Biophysical Society Bulletin | April 2022
BPS Council—Together Again! After two long years, Biophysical Society (BPS) Council con- vened in person at the Annual Meeting in February. Although not everyone was able to attend, those who did exchanged a mix of hugs, handshakes, and fist bumps. Several remarked that BPS 2020 in San Diego was the last meeting they had at- tended pre-pandemic, and this was the first they had attend- ed since then. Joint Council, a combination of the current, the outgoing, and the incoming Council members, met the evening of Friday, February 18, and the morning of Saturday, February 19. New Council, the now current body, met Wednesday morning, Feb- ruary 23, the final day of the Annual Meeting. The following is a summary of those meetings. Outgoing Council members Michelle Digman , Marta Filizola , Joseph Mindell , and Anna Moroni as well as Past President Catherine A. Royer were recognized for their service in BPS leadership with thanks and praise from President Frances Separovic as she chaired her final Council meetings. Patricia Bassereau , Martin Gruebele , Syma Khalid , and Valeria Vásquez attended their first Council meetings and officially began their three-year terms when Separovic passed the gavel to Presi- dent-Elect Gail Robertson at the BPS Annual Business Meeting on Tuesday, February 22. Treasurer Samantha Harris provided Joint Council an overview of the Society’s finances, including the state of the reserves. She noted that, as anticipated in the budgeting process, the 2022 Annual Meeting would be financially challenging for the Society as attendance was impacted by the pandemic and ad- ditional expenses to support COVID protocols were required. While 2022 will be the second year in a row for BPS operating at a deficit, Council’s strategic use of strong financial reserves ensures that no member services will be reduced, and no programs will be cut as we work to recover and rebuild. Secretary Erin Sheets updated Council on the challenges for Subgroup Saturday. A number of invited Subgroup speakers were unable to attend, primarily due to pandemic-related concerns, but the Subgroup chairs were mostly successful in identifying replacements. Feedback from the Subgroup chairs meeting was positive, and the overall sentiment was that attendees were very happy to be together in person again for the symposia. Council also reviewed the updated Subgroup “report card” that was approved and implemented last fall. The report card provides an actionable evaluation of current Subgroup performance, potentially opening the door for new- ly evolving scientific communities to take the Subgroup stage.
The 2022 Nominating Committee, responsible for developing the election slate for 2023, was established by ballot during Joint Council. Moroni, Dennis Discher, Susan Marqusee , and Kandice Tanner will join Past Chair Henry Colecraft and Past- President Separovic on the committee. Tanner will serve as Chair. Council received and reviewed reports from the Committee on Inclusion and Diversity (CID), Professional Opportunities for Women (CPOW), Early Careers Committee, Education Committee, Membership Committee, and the Public Affairs Committee (PAC). CPOW Chair Karen Fleming and PAC Chair Eric Sundberg joined the Saturday Joint Council session, pro- vided updates about their committees’ activities, and partici- pated in discussions on the Awards and Fellows nominations process. Discussion about the nominations process continued throughout the course of the Annual Meeting and at the CPOW meeting, where a subcommittee has been working to increase the nominations of women for Society Awards and Fellows. During New Council, President Robertson called for the creation of a Task Force to further consider the issues raised throughout the meeting and to make recommenda- tions for reducing barriers in the nominations process. Publications Committee Chair Kathleen Hall , along with Editors-in-Chief Vasanthi Jayaraman ( Biophysical Journal ), Jörg Enderlein ( Biophysical Reports ), and Sam Safran ( The Biophysi- cist ), provided reports and attended New Council. They shared feedback from the session “The Future of Publishing and Why You Should Care” which generated a lively discussion about peer review and publishing models, including open access. All agreed that Council must remain attentive and responsive to the evolving publishing landscape while maintaining its fiduciary responsibility to BPS. Of course, the BPS Annual Meeting was a central topic for Council. Program Committee Co-Chairs from 2022, Elizabeth Komives and Arthur G. Palmer, III , and for 2023, Baron Chanda and Janice Robertson , reported at both Joint and New Coun- cil. Like the Subgroup chairs, the 2022 co-chairs managed a number of speaker replacements, but the outcome was suc- cessful, and the feedback from attendees was very positive. Council approved the program for 2023, on which we had previously provided feedback. There was a discussion about member-suggested sessions which, although good topically, often do not meet the diversity requirements established for symposia. Recommendations were made for updating the instructions and form for submitting these sessions to help strengthen their utility and impact in the future.
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