New Strategic Plan Calls For Greater Trust, Accountability

Calling for “accelerated changes” that address “deeply situated inequities,” the American Anthropological Association (AAA) recently unveiled its five-year Strategic Plan (2021-2026) and committed to revisit and sharpen the focus on its organizational priorities. The last major update of the AAA strategic plan was completed in 2012.

The new plan will guide AAA’s implementation of substantial changes within the organization, including rethinking the manner in which it conducts its scholarly meetings, examining ways to increase equity and access for its publishing programs, recruiting and retaining a more diverse and inclusive group of students, faculty, and practitioners; and enlivening the public face of anthropology with new media and new voices.

The plan also promises to ensure anthropologists working (or aspiring to work) in business, government, and non-profit settings have a strong sense of belonging and find opportunities for meaningful engagement with the organization.

“The twin goals of racial justice and inclusion of practicing and professional anthropologists will inform everything that we do,” said AAA President Akhil Gupta. “The events of the last year and a half make it imperative that we reimagine how to take advantage of change to continue serving our members, and help advance the field well past its historical roots to make it a more welcoming community for all anthropologists, including those who have been alienated and marginalized in the past.”

The strategic plan was developed after a review of a wide array of data from surveys of members, university departments, and AAA editorial offices, as well as sister societies in the American Council of Learned Societies and the Consortium of Social Science Associations. Member focus groups were instrumental in gathering information, as were town halls with students, Section leaders, and the general membership. Meetings were held with the Member’s Programmatic Advisory and Advocacy Committee (MPAAC), the Finance Committee, and a group of past AAA Presidents, and the Board held two retreats to translate the data and information into strategic priority focus areas.