Norman Spencer

Director of Membership Activities

NKS HeadshotName: Dr Norman Spencer
Current Career Status: Postdoctoral researcher
Institution or Organisation Name: UNC Charlotte & Logan Community Music School, USA


Dr Spencer currently serves as the Vice Director for Sustainability at a music education institute in suburban Concord, North Carolina called the Logan Community Music School. He is solely responsible for all aspects of the institution’s sustainability programme such as department governance, research/development and policy enforcement. Under his principled leadership, the sustainability programme has grown from a set of initiatives to a full department dedicated to internal and external engagement with the goal of sustainability. He is also dually appointed as an associate professor within their Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, where he teaches a plethora of courses, including his special course entitled “Science in Society: The Journey to Cognizance from Chaos.” He also works at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte as a researcher in an organometallic chemistry laboratory to further his commitment to research in the biological arena. He also previously worked with Mother Nature Network, the predominate news agency dedicated to environmental news, as a local correspondent in the Charlotte metropolitan area about common issues such as urban development and scientific literacy from a scientific background 2008 through 2014. For his professional and personal efforts, he was nominated for Sustain Charlotte’s 2015 Outstanding Leader Award.

Aims and aspirations for role within NESSE

As both a researcher and community member within the sustainable science area, total engagement within the community aims only to advance the common cause of integrating sustainable principles in science in beneficial means. This is something that I desire to accomplish as the Director of Membership Activities for NESSE. With this being an international organisation of scientists, engineers and allies alike, ensuring that every member is able to connect and engage with their fellow colleagues is the chief priority of such a position. Likewise, the expedient and comprehensive management and exchange of member resources within such an organisation is another extremely challenging and significant task.

As the membership activities director, I want to focus on developing a multitude of support and resources in the context of communication, which will allow individual members and small groups to share ideas openly and expediently. Additionally I would aim to create new partnerships and strengthen existing ties between partnering organisations, such as universities, research groups and other sustainability consortia, and NESSE to develop a more holistic and innervated network.

Furthermore on the note of development, it is critical that a membership director of any organisation, especially NESSE, be able to develop strategic plans to aid network growth and membership engagement. Therefore I strive to work with other members of the Executive Board in a diligent and collaborative fashion to devise and implement new initiatives designed to increase membership, engage members of all levels and backgrounds and ensure the development and advocacy of member-based initiatives outside of the Executive Board. Ultimately I want to ensure that all members, regardless of global location, have unencumbered access to the Executive Board and its resources to support their sustainable science initiatives and goals.

Since my early years during my undergraduate and graduate training, I have been steeply involved in member engagement and member support through governance roles in a plethora of professional networking organisations. During my time as an undergraduate student at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, I was involved in developing programmes and initiatives targeted at the inclusion of minority and underrepresented honours students through community service. During my professional career, I have continued this work in an increased capacity whilst serving as Chair-Elect of the Carolina-Piedmont Section of the American Chemical Society. I have been creating new member outreach initiatives aimed at increasing involvement of minority members, retired chemists and students in local section activities. I also take part in working with local organisations on their community outreach programmes by forming and building trustful relationships with budding young minority leaders wanting to make their resident communities more sustainable.

I have been serving with NESSE as the network development officer for over six months. During my short tenure, I have been able to devise practical and strategic plans for increasing membership, ensuring inclusion and engagement of new members and regularly scheduled communications of NESSE events and on-going initiatives. I have also streamlined and revised common internal processes to ensure new members are contacted and involved as soon as possible. Additionally I continue to work on developing new means of ensuring members feel connected and abreast of NESSE events, initiatives and recent developments.

Lastly, my experience has given me a valuable set of skills in interpersonal communication, translating and writing. I have been able to ensure unrestricted care and personal communication amongst patients in spite of language and diversity barriers, which has improved treatment outcomes and led to improved quality of life. As NESSE is ultimately a group of members, its member’s enthusiasm must be supported in any manner possible. With me as the membership affairs director, I will ensure without a shadow of doubt that NESSE’s members will always have a dedicated, supportive and collaborative voice.