Since the last newsletter, significant changes to the structure of the Examinations Institute have taken place. As I reported last time, Julie Adams had submitted a business plan to the Board that included splitting off both the responsibilities and location of the day to day business operations of the Institute, leaving the Director to focus on exam creation, legal issues, and the support and pursuit of research activities. The business operations would be run by a Business Operations Manager, and a permanent location outside of a university setting would be found. Recognizing the significant benefits of this proposal, the Board adopted it during our Fall,2015 meeting in Boston, and since that time Julie has been selected as our Business Operations Manager and a property to house the Institute in the Front Range region of Colorado has been purchased. At this writing, the physical materials (exams and study guides are still at Iowa State University, and Tom Holme has taken up the temporary position of Assistant Director for Business Operation until. June, 2016, when the materials will be moved to the new location.
Julie’s previous role with the Institute was Assistant Director for Online Resources, and she will continue to carry out those responsibilities in her new role. The hands-on demands and costs of delivering our online exams using our current vendor, Metior, coupled with the restrictive nature of their online testing software, necessitated the search for an alternative. As a result of an RFP circulated by Julie, the Board decided to conduct a one year pilot using SARAS (Excelsoft) that will involve mounting both a practice exam and an online study guide. If the new system performs as expected, a plan to switch vendors has been proposed.
The Executive Committee elected Deborah Exton, Carmen Valdez Gauthier and Erica Posthuma Adams to the Board of Trustees and David Licata and Maria T. Oliver-Hoyo to the Board of Publications. The committee discussed the proposal Biennial Conferences Board Organizational Summary by the Task Force appointed to study improvements in BCCE planning and implementation. After considerable debate, a new group of volunteers from ExComm were asked to carefully review the summary and make suggestions for change and redistribute it to ExComm. Key issues are the need for a permanent director and board, and an efficient method for providing expenses both for the meeting and a possible director. The committee also approved broadening the application criteria for the IAC travel award to include associate professors and individuals who had traveled before and to increase the funding amount to $2000.00 for the purpose of attracting a larger application pool.
Finally I am pleased to report that members of the Executive Committee, Board of Trustees and Board of Publications will attend a Fiduciary Workshop in San Diego outlining the fiscal responsibilities of members of these groups. It is hoped that further efforts to consolidate business operations will put the Division on an even sounder financial footing, enabling us to serve the members more effectively.