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By Gary McPherson,
Chair, ISME Constitution, By-Laws and Policy Review Committee

The ISME Constitution, By-Laws and Policy Review Committee has been working consistently since it was established in 2014. At the world conference in Glasgow in 2016, the General Assembly approved the Committee’s recommendation to revise the bylaws to provide that every member of the society shall have the right to vote in the assembly. Previously only a single voting delegate from each nation was able to cast a vote on behalf of that nation in the general assembly. That change was an important step forward, and since then our committee has considered a wide variety of additional proposals intended to help the Society to better meet the needs of members and potential members in a globalised, digital world.

In addition to working online since its establishment, our committee held a series of meetings at the world conference in Glasgow and met by itself for three days in Los Angeles in January, 2017. We are now in the process of finalising recommendations that will be presented to the ISME board of directors in July 2017. If approved by the board, these proposals will then be discussed with the membership in preparation for consideration and approval by the general assembly at the 2018 ISME world conference.

The recommended revisions to the constitution and bylaws to be proposed to the Board in July will deal with these issues:

  1. Membership: We will seek to codify more completely the privileges and benefits of each category of individual and group membership. In our view, greater effort is needed to encourage lifelong membership in ISME, from student membership through to active membership through retirement. We also intend to provide specific criteria for the selection of honorary life members.
  2. Governance: There has been much discussion concerning what can be approved by the board and then reported at the general assembly, versus what can be proposed by the board and must then be approved by the general assembly. Our proposals will attempt to provide clarification in this matter and to encourage more effective dissemination of information as well as to facilitate the discussion of the important issues facing our profession.
  3. Officers and Board: Guidelines will be included in our proposed bylaws to clarify the procedures in the event of the resignation, death, or removal from office of an officer or a member of the board of directors. 
  4. Commissions, councils and special interest groups: Recommendations will be offered to bring greater consistency to our structure regarding commissions, councils and special interest groups. Our intent is to enable these groups to become more efficient, effective and integrated in serving the needs of our members. 
  5. Inclusion: A bylaw will be proposed that commits ISME, through its actions, programs and publications, to embrace and engage all members, to oppose discrimination in any form, and to promote and encourage the principles of acceptance, inclusion, and diversity. This is a matter that the committee considers very important.
  6.  Archives: The archives of the society are currently housed in the Special Collections in the Performing Arts at the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland, USA. A bylaw will be proposed that will provide guidelines for the collection and preservation of these materials in order to assist the society in celebrating the past whilst looking forward to the future.
  7. Parliamentary authority: To ensure fairness, consistency, and legitimacy as we conduct our business, the Committee will propose that the Society adopt an authoritative code of parliamentary procedures for use by the board of directors, the general assembly, and other bodies.

The members of the committee (Gary McPherson, Chair; Margaret Barrett; Ana Lucia Frega; Gary Ingle; Patrick Jones; Paul Lehman; Mark Reid; Patrick Schmidt, Amanda Watson; and Graham Welch) will continue to work with the ISME president and board so that any changes brought before the ISME general assembly have been discussed in various forums, including the entire membership. Updates on our work will continue to be provided to the membership in future newsletters, and comments on the changes proposed are welcome at any time.

Further information or questions about the work of the committee should be addressed to the Chair, Gary McPherson.