The President is elected by the membership and works in partnership with the members of the Board and executive management team within SPLtrak. The main role of the President is to act as an ambassador of the Society and to facilitate its mission of “advancing scientific research on food and fluid intake and its associated biological, psychological and social processes”. At an operational level, there are five main types of duties. These are: 1) organizing the Board meetings; 2) meeting planning; 3) fund raising; 4) outreach and 5) evaluation of the service provided by our executive management team.
Board meetings: There are two Board meetings each year one in fall or winter and the other in the summer at the annual meeting. The President chairs the Board meeting, is responsible for organizing the agenda for each (including inviting items for the agenda from Board members and committee chairs), and when vacancies on the Board arise, the President assists the Nominations Committee in soliciting nominations, then notifying members of election results.
At the Board, all aspects of the Society’s efforts are discussed including reports from each committee. The President is involved in approving payment of invoices sent by the Treasurer and/or accountant, and is consulted in decisions about finances as needed.
Fund raising: The Society has an excellent rapport with its corporate donors, sponsors and benefactors. The donations we receive each year are essential to support our activities, especially the New Investigator Travel Award, honoraria to invited speakers and the management of the Society. The role of fundraising is highly dependent upon the excellent relationship we have developed with our industry colleagues over many years. Fundraising is an important role for the President made easier by close contact with our sponsors. The President is responsible for acknowledging donations received and for following up with specific sponsor enquiries or requests.
Outreach: The President is approached to answer questions about the Society from many sources (potential funding bodies, other societies, communications companies). In addition, there is a Presidential column to write for the SSIB Newsletter twice each year and an introduction to the conference program. The President reaches out to the membership on a regular basis through numerous notifications, invitations and communications fielded via SPLtrak, our executive management team.
Overall, the Presidency is an honorable position to hold but comes with a fair degree of responsibility, hard work and occasional “fire-fighting”. The role is supported by an extremely professional and expert executive SPLtrak management team, making the role in equal measure hard work, a privilege and a pleasure.
The Secretary is elected by the membership. The Secretary performs duties in two main areas. The first is membership. As Chair of the Membership Committee, the Secretary is responsible for recommending new Members to the Board. Applications for membership are put to the Board for a vote by the Secretary; the Board approves or rejects applications. The Secretary provides a report on membership to the Board meetings and works with the membership committee to recommend policies concerning membership. The Secretary is also responsible for keeping written records of the Society, especially minutes of meetings and official correspondence of the Board. The Secretary disseminates written notices of meetings and other mailings, such as ballots or votes for amendment. The Secretary substitutes for the President, if neither the President-Elect nor the Past-President is available.
The Society Treasurer is elected for a period of up to three years. On a monthly basis the Treasurer is responsible for reviewing and approving Society expenses, but the actual maintenance of the accounts, payment of invoices, preparation of the annual tax documents etc., is the responsibility of SPLtrak. SPLtrak can provide information on options that may be available for specific financial decisions, but it is the responsibility of the Society to decide what action to take. The Treasurer presents a summary of the Society's financial status and major items of expense and income at both Board meetings and presents an overview of the Society's financial status at the annual business meeting. Significant changes in the financial obligations of the Society, such as those associated with awards or investment of funds can be proposed by any member of the Society, but have to be approved by the Board. Minor or routine expenses can be approved by the Treasurer and President following a discussion by email. Every year in spring, the Treasurer assists the President and other designated SSIB members in requesting industry sponsorship of the annual meeting.
Board members decide on all important issues to run the Society. Board members are responsible for managing the affairs of the Society and are expected to contribute to the health and development of the Society by assisting with the administration of the Society and taking the lead on initiatives to maintain SSIB as the foremost society for research into all aspects of eating and drinking behavior. The Board informs the membership about upcoming votes and presents important decisions to the membership, who then votes on them. Board members serve for 3 years and are elected by the membership. Board members have to attend two meetings per year: summer Board meeting, during SSIB annual meeting; fall/winter Board meeting, typically hosted by the actual president in his/her home town. The latter meeting may be conducted by teleconferencing. During the year, all discussions/decisions are typically done via e-mail. Board members are required to vote on new membership applications and on motions relating to the business of the Society. Board members are expected to contribute to discussions about the management of the Society, propose motions and complete actions related to agreed motions, where appropriate. Board members may also serve a Chair of a committee. Estimated work load (apart from the two annual meetings of the Board) 1-2h per month.
The Society established the Ethics Committee at the Paris meeting in 2008. The Committee is concerned with conflicts of interest that may occur in mentoring, academic promotion, collaborative research, professional behavior, and financial support of research. The Committee is determined to be helpful and transparent. It has no interest in legislating “proper” behavior. Its institution is based on the recognition of the complicated web of knowledge, money, and social function that the members of the Society are in.
Conflicts of interests occur every day. When they are serious, the individual is usually on her own, caught between two competing entities. The Committee aims to enhance the support that the Society can provide to a member in such professional trouble.
The Ethics Committee will be composed of 5 members including the current President, the Future President, and three most recent, available Past-Presidents. The current President will serve as Chair of the Ethics Committee, unless the issue under concern involves the current President. In such a case, the immediate Past President will serve as the Chair of the Ethics Committee. The Ethics Committee needs only to convene if given a charge by the current President or by the Board of Directors to consider an issue with possible ethical concerns. Any recommendation of the Ethics Committee will be relayed by the current President of SSIB, and/or Chair of the Ethics Committee, to the Board of Directors.
EXECUTIVE MANAGEMENT EVALUATION COMMITTEE
At the end of each year, the President chairs a committee to evaluate the service that we receive from SPLtrak. This takes the form of feedback collated from those who engage with the company on a regular basis and are best placed to form a judgment of the services we receive. We are tasked with an evaluation of quality of service delivery, value for money and effectiveness of the management services. The report is then forwarded to SPLtrak.
The three members of the finance committee, including the Treasurer, come to agreement on recommendations that will be made by the Treasurer to the Board and/or the Society President when significant changes in financial obligations of the Society are to be proposed. All communication is done by email and the workload is minimal.
LONG RANGE PLANNING
The Main task is to plan and decide on future meeting sites and to present these proposals for final vote to the Board. While the head of the long range planning committee is involved in major decisions of the Society’s business and attends the Board meetings as non-voting member, the other members of the LRPC have a relatively minor work load; typically, all discussions are done by e-mail and the work load is no more than 10h per year.
The President as chair of the meeting planning committee is involved in decisions regarding the venue and in approving the final budget for the annual meeting. The President is asked to sign off on the agreements for future meetings through the Chair of the Long Range Planning Committee and this procedure then commits the Society to future venues for the annual meetings.
The Program Chair oversees all aspects of the conference content. The Presidential Symposium forms part of the program but goes through the Program Chair as a proposal according to the specific interests of the President.
The President has the honor of opening the annual meeting, may be asked to make decisions during the meeting, and then at the banquet is involved in the presentation of plaques to outgoing Board members and awards to new investigators as well as the winners of the best oral presentations by a graduate student and postdoctoral fellow.
The Membership Committee is responsible for monitoring trends in membership and developing policies on membership. The Chair of the Membership Committee is the Secretary who is responsible for recommending new members to the Board. In addition to the Secretary, 2 to 3 members are appointed by the President usually for a term of 3 years. The Membership Committee works to ensure that the Society has a healthy and diverse membership base.
The main task is to find suitable candidates for the Board and for Officers (President-Elect, Treasurer, Secretary, etc.). The work load is seasonal, beginning early in the year until late in spring. The work involves informing the membership about open positions, sending out requests for nominations; collecting nominations from the membership, and directly approaching potential candidates (the latter is an important part of the Chair’s duties). The head of the Nominating committee then discusses with the other committee members which names should go on the ballots. These tasks are typically all done by e-mail conversations or phone calls. Once agreed on, the Chair of the Nominating committee seeks approval from the candidates that they will run for the election and prepares the ballots with the help of SPLtrak.
The Program Committee is responsible for maintaining the high quality science presentations that are a hallmark of the SSIB Annual Meeting. The Chair is appointed for a three year term by the President and will usually have served previously as a committee member. The Chair has overall responsibility for establishing the scientific and social aspects of the Annual Meeting of the Society. The Chair is assisted by two sub-Chairs who represent the two research tracks of the Society: 1) Integrative Physiology and 2) Social/Behavioral/Clinical research. There are usually at least six regular members of the committee, at least one of whom is a Board member and a New Investigator. Regular members usually serve three-year staggered terms and the New Investigator usually serves for one year. The Chair recommends regular members and a New Investigator for Presidential approval to serve on the committee. The work of the Committee begins in the Fall when the call for symposia suggestions goes out to the membership. Each Program committee member is asked to provide at least two suggestions for symposia and propose guest speakers. The Committee then reviews all the suggestions for symposia via email. In January a subset of the Committee meets to finalize the details of the symposia (two day meeting). After the abstract deadline, a subset of the committee meets to finalize the whole program, including the oral sessions, abstracts, and lunch sessions (one day meeting). The Committee also organizes Chairs for each oral session/symposium. The Program Committee is responsible for reviewing the final version of the program before it is printed, and organizing the subsequent feedback questionnaire.
The Public Communications committee works to publicize the research findings of SSIB members. Towards this end, we review abstracts submitted each year for the upcoming SSIB annual meeting, and select those that are based on research that might have broad appeal to the lay public. Submitted abstracts are divided up among members of this committee for reading and consideration, and the committee then “votes” to determine which are selected for potential press releases. We then work with the abstract authors to craft news releases that are submitted by the committee chair to “EurekAlert”, an online science news service for the media. There are no committee meetings; all work is done via email. Committee members spend approximately 5-7 hours (total) per year reading abstracts, contacting authors and helping them draft their press releases, and editing the releases before submission.
The responsibilities of the Website Oversight Committee include overseeing the SSIB web page to ensure that it is updated and that any problems are highlighted. The committee is responsible for ensuring that news items, listing of Board members and meeting information are current and correct. The committee also aims to make suggestions for improvements to the website that will benefit our members.