Message from the President

Hugh Chipman

As members of the SSC, you probably know that we have a Board of Directors.  But what does the Board actually do?  Quite a lot, it turns out!  In this column, I’ll try to give you some information on the Board, what they do, and a snapshot of recent activities.

Who are your Board?
The Board consists of 14 Regional Representatives and an 7-person Executive.  All 21 are elected by the general membership of the society.  The Board meets three or more times a year (in October and May or June, and via teleconference in the winter).  

Others who are not members of the Board are also invited to attend Board meetings:

  • Executive Assistant (our only paid employee)
  • Appointed officers (currently 7, including Executive Director and Electronic Services Manager)
  • Local arrangements chairs and program chairs of the 2017 and 2018 annual meeting
  • presidents of the 7 sections and 3 regional associations
  • chairs of 32 committees

Not everyone among these invitees attends in person.  All are asked to submit reports summarizing the activities of their respective groups and suggesting action that the Board might take.  

What does your Board do?
The Board is responsible for governing the Statistical Society of Canada.  Board members are accountable for the SSC’s performance in relation to its mission and strategic objectives, and for the effective stewardship of financial and human resources. The Board also oversees SSC’s compliance with its own governing documents and federal, provincial and municipal laws and regulations.  I am impressed by the thoughtfulness and dedication of our Board as they carry out these important responsibilities.

Our Executive Secretary, Llewllyn Armstrong, is compiling a FAQ for Board members and others attending the Board meeting, describing in greater detail how the Board works.  Look for it on our website in the coming months.

So, what happened at the most recent Board meeting?
On October 21 and 22, the Board of Directors met in Montreal.  We managed to work on many items in a full agenda.  The pdf information package provided to Board members prior to the meeting weighed in at over 200 pages (!), representing the diverse interests and activities of the society.

In no particular order, here are some items that were discussed:

Peter MacDonald, the Electronic Communications Manager, recommended that the ECM position is no longer necessary, due to evolving roles of the Electronic Services Manager, Public Relations Officer and the changing nature of our communications.  Peter has served the SSC in this role since 2013, and will continue to be active in improvements made to the curation of historical material on our website.

An Accreditation Task Force, formed after the June Board meeting, is examining possible changes to the organizational structure of the Accreditation Committee and the Accreditation Services Committee.  The task force hopes to bring a proposal to the Board in Winter 2018.

The 2018 Budget was approved.  Board members actively discussed components of the budget, including the 2018 annual meeting, the 2018 student conference, section budgets, and proposals for specific projects coming from several committees (Accreditation, Accreditation Services, New Investigators, Students and Recent Graduates, Census @ School and Membership)

Guidelines on “implicit bias” were suggested by the Awards Committee and approved by the Board.  These guidelines for award nomination and selection strive to increase diversity in award winners and reduce the effect of unconscious, unintentional assumptions on judgements.  Although developed with awards in mind, similar principles can be considered when selecting individuals in other contexts, such as election to the Board.

As part of ongoing efforts to improve our financial policies, the Board approved a new policy that large payments require two signatures.  The Board received feedback from our auditor in June that this and other issues should be addressed.  The Board can expect additional improvements to financial policies, procedures and reporting in 2018.

The Board approved plans to have a job fair at the 2018 Annual Meeting in Montreal.  Organized by the membership committee, it will be the first job fair in over a decade.

Other items discussed include approval of the location of the 2019 annual meeting (in Calgary), the final financial statement of the 2017 annual meeting, a contract with a new web development company, the ongoing transition of Liaison to an electronic newsletter, plans for fundraising (investigating an endowment and soliciting project proposals for support with donations), new operating policies and procedures, renewal of the CJS contract, and approval of 2 new P.Stat. and 3 new A.Stat. members.

As you can see, your Board is working hard on the affairs of the society.  If you have a chance to talk with your regional representative or other Board member, I encourage you to do so.  The Board (including myself) are ultimately responsible to the membership of the society, and welcome your thoughts.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

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