Officer’s Duties

Officer’s Duties and Specialty Section Time Lines


  • Set up and chair conference calls throughout term to keep initiatives moving
  • Follow up on all time lines with specific officers
  • Set agenda for annual business meeting and reception/mixer (with rest of Exec. Comm.)
  • Prepare financial spreadsheet for Annual Meeting (with Secretary/Treasurer) Announce MSBSS officers election winners at the annual reception
  • Prepare annual report for SOT summarizing MSBSS financial status, membership stability and recruiting, sponsored SOT programs, student awards program, and future initiatives
  • Work with VP and VP-Elect on science sessions for Annual Meeting
  • Edit newsletters with Secretary/Treasurer

Vice President

  • The major function of the VP is to solicit ideas for sessions for the NEXT Annual Meeting (the one that is a year out from when he/she takes office). This requires a good deal of networking skills and follow-ups and includes finding chairs for suggested sessions, proposing sessions, aligning the topics with speakers and sometimes agreeing to actually submit sessions for individuals. A key point is that the session applications must be submitted over a 3–4 week period after the Annual Meeting at which the VP first takes office. Therefore, the VP needs to be on top of these duties as the VP-Elect and be involved in soliciting session ideas throughout the tenure as VP-Elect. A major reason that the specialty section may not have many sponsored sessions at an Annual Meeting is because the process does not get initiated until the Annual Meeting. By then it is very late to hard to pull sessions together. A good target figure is to have 1–2 CE sessions, 5–8 symposia, and a workshop or two. Given the number of SS sections, it is unlikely that all sessions will be accepted and it is best to have a lower number of well developed sessions that have a good chance of being endorsed by several sections as opposed to many sessions that are not well developed. The VP should be well versed in putting sessions together and what a well developed session looks like so he/she can consult on them.
  • Solicit SS membership for election to the executive committee. Nomination solicitation must be initiated in late summer and Fall with a closing date of December 1. If necessary contact potential candidates and ask if they are willing to run for office. If they agree, request a short bio stating the candidates education history, current position, research interests, and leadership/membership roles in professional societies. Prepare a draft election ballot listing officer candidates and their biographies and submit the draft ballot to SS SOT contact they will put it online and the response deadline can be set for the end of January.

Vice President-Elect

  • Begin process identifying session topics for the Annual Meeting. The goal would be to have several well developed ideas in January. It is important to have a list of topics that have been covered over the past several years and the ability to identify individuals who could serve as effective chairs and who will complete the submission. See the description of the VP.
  • Assist the VP in the above-stated objectives


  • Assist the President in arranging for the financing of the MSBSS annual reception.
  • Work with the Senior Counselor to provide the cash prizes for student research awards.
  • Arrange with SOT for award plaque and other reimbursement if purchased by MSBSS members.
  • Prepare a financial summary report for presentation at the annual MSBSS officers and business meetings and conference calls (can be obtained from the SOT website)
  • Work with the President in drafting 3–4 MSBSS newsletters per year and submit to SOT distribution/web posting.
  • Take minutes at the Annual Business Meeting
  • Track SS membership (can be obtained from the SOT website)

Senior Counselor

This main rodle of the Sr. Councilor is to oversee the student awards. A timeline for the various duties is presented below:

  • August—Publicity: Publicize the MSBSS graduate research awards opportunity in the SOT and SS newsletter. SOT also has started posting a list of all awards so be sure the SS award is listed. Also get an email flyer out to all members of SS. Ask for submission of electronic files to allow easy distribution to reviewers. Verify the awards financing with the SS president, then emphasize that the SS will present 3 graduate student awards and one award to an outstanding postdoctoral project. You may want to ask that the files be named in a specific format and submitted as pdf files.
  • October—Form Review Committee: Formulate the SS student awards review panel. One member will be the acting Junior Counselor. One member will be the MSBSS Counselor Elect. Two additional panel members should be SS members in good standing and should preferably represent different institutions.
  • November—Review Committee Votes: The SS Counselor will receive student project applications for review. These applications consist of a copy of the student’s SOT abstract, a two-page narrative describing their research hypothesis, background and significance, and a letter of recommendation from the student’s advisor. (It is easier for your reviewers if you collate all files and email one file to them)
  • December 15—Election Results Due: Submit the results of the review committee’s assessment to the SS president. If there is a tie, select an impartial SS member to serve as tie-breaker, then submit the committee’s results to the president.
  • January—Notify Winners/Losers: Contact SS student winners and congratulate them. Let them know that they should prepare a 5-minute oral presentation to the SS group (2 to 3 transparencies) at the SS reception. The presentation should be a brief capsule of their winning SOT poster (Intro, Hypothesis, Research, Conclusion). Send losers a letter emphasizing the stiff competition and encouraging them to apply next year. Send emails to awards review committee to inform them of the outcome of their review.
  • January—Have Winner Plaques Made. Contact Dr. Mike Denison, MSBSS member from UC Davis and inquire if he would be willing to once again, have winner plaques prepared using an established template. If not, this can be done through the SOT. Also have a plaque made for the outgoing SS President.
  • January—Arrange Audio-Visual Support. Contact the SS treasurer and SOT events managers be sure that a microphone, screen, and overhead projector will be available for the MSBSS reception.
  • January—Arrange for SS Cash Awards. Contact SS treasurer and request that checks be prepared for award winners.
  • February—Contact Taylor and Francis Publishing firm for matching gift. A Taylor and Francis representative (Kimberly Gordon) has typically offered a free book and bonus checks to our award winners.
  • February—Update. Send frequent updates to the MSBSS president to secure feed-back and suggestions about your award arrangements. In February, send a comprehensive e mail to all of the individuals who have been engaged to support the awards process and re-cap their roles to identify any problems or questions (e.g. MSBSS president, MSBSS Secretary/Treasurer, Taylor and Francis representative, SOT events manager, Mike Denison, MSBSS awards committee members). Check with the MSBSS president and identify the awards slot on the MSBSS reception agenda.
  • February—Purchase Poster Prizes. The Counselor should generate personalized SS recognition prizes which the Counselor then can pin onto the winning students’ posters at the meeting. These “prizes” can be printed in advance of the meeting using decorative paper on a computer. I made ribbons with SS tags. I purchased ribbons from Ribbons website (they have our logo on file), including honorable mentions for all submissions so that all participants are recognized.
  • March—At the Meeting. Pick up gift books (if pre-arranged) from the Taylor and Francis booth at the meeting. Attend all contestants sessions and present the ribbon. If the student is speaking, you can get with the session chair prior to the session and ask that the student be recognized in the introduction. Confirm the audio-visual arrangements for the SS reception room. Preside over the awards session at the SS reception and be sure to emphasize that the student is to give a brief ‹5 minute summary!
  • March—At the MSBSS Reception. During the social prelude to the reception’s agenda, seek out the SS Secretary/Treasurer (SS award check), Mike Denison (plaques), and the Taylor and Francis representative. The SS awards program should include, (1) thanking the awards review committee, (2) thanking Taylor and Francis support, (3) introducing winners, (4) allowing winners to present their brief talks, (5) handing out SS cash and plaque awards, (6) closing with the company representative’s presentation of the Taylor and Francis awards.

Amount of Awards: (Verify with President and Sec/Treasurer)

  • 1st place $500 plus plaque
  • 2nd place $300 plus plaque
  • 3rd place $100 plus plaque
  • Postdoc $500 plus plaque

Junior Counselor

  • Work with the senior councilor on judging the student awards
  • Attend the mixer/reception and observe how the student awards were presented
  • Review the time lines for the next year

Postdoctoral Representative

  • Active recruitment of new postdoctoral members into MSBSS;
  • Encouraging former Student members of MSBSS to continue their membership at the Postdoctoral level;
  • Serve as a liaison between MSBSS and the Postdoctoral Assembly Board;
  • Participate in preparing the MSBSS Newsletter;
  • Evaluate Student and Postdoctoral Award Applications within MSBSS;
  • Assist the Student representative in preparing the MSBSS poster for the SOT Annual Meeting;
  • Represent MSBSS at the Student/Postdoctoral Fellow Mixer

Student Representative

The specialty section graduate student representative (SS-GS) is a student member of both SOT and the specialty section for which they are serving. The student must be willing to commit to a least 2 years of service with year running from May 1–April 30. The student is expected to make their presence as SS-GS representative known and become actively involved in their specialty section.

Overall, a specialty section graduate student representative’s job is to recruit graduate students for their specialty section and to facilitate communication between the student members and senior members. Throughout the year, the SS-GS will also participate in conference calls with other SS-GS representatives regarding any changes to the graduate student committee bylaws and administration of student activities for the SOT Annual Meeting.

Additionally, SS-GS members who have served as a specialty section representative for at least 1 year may choose to run for election into the SS-graduate committee (SS-GC) executive board positions of Chairperson-Elect and Secretary. The Chairperson-Elect serving in the previous year becomes the Chairperson, thus a student choosing to run for Chairperson-Elect must be willing to serve for an additional 2 years beyond their 1 year of service as an SS-GS representative and therefore must not be graduating within this time. The responsibilities of this committee include, but are not limited to:

  • Recruitment of graduate students into the Specialty Sections and into SOT
  • Career development and networking within the diverse disciplines of toxicology as represented by the SOT Specialty Sections
  • Sponsoring the Chat with an Expert program, including recruiting the experts, representing various toxicological fields, and matching graduate students with the experts based upon mutual interests.

This committee comprises half of the Student Advisory Committee (SAC), while the remaining half is comprised of a similar committee of Regional Chapter graduate student members (RC-GC) for a total of 6 members (Chairperson, Chairperson-Elect, and Secretary from RC-GC and from SS-GC). Together, the SAC will be responsible for coordinating student initiatives from the RC-GC and the SS-GC, communicating with the SOT Council, constructing and managing the budget for the student committees, and planning and production of the SOT student eletter and the Student/Postdoctoral Fellow Mixer. Leadership of the SAC will consist of a President and a Secretary/Treasurer wherein the President shall be the Chairperson of the RC-GC serving in odd years and the Chairperson of the SS-GC serving in even years and vice-versa for the Secretary/Treasurer.

Specialty Section Time Lines

This is a list of monthly duties and deadlines for a typical specialty section. It begins in March at the Annual Meeting since this is the beginning out each officers duties. The officer responsible for a give task is indicated in blue. Important notes are indicated in red. This schedule is set with three newsletters (June, September, and Jan/Feb) that correspond to key deadlines.

  • March (Annual Meeting)
    1. Annual Meeting
      • Business Meeting (ALL)
      • Mixer/reception (ALL)
      • Specialty Section Meeting (outgoing President)
      • Student Advisory Council (SAC Rep)
      • Presentation of the SS poster ate the student mixer (SAC Rep)
    2. Solicit session topics for next Annual Meeting (new VP)
      • Primary responsibility of new VP is to oversee sessions for next meeting
  • March/April
    1. Oversee submission of session proposals for Annual Meeting (new VP and new VP-Elect, new President)
      • Typically there is only a 3–4 week period between the end of the Annual Meeting and the deadline for submission of sessions. That is why this process needs to be initiated prior to Annual Meeting by the VP-Elect
    2. Review and rank submissions (new President, new VP and new VP-Elect)
  • May/June/July/August
    1. Prepare the Annual Report (President)
      • Typically due in June
    2. Prepare newsletter #1 for release in early May/June (President or Secretary/Treasurer)
      Newsletter # 1 Topics:
      • Summary of business meeting and yearly objectives (President)
      • Summary of Annual Meeting and more detail on student awards (President)
      • Solicit for nominations for executive board (VP)
      • Summary of sessions for upcoming meeting (VP)
      • Request for applications for student awards Results (Sr. Councilor)
      • Initial call for Session Topics For Next Annual Meeting (VP-Elect)
      • Reminder of deadlines for upcoming meeting
      • Reminder to renew SS membership
    3. Make flyer announcing student awards to be sent to all SS members (Sr. Councilor)
      • Be sure to update all information, dates, and contact info on the SOT website
    4. Attend Leadership Meeting (VP-Elect and/or VP)
    5. Schedule conference call with executive committee (President)
      • Synopsis of progress on initiatives (President)
      • Financial status after Annual Meeting expenses (Secretary/Treasurer)
      • Discuss plan for session topics for next Annual Meeting (VP-Elect)
  • September/October
    1. Send out flyer for student awards and set up committee to review applications (Sr. Councilor)
      • Typically the committee will consist of the Sr. Councilor, Jr. Councilor, and 1–2 additional MSBSS members
    2. Send out request for nominations for executive committee (VP)
    3. Prepare newsletter #2 for release in early (President or Secretary/Treasurer)
      Newsletter #2 Topics:
      • Update on specialty section initiatives (President)
      • Solicit for nominations for executive board (VP)
      • Request for applications for student awards Results (Sr. Councilor)
      • Call for Session Topics For Next Annual Meeting (VP-Elect)
      • Reminder of deadlines for upcoming meeting
      • Reminder to renew SS membership
    4. Schedule conference call with executive committee after abstract deadline (President)
      • Synopsis of progress on initiatives (President)
      • Discuss plan for session topics for next annual meeting (VP-elect)
      • Discuss possible candidates for executive board
  • November/December
    1. Review student award applications (Sr. Councilor, Jr. Councilor)
      • Identify company to produce award ribbons, every participant will be recognized
    2. Compile list of candidates for executive committee and send to SOT for online voting (VP)
      • Specialty section liason at SOT will take compiled document and set up the online voting
    3. Prepare and submit financial spreadsheet for Annual Meeting (President and Secretary/Treasurer)
      • SOT will send a template to be filled out
    4. Schedule conference call with executive committee at beginning of December (President)
      • Synopsis of progress on initiatives (President)
      • Discuss plan for session topics for next Annual Meeting (VP-Elect)
      • Discuss list candidates for executive board
      • Indicate status of student awards and funding options (Sr. Councilor)
      • Initial discussions of meeting agendas
  • January/February
    1. Election results for next executive board
      • Contact all candidates (send letter) (President)
    2. Results of student awards (From the Sr. Councilor)
      • Contact all applicants that participated (Sr. Councilor)
      • Inform winners and indicate that they will present at the mixer (Sr. Councilor)
      • Arrange for winners plaques and checks (Sr. Councilor, Secretary/Treasurer)
      • Order Award ribbons (Sr. Councilor, Secretary/Treasurer)
      • Contact Taylor/Francis about additional awards (Sr. Councilor)
    3. Prepare newsletter for release prior to Annual Meeting (President or Secretary/Treasurer)
      Newsletter #3 Topics:
      • Election Results
      • Annual Meeting Sessions Sponsored by Specialty Section
      • Times and Dates for Executive Committee Business Meeting
      • Times and Dates for Mixer
      • Student Award Results (if applicable)
      • Call for Session Topics for Next Annual Meeting
    4. Schedule conference call with executive committee (President)
      • Include newly elected members of committee (President)
      • Discuss upcoming meeting agendas (President and VP) Discuss session topics for next Annual Meeting (VP-Elect)
      • Financials (Secretary/Treasurer)

        * (It is best to have several of these prior to the Annual Meeting)
    5. Prepare financials for March meeting (Secretary/Treasurer)
    6. Prepare final agendas for Business meeting and mixer (outgoing President)
    7. Solicit session topics for next Annual Meeting (VP-Elect)
    8. Prepare the poster to be displayed at the student reception on Sunday night (SAC Rep)
      • This should include the SS endorsed sections, officers names and mission of the SS.
      • The poster should be displayed in the designated location throughout the meeting