The Virtual Chapter Is Reborn. Welcome to the International Chapter!
Julia Spink, Julia@luminaresearch.com
We are delighted to announce that a new Chapter is being introduced to QRCA members — the International Chapter.
This is a re-focus of what has until now been known as the Virtual Chapter. Given that most QRCA Chapters and SIGs are offering regular virtual content, to be positioned as a Virtual Chapter is no longer a relevant concept.
So we are now re-launching as the International Chapter, with the mission of providing support to everyone based outside North America, or interested in building connections with international researchers.
The Co-Chairs of this new chapter are Julia Spink and Ilka Kuhagen, supported by the globally dispersed members of the committee.
The story of the International Chapter: Julia Spink
I have been working in international research for over 30 years, and joined QRCA back in 2000 at a time when the organisation was almost solely North Americans.
Since then I have been active in encouraging international membership, as QRCA has served me very well over the years both professionally and personally — I now have close QRCA colleagues and friends all over the world.
As online communication first became feasible, I and several of the other members who lived outside North America seized the opportunity and set up the Virtual Chapter to hold meetings over this new-fangled thing called the Internet. This allowed those of us not near enough to attend in-person chapter meetings (at that time, the only format for meetings outside the annual conference) the chance to get together and interact — both Americans as well as international members.
Over time, the concept of virtual meetings has evolved and now we have virtual offerings from all our Chapters, SIGs, QCasts, etc. This now means that the purpose of the Virtual Chapter has been lost.
So what is happening to the Virtual Chapter?
We think that there is no longer any meaning in having a chapter just with the objective of offering virtual meetings — hardly a USP! But we do strongly believe that the growing number of international QRCA members deserve a chapter in the same way as their North American counterparts. Plus we know that many American members are also involved in international research from time to time, and also some members are just interested to gain an international perspective on our business.
So we put the case to the QRCA Board that the Virtual Chapter should be renamed and repurposed. It is now known as the International Chapter.
Our mission is to provide support for QRCA members based outside North America, plus anyone interested in developing connections with international researchers.
And our role will be threefold: Firstly, to help our members make connections and build relationships with QRCA members from any part of the world who have an interest in international researchers.
Secondly, to help our members keep up to date with our industry by connecting them with educational offerings both from the many QRCA groups and also from outside organisations in North America and around the world.
And finally to provide a platform for exchange of learning experiences regarding international research, whether for working in a single country outside North America, or for conducting international/multi-country studies.
So the International Chapter will not be solely for those conducting international research studies?
Absolutely not! Anyone at all can nominate us as their home chapter.
Our target membership for the International Chapter is everyone geographically based outside North America, plus any members with an interest in developing international connections.
The outgoing Virtual Chapter membership is roughly 1/3 North American, 2/3 international. We intend to continue to attract QRCA members based in North America as well as those based elsewhere in the world.
What do current Virtual Chapter members have to do to join the International Chapter?
We will move current Virtual Chapter members and friends across to the new International Chapter, and also we will encourage those who have another Home Chapter but who are potentially interested in the activities of the International Chapter to register themselves onto our mailing list. Everyone is very welcome to attend our meetings.
If you are not in the Virtual Chapter but want to join the new International Chapter, it is very easy. You can register for us as your Home Chapter or just to be on our mailing list by clicking through the link: http://www.qrca.org/?page=Groups_Join
From this link, click on ‘International Chapter’ and select ‘Join Group’ — that’s it!
Who else is involved in running the new International Chapter?
We are lucky to have a great team from around the globe!
Co-Chairs are myself and the well-known and highly experienced Ilka Kuhagen from Germany, with a team of 5 helping us — Sam Loggenberg based in South Africa, Layla Shea in Canada, Hana Kloučkova in Czech Republic, Karin Curran in New Zealand, and Astrid Velázquez Potenes in Mexico.
We are already working on our programme of meetings, with the first one in late February — look out for details.
We hope to see lots of people getting involved in our meetings and building new connections with QRCA colleagues.
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