Aug 2006 Contents
The Most Non-Boring Article About The UPA Board Ever
By Paul Sherman
Paul Sherman is Vice-President of the Usability Professionals' Association and was the founding President of the Dallas/Fort Worth UPA chapter. He is currently the Director of User-Centered Design at Sage Software in Atlanta, Georgia.
I joined the UPA Board of Directors in 2004 after serving as President of the Dallas-Ft. Worth UPA chapter.
Just before my first board meeting, I realized I had absolutely no clue what the Board actually did. (I did ask for and receive a quick overview of the Board roles and responsibilities during that first meeting. But let’s just say I’m glad there wasn’t a pop quiz at the end...).
I imagine that many general members of the Association may not have a clear idea of the Board’s functions and responsibilities. So I decided to put together a quick overview of the UPA Board – what functions it performs, how it’s structured, and who’s currently performing what role. But first, a little about the UPA itself...
The UPA’s governing body is the Board of Directors. All Board members are volunteers; Board members do not receive monetary compensation for serving.
The Board of Directors elects the UPA “officer” positions of President, Vice President, and Secretary-Treasurer. (The board has the option of splitting this officer position into two roles, which we did a few years back.) The Directors who aren’t officers serve “at large”, although we have defined specific roles for Directors to assume. Which brings us to...
The Current Board
The Board does have the latitude to review and change the roles assigned to Directors; in fact we did this in 2005 when we created the new role of “Director of World Usability Day.”
The roles we have defined are:
For the most part these titles are self-explanatory. But the question remains: “what do the Board members actually do?”
Luckily for me, each Board member was asked to describe their role and current responsibilities at the UPA 2006 Leader Day meeting, a half-day gathering held before the conference for chapter leaders, leaders of volunteer projects, and past UPA Board members.
Below I’ve paraphrased each Board member’s tasks, projects and responsibilities:
The President’s “cat herder” responsibilities include setting agendas for and leading all UPA Board meetings, reviewing vendor contracts, and working with the administrative office to field queries from members, the press, and other organizations.
The President is almost always the first person to be called when a problem or issue arises, which explains the “flak catcher” designation.
Finally, the President has some “ceremonial” duties; these include opening the annual conference, appointing committees, and presenting awards.
Vice-President and Director of Members and
The VP typically assumes a named role as well. I am currently Director of Members and Sponsors, which means that I am responsible for building membership and recruiting sponsors for UPA activities, creating sponsorship offerings, and coordinating the recruitment of corporate and organizational sponsors.
The Director of Members and Sponsors is also responsible for producing the UPA Salary Survey; our most recent survey report covers 2005 and is available on the UPA web site at http://www.usabilityprofessionals.org/usability_resources/ surveys/2005_upa_salary_survey.pdf
Treasurer and Web Director
The UPA Web
Director has the following responsibilities:
and Director of Publications
The Director of Publications supervises all UPA publications: UX magazine, Journal of User Experience, UPA Voice and UPA Monthly. In addition, the Director of Publications assists publication editors in finding volunteer editorial staff, supervises contracts with publication vendors, and ensures that publication content and UPA web site content are in sync.
Director of World Usability
The Director of World Usability Day is responsible for building a leadership team to take on the various tasks around World Usability Day; helping the team develop procedures and processes for volunteers to hold local events; recruiting volunteers and inspiring groups to participate in the event, and building strong sponsor relationships.
Recently the UPA has seen significant growth in chapters worldwide; new chapters have formed in Spain, Brazil, India, China, and other areas as well.
Director of Professional Development
Currently, a major focus for professional development is the UPA Body of Knowledge (UBoK), a comprehensive resource that represents the collective knowledge of the usability profession. A preview of the UBoK is available at www.usabilitybok.org.
Director of Marketing
Director for Students and Young Professionals
Director of Outreach
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