If you’re looking for AES incoming president Theresa Leonard during the show, follow the streams of students and she’ll likely be at the center of a lively group. Having served the AES as education chair and as an educator at The Banff Centre of Music and Sound, Leonard is more than a little excited by the prospect of increasing the educational component of the AES as well as improving the role of the organization in audio education.
Right now the AES is dealing with education at every level, not only with students, but with professionals, and it’s really the education aspect that separates the AES from other organizations, Leonard points out, citing the success and rapid growth of Tutorials offered as evidence of the industry’s interest in continuing education. We have such a varied industry, we can’t forget that not everybody’s a recording engineer, there are acousticians here, hardware and software engineers, scientists, mathematicians, and it’s because we do attract outside members to these Conventions because of the content of our programming that we’re successful and growing. Education is a big part of that.
Leonard also mentions improving marketing and publicity efforts for the organization, and sponsorship, to support its sustaining members and convention exhibitors. Part of the new president’s agenda for the coming year is continuing the AES’ push internationally. Leonard’s recent visit to Latin America revealed a strong and rapidly growing AES membership, and she is excited at new opportunities for growth in other regions. With market reforms in the Far East, particularly China, the time is upon us to diversify and expand our membership in these growing technological markets, she says. We must give special attention to recruitment and setting up new sections in these areas, in addition to promoting regional conferences and activities, which has been shown to spur membership growth.
Membership is up in general, according to Leonard, and through online initiatives, she feels the coming year should again be a growth year for the AES. One of the ways we think we can grow our numbers is through online access, as well as by offering more resources through our website on a subscription basis with preferential rates for members, she adds. My main goals are to focus on improved membership with an international look toward students and professionals, and finding ways to bring them together, and to really discuss the role of the AES in audio education.
The programs out there are vast and varied in cost and length. I think the AES has to get involved in standards for audio education, as well as being more proactive in hearing protection awareness.