APS has initiated an examination of its governance and executive structures; a new webpage provides background information and opportunity for member comment.
March 13, 2014
APS has opened a new website to inform members and seek comment on the society's modernization of its governance structure. In January, APS announced creation of an Ad Hoc APS Committee on Corporate Reform to begin the reform process (see APS News, January 2014).
"We are out of compliance with the new rules of incorporation for nonprofit organizations in Washington D.C., where we are incorporated," said APS President Malcolm Beasley in a video posted to the site. "But much more important, we must reform to ensure continuing institutional excellence, a major goal of our strategic plan."
The website features background information about the charge to the Ad Hoc Committee on Corporate Reform, FAQs about the process, and a preliminary timeline of the work ahead. The committee is now drafting a list of preliminary recommendations to be shared with the society's elected leaders, the Council, and the Committee on Constitution and Bylaws.
After several more rounds of conferences and consultations, the membership will vote on the finalized plan, likely in October. In the meantime, the membership is invited to use the site's comment feature to voice concerns and ideas for reform.
"This is truly an historic undertaking by our society and we encourage you to follow the process and participate in the deliberations," Beasley said to the members.
At the society's leadership convocation in February, the leadership of divisions, topical groups, forums, and sections, as well as committee chairs received a briefing on the process. "There is no question that this was a well done and productive meeting. It was our first major effort at member outreach on this matter," said Beasley.
President Beasley discussed the initiative at a Townhall Forum held at the 2014 APS March Meeting in Denver. He also briefed the Executive Committees of many of the APS Divisions present at the meeting. Similar discussions are scheduled for the April Meeting in Savannah, Georgia.
The committee comprises the eight elected Council members on the APS Executive Board, the presidential line (President, President Elect, Vice President, and Past President) and Cherry Murray, chair of the Committee on Constitution and Bylaws.
The society has also hired a consulting firm, Cygnet Strategy, to help guide the process. Background materials supplied by these consultants can be found on the web page as well.
In addition, representatives from APS consulted with similar societies to possibly incorporate some aspects of their governing structure. Other science societies have undergone or are undergoing similar reforms, including the American Institute of Physics, the American Geophysical Union, and the Canadian Physical Society.
For more information, visit the APS Corporate Reform website.