The mission of OPRO is to:
OPRO is charged by Council with primary leadership for the society’s public outreach and media relations programs and is empowered to dispense funds allocated by Council for outreach programs as well as to utilize staff time for execution of these programs. It is recognized that much responsibility for public outreach resides with individual APS members, Council, and various APS committees, boards, offices, and divisions. It is the responsibility of OPRO to coordinate, enable, and nurture public outreach from various sectors of the society. OPRO will provide a forum for discussion of outreach opportunities and initiatives and a mechanism for funding special projects. OPRO will choose the highest priority audiences for outreach efforts, and periodically, will reassess these priorities.
To carry out its responsibilities, OPRO is comprised of the following:
The director is appointed by Council to a serve three-year term. OPRO members will be formally appointed by a majority vote of the “board” and will serve a three-year term but may not serve more than two consecutive terms. Graduate student appointments will serve a one-year term, and qualify for a second consecutive term if they still meet all requirements. If, upon graduation, and a seat is available, the former graduate student member may qualify to join OPRO as a regular member.
General Responsibilities of the Director
The director will lead OPRO and staff in establishing priorities and individual assignments for follow-through. The director will serve as the primary societal contact for all issues relating to communication with the public. The director will represent OPRO to the society’s leadership and work with the leadership to assure that OPRO shares information with the public that is consistent with the society’s interests. Prior to issuance, the director will review all press releases and similar public pronouncements for relevance, consistency of message, accuracy, appropriate crediting, avoidance of liability, and compliance with society policies and then forward for approval by the APS president. The Director shall appoint an official note taker at each meeting of OPRO. That individual will provide their draft to the director to be disseminated, approved, and archived. The Director prepares and submits reports to the Internal Communications Officer of APS upon request. Coordinates and submits reports from OPRO committees as well. During the Director’s second year of their final term OPRO will nominate potential candidates for the director position to bring to Council. Council appoints the new director. Upon appointment, the incoming director is requested to attend the OPRO mid-year meeting that precedes their term as director. Serve as ex- officio member of the Public Policy Board.
General Responsibilities of OPRO Members
OPRO will meet twice annually (once at the APS annual meeting) to make programmatic and financial decisions. However, planning, decision-making, and program execution occur on a daily, year-round basis. OPRO members are expected to participate actively in regular discussions via E-mail and to respond in a timely manner to requests for information/opinion by the OPRO director and staff. Rapid feedback is often necessary in response to media inquiries and public policy questions. OPRO members are responsible for maintaining regular liaison between OPRO and specific societal constituencies (either ex officio or as assigned by the director). They will also become broadly familiar with public affairs and education issues of the society and will be proactive in bringing issues to OPRO's attention and in pursuing opportunities to increase the visibility of APS. Its members will ensure OPRO is developing timely messages to inform the public and society members on contemporary issues of plant health, plant diseases, and associated microorganisms, and will help society members become more effective in their interactions with the public. OPRO members are charged with maintaining the highest professional standards of scientific objectivity, dispassion, and ethical conduct. They may be called upon to serve as authors and reviewers of outreach publications and products, and to assist other groups in APS with their outreach projects.
Committees of OPRO
To carry out its mission and responsibilities OPRO may form committees as needs dictate.