Report of the Committee on Qualifications and Membership
for the Year ending June 30, 2009
I. Annual Meeting of the Committee
The Committee for Qualifications and Membership met at Sigma Xi Headquarters on October 24th and 25th 2010. Committee members present were:
Dr. Carol Beck, Thomas Jefferson University Chapter (CQM Chair)
Dr. Gregory Buck, South Texas Chapter
Mrs. Cristina Gouin-Paul, District of Columbia Chapter
Dr. Lou Reinisch, Constituency Director at Large
Dr. Andrew Velkey, Tidewater Virginia Chapter
Dr. Joseph Whittaker, Membership at Large and President-Elect of Sigma Xi
Dr. Jerome Baker, Executive Director
Ms. Sharon Davis, Manager, Membership Services and Benefits
Topics covered included:
- Customer Service - The committees and SX staff are here to serve the membership, need to get that information out to chapters and membership
- Data mining - We have looked at membership data in various ways to find the trends associated with declining membership but are we looking it the data in all ways possible? Include cash flow etc.
- Chapter based? - is this still a viable way to run the society? More and more members are now “at-large”...
- Partnerships- Sigma Xi should look into viable partnerships, NSTA, Conrad Foundation, AAAS... getting American Scientist into high school libraries electronically. Need an additional staff member to manage IP addresses.
- Dr Baker
- UPMIFA laws have changed and required changes in budget wording and much longer 990 Tax return
- Attempting to find a renter for part of the Sigma Xi building would help ease building maintenance etc expenses
- Recruitment - Chapters indoctrinate members once a year vs year round, some not processing applications at all or only once a year. Idea to have recruitment year round and nomination but ceremony once a year? Chapters all different in how they handle this.
- Giving - Gift acceptance policy has been approved - making Sigma Xi a part of your will. Leroy Record gave us $3.5 million starting the Leroy Record Society - gift of $10K or as part of will.
- Chapter Visits and discussions - Dr. Baker called and or visited chapters. Visits and calls get chapters fired up short term but long term? Follow up needed?
- Visiting chapters expensive vs what is gained - is conference call better?
- Improved communication from active chapter to inactive chapter members via listserve creation
- Inactive Chapter funds - Need a policy to use/hold inactive chapter funds.
- GIAR update - grant application same level as last year, dividends to be reinvested
- Student Research Conference - need to look at numbers each year. Should students who attend be automatically be given membership in SX?
- Sigma Xi sustainability - Some chapters set the bar higher for membership than others. CQM can evaluate all applications if needed for acceptance using main by-laws as guidance. How to get this out to potential members who may have been declined at the chapter level?
- Student membership - digital age. We need a venue or social networking for the digital version of the magazine to allow for comments and blogs - get more people/students vested in articles etc.
- Annual meeting - Society looses $120 - 140K per year on meeting expenses. Move to electronic meetings? Move to every other year? Regional meeting instead? But this takes more time and planning for staff vs one meeting etc. Voting to be held
- Science Cafes - need to get Sigma Xi more involved than as background player. Seek media coverage, funding opportunity.
- Online student publication - cost neutral - getting volunteer editors and submissions to initiate might be an issue. Want peer review and rigor but to not deter students from submitting. Mentor opportunity?
- Good standing - need more rigorous submission of annual reports on time - do we need to in essence “fine” chapters by reduced chapter checks?
- Motions of CQM:
- GIAR - temporarily reduce amount and or number of GIAR awards to allow the fund to recover principal value to comply with UPMIFA
- Annual meeting - to hold or not to hold annual meeting needs to be determined by delegates not committee members
- Reactivation of Public Understanding of Science or Education Committees to expand involvement in Science Café’s or new committee formed composed of members already involved in cafes to provide guidance for other members who may want to start a café.
- Online journal - CQM supports idea of SiSTEM online journal- encourages peer review and rigor of science but encourages high level of communication between students and reviewers so that students are encouraged not discouraged.
- Local Dues from inactive chapters - local dues collected from members of inactive chapters shall be used for chapter programs, chapter reactivation, and chapter activities but do not need to be spent for the chapter for which they were originally collected. Local Dues Reserve account should not be used for the societies general operating activities.
- Brainstorming by CQM
- Process to change by-laws etc too time consuming - need to focus on strategic needs
- Uniform membership standards across all chapters
- Change in title and mission? - Sigma Xi - The Interdisciplinary Science Society - Companions in zealous research collaborating to address the problems of today for a better tomorrow.
- Rename magazine to reflect international and interdisciplinary science
- Research poster conference presentations need to be focused more on interdisciplinary science not individual categories
Teleconference held November 2009
- Good Standing - was discussed and the following changes were written as possible changes to current by-laws.
To remain in good standing, a chapter should:
- elect and initiate new Members and/or Associate Members on at least one occasions in two consecutive years. This may be done via any mechanism open to the chapter. Reactivating a Member who has been inactive for approximately one year or more would also be accepted.
If this would constitute a hardship for your chapter, please contact Chapter Services to discuss alternatives. (Alternatives would require approval by the Committee on Qualifications and Membership.)
- file an annual report with the Sigma Xi Executive Director on or before July 1 of each year. This report should include a list of officers for the upcoming year and summarize the chapter’s activities over the past year.
- Each officer listed must be dues paid for the year ahead. Chapters needing assistance in determining dues status should contact Chapter Services.
- no lower or upper limit for how many officers
- send a representative from the chapter to the Annual Meeting/ Assembly of Delegates at least once every three years. Yearly representation is encouraged; representation at least once every three years is a minimum standard.
- Increasing scientific content of meeting may assist some chapters in sending members
- A penalty for chapters not submitting reports on time and or failing these above motions was discussed
- Withholding chapter checks or reducing the amount etc.
- No vote was taken on the above motions until some method of consequence and or incentive can be suggested.
Teleconference February 2009
- CQM committee is in need of new members and Carol Beck announced that she would end her term as chair of the committee
- Process for new members is members added through President and President Elect
- Need student, transitional, at-large, international members on committee
- Good standing - discussed again as motions suggested should not be used to push chapters to inactivity.
- Vote on motions to be taken at 2010 meeting
- Grant applications - need a better way to inform members of grant availability - grant applications are down
- Membership applications - applications made through website need to be reviewed by CQM - alternatively a committee of local NC members could be assembled to review applications and any that are questioned can be put to CQM member for approval etc.
- If applicant does not write in a chapter to affiliate with should point them towards local chapter if possible
- In lieu of clogging email boxes with applications a share point site could be set up to help in the review process.
- A completely online application process should be considered vs. having to scan in applications.
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