President's Column - September 2012
Sun, Sep 23 2012
AMOS has functioned successfully as an organisation for nearly a quarter of a century. During this time we have operated on the basis that our main objective is to advance the sciences we cover in Australia, without going into too much detail about defining what that means. Over that time, the scope of what our field covers has changed significantly, and some parts of the atmospheric and oceanographic sciences have a much greater public profile than they once did.
Something which we lack as an organisation is a formal strategic plan, or equivalent. Preparing one is now on the agenda of Council; our hope is that we will have something in place ready to adopt at the AGM in February. We don’t see having a documented strategic plan in place as being an end in itself (and recognise that many readers will have gone through similar exercises at their workplaces with varying degrees of enthusiasm). Rather, we see this as an opportunity to reassess what our key objectives should be as an organisation, which fields we should be active in (and, perhaps, which ones we shouldn’t), and, in the event that we don’t have the funds to support all of the things which we would like to do, which is quite likely, what our highest priorities should be and what our scope is to expand the resources available to us.
Council have had an initial discussion about goals we might consider, consistent with our existing aims set out in the Rules, which are (a) to promote, develop and disseminate knowledge of meteorology, oceanography and related subjects; and (b) to represent and promote the interests of members in respect of matters connected with meteorology, oceanography and related subjects and to present, in general terms, the views of members on those matters. Some ideas which have been floated so far in the process include:
- Facilitating the carrying out, and communication, of the sciences covered by AMOS (e.g. by supporting appropriate conferences and publications)
- Playing an advocacy role for the sciences covered by AMOS, and achieving the visibility necessary to do this effectively. In recent years we have done this through, for example, making submissions to inquiries such as the 2009 bushfires Royal Commission. (A particular question here is how aggressive we would want to be as an organisation if, for example, there were a serious threat to the future of one or more of the major institutions in which AMOS members are employed).
- Being an independent voice of authority for the profession (in the words of the AMS, ‘honest brokers in providing policy-relevant information’), e.g. through statements on specific issues.
- Being an information source for the profession (e.g. through providing job information/career advice).
- Education and outreach to the community at large – including on items of public interest such as weather and ocean monitoring, and climate change. (AMS and RMS, for example, both see the scientific literacy of the general population as a key goal).
- Recognition of excellence in the profession.
- Building a community in the sciences covered by AMOS, including those in research, operations and amateur enthusiasts, sharing enjoyment and enhancing the membership experience. A particular area of interest here is what we can do to build more effective links between operational meteorologists and those in the research community.
- Provision of professional development opportunities in the sciences covered by AMOS.
- Achieving a level of administrative and financial governance in AMOS sufficient to ensure the organisation continues to function effectively.
Now that Council has had its initial discussion on the subject, we now want to hear from you, as the members of AMOS. We are interested both in thoughts on overall goals we might consider, and on strategies we might adopt to implement those goals.
If you have any feedback, we would like to hear it – this can be sent to me by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org), or by mail to GPO Box 1289, Melbourne VIC 3001. We would like to have feedback by early November so that it can be considered at the November Council meeting. (We will also be running a survey between now and then – a separate link will be sent out to this). Once Council has the opportunity to recommend a set of goals, we will then set about documenting this in a detailed plan.
Finally, I would like to note the passing of Bruce Morton. Bruce had a long and distinguished career in the atmospheric sciences, and was one of the figures who was instrumental in the early years of AMOS in the late 1980s and 1990s. His contribution was fittingly recognised some years ago when he was made one of only three Honorary Members of AMOS. A more substantial obituary will be published in the October Bulletin.
Blair Trewin - Sept 2012
On 12 December 2004 Mike Manton interviewed Emeritus Professor Bruce Morton reflecting on his life and career in fluid mechanics and atmospheric and oceanographic research. Please click here to download the recordings of the interview.