visits from people in more than 70 countries across the globe since it was launched in January 2013. We hope to keep adding information and resources as we move towards the 2014 Conference. Stay with us, add comments, and consider getting involved. Let’s see where year 2 takes us!