[athen] proposal for participation in ATHEN

sean keegan skeegan at htctu.net
Fri Apr 15 10:12:38 PDT 2005

Hey everyone,

I was doing some thinking on the way back from CSUN last month regarding the
participation of members within ATHEN. ATHEN members are very knowledgeable
in their respective fields and specialties and have much to contribute to
the field. However, it seems that we do so much contribution on a regular
basis within our daily jobs that contribution at a professional organization
level just adds "one more thing" to the list.

What I would like to hear are comments on the following suggestion:

To be part of ATHEN means that you:
a) join the professional organization, AND
b) participate in an interest group.

Call it a "special interest group" or "ATHEN Interest Group" or whatever,
but in addition to joining the ATHEN organization, you also join with a
specific "interest group".

The intent is not to fractionalize the core membership of ATHEN, but to
assist in the overall professional growth of the organization. The "ATHEN
interest groups" would bring together those of us who provide leadership for
specific areas and, within these groups, discuss our needs specific for our
professional growth (where the field is going, etc.). For instance, my area
of interest is Web accessibility, whereas my colleagues have specific
interest in alternate media production and assistive computer technology.
Meeting with others with a specific interest would allow for discussions
specific to our needs and professional focus.

I also see a benefit for promoting ATHEN outside of just the core group of
30 or so members who seem to always be present. The e-Journal is an
excellent mechanism to draw attention to the hard work that ATHEN members
are doing every day. "ATHEN interest groups" would each provide 1 (or
more!) articles to the e-Journal specific to that groups activities,
upcoming challenges in the field, current state of events for the field,
etc. Rather than making one or two or three people write the entire
article, each "ATHEN interest group" would submit an article. Similarly,
information can be submitted to the Website for additional posting.

Right now I see three potential interest groups focusing on: Web
accessibility, Alternate Media, and Access Technology. I am not married to
these three groups, and they may not be specific enough (or they may be too
specific), but I put them out there for discussion. Can anyone suggest

Okay - before I go too far down this road, what do others think? Something
to consider? Does anyone have another idea to increase participation within
ATHEN for promoting the organization and achieving the intended purposes?


Sean Keegan
Web Accessibility Instructor
High Tech Center Training Unit for the
California Community Colleges
Cupertino, CA

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