The Foundation’s Board of Trustees gathered virtually earlier this month, in order to convene their fall meeting. In this piece, we provide updates from the meeting, including information about TIRF’s leadership transition, which was formally announced earlier this year.

TIRF Treasurer Donna Christian led the first portion of the meeting. She shared details concerning TIRF’s financial performance thus far this year. While TIRF continues to anticipate ending the year on a deficit, the expected loss is less that what was projected at the start of the year. Cost-savings measures taken throughout the year have greatly assisted the Foundation in attempting to limit the deficit. Later in the session, Donna turned the attention of her report to a preliminary draft of TIRF’s 2023 budget, in which another loss is projected. TIRF’s Board of Trustees hopes to be able to offset the deficit by providing more services to the public next year.

TIRF’s then Vice President (during the meeting) and now President (commenced at the end of the meeting; more below) Jun Liu provided updates on development activities. Although some of TIRF’s service offerings in China have been affected by ongoing challenges related to the pandemic, some successes have been achieved. TIRF is in the middle of an exciting project that we anticipate updating our supporters on later this year. Jun continues to focus on expanding TIRF’s development efforts, in order to overcome the financial challenges alluded to above.

Trustees MaryAnn Christison and Erik Gundersen, Chairs of the Research Advisory Committee (RAC) and Publications Advisory Committee (PAC), respectively, provided updates on their teams’ work for TIRF, as well. MaryAnn and her RAC recently adjudicated the 2022 DDG competition. Throughout the process, opportunities were identified for further refining the Foundation’s approach to the eligibility criteria concerning the TIRF-British Council grants, which are designed to promote research in under-resourced contexts. Further details will be shared with TIRF supporters at a later date.

As for Erik’s updates, he was pleased to share with his Board colleagues that the TIRF Insights: Social and Emotional Learning paper, published earlier this year, has been translated into Arabic, Chinese, and Spanish. TIRF and National Geographic Learning, where Erik is an educational publisher, have been collaborating on this project and promoting the papers widely via their websites and social media platforms. Erik’s PAC team is now turning its attention to the production of the Foundation’s next “TIRF Insights” paper; its publication is anticipated for early next year.

Other major initiatives discussed during TIRF’s fall meeting included the composition of the Board of Trustees and mentoring initiatives the Foundation is planning to establish. As TIRF supporters can read elsewhere on TIRF’s website, two Trustees have recently rotated off the Board: Ana Sylvia Ramirez and Joe Lo Bianco, both having served 13 years as TIRF Trustees. Issues such as geographic representation, diversity among TIRF Trustees, and particular skillsets individuals can bring to the Foundation’s work are all areas of focus for development. In the months ahead, TIRF leadership will concentrate on developing its Board of Trustees. In addition, TIRF Trustees are keen on helping to further meet needs in our field related to mentoring junior scholars, training individuals interested in conducting research, and cultivating a community of researchers. Further details about TIRF’s plans will be shared in the months to come.

Finally, for the first time in 13 years, TIRF’s Presidency has changed hands. Near the end of the meeting, TIRF’s now former President, Kathi Bailey, was honored by her colleagues during a virtual “passing-of-the-gavel” ceremony. Jun Liu, now TIRF President, revealed a collection of thank-you notes and tribute videos made for Kathi by Trustees, past and present. As the meeting commenced, Jun was officially seated as President and Suzanne Panferov Reese as Vice President.

TIRF’s Board of Trustees will next meet in March 2023 in Portland, Oregon, USA. We hope you will stay tuned for further updates from TIRF!