[ASC-list] ASC AGM 2013 - summary

Claire Harris claireharris.oz at gmail.com
Tue Dec 3 02:16:50 UTC 2013

Dear ASC members

At Friday night’s AGM, Associate Professor Joan Leach was elected the next
President of the ASC. Joan is the Convenor of the Science Communication
Program at The University of Queensland. I and the Executive from 2013
congratulate Joan for taking on this important role.

Joan outlined her focus on maximising the benefit of the upcoming
conference to build on the work already invested in it; consolidating ASC’s
work and direction with major national trends and Inspiring Australia
findings; continuing discussions and action on Special Interest Groups; and
maintaining progress on ethics and professionalisation.
Joan’s full
nomination statement <http://bit.ly/1eO6wR5> on our website.

It was a pretty packed agenda and there was lots of discussion. I would
like to provide a (longish) summary here on some of the major topics but
the official minutes and reports will be out soon.

Rod and I tag-teamed a bit to give a President report, which included
topics from administration to the website, and from branch activities to
the Inspiring Australia national engagement strategy and nationally-funded
projects. It was a busy year for recruitment processes with the GM position
advertised (unfortunately unfilled) and the Webmaster, Scope Editor and
writer positions filled.

Meeting attendees were updated on the steps taken to explore
‘professionalisation’, led particularly by Rod Lamberts (until he became
ill) and Will Grant. The AGM group asked questions, reflected their
thoughts and also drew on recent posts to the ASC-list. The AGM
acknowledged this is a process requiring consistent ongoing dialogue; this
is a significant matter that cannot be rushed. The AGM recommended that
continued discussion around these matters is imperative and that code of
ethics and other elements of ‘ASC futures’ form a priority for the National
Council and Executive.

The AGM passed the proposed amendment to the Constitution to include
specific wording around our financial management and distribution of
profits. The updated constitution will shortly be posted on the website.

The Treasurer’s report included a range of actions taken this year to
review and update financial and legal matters including our not-for-profit,
insurance and tax status. This led on to talking about the statement of
accounts, the running of the conference, capitation for branches and the GM

Informed by these discussions, with valuable feedback provided by members
attending the AGM as well as opinions raised on recent ASC-list
discussions, we discussed the annual membership fee (as is done at every
AGM as a standing item). A vote to automatically adjust membership rates
each year based on CPI was carried. Membership fees have not increased
since 2007 when they went from $70 to $80 (excl GST). The AGM discussed
that having an automatic adjustment based on CPI would help the ASC cover
the inevitable costs that are increasing, and also reduce the frequency of
needing to make bigger step changes in membership fees in the future.

The ongoing financial stability of the ASC is part of the reason for
conceptualising a GM position, which aimed to assist the ASC to secure more
funding and also deliver strategic projects, as well as reduce some of the
load on the President. The ASC would greatly benefit from someone in a
business development role exploring issues like financial structure and
focus, membership fees versus value and benefits (across geography) etc.,
and so a business development consultant as well as the GM position will be
further investigated. The AGM also empowered the National Council to
explore membership fee and capitation.

ASC has a proud history and going into February 2014, it will be
celebrating 20 years. We were reminded of that history again with the
nomination of Dr David Ellyard as a Life Member of the ASC, a motion
carried at the AGM. David supported the ASC at a national level for more
than ten years in the role of Treasurer and is a Former President of the
ASC. He was also Convenor of 2001 and 2005 ASC National Conferences.

Eleven members attended the AGM in Canberra and a new technological option,
using Google Hangout, was trialled for the first time to enable the
Secretary and Treasurer (both based in Perth) and the Presidential nominee,
Joan Leach to ‘video in’ remotely. Unfortunately we had some technical
issues but we hope that next time a hiccup-free-hangoutesque AGM will be
available. In addition to those in Canberra we had 4 attendees in Perth, 2
near Brisbane, 18 apologies and 18 proxies.

We thank Dr Jesse Shore, who now steps down as Past President. Jesse has
contributed massively to the 2013 Executive as Past President and, of
course, President during 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Both Rod and I would like to thank other Executive members: Sarah Lau
(Secretary), Will Grant (Vice President) and Pete Wheeler (Treasurer) for
their contributions. They may continue in their roles pending decisions by
the new President and the National Council on various positions.

We would like the thank Kali Madden for her amazing amount of energy and
commitment. She does a fantastic job and a lot of it behind the scenes.
Kali will continue as Executive Officer.

I would also thank Alex Jurkiewicz, our new webmaster who started in July
and Sally Miles and Victoria Leitch who both contributed to Scope as Editor
this year. Alex and Victoria will continue into 2014.

The Past President role was discussed in light of the unusual situation in
2013 of the elected President, Rod Lamberts, retiring ill in April and
Claire Harris taking on the Presidency from July. It was agreed that Rod
and Claire would discuss suitable arrangements going forward and that the
Past President role would be determined for the next National Council

All in all 2013 has been a fruitful year, despite some turmoil. On behalf
of the Executive for 2013, I’d like to thank all those who have contributed
to ASC’s vibrant community. We also wish Rod Lamberts well as he continues
back to full time work.

I’d personally like to thank the Executive, National Council and all the
members who have expressed their support to me and enthusiasm for ASC while
I’ve been in this President seat.

Kind regards,

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