written by Ralph Whiting, President, 1984-1986
Under President Ralph Munger, WAVA's fourth decade began with a second highly successful Leadership Conference at the Manitowoc School Forest in the summer of 1978. The conference focused on identifying potential WEMA leaders and providing opportunities for learning leadership development skills. Many attendees did go on to use those skills as leaders in WEMA.
1979 was a year of many "Firsts." Under President Don Jorgensen's leadership, several joint activities were held with WSLMA, the school division of Wisconsin Library Association. The first joint journal, Wisconsin Ideas in Media, was published in 1979 and in the spring a WAVA/WSLMA joint conference on public relations was held in Eau Claire.
In the May DISPATCH, members first heard from Virgil Virgil, reporting on the spring conference. The first DISPATCH reference to computers in the LMCs shows up in the September 1979 issue. Another first was a State Superintendent's Conference for District Media Directors, held in September, 1979, with many WAVA leaders in attendance. In October the association held the first of several conferences on the theme of "Emerging Technologies.” WAVA also had several members on key DPI committees during this time as important new certification requirements were being developed.
1980 saw microcomputers take over the stage. They were prominent in the programing at a joint spring conference with the Illinois AECT, where Dr. Harry Herbert assumed the presidency. In June the first workshop on microcomputers in the LMC was held at La Follette High School in Madison and U.W. Stout began computer courses.
In the fall the conference theme was "Microcomputers: Yours Needs, Their Potential." Dean Markwardt acquired the first WAVA computer to manage membership records and treasurer Henry Winterfeld began using one to manage WAVA's finances.
In 1981 WAVA changed its name to WEMA following a lengthy study and voting process. It also started its recognition program for school administrators. Fred McCormick, president-elect of WEMA, resigned due to his new position at the ECB and Ron Unmacht took over as Manager of School Services and ECB representative on the WEMA Board. At DPI Leslyn Shires replaced Lyle Eberhart as head of the Division for Library Services. In this same year AECT created a new Division for School Library Media Specialists. WEMA sponsored a contest to create its new logo. The design by Ted Martynske, UW-Stout, was selected from 101 designs and continues to this day. Jim Zitzelsberger, Oshkosh, was elected as the first president of the new WEMA in 1982. At the DPI, the school Bureau was renamed the Bureau of Instructional Media and Technology, and two new positions were added. The microcomputer and telecommunications consultant positions reflected the many changes occurring in technology.
In December, 1982, after many years of work by several of the association's leaders, WEMA became officially incorporated. Dues were at $15.00, membership was 376, and budget was $33,400. During this time President Jim also established WEMA's first Intellectual Freedom Committee. The 1983 Spring Conference in Appleton focused on the theme "Coping with the Third Wave." Elaine Anderson was named the new DPI Microcomputer Consultant. Following the death of a second grade student in Milton, member Chuck Hocking wrote a DISPATCH article on how to safeguard TV sets on carts. This later became a popular WEMA publication on Audiovisual Equipment Safety.
Another joint conference with WSLMA was held in La Crosse in October, 1983. The following spring, at a joint conference with WASCD in Wausau, Ralph Whiting took over as president of WEMA. In 1984 WEMA affiliated with AASL, the Award of Excellence was established, and the first Wisconsin Study Tour was held. During 1985 efforts were made to merge WSLMA and WEMA. While that did not happen, membership in WEMA increased to over 600.
WEMA also held a joint conference with Minnesota and attended two state school board conventions with their new WEMA display. David Graf, UW-Stout, took over the presidency of WEMA at the spring 1986 conference in Eau Claire. Under his leadership, Gary Goyke was hired as the first legislative liaison in 1987, and WEMA adopted its first Strategic Long Range Plan. During this time Carolyn Cain, WEMA president-elect, was one of four persons on the writing team that created Information Power, AASL and AECT's new national standards. The WEMA board began communicating via electronic mail using Learning Link. Member news included the deaths of Dr. Mary Woodworth, U.W. Library School, and Robert Wheeler, first DPI Audiovisual Consultant. Bob is remembered as a long time supporter of WDAVI and WAVA, as a founding member and the association's second president.
WAVA added many new publications during the 1980s, including AV Equipment Security, Clip Art, Guidelines to Cataloging Microcomputer Software, and Guidelines for Cataloging Video Tapes, Video Literacy Television Production Curriculum, Audiovisual Equipment Safety, Cooperative Spirit, a video tape on promoting the LMC, Microcomputer Equipment Security, Old Abe: Wisconsin Civil War Eagle, safety stickers, Securing Copyright Permission, and Safety in the LMC. It was, indeed, a very momentous and productive decade for both WAVA/WEMA and the library media and audiovisual professionals in Wisconsin.