President’s Annual Report to Members
June, 2000

Actions of the Board of Directors

  1. Structural Changes

    In order to promote the vigor and long-term viability of the Society, the Board made some changes in the organizational structure of its operation. These changes reflect the transformation of the Society in terms of the increased diversity of its membership, and the fact that the annual meeting now takes place in different geographic locations. These evolutions in the nature of JPS have necessitated an updating of some of the structures and procedures that allow us to remain in operation, and to continue to serve our membership.

    1. Changes in the Office of Vice President

      In its June Board meeting in Mexico City, the Board unanimously approved the restructuring of the office of the Vice President in order to distribute the excessively heavy workload between two individuals rather than one. The Board’s decision followed the recommendations made by a committee chaired by David Moshman ( a former vice president) and followed an experimental period with a co-vice president during the year leading up to the Mexico City meeting. The newly adopted structure divides the office between two vice presidents as follows:

      Vice President for Program Planning — responsibilities focus upon organization of the annual meeting (formerly known as the annual symposium) including such things as constructing the call for papers, recruiting program reviewers, and formulating the program in conjunction with the program committee. The Vice President also serves as co-chair of the meeting planning committee charged with generating plans for new programs for subsequent years.

      Vice President for Program Publicity and Outreach — responsibilities focus on overseeing the production and distribution of published materials concerning the annual meeting, including the call for papers, and the registration flyer. The Vice President also serves as co-chair of the publicity and outreach committee responsible for getting JPS publications to members, and engaging in outreach with groups or constituencies that may have interest in the Society.

    2. Changes in Committee Structure

      The changes in the Office of Vice President led to a subsequent adjustment in the assignment of duties to standing committees of the JPS Board. The Board now has six standing committees: a Finance Committee; a Membership Committee; a Nominating Committee; a Publicity and Outreach Committee; a Publications Committee; and a Meeting Planning Committee. The duties of each committee are detailed in the Bylaws.

    3. Changes in the term of Office of the President

      In order to bring the term of Office of the President into line with that of the other Officers of the Society, to insure stability of the organization, and to allow for the recruitment and preparation of successors to the Office, the Board unanimously changed the term of office of the President from a two-year to a three-year term.

    4. Election of Board Members

      Beginning in June 1999, a committee chaired by Christopher Lalonde explored the process by which new members are elected to the JPS Board. This committee distributed a summary of the issues at hand, and sought suggestions through electronic mail and listservers from 700 current and former members of JPS. The primary issue was whether to continue with a process in which the Board presents a slate of prospective new Board members that is then ratified by a vote at the annual members meeting. While this process also allows for an alternative slate to be brought forward, this has never occurred in the thirty year history of the Society. The central question is how better to involve the general Society membership in the selection of the new Board members while also maintaining a Board that serves the needs of the Society.

      Five replies were received in response to this request for suggestions for improvements in the board election process. Three of the five respondents indicated comfort with the existing status quo. Two respondents suggested alterations.

      The Board reviewed these suggestions and also examined the impact of a procedure initiated with vigor by the nominations committee to solicit nominees for the Board to consider for selection. In contrast with the request for suggestions for improvements, the process of contacting the same 700 members and former members resulted in 51 replies and a total of 91 nominations distributed among 31 individuals (some persons received multiple nominations). This process allowed the Board to review a number of candidates and to get a sense of which individuals appeared to have a constituency from among those who responded.

      With the results of these two efforts in mind, the Board then deliberated the issue of Board elections. Two concerns were paramount. The first was to maintain a process that insured a Board with the following characteristics:

      1. Prepared to manage and direct the JPS in line with its charter and history
      2. Diverse in terms of gender, race, nationality, and field of inquiry
      3. A mixture of new persons to bring vitality and new ideas with experienced Board members to maintain continuity and a sense of shared purpose.

      Based on the information at hand, and the set of concerns listed above, the Board considered various options. It was judged that the most responsive and representative process that also insured a Board with features listed above is to vigorously continue the solicitation of Board nominations each year in the Fall as was done this year through the contact of 700 persons. The resulting nominees are then vetted by the Board at its annual Fall meeting and a final vote taken to elect the new Board members.

      These changes were unanimously approved by the Board at its Fall meeting. The newly elected Board members are to be announced at the annual members meeting each subsequent Spring. The language governing these changes is included in the Bylaws.

  2. Election of New Board Members (2001-2003)

    The Board elected the following new members for 2001-2003:

    • Michael Chandler
    • Susan Goldin-Meadow
    • Robert Jager
    • Ulrich Mueller
    • Geoffrey Saxe

    In order to fill a vacancy on the Board, Colette Daiute was appointed by the President to a one year term with the Board’s unanimous approval.

  3. Annual Dues Payments

    In order to regularize the annual payment of membership dues, dues statements for membership renewal will go out in October of each year. Renewal statements for 2001 will be sent out in October, 2000.

  4. Plans for 2001

    The Board unanimously accepted the proposal for the annual meeting for 2001 presented by Jonas Langer, Constance Milbrath, and Sue Taylor Parker. The meeting will be held in Berkeley, California around the theme: Biology and Knowledge Revisited: from embryogenesis to psychogenesis.

Status of the Society

  1. Membership

    Following the annual meeting in Mexico City the paid membership of the Society was down by 62 members from the previous year. In large part this was due to the fact that the majority of persons attending the 1999 annual meeting were attending for the first time, and that many of them did not opt to join the Society at the time of registration, but simply came to attend the meeting. While the meeting in Mexico City was judged to be an intellectual success, and while it did internationalize the Society, and introduce the JPS to new people, the policy of permitting registrants to attend without also paying the annual membership dues created a shortfall in membership numbers. As a result, the fees for the annual meeting in Montreal will also include membership dues.

  2. Finances
    The treasurer’s annual report to members appears below.

    Treasurer’s Report to the Membership (June 2000)

    Membership 1999 2000
    Honorary 2 2
    Institution 7 6
    Patron 7 4
    Sustaining 13 13
    Regular 296 203
    Student 63 100
    Total Members 388 328
    Total Income $29,845 $23,640

    Note that this report does NOT include the symposium information for 2000.

    Symposium 1999

    Participants: 390
    Total Income: $26,660