Introducing UPA local chapters
The UPA Local Chapters form an important link between the UPA and its members. Chapters also make the UPA visible both to usability professionals and to other communities. The growth of the UPA chapters has been impressive, rising from five chapters just two and a half years ago to sixteen chapters today. Like the UPA itself, chapters are international: There are 11 chapters in North America, 4 in Europe, and 1 in Asia.
What is a chapter?
A Local Chapter is a group of UPA members who live or work in a particular area and, as a matter of geographic convenience, organize themselves to promote the goals of the UPA. The Local Chapter serves as a focal point for its members to share their professional experience, to provide educational opportunities for themselves, and to encourage each other in their profession.
A UPA Local Chapter’s focus is on local activities and on connecting usability professionals with each other. Typical activities at chapter meetings include: workshops, mini-tutorials, workplace tours, and talks by invited speakers. Chapters have also organized mini-conferences and contributed to UPA conferences in their area. A chapter provides you with:
- A platform for networking,
- An opportunity for professional development,
- A conduit for influencing the UPA and contributing to its projects,
- An environment for the exchange of ideas and experiences.
How do you start a chapter?
The steps for setting up a chapter are simple and straightforward: If there are at least ten UPA members in a specific area, they can form a chapter.
The chapters section of the UPA website describes the steps to take in forming a Local Chapter. The website also lists the people to contact if you have questions, need support in getting started, or just need help to get in touch with other UPA members in your area.
UPA grants to chapters
The 2003 conference will see the launch of the ‘UPA Grants to Chapters’ program. This program provides funding for special events and activities either conducted or initiated by UPA chapters. The grants will provide partial or total funding for activities which might otherwise be financially impractical for the chapters. The
guidelines describing how to apply will be distributed to chapters and are posted on the upa website.