Planning the Future of ICA
by Peter Monge, ICA President
By most criteria ICA is an extremely successful organization. We have more than 3000 members in over 60 countries worldwide and we continue to grow. We have become the leading international professional association for communication scholars. We publish highly respected journals and yearbooks and hold superb scholarly conferences. We have an excellent professional staff and are financially solvent. We have come a long way from the fledgling organization that began some 47 years ago with only 91 members, one small unknown journal, and no professional staff. Not bad work in an environment in which 95% of new organizations do not make it to the age of five.
Yet as impressive as these accomplishments are, we must look to the future, not the past. What will ICA become over the next 5 to 7 years? What will it be like in the year 2005, and beyond? Do we want to continue as we have, or do we want to set a new and different course, or some combination of the two? We can initiate bold and exciting new ventures. We can set an agenda for excellence, becoming better at things we already do well. We can partner with others who share similar goals. We can broaden ourselves in ways we have not yet imagined. We can change or terminate things that have lost their currency. We can do all these things, and much more.
At the May 1995 ICA conference, President Brad Greenberg invited ICA members to attend a day-long retreat to discuss the future of ICA. That conference-and Brad's subsequent presidential address and President's column in the ICA Newsletter-concluded that it was time for ICA to undertake a strategic planning process. Subsequently, President Stan Deetz appointed a committee chaired by Mark Knapp, and including Ed Fink, Brad Greenberg, Patti Riley, Cynthia Stohl, and Ellen Wartella, to initiate this process. The committee made its report to the ICA Board in May of this year, and, among other things, recommended that ICA Executive Director Bob Cox be asked to prepare a full strategic plan for ICA. The board accepted and the Executive Committee has implemented the committee's recommendation and also appointed a new Planning Committee, again chaired by Mark Knapp, to work with Bob. Bob has agreed to prepare the draft plan for review at the mid-year board meeting in November. This draft will form the basis for association-wide discussion and revision, for determining what we want to become in the 21st century and what we need to do to get there. The board also approved the committee's recommendation to convene a special plenary session at next year's conference in Jerusalem for an open discussion of ICA's future.
On behalf of your elected leaders, I invite you to participate with us in each stage of this planning process over the next year. Share your visions, ideas, suggestions, and thoughts for the future of ICA with members of the Board of Directors, the Executive Committee, the Planning Committee, and Bob Cox at each step along the way. Together, we can develop a vision that will carry ICA well into the next century and articulate a plan to ensure that we achieve it.