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Postdoctoral Guidelines for Representation

Introduction

The Postdoctoral Assembly (PDA) was created to assist the Society of Toxicology with its long term goals, which include increasing postdoctoral membership and participation in the Society, and assisting with the professional development of postdoctoral members. For this reason, one goal of the PDA is to actively promote postdoctoral representation and participation within the SOT Committees, Regional Chapters (RC), Special Interest Groups (SIG), and Specialty Sections (SS). This document describes the role of postdoctoral representatives and provides suggestions for appointment of these representatives to the various SOT bodies.

Qualifications and Term

Representatives will be members of SOT in good standing at the start of their term and scheduled to remain in mentored postdoctoral research positions for at least half of their term. Ideally, these representatives will be appointed prior to the SOT Annual Meeting preceding their term, and will serve the same term interval as other SOT officers, from May 1 to April 30. It is prohibited for a postdoctoral fellow to serve as the representative to more than one group in order to provide leadership opportunities and development to a wide number of postdoctoral fellows. Officers of the PDA Board will resign from service as postdoctoral representatives when they are elected to the Executive Board. Upon the assumption of the PDA Board position by the representative, the corresponding RC, SIG, or SS is required to appoint a new postdoctoral representative. If assistance is needed to fill a vacant spot the officer will work with the group to recruit and mentor a new representative.

Role of Representatives

Postdoctoral representatives will act as liaisons between the PDA Board and the SOT groups they represent, to include:

  1. Working with the governing bodies of their representative groups to formalize procedures for electing/appointing postdoctoral representatives;
  2. Encouraging other postdocs to be involved in the group and provide leadership for SOT activities;
  3. Assisting with the implementation of activities related to the goals and strategic plan of the PDA through collaboration with other SOT groups (such as the institution ofRC, SIG, and SS awards for postdoctoral fellows);
  4. Disseminating information from the PDA Board to the postdoctoral community;
  5. Working with the PDA Board to publish the Post-y newsletter, articles in the Communiqué, information for the SOT e-Letter and updating the PDA webpage;
  6. Attending, facilitating, and volunteering at student/postdoctoral events at SOT meetings;
  7. Meeting with the PDA Board at the SOT Annual Meeting and other times as appropriate; and
  8. Regularly communicating with the PDA Board throughout their terms of representation, contributing to the development of issues under discussion, relaying concerns of postdoctoral members, and reporting on activities of the representative groups.
  9. After a year of service as a representative, PDA encourages representatives continuing in a postdoc position to consider becoming a candidate for a PDA Executive Board position. Those elected to the PDA Board will resign their duties as a RC, SIG, or SS representative to assume duties at the national level.

Election of RC, SIG, and SS Representatives

Postdoctoral representatives are analogous to graduate student representatives and are elected or appointed in accordance with procedures defined by each SOT group. Currently, few of these SOT groups have formalized procedures for electing or appointing postdoctoral representatives.

If no mechanism for appointment/election is in place, the PDA suggests the following as possible avenues for selecting a postdoctoral representative:

  1. Have the entire membership of the respective RC, SIG, or SS elect the representative.
  2. Have postdoctoral members of the respective RC, SIG, or SS elect the representative.
  3. Designate the respective RC, SIG, or SS postdoctoral award winner as the representative.
  4. Request solicitations for an appointment from the membership of the respective group and/or the PDA Assembly.

SOT Committee Representatives

For the committees that express an interest in having a representative from the PDA, the Board will appoint a postdoctoral fellow to serve as the PDA Representative. In February each year, an announcement will be made to the PDA representatives for RC, SIG, and SS to determine if any representatives who will be continuing in their postdoctoral training are interested in becoming more involved and serving as a PDA committee representative. SOT members who are postdoctoral fellows and are current and/or incoming RC, SIG, and SS representatives can contact the Board to volunteer. The Board will work with the committees and current committee representatives to make appropriate matches. If the current committee representative/liaison is interested in continuing to serve in this position, reappointment for a second one year term is permitted if the representative is scheduled to remain in mentored postdoctoral research positions for at least half of their term. Open positions will be filled by selecting one of the volunteers from the February call for self-nominations. Appointments on the same committee will not be permitted beyond two years. Representatives will be appointed prior to the SOT Annual Meeting preceding their term, and will serve the same term interval as other SOT officers, from May 1 to April 30. PDA Board members should not serve as PDA liaisons for committees.