APA-Indiana and Past Chapter President Win National Awards from the American Planning Association
The Indiana Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA-IN) has been awarded the 2014 Karen B. Smith Award for Overall Chapter Achievement. The award recognizes the overall accomplishments or improvements of a state chapter of the American Planning Association (APA). Each year, the APA Chapter Presidents Council Executive Committee (CPC) recognizes one state chapter with this award.
Eight specific APA-IN Chapter accomplishments were noted in the nomination:
- Adoption of the Chapter’s first ever Strategic Plan
- Major revision of the Chapter’s by-laws
- Update of the Chapter website and increased social media outreach
- Hiring of Chapter’s first ever Chapter Administrator
- Improved communications and outreach to planning schools in the state
- Partnership with professional organizations and affiliated professions in the state
- Improved educational opportunities available at a low cost to members
- Improved networking opportunities with members
The Indiana Chapter of the American Planning Association began a process in January of 2012 to develop a new five-year Strategic Plan for the Chapter. The plan outlines major goals and objectives to accomplish over the next five years.
Chapter by-laws have been expanded to clearly define Board members’ roles and the creation of committees to allow for greater involvement of Chapter members assisting with duties.
Chapter website and social media
A new, easier-to-navigate website for the Chapter was unveiled in 2013. It includes features such as conference registration and payment, Board meeting agendas and minutes, event and job postings, and a blog. We have also substantially increased our use of facebook and twitter.
Hiring of Chapter Administrator
The Chapter’s volunteer Board realized that if we were to be leaders in planning across the State, we needed to hire an administrator to help us with Board functions. The Chapter recently hired an administrator in the fall of 2013, The Corydon Group.
Outreach to Planning Schools
Through the “Just Lunch!” program, 30 APA members and 28 Ball State University planning students were matched, and professional planners volunteered to meet with students, give them an office tour, and then just have lunch and talk about planning. Ball State’s Student Planning Association and assistant professor and Chapter Board Member Vera Adams created and implemented the program.
Chapter held the 2013 Spring Conference at Ball State and will continue to work with university professors to offer quality educational programs for members and to connect with planning students. With the help of Ball State University’s Communications Department, podcasts are being developed and offered to the members for educational opportunities and CM credits.
The Chapter is also connecting with other major universities within the state, including Indiana University in Bloomington and Valparaiso University in Valparaiso.
Professional Organizations and Affiliations
The Chapter has worked closely in the past with the Land Use and Zoning Section of the Indiana Bar Association with the publishing of the Indiana Planning and Zoning Laws Annotated. This past year the Chapter reached out the Land Use Section and involved them with our Chapter conferences. The Land Use Section agreed to provide law sessions at our Spring conference and, with the help of Eric Kelly at Ball State University and the Land Use Section, we were able to offer one full day of law sessions on National and State topics at our Fall conference.
The Chapter offers two conferences each year, and our PDO organizes an AICP preparation course for candidates wishing to sit for the exam. Podcasts of the conferences are developed and offered to the membership at a low cost. The Chapter continues to strive for a conference that is affordable by offering student, retired planner and unemployed planner rates. Most recently, a Ball State alumni group contributed to the Fall Conference to offer students a grant to attend the conference.
Improving Networking Opportunities
The Chapter is broken into three regions: North, Central and South. Each region’s Board representatives hold two events per year for the region membership. These events provide low cost educational and networking opportunities for members. The regional networking opportunities have been successful and will continue for the years to come.
In addition to the Overall Chapter Achievement Award, Shane Burkhardt, 2012-2013 APA-IN Chapter President, was awarded the Chapter President Service Award. The award recognizes an outstanding Chapter President who has made a sustained contribution to planning, whose work increased the understanding of planning and the profession, who demonstrates exemplary ethical behavior, and who has effectively formulated and implemented ideas which further planning, the Chapter, and APA.
Shane has served on the APA-IN Chapter Board since 2000, serving as Awards Committee Chair and as President. Shane’s term as President ended on December 31, 2013, but he continues to serve the Chapter as Immediate Past-President assisting Bob Thompson, Current President, and overseeing chapter elections. He was recently elected by the CPC chapter presidents as vice-chair of the Chapter Presidents Council where he will be responsible for CPC communications with chapters, helping the chair with all other duties as assigned, and serving on APA’s Governance and Membership committees. He will take office as vice-chair at the close of the APA national conference in Atlanta.
Shane’s accomplishments during his term as Chapter President include:
- Supported Regional events with social and educational events and worked with Chapter budget to allow Regional Representatives to hold such events for outreach to members within each region.
- Worked closely with the State’s planning university, Ball State University to better communications between the Student Planning Association (SPA) and the professors. Encouraged assistant professor Vera Adams to promote “Lunch and Learn” program with SPA. Also Chapter will be holding one conference a year at Ball State as outreach to students and professors.
- Adopted first Chapter Strategic Plan and updated Chapter by-laws that expanded Board committees and volunteer opportunities with the communications, citizen planner and other committees.
- Major overhaul of website completed by communications committee with Shane’s oversight to bring news of the Chapter, achievements of planners in the State and blog.
- Led hiring of Chapter’s first Chapter Administrator.
The awards will be presented at the National Planning Conference in Atlanta on Tuesday, April 29 at 2:30 pm. Please join APA-Indiana Chapter members in attending the ceremony and celebrating the achievements of our Chapter and Past President.