Science Iowa minutes




Present: Dan Chibnall, Tim Coble, Ruth Henderson, Kaitlin Higgins, Maureen Neiman, Tom O’Donnell.


Board election results: Board members are Bryan Bacehowski, Dan Chibnall, Ruth Henderson, Maureen Neiman, and Tom O’Donnell. We thank Jordan Wilmes for running.


Kaitlin Higgins reviewed the board responsibilities. All board members consented.


Board elections: Dan Chibnall, president; Ruth Henderson, treasurer; Tom O’Donnell, secretary. All chosen by unanimous consent.


Kaitlin Higgins reviewed the bylaws and code of ethics. All board members consented to abide by the code. 


Make edits to bylaws: Discussion continued after other business. See below.


Discuss science nights/grant information: We are still awaiting word on the Iowa Science Foundation grant to support science nights at which graduate students would present their research. Maureen Neiman reports that the groups she works with also have received grants from the foundation. They are always slow and even fail to pay past the point when the groups were spending the money. No need to be alarmed about the delay.


Discuss further ideas for regular involvement:


Jordan Wilmes hopes to bring in connections with high school students. Young adults are passionate about sustainability and the environment. He would like to go beyond activities to hearing their voices. He suggested brainstorming ideas, such as meeting with them at high schools or joining with their clubs.


Dan Chibnall, as the Drake STEM librarian, said he has a strong relationship with the environmental science department; he also would like to eventually see if we can get students involved in Science Iowa or work with student groups. He’d also like to network with other groups related to environmental science and environmental quality. He helped run a program to take science students out to schools to work with students. It helped college students communicate science and showed high school students what college science looks like.


Jordan suggests setting up connections with schools. It would be good exposure for Science Iowa.


Ruth: Would like some assistance with the website. Kaitlin suggests getting students involved. For instance, we had a difficult time getting the legislative survey to display well. She reminds us that we need to update the black scientist profile. 


Jordan suggests finding a volunteer to curate the website. That also prompted a discussion of social media and who posts and what we post.


Tom brought up social media and diversity, including recruiting and forming connections with other organizations. He outlined the history of March for Science and why Science Iowa has limited its connection to the national organization.


Jordan asked whether Science Iowa should explicitly state that we are nonpolitical in the bylaws. He suggested being cautious about making social media posts that express a viewpoint.


Ruth noted that our personal posts needn’t be regarded as representing Science Iowa. It’s what’s on our official page that is important.


Discussion ensured of what is political and what isn’t. Tom noted that we strive to stay nonpartisan, but we can advocate for and against issues. 501(c)3s must be nonpolitical by definition, but we can put it in the bylaws.


Tim Coble noted that he has seen other organizations lose their nonprofit status. We must be cognizant of our status. 


Tom will develop a social media policy to govern what posts are allowed.


Ruth asked about how regular the meetings should be and how often. Dan suggested that we schedule regular meetings but only if there are things to be done, not meet just to have a meeting. Tom suggested that we schedule regular meeting, issue requests for agenda items and then make a decision on whether a meeting is merited. In between we could issue treasurer’s reports and updates as needed.


Tom moved that we hold monthly meeting, seeking agendas ahead of time, and if no agenda items, then we waive the meetings. All approved


Dan and Tom will compare notes on the minutes and distribute action items.


Tom asked whether we need to add an amendment specifying election of officers. Tim Coble said it will save some headaches if we add it. 


Dan said the Iowa Library Association board moved things out of the bylaws and into an operations manual. It made the organization nimbler, especially given the size of the membership, rather than take everything to the members for bylaw changes. He suggested considering that at some point. 


Tom offered an amendment: “Officers will be chosen in a vote of the Board of Directors.” The board approved. Tom will add this to the bylaws. He and Kaitlin will make other edits and submit the revised bylaws to the members for approval at the next meeting.


Tom also discussed the registered agent address, pointing out that moving it constantly would cause confusion. For now, Kaitlin has offered to list her address, but at some point we may want to get a post office box.


Tom also suggested considering term limits and perhaps staggered terms. Maureen said that from her experience, term limits are a good idea to bring in new perspectives. Dan noted that the library association had term limits based on time on the board, not position, so that people couldn’t just bounce from position to position and stay on the board forever. Tom will amend the bylaws for approval at the next meeting.


Dan also raised the issue of motions. In previous organizations he’s worked with, presidents don’t make them. The board agreed that because of the organization’s small size, at this point the president should reserve the right to make motions.


Kaitlin suggested setting meetings for the last Sunday of each month. Board approved.