Review of the Society’s VP structure

and the modus operandi of assistance for VP

Vice President Roles

The present review of the structure and role of Society VPs was prompted by a view that as the Society has evolved the structure might not still be best suited to the Society’s range and volume of activities and that some roles now carry heavy work-loads.  All posts are voluntary and accrue no return benefits.  The review wished to minimise change and keep the number of VPs to a minimum consistent with the concerns expressed above.  The review has been undertaken by the President, President Elect and Immediate Past President, and we make the following recommendations (listed against the present roles).  The transitions should take place as soon as those involved agree, or at the termination of existing officers’ appointments.

VP Finance  - Unchanged

This is a substantial role with extensive responsibilities and duties.  However, it is not proposed that the role change at present, especially while the current post-holder seems content to continue.

VP Meetings – Unchanged

VP Publications – Clarification:

1.               Role covers the monitoring of all publications produced by the Society.  The main focus is on the System Dynamics Review, but extends also to the quarterly newsletter and any journal or other materials published under the Society’s name both centrally and by chapters and SIGs

2.               The VP publications role will not relate to the society’s electronic presence (web-based interaction which will come under a new VP

VP Member Services and Chapters – New roles:

1.              This job has mushroomed as Society membership has grown and the number of chapters has increased rapidly, and should now be split into VP Member Services and VP Chapters.

2.               The new roles will be:

·       VP Member Services.  To monitor, review services and bring forward new initiatives to ensure that the Society provides the most appropriate and highest quality of service to its members.  This includes, but is not limited to, inclusion of the journal and other benefits within the membership fee, support for job seekers and SD job advertisers, and services for corporate members. This will also extend to issues relating to the recruitment and retention of individual and corporate members (including such aspects as participation by under-represented groups), scholarship management and cross fertilization with other societies.  This role will also oversee the development of SIGs; SIGs are relatively informal groupings of members with minimal policy requirements which enhance the opportunity of members to interact with others with overlapping interests, this complements other aspects of member services.

·       VP Chapters.  To support the creation and effective operations of Chapters, including liaising with groups of members considering forming new Chapters, reviewing the details of new applications and, as appropriate, bringing proposals to PC. The role includes liaising with Chapter chairs and committees to support their activities. The role also requires monitoring of Chapter operations, ensuring each Chapter membership maintains the required complement of Society members in good standing and that routine reports on continuing activities be made available to PC as specified by Society policy.

VP At Large – Discontinued.

The ‘At Large’ portfolio would seem to have offered the opportunity for someone at VP level to pick-up ad hoc issues (like, for example, the complementary membership scheme).  However, historically, this need has been patchy and the incumbents have probably had different views as to how proactive they should be in initiating ideas. The Society seems to be fortunate with members coming forward to take the lead on new initiatives or these might more appropriately be picked up by relevant AVPs (see below); therefore it is proposed that this VP post is redundant and be discontinued.

VP E-Presence – New post.  

Many of the Society’s activities are now transacted electronically, and this is becoming a complex process which demands similar monitoring at VP level as the other activities.  The role is to liaise with other officers and members to ensure that these are suitably designed to serve all stakeholders’ needs and the systems operate effectively. Again, the Society has been very fortunate in having willing volunteers who have contributed to the construction and maintenance of the web activities, and the role will likely primarily be a general oversight of these activities.  Occasionally there might be a need for the Society to commission professional support and the VP will oversee this relationship.  

Support for VPs and engagement of potential new officers

A second item for review was to consider how best to formalise the roles of assistants to VPs as agreed in principle at the Winter meeting.  The notion was proposed to serve two purposes – to provide assistance and support to present VPs, and to engage other Society members in the process of administering the Society to support succession by encouraging them to consider expressing interest in VP roles as they become vacant, and to provide experience in what they entail.  At least one present PC member expressed interest in undertaking such a role. We therefore propose that the principle of assistants be formalised along the following lines:

1.               The post will be described as Associate VP to reflect the individual’s contribution, but the post will not be an officership of the Society, will not confer PC membership, per se, and will accrue no benefits.

2.               The role of the AVP will be to work with an individual VP to share the workload and experience the demands on the post.  It is not envisaged that this be a general ‘goffering’ role, but the AVP will take on designated and agreed portions of the VP’s portfolio and/or lead on specific initiatives.

3.               While it might be expected that each VP will benefit from an assistant, this will not be an established principle and individual VPs will be free to perform their duties alone if they preferred.

4.               Participation as an AVP will be voluntary but encourage amongst the rotating PC members (or possibly previous PC members).  It will not normally be expected that someone will take on such a role without having PC experience.

5.               The offering and accepting of a specific AVP role will be by agreement between each VP and the individual.  Appointments will be by the President and each appointment will be announced by the VP as part of his/her report at the next PC meeting and recorded in the minute for the report.

6.               The role will be disengaged at any time at the wish of either the VP or the AVP.  Otherwise the role will normally last for up to two years.  Given the purpose of the role, AVPs might move to different AVP roles, but will not normally extend beyond the two years if new volunteers have expressed interest.

Graham Winch, President

Bob Eberlein, Immediate Past President

Mike Radzicki, President Elect

8th. July 2005