News and Updates from FPA

Mike Ryckman posted on April 14, 2013 17:11

At ISA Headquarters, we’re constantly looking for ways to improve our member and conference services; the new is our latest such effort.

I am excited to say that will fully replace MyISA. In fact, if you go to MyISA now, you’ll be directed right back here. When we first launched MyISA back in 2008, it was greeted happily by most of its users, who were excited to be able to view their membership information online and do conference management through the web. Unfortunately, MyISA was written for ISA as it existed in 2008 – it wasn’t very flexible and it was hard to update. Over the years, our members (and our staff) have found parts of it frustrating as new technologies have changed standards and expectations. While this site won’t do everything right away (and we’re still ironing out the wrinkles), it should tremendously improve our ability to adapt to changing technologies and provide the best services for our members.

Of course, this new site is more than just a replacement for MyISA. is based on the open source content management system DotNetNuke. ISA’s unique tools – membership and conference management – have been recreated from the ground up to work as plug-ins to this widely used framework. Together, this makes it so that we can provide our traditional services, but in a much more flexible and adaptive framework. While we won’t be able to do everything right away, we hope to leverage this new platform to provide new online services that have never been possible for our organization before.

This project also helps ISA better prepare for its 2015 transition away from Thomas Volgy’s leadership and the University of Arizona. As recently as just a few years ago, ISA had two different websites (its main informational site and MyISA) running on Arizona’s servers. Now, this site is independent from any university and it consolidates ISA’s membership and conference management with the organization’s informational, Section, Region, Caucuses and governance pages. By separating ISA’s systems from any university, the organization is more independent and transferable than ever before. In 2015, we won’t need to worry about where our website will be hosted or how we’ll get membership data to the new headquarters; instead, we’ll just have the new staff log in here.

Of course, this didn’t happen overnight. I began work on this new system back in late 2011. The project of recreating the functionality of MyISA, while improving its flexibility in a third-party system, was a long one. In fact, the code behind the new system has over 85,000 lines in about 1,000 files. In recent months, the staff has worked together to setup pages and content for this site. Joel Davis, Liz Fausett, Laura Gottshalk in our office have been instrumental in making sure the information you need is available right away and that it’s easier than ever to learn about ISA’s groups, people and offerings.

As we move forward, we are excited about the further improvements coming to the site. Be sure to check in often as we expand our online services.

Thank you for your support and please be a little patient with us as we get the system ironed out and continue building out more information. We at headquarters are excited about these changes and hope you are too. As always, please let us know if you run into any issues or see anything you think we could do better.

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The International Studies Association

Representing over 100 countries, ISA has more than 6,500 members worldwide and is the most respected and widely known scholarly association in this field. Endeavoring to create communities of scholars dedicated to international studies, ISA is divided into 6 geographic subdivisions of ISA (Regions), 29 thematic groups (Sections) and 4 Caucuses which provide opportunities to exchange ideas and research with local colleagues and within specific subject areas.
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