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Editor's Note: With this article, APS News begins an occasional series on the various standing committees of the American Physical Society.
Of the 17 standing committees - including nine operating committees and eight public affairs and outreach committees - that exist through the bylaws of the American Physical Society, one in particular stands out for its unusual name: the Committee on Committees, also known by its abbreviation, the COC.
The unusual name of this 10-person committee reflects the unique role it has, which is to find and recommend qualified people to serve on many of the other 16 committees of the Society.
The COC is not to be confused with the Nominating Committee, whose responsibility is to prepare a slate of candidates for senior leadership positions, including some member-elected ones.
"While the duties of the COC overlap somewhat with the Nominating Committee, it basically provides the APS President with names of people to serve on various committees of the society," Ken Cole, the administrator of governing committees, says. "Because of its nominating-like function, it is a very important committee, as it determines the make-up of the important committees of the Society."
Zachary Fisk of Florida State, the current COC chair, echoed those sentiments.
"In some sense, it sounds crazy to have a Committee on Committees, but when you look at it, the job is rather important," said Fisk. "The committees of the APS serve a very important function (and) the Committee on Committees is where the selections are made. who gets chosen is very important. It makes a lot of difference."
Fisk said the COC consists of elected members of Council who represent the diversity of fields within the Society and who "have some basis for trying to make appropriate suggestions" for suitable candidates to occupy the slots of the other standing committees.
Judy Franz, the Executive Officer of the APS and a senior advisor to the COC, said the entire organization benefits from the role it plays.
"When COC selects new committee members with expertise, drive, and commitment, all other APS committees profit as does the APS as a whole," Franz said.
-Richard M. Todaro
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