Looking Inward at NCA and Acting Based on What We’ve Found

April 13, 2023

By Shari Miles-Cohen

We issued the first NCA member survey last year between Sept. 5 and Oct. 10 to identify the characteristics of the NCA membership and to understand the overall perceptions of the NCA. Approximately 22% of our members (1,258) participated. That number included 301 Student Members, 91 Life Members, 52 Retired Members, and 814 Regular Members. Since then, we’ve had some time to scour the results. Here’s a look at some of what we learned.

Survey Results

  • Membership satisfaction, a key component of engagement, is 57%. The primary driver of satisfaction is the convention.
  • Commitment to maintaining NCA membership is high, with 86% of respondents indicating their likelihood to renew.
  • Approximately 63% of respondents indicate a likelihood to recommend NCA to a colleague with Student and Life Members more likely than Retired and Regular Members.

Areas for Improvement

We intend to collect this information annually to track member satisfaction and understand progress toward our strategic goals. Our aim is to increase member input and engagement with the survey to ensure your voices are heard. Our collective success rests on substantial member involvement.

When we asked about NCA benefits, you said you weren’t satisfied with our “advocacy on social issues.” As you may know, advocacy is a major component of our strategic plan. I’d like to tell you about what we’ve been doing, and our plans associated with advocating for social issues. Last year, the Executive Committee (EC) approved a “Public Statements Policy,” which articulates the strategic goals and plans associated with advocating for social issues. We’ve already put the policy to use in response to the growing and recent threats to tenure and assaults on academic freedom that impact our members, those in the discipline, and all educators (in K-12 and higher education). The EC-appointed writing groups to draft public statements on academic freedom and on tenure. They approved those statements in March and you can find them here. The EC can also choose to sign on to other groups’ public statements, and I forward these invitations to the EC when I review them. Whether NCA is a signer or issues its own statement, we will publicize them on our website and social media platforms.

In addition to public statements, we are partnering with the National Humanities Alliance (NHA) and the Consortium of Social Science Associations (COSSA) to host two advocacy trainings in November during our 2023 Annual Meeting at National Harbor, MD. NHA will lead a training focused on humanities advocacy, and COSSA will conduct a briefing on social science advocacy. The wonderful thing about advocacy training is that you can use these new skills to advocate for federal Communication policy with your federal congressperson or appointed official in Washington, D.C., and in your local communities when you speak with elected or appointed officials. Because these are pilot activities, we will be asking attendees for their feedback about their experiences.

Finally, our 2023 budget includes funds to hire a Membership Director to enhance our focus on member recruitment, retention, and value. We recently interviewed several promising candidates for the position and look forward to sharing updates with you.