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Committee Reports

Membership Diversity Committee

Robert Espinoza, Chair

The recently activated Membership Diversity Committee, which seeks to increase the ethnic composition, representation, and participation of the SICB membership, met in Toronto to identify goals for 2003 and the annual meeting in New Orleans. A total of 19 participants attended, including SICB President John Wingfield and President-elect Sally Woodin. The committee, under the leadership of Beth Brainerd (Committee Chair, 2001-02), reviewed the history of efforts to increase the diversity of the SICB membership and participation of researchers and students from groups traditionally underrepresented in integrative biology (based on an NSF-funded workshop held in 1999). We then turned to the future, identifying not fewer than ten goals and projects for the next two years. In general, these goals include targeting underrepresented groups nationwide, promoting involvement of faculty and students with diverse backgrounds, and raising funds to support such endeavors. We have secured funding from SICB to initiate several of these projects in 2003. We are also developing an anonymous membership survey to gather data on the ethnic diversity of the SICB membership. To that end, you will soon receive a request to self identify your gender and ethnicity in an anonymous online survey. Please help us develop baseline data by participating in the survey. We also welcome volunteers to serve on the many subcommittees working toward increasing diversity in our Society. For more information, please contact the new Chair of the Membership Diversity Committee, Bobby Espinoza (robert.e.espinoza@csun.edu).

Student/Postdoctoral Affairs Committee

Kevin M. Kelley, Chair

At all SICB Annual Meetings, the SPDAC hosts three large events in the interests of student and postdoc members. At the First Timer Orientation, we serve as one of the first official voices of the SICB, and thus we make every attempt to have new attendees feel welcomed, well-supported, and connected to the Society via our Committee. The Student/Postdoc Luncheon provides a great opportunity for all of the student and postdoctoral members to convene over lunch, meet new colleagues, and provide direct input to the SPDAC. The 'main event' for the SPDAC at annual meetings is the Student/Postdoc Workshop, with its subject matter changing every year.

At the January 2003 meeting in Toronto, the SPDAC organized and held a workshop on the subject of successfully landing academic job opportunities. We tapped into the experience of SICB members who are established academic faculty with experience serving on faculty search committees at their respective universities. The title of the workshop was "Views from Inside the Faculty Search Committee: What Works and What Doesn't". Students and postdocs working toward faculty positions in academia had an opportunity to interact directly with the invited panel members, who were charged with the task of providing a candid perspective on what search committees typically like -and don't like- in the applications they receive. The panelists covered subjects such as the written application, the interview process, and dealing with spouse career issues. Attendance at the workshop was between 150-250, indicating a high level of interest in this subject.

The SPDAC would like to extend our thanks the following panelists:

  • Dr. Dianna Padilla, State University of New York, Stony Brook
  • Dr. Henry John-Alder, Rutgers University
  • Dr. Brian Tsukimura, California State University at Fresno
  • Dr. Anne McNabb, Virginia Tech
  • Dr. Barney Rees, University of New Orleans
These panelists provided insight not easily obtained by students and postdocs (without workshops like this one!) and they also handled a large number of probing questions from the audience. It was an excellent exchange, and the feedback we received was all highly positive . . . and appreciative of the time given by the panelists. So, thank you panelists for making it a success!

The SPDAC would also like to thank Dr. Shea Tuberty, a past Committee Representative to DIZ, for staying active this past year in providing superb, experienced advice and help in our activities.

Keep an eye on the Student Postdoctoral Affairs Committee
The SPDAC has some new developments underway, including the development of an SICB web-page specific to the interests of students & postdocs!

USEFUL WEBSITES FOR SICB's STUDENT AND POSTDOC MEMBERS For further contact or additional information, contact the Student/Postdoctoral Affairs Committee Chair (kmkelley@csulb.edu)or see the Committee's SICB webpage (given above)