SRP 2007: Minutes of the Meeting of the Executive Board
SRP Board Meeting
Thursday October 4th, 2007
Those in attendance:
Deanna Barch, Keith Nuechterlein, Ann Kring, Tom Oltmanns, Sheri Johnson, Jack Blanchard, Marty Harrow, Bill Hetrick, Michael Green, Scott Monroe, Michael Pogue-Geile, Michael Young, LeeAnna Clark, Junghee Lee, Eric Granholm, Craig Neuman, Dave Miklowitz
Welcome and overview of meeting: Keith opened the meeting with a welcome.
Secretary’s report – Deanna Barch:
President Elect – Jill Hooley
Two New Executive Board Members: Scott Granholm, Wendy Heller
Deanna reported that we held our first on-line elections this year, and that it went very well. Deanna suggested that we needed to integrate the email list with the website to facilitate up-to-date email lists.
Treasurer’s report – Michael Young:
Michael Young reported that things continued to go well for the society’s finances. Our income from dues and meeting registration continues to be strong. We have a donation from Pfizer in the form of an education grant ($5,000), which helps to offset some of the meetings costs. Our expenses are coming down as we do more functions through the web. We do pay PayPal to handle our registrations and dues. We ended up with a large surplus in 2005, the year in which the meeting was cancelled. We lost a little bit of money in 2006, but nothing dramatic. We have most of our reserve money in Fidelity Mutual Funds, and we have $115,942 in reserve. Lee Anna suggested that we have a manual or a timeline that indicates when things should happen for the website committee. For example, Lee Anna gave the example of needing to update the dues amount on the website, which did not happen prior to the opening of registration. We also need to make sure that the website committee interfaces with the local host and the program committee for the upcoming year’s meeting. Tom asked what we do with the $115,942 that we have in reserve. Michael Green noted that we needed to have 2-3 times our expenses in reserve in case we had to cancel a meeting for a reason that did not allow a full refund. Keith Nuechterlein noted that our current honorarium is rather low, and suggested that we increase it to $1000 or $1500 dollars, in addition to covering their expenses. We discussed whether to increase the Zubin award as well, and we decided to keep them all the same. The executive board voted to increase the honorarium for all invited speakers to $1000. We decided to develop a society timeline that noted major events and actions that need to occur throughout the year. We agreed that the individuals currently in the various positions, and where it made sense those previously in those positions, would meet and make a list for their position. Deanna, as secretary, would then collate this information.
Membership – Jack Blanchard:
We received a total of 28 applications this year. Fifteen were for associate memberships, and thirteen were for full memberships. This compares well with what we have done in the past several years, and 28 is a historic high for us (previous high was 27 in 2004). Jack noted that we converted to applications through the website, which is helpful for him so that he can cut and paste things such as addresses. Jack noted that there has been some confusion as to who was to contact the recommenders (the applicant or Jack). Jack has been reminding applicants to make sure that their recommenders send him the recommendation. Jack noted that all we need is an endorsement, and we do not need a full letter. We decided to change the phrasing from recommendation to endorsement. If we can figure out how to have an automatic email sent out, the email will state that all we need is an endorsement, and that a full letter is not needed. Michael Young noted that we continued to have problems tracking whether associate members have transitioned, and figuring out a way to encourage them to do so when they are no longer graduate students or research assistants. We discussed sending emails on some regular basis that would prompt them to provide us with information or prompt them to apply to be a full member. Keith noted that the website was somewhat confusing, as it asks for title rather than degree. The executive board voted to accept all of the new membership applications.
Meeting Organization Committee – Lee Anna Clark:
Lee Anna noted that it is never too early to consult the meeting organization handbook. There are a few things you have to do well in advance (hotel, rooms), but then it ramps up fairly quickly and they can catch you unawares. Lee Anna felt that a distribution of the duties could have been more broadly distributed. For example, Lee Anna noted that we need to ensure ahead of time that the invited speakers have comp room that have been arranged and reserved. More specifically, we need to clarify how the rooms will be set aside and allocated to a specific person. Lee Anna suggested that we do an early registration price that coincides with the close of the hotel room reservations. Michael Young felt that that such a date was too early to make it feasible, but a number of people felt that it would work if we have a fairly steep increase for registrations post that date. Michael Young also suggested that it would help to have a link to the hotel right in the registration part of the website. The proposal is to synchronize the hotel reservation with the early registration fee. Pre-registration was $130 this year, and onsite $150. The proposal was to have early registration to be $130, late website registration do be $180, and onsite to be $200. We will figure out the other categories comparably. We will be more generous for students, and will use the same percentage for non-members. We repeatedly have difficulties working things out with late registrations, and we have for years, and this is the solution that we came up with this. It was suggested that we remind people to register on time when they get their acceptances for talks and posters.
Program Committee – Bill Hetrick:
Overall, the meeting is surprisingly similar to the numbers that we had in San Diego. We had 150 poster submissions (172) last year. We have 69 on Thursday, and 81 on Sunday. We had 6 symposia and 1 panel discussion. Last year it was 3 symposia + the founders symposia. The program committee accepted the 6 symposia, but not the panel discussion. We ended with very high ratings on the symposia and they went back to the committee, and it was a hung jury! Thus, they opted to add an extra dual track session to accommodate. We had seven oral only and 21 oral or poster. We took nine of these to make up paper sessions. Bill raised a number of issues about the program committee. The first is continuity. Scott agreed to serve on the program capacity for the next year in his role as past program chair. Bill suggested that we have a core committee that include the past program chair, the current program chair, and perhaps the upcoming program chair. Bill noted that the current website has a number of limitations and that Aaron felt that the website language is outdated. We need to be clearer in our yearly contract with Aaron that we needed a set time with him. The submission interface for parent and child abstracts for the symposia were not very clear. If we keep the same system, that needs to be dealt with. The ability to extract information needs to be added as something that is easier to do. Lastly, the notification for the Smadar Levin awardees needs to be made easier. Bill emailed faculty whom students had requested attend their posters, and he felt this went very well and facilitated contacts between faculty and students. Bill also noted that we went through a number of invited speakers, many prominent people have their schedules already set. We need to move that earlier. Michael Green noted that we cannot submit for funds until we have our invited speakers. We should be thinking about appointing the program chair two years ahead. We decided that we should form the program committee for this next year’s meeting prior to the current meeting, so that the program committee can meet at the meeting prior to the year the run the meeting. The proposal was that the president elect would choose a chair prior to the meeting in which they assume the president role.
Website Committee – Junghee Lee:
There were three major activities for Aaron this past year. The first was editable abstracts. He changed the program language to a new one that was easier to edit. We added two lines to the membership information. We also changed the registration link to make it easier to change. Junghee noted that we should clarify the line of communication with Aaron to have the head of the website committee be the primary contact so that he does not get confused. We may need to let him know that the head of the program committee will be contacting. We could schedule a date ahead of time for Aaron to take the new program committee chair through the website. Bill is willing to instruct the next program chair in how to use the website. We would like for the website committee to evaluate whether or not we should change how we are doing the website and what would we need to do to start over again. What do other societies do? We need to identify a third member of the website committee, which actually falls to Scott Monroe to do. Keith summarized the list a potential issues for the website and Aaron’s contract for the upcoming year:
a) Website should be changed so that the emails of the members for a list serve, ideally with the ability to do associate, full and both separately.
b) Automatic cuing of letters of endorsement when someone applies for associate or full member.
c) Associate members being cued that it is time to think about being full members (though this does not have to go through the website, could come from Michael Young).
d) A link to the hotel on the registration page.
e) Putting in Aaron’s contract time to consult with the incoming program chair.
f) Adding a search function for the membership. This relates to changing the directory so that it more user friendly.
g) What would need to happen in order for us to have a searchable and downloadable version of the membership listing?
h) The website committee should discuss amongst themselves and with Aaron Burke the future of the website. If Aaron feels that it is archaic, what are our options going forward. It may help to see what other societies use (e.g., SPR).
i) Can we make it so that we can upload copies of the posters for the Smadar Levin award winners?
j) Please have Aaron change it so that the emails to support at the Website come to the Secretary, and that the program chair emails go to the current program chair.
k) Please change the abstract submissions so that instead of saying “Oral only” to “oral preferred.”
Publication Committee – Craig Neumann:
Last year we had formed a publication committee (temporary) that would generate ideas about what we would like to do for the future. Jason Shifran and Debra Walder were recruited to generate ideas, along with Craig Neumann.
a) What if we had our own Journal?
b) Have more of a newspaper like publication, in which students would have an opportunity to interview “prominent” SRP folks. Would provide an opportunity for students to be more involved. Some reporting on the highlights of the meeting.
c) Put the information from the membership directory in a more useable format.
The discussion around the Journal idea indicated that there was not strong support.
The idea would be to have a Full Member oversee, couple with a cadre of associate members. There was generally positive support for this idea, assuming the students would be interested. There was concern raised to ensure that the students really did want to do this and how we would decide who would get to be involved. We agreed to ask Jason for a proposal for how he would like to structure the newsletter (assuming he wants to do it).
There is fairly widespread feeling that the way we go to the website and search for members is not very user friendly. The committee suggested a number of different ways that we could do this. One was to have all of the information for the members listed in one long list that is searchable. Another option was to have a more filtered list that would have Name, Email and maybe research topics. This would serve to make a printable list shorter, but less complete. Another option would be to have a summary version with hyperlinks for emails. Lee Anna suggested that these are not mutually exclusive possibilities. The only thing that is currently private it email (must be a member to login). We would continue to protect email address so that we do not get spam. Could it be outputted to an excel file? The one available to the public would have no email addresses.
We need to have the website committee add this to the quote list for Aaron.
Should we allow members to do more than one oral presentation in the meeting? A few members are giving more than one talk this year, which may cause resentment.
The rule is actually that we are only allowed one first author submission per year. If you accept everything, then is likely not an issue, but if you are not accepting everything, then would some members be upset if people were giving more than one talk. This year we did turn down a number of oral paper presentations. The issue is most acute for symposia. It is proposed that it is a general rule, and that we give the program committee license to violate the rule under special circumstances. We are now getting enough symposia that we may need to turn some down. We will discuss again at the Sunday am meeting.
We should change the options to oral preferred and oral or poster, rather than oral only.
Dates / locations of future meetings
– 2008 Pittsburgh, PA – Update from Michael P-G
– 2009 Minneapolis, MN
– 2010 Seattle, WA
Future sites? Ann Arbor (Patty Deldin) and San Diego (Bill Kremen) have offered