As I mentioned in my last message, at their meeting in June the Board of Directors adopted significant changes to the Bylaws and Regulations. Please do not stop reading here! These documents do not make interesting reading for most people, but they embody our sense of what we are about, and the changes are important.
Some of them are technical matters, improving consistency of language, adapting to modern technology for communication, and conforming to current legal standards; we had legal counsel review them, and she made lots of small changes. But the interesting changes mainly reflect two important developments. One is the gradual implementation of our strategic plan, and the other is our response to the financial stress that almost all learned societies face today. And they also reflect the experiences of the vice presidents in leading their divisions in recent years.
The stress in our strategic plan on outreach and communications has led us to rename the Outreach Division the Communications and Outreach Division, and to move the Communications Committee (which is off to a great start) into it. The Outreach Committee itself will be divided into two groups, one a Committee on Public Information and Media, the other a Committee on Classics in the Community; the latter will work closely with the Education Division. We hope that this structure will focus the committees on tasks and that everyone will spend less time hearing reports.
The intensified focus on the next generation that was another major theme of the Gatekeeper to Gateway campaign will be reflected in the Professional Division, where the current Placement Committee will be replaced by a Committee on Career Planning and Development, with a much broader mandate for graduate programs and graduate students’ needs, and a Committee on Contingent Faculty will be added. The longstanding Committee on the Status of Women and of Minorities will be replaced by two committees, one on Women and Gender in the Profession and the other on Diversity in the Profession; the latter will take over the responsibility for awarding the minority student scholarships. And it will now be the Committee on Professional Ethics, with it sensitive mission, that is the elected committee in this division.
In the Education Division, the divisional committee will be replaced by one responsible for higher education and another for K-12 education. Once again, we hope for more action and less report-receiving.
On the financial side, we have created a new Resources Division; the senior Financial Trustee (currently Ralph Hexter) will also serve as Vice President for Resources. The Membership Committee and Finance Committee will be part of this division, as will Development, which will now become two committees, one for strategic development and one for the annual fund. This division will be charged with making sure that the Society has adequate income from member dues, annual fundraising, major development, and prudent investment management to carry out its increasingly ambitious agenda in the face of a very challenging environment.
There are a number of smaller changes as well. The new Bylaws and Regulations will take effect January 1, just before the Toronto annual meeting. You can find a complete text of the Bylaws here and the Regulations here. We will soon be posting a complete list of all of the offices and committee positions to be filled and asking for volunteers and nominations, so please keep your eye out for that. These appointments will be made to populate the committees as they will be in 2017, with all of the changes effective.
Please note, however, that this year’s election for officers, directors, and committee members will be for positions as they exist under the old Regulations. That doesn’t mean they will evaporate; they will simply migrate, where necessary, into the new structures and committees. Helen Cullyer will be sending out election materials very shortly; please take the few minutes required to vote. We have had a terrific member response to voting in the on-line era, but it could be higher still.
I’d like to thank the Cabinet and Board for a tremendous amount of hard work in trying to get our organizational structure better aligned with our mission as we see it today. From big issues down to commas, they showed that they are still philologists at heart and made what could have been a tedious exercise a valuable piece of work. And thank you for reading all of this!