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The American Real Estate Society (ARES) is a community of scholars and practitioners working together to create and disseminate knowledge related to real estate, property, and the built environment. ARES organizes an annual meeting with global participation, publishes six journals over a wide variety of real-estate-related subject areas, and formally recognizes contributions of researchers who enhance policy and business decision-making in the field of real estate.

Recognizing that quantification of research output is of greater importance than in the past, ARES leadership has spent the past year focused on moving ARES forward in knowledge transmission. Some examples include (1) an improved journal website, (2) introduction of an automated submission system for many of our journals, and (3) efforts to ensure that our journals are compatible with the newest article tracking and citation monitoring programs. In addition, volunteers in our organization are actively working to enhance the ARES website and our membership database architecture to provide a better user experience.

While all of these changes positively position ARES for the next decade in information dissemination, our organization is in a period of leadership transition and must remain focused and nimble.  To that end, I plan to spend my year as President focused on three major areas, recognizing that many interconnected issues:

  1. Strategic Planning – In the coming weeks I will be sending out an online survey to the ARES board and leadership regarding the strategic mission, vision, and goals of our organization. We will also be looking at the current portfolio of services provided by ARES – What do we need to continue to do, what do we need to change, and what do we need to eliminate?
  2. Annual Meeting – We appreciate the many years of service provided by Art Schwartz and Mindy Yarling in their role as meeting planners for ARES. As we welcome Bennie and Louise Waller as our new ARES meeting planners, we must collect information from our membership to help us identify the role the annual meeting plays in our strategic plan.
  3. Information Technology – Although it is not my strength, it is apparent that we have talented members who can help leverage information technology to support the mission of ARES. In addition to finalizing our new website and consolidating our member management databases, we will also be working to identify a new Conference Management System and deploying a smartphone for our 2018 annual meeting.  

I recognize this is an ambitious and wide-ranging list, but I think there are synergies in these topics. Nonetheless, we will need your help. Please be prepared to contribute to ARES by (1) completing surveys when you get them, (2) volunteering for committees to examine issues, (3) being willing to step up your involvement to a leadership role in the organization, (4) promoting ARES to your colleagues, and (5) thinking outside the box.

Finally, I hope you will make plans to join us for our 2018 annual meeting at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point in Bonita Springs, Florida. Our Vice President and Program Chair, Dr. Sofia Dermisi at the University of Washington, along with our new Meeting Planners, Bennie and Louise Waller at Longwood University, will be providing you with information on how to submit research papers and participate in our 34th Annual Meeting. Please take advantage of this opportunity. The venue is a true tropical paradise, and the location is accessible for both domestic and international scholars and practitioners.

Thank you for the opportunity to be part of the leadership of this outstanding organization. It is an honor to follow President Hardin, a mentor who first introduced me to ARES, and I look forward to working with you more closely this year as we continue to advance the mission of ARES in 2017-2018. I welcome your feedback, suggestions, and general comments. You can always reach me at


Best wishes,

Michael J. Highfield, Ph.D., CFA, CTP
ARES President 2017-2018
Professor of Finance and Robert W. Warren Chair of Real Estate
Department Head of Finance and Economics
Mississippi State University

Our Mission

To research and promote education in real estate, improve communication and exchange of information in real estate and allied matters among college/university faculty and practicing professionals, and facilitate the association of academic, practicing professional, and research persons in the area of real estate.

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