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2026 Professional Development Forum


The mission of the APS 2026 Professional Development Forum is to coordinate activities related to engagement, membership and professional development of students and early- to mid- career professionals in APS. The forum promotes interaction and collaboration between its member groups, all of which serve the ‘Next Generation’ of plant pathology professionals. The anticipated outcomes of this forum are a more coordinated, effective, and strategic offering of society activities related to the target audience and an enhanced value of contributions by APS volunteers. The forum will provide an annual report of its activities to APS Council. 

Organizational Structure

Membership on the forum will include:

  • Chair, 2026 Professional Development Forum
  • Director, Office of Education
  • Acquisition Editor,  Professional Development Center
  • Director, Office of Private Sector Relations (OPSR)
  • Chair, Leadership Institute
  • Chair, Divisional Forum
  • Chair, Academic Unit Leaders Forum (AULF)
  • Chairs and co-chairs of the following committees and groups:
    • Division Training Workshop
    • Diversity and Equality
    • Early Career Professionals
    • Graduate Student

Additional forum representatives may be added as groups serving the target audience are added to the society.


  • Candidates for the chair position should have previous experience with one of the 2026 Forum represented groups.
  • Leadership of the Forum will be selected using standard APS Council policy.
  • In accordance with APS Council procedures, the 2026 Professional Development Chair will serve for a three-year term and may be selected to serve a second term, but cannot serve as Chair for more than two consecutive terms.
  • Individuals selected as Chair may not serve concurrently as Chair/Director of the represented 2026 Forum boards/offices/forums/committee.
  • The Forum may form committees as necessary.
  • Each Forum member who is unable to participate in a Forum event should find a replacement delegate to ensure that each group is always represented.
  • The 2026 Forum meets a minimum of five times per year:
    • Four phone calls held quarterly
    • One face-to-face meeting at the APS annual meeting
      • To promote continuity, committee Chairs and incoming Chairs may both attend
    • Additional meetings of the full forum membership or specific sub-committees will be convened as needed

General Responsibilities

  • The 2026 Forum is charged by Council to be the coordinating body for APS groups focusing on student/early- to mid-career professional development to share ideas, develop cooperative projects, and prioritize professional development opportunities for the next generation of leaders within APS.
  • The 2026 Forum will establish short, intermediate and long-term professional development goals/priorities targeting APS graduate student and early- to mid-career members, will track progress towards these goals, and will re-prioritize as needed to remain consistent with the broader needs of the society.
  • The 2026 Forum will re-examine past activities of each member committee/group to determine whether past activities are meeting the needs of the target audience and make recommendations to APS Council for future activities.
  • The 2026 Forum will act as an advisory body to staff for membership development and retention.
  • The 2026 Forum will serve as a sounding board for new ideas and approaches designed to increase membership and engagement in APS.
  • The 2026 Forum will focus on promotion of activities that will be conducted throughout the year and not only at the APS annual meeting., e.g. webinars and social media.
  • The 2026 Forum will develop proposals to APS Council for support of professional development activities, particularly those outside of the annual meeting, that target students and early- to mid-career APS members.

General Responsibilities of the Forum Chair

  • The 2026 Forum chair will be responsible for organizing and convening Forum meetings and cooperating with APS staff to schedule meetings.
  • The 2026 Forum chair will facilitate establishment of priorities and individual assignments.
  • The 2026 Forum chair will prepare and submit reports on 2026 Forum activities or committees to the Internal Communications Officer of APS and Council upon request.
  • The 2026 Forum chair will develop and distribute an agenda for all meetings of the Forum and will distribute notes to the Forum membership after each meeting.

General Responsibilities of Forum Representatives

  • The 2026 Forum will meet yearly at the APS Annual Meeting and quarterly through phone calls; however, planning, decision-making, and program execution are expected to occur throughout the year.
  • 2026 Forum members are expected to participate actively in Forum meetings, and respond in a timely manner to requests from the Forum chair.
  • 2026 Forum members serve as the liaison between the Forum and their respective groups/committees.
  • 2026 Forum members promote effective interactions among member groups/committees.

 Approved and initiated by Council, 9/15/2016.