West Indian Manatee
(Trichechus manatus manatus)
Did you know?
Researchers identify individual manatees in the wild by their boat scar patterns?



Education and Membership Services Committee

Mission Statement:

To provide the membership and the public with accurate information and top quality education materials about marine animals and the training community and to increase and maintain IMATA membership through guest services, career guidance, benefits assessment and all other membership inquires.


Committee General Description:

The committee’s goal is to assist in the organizational goal of educating the membership and the general public; and to focus on customer service. This will be accomplished through the production of articles for Soundings Education Forum, answering inquiry letters (student, career, and general information), helping IMATA’s Secretary in replying to membership inquiries, and contacting members when mail is returned to the Central Office. The Education and Membership Services Committee is also committed to finding new benefits at all levels and re-evaluating levels so that they serve our members optimally. This committee has also been tasked with developing incentives, and marketing devices to help grow our membership. We also assist the 1st Vice President in obtaining universities and colleges within a 3 state radius of the annual conference to canvas with postcards marketing the conference.


Committee Requirements:

Members of this committee must be from the Professional, Active, Associate, or Student levels of membership and in good standing. 



Committee Chair Description:

The Education & Member Services Committee Chair is responsible for overseeing the activities of the Education & Member Services Committee. The chair is responsible for making sure all apprpropriate goals and tasking are completed by proposed deadlines. The Committee Chair will also delegate responsibility and tasking as approrpiate and create sub-committees as necessary.

  • The Education & Member Services Committee Chair is re-appointed annually by the current President with Board approval during the annual conference.
  • The Education & Member Services Committee Chair is expected to attend the annual meeting and attendance is preferred at the mid-year meeting.
  • The Education & Member Services Committee Chair will be expected to prepare a quarterly report as dictated by the President’s yearly calendar. Dates for these reports are usually Jan 31, Apr 30, Jul 31, & Oct 31. These reports will be submitted to the President and the Secretary using the form in the IMATA Policy Manual.
  • IMATA compensates its Education & Member Services Committee Chair in the following ways: membership will be paid for each year served and conference registration fees are waived.
  • Be a professional or active member in good standing.
  • Education Forum:
    • Contact authors for submissions to the Education Forum. Articles may describe particular education programs of interest at different facilities. Consider other material such as recent legislation that may be useful to educate the public. Education Forum may also be used to disseminate information to educate IMATA members, such as updates from other committees (Accreditation, for example). Also examine formal papers presented at IMATA’s annual or regional conferences dealing with education issues that can be edited down to size.
    • Remember that IMATA is an international organization.
    • Request submissions to Education Committee by the 1st of Feb, May, Aug and Nov of each year. Submissions are due to the Associate Editor on the 15th of Feb, May, Aug and Nov. of each year.
    • Authors should be advised that article length is 1-2 pages, with photos or graphs as appropriate.
    • Soundings Chief Editor and Associate Editor will determine if a particular article is published in Soundings, and when.
    • Follow up with Associate Editor, if needed, to clarify where a particular article may be in the Soundings process.
  • Quarterly Reports:
    • Prior to each quarterly report:
    • Review articles sent to Soundings Associate Editor for Education Forum.
    • Update Action Items and assignments from the board meetings.
    • Create a summary of correspondence activity for student letters, career questions and information requests. If applicable, contact designated committee member for number of letters received and answered, status of supplies, and any feedback for the Board of Directors. 
    • Contact the Central Office for report on IMATA Library activity. Information obtained should include number of article request for current quarter, number of articles distributed, and amount of Income Received from article requests. Income must be reported to the Treasurer, as well. Check on status of supplies and Income/Expense Report envelopes.
  • Returned mail to the Central Office:
    • When mail is returned to the Central Office; the member should be contacted ASAP and asked to update their information. Once their information is updated the mail item should be sent out promptly.
    • Membership questions:
    • When email inquiries are made and circulated to the Education & Membership Services Chair as well as the Secretary every effort should be made from one of these individuals to answer the inquiry in a prompt and professional manner. Customer Service should be a FOCUS, and the member’s expectations should be exceeded. Our goal is to respond to every member’s inquiry within 1-2 days.
  • Projects:
    • The Education Committee may also be asked to participate in tasks and projects in collaboration with other committees, such as Accreditation, International , Publications, and Website development.
  • The Education & Member Services Chair will be responsible for updating the job description when she or he leaves the position, or at a minimum of every two years. The job description should contain the following information:
    • Position Title
    • Revision Date
    • Basic Job Description
    • Responsibilities
    • Annual Timeline/Flow Chart 


John G. Shedd Aquarium
Committee Openings: Members of appropriate level are invited to join this committee.
Contact Committee Chair for more information.