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​​Office of Public Relations and Outreach (OPRO)​

Current OPRO Members​​

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The mission of OPRO is to provide support, assistance, and direct efforts to:

  • Promote awareness of plant health, plant diseases, and associated microorganisms.
  • Increase media coverage of plant health issues to demonstrate the value and necessity of plant pathology to society.
  • Strengthening advocacy for science-based public policy in cooperation with the APS Public Policy Board.

APS Council Charges OPRO with:

  • It is recognized that much responsibility for public outreach resides with individual APS members, Council, and various APS committees and divisions. OPRO is charged by Council with primary leadership for the society’s public outreach strategy and it is the responsibility of OPRO to coordinate, enable, and disseminate outreach materials from the various sectors of the society.  
  • OPRO will work with the subject matter committees to identify emerging or persistent scientific issues and develop appropriate communications for the target audiences. OPRO’s efforts will strengthen the collaboration amongst APS committees and divisions. 
  • OPRO will work with members, Council and various APS committees and divisions choose to identify the highest priority audiences for outreach efforts, as well as determine on an annual basis the most relevant messages for these audiences, as well as identify resources for message amplification. OPRO will encourage collaboration between the various APS entities to ensure the messaging and content is robust and relevant to the audiences. 

Organizational Structure​

To carry out its responsibilities, OPRO is comprised of the following:

  • A director
  • Immediate past director
  • 10-12 voting members representative of the society with interest in: extension, research, teaching, industry, government, and international programs, including:
    • Two graduate student members
    • A post-doc/early career member (defined as being within the first five years after receiving their last academic degree).​
  • Public Policy Board representative (ex officio, non-voting)
  • APS immediate past president (ex officio, non-voting)
  • OPRO staff liaison(s)​

Appointments and Term Length

  • ​The director is appointed by Council to serve a three-year term. (voting)
  • The immediate past director will serve a one year term (ex-officio, non-voting) immediately following their director term.
  • OPRO members will be formally appointed by a majority vote of OPRO and will serve a two-year term. ​​(voting)
    • Graduate student appointments will serve a single two-year term, with a one-year staggered overlap between incoming and outgoing graduate students.
    • Post-doc/early career members may continue as regular members following the completion of a two-year term.
  • No person shall serve more than six consecutive years, regardless of membership type. ​

General Responsibilities of the Director​

The director will lead OPRO and staff in completing strategic priorities as determined by APS Council, as well as individual assignments for follow-through. The director along with the APS marketing staff 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. The Director 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 OPRO calls that precedes their term as director. ​​

General Responsibilities of OPRO Members

OPRO will meet regularly for planning, decision-making, and program execution on a year-round basis. OPRO members are expected to participate actively in regular discussions 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.

General Responsibilities of APS Staff liaison

Staff liaison will serve the administrative needs of OPRO, including activities such as:

  • Assisting the Director to conduct OPRO business.
  • Act as primary contact point and router of outside communications directed to OPRO.
  • Assist in the coordination of OPRO activities execution with other element of APS.
  • Help and advise on proper APS procedures for business execution.

Sub-committees/working groups of OPRO

  • To carry out its mission and responsibilities OPRO may form sub-committees as needs dictate.
  • The sub-committees need to be approved by the OPRO.
  • The sub-committees may include APS members outside of OPRO.