Having confirmed a new name for our organization, the Constitution Committee has completed its meticulous work of dotting the “i’s” and crossing the “t’s” on the by-laws that define how everything works. Much of this material was already discussed in last year’s deliberations at the Annual General Meeting in Guelph, but a number of concerns were raised at the time and the committee went back to the drawing board to address them. The name change was the first stage of this process and the attached document represents the second stage. Now we are asking all members to vote on it.
Almost all the contents of this revised constitution will look familiar from the last time around, but there are two key changes worth noting:
- · On page 2, Article 4 confirms that there is only one tier of membership, although we will continue to distinguish types of members based on what dues they pay (a student rate, for example, versus a regular rate). This change means that all members have the same voting privileges within the organization and the ability to hold any position on the Board of Directors, up to and including the presidency. This change sparked concerns that a president with little or no background in journalism could lead the organization away from its core mission of excellence in this field, but that concern has now been addressed by the second major change.
- · On page 3, Article 5.4 introduces a new permanent committee that will oversee the organization’s commitment not only to excellence in science journalism but likewise excellence in science communication. Like any of the standing committees, this one is open to all members, but additionally we are opening it to interested outsiders who could provide an even broader perspective on pressing matters such as how the changing media landscape is affecting the reporting of science.
You will be hearing much more about this new committee, which should serve as this country’s first watchdog on the practice and status of science. It will position the Science Writers and Communicators of Canada as the central agency for any discussion in the field and a place that welcomes one and all who share the passion for these subjects. We are excited and curious to see who will step up to become a member of this new body.
On behalf of the Board of Directors and the hard-working Constitution Committee, I hope you share our enthusiasm for the new direction we have captured in this document. Please endorse it so we may get on with the work of making science communication, science writing, and science journalism undisputed pillars of Canadian culture.
To register your opinion on this new Constitution, please vote by April 18. If you have any technical difficulties contact Janice Benthin at firstname.lastname@example.org