Operating Procedures

I. Purpose and Amendment Procedures

This document supplies many of the operating procedures of the Executive Committee of the Topical Group on Soft Matter. It can be amended by a majority vote of the Executive Committee at any scheduled meeting of the Executive Committee.

II. Official Year

The year of service begins after the conclusion of the March Meeting of the American Physical Society.

III. Additional Duties of the Executive Committee

  1. The Executive Committee shall serve as a committee of the whole on matters of broad interest to the Unit.
  2. The Bylaws call for the Executive Committee to meet each year. These Unit Operating Procedures recommend two meetings each year. One in-person meeting will occur at the Regular Meeting. A second should occur in the Fall and may be conducted by teleconference or video conference. The Unit Chair may schedule additional electronic meetings of the Executive Committee as needed.

IV. Additional Duties of the Officers

  1. The Chair shall preside at all meetings of the Executive Committee and Business Sessions of the Unit. The Chair shall notify the Executive Committee of matters requiring the decision of said Committee and shall prepare the agenda of Executive Committee meetings and Business Sessions. The Chair shall keep the Council of the Society informed of the activities and needs of the Unit through an Assigned or elected Councilor. The chair shall appoint members to the Program and Fellowship Committees, and shall form and appoint members to other ad-hoc committees as necessary. The Program Chair should be appointed 3 years prior to the meeting they will chair.

  2. The Chair-Elect shall be a member of the Program Committee ex officio. The Chair-Elect shall also serve as unit Diversity Officer, both as a member of the Nominating Committee and more generally to canvas for a diverse pool of Fellowship and Early Career Award nominations.

    The Diversity Officer shall work with committees (APS Fellowship, the Early Career Award, and Nominating) to ensure that nominations reach a diverse pool of potential recipients, in terms of scientific and personal representation, including women, members of underrepresented minority groups and scientists outside the United States.

  3. The Vice-Chair shall serve as chair of the Fellowship Committee ex officio.

  4. The Secretary-Treasurer shall maintain the records of the Unit including minutes of Executive Committee meetings and Business Sessions, activities of the Unit, and membership lists. The Secretary-Treasurer shall prepare minutes of Executive Committee meetings and Business Sessions and shall submit these minutes to each member of the Executive Committee. Following elections, such minutes are to include the results of the election and a roster of the current Executive Committee membership. The APS Corporate Secretary shall also be informed of the names of the newly elected officers and their positions as soon as possible upon completion of the election.

    In accordance with Article VIII.1 of the Society Bylaws, The Secretary-Treasurer shall have responsibility for all funds in the custody of or placed at the disposal of the Unit and shall authorize disbursements from such funds for expenses in a manner that is consistent with the general policies of the Society and the Unit. The approval of the Executive Committee shall be required for disbursements in excess of $1000 per expenditure unless otherwise specifically delegated by the Executive Committee. Financial records shall be kept on an annual basis consistent with the fiscal policies of the Society. The Secretary-Treasurer shall present a financial report at each meeting of the Executive Committee and at the annual Business Session of the Unit.

    The Secretary-Treasurer shall oversee the regular Electronic Communication with membership of the Unit and shall perform such other functions as may be explicitly provided in the Bylaws and the Unit Operating Procedures.

    The Secretary-Treasurer shall remain in the capacity as past-Sec/Treas for one year after the election of their replacement. Their role will be to provide guidance to the new Sec/Treas to ensure an orderly transition.

V. Additional Committees of the Unit

Each committee shall maintain a set of best practice documents that describe the role of the committee to provide a roadmap for future committee members; this document should include sample emails. The Secretary/Treasurer shall ensure that these documents are maintained, collected, and re-distributed to committee chairs during each changeover to new leadership.

  1. Nominating Committee: The Nominating Committee shall be chaired by the Past Chair and shall include the Members-at-Large and Student Representatives of the Unit, plus one member appointed by the Chief Executive Officer for a one-year term. The Chair shall ascertain through the APS Corporate Secretary the identity of this member. The chair-elect will serve as a diversity officer on the committee. If the Past Chair is unable to serve, the Chair may nominate a member of the Executive Committee as a replacement. The Secretary-Treasurer will send a communication to the Unit membership soliciting names for consideration by the Nominating Committee and will provide the Nominating Committee with the history of previous ballots. In consultation with the Secretary-Treasurer, the Nominating Committee shall rule on the validity of any nominating petitions. In addition to those names supplied by the petition process, they may supply additional names for any vacancy. The Nominating Committee shall prepare a slate of candidates to stand for election. There shall be at least two nominations for any vacancy. The committee will endeavor to nominate candidates who reflect an appropriate degree of diversity, both in gender and ethnicity as well as in career stage, work environment, and other characteristics.

  2. Program Committee: The Program Committee will have a Chair, Vice-Chair, and Assistant-Chair. At the end of each year (after the annual Business meeting) the Chair will retire, the Vice-Chair will become Chair, the Assistant Chair will become Vice-Chair, and a new Assistant-Chair, appointed by the Unit Chair, will assume the role. This appointment will be made no later than January 31 for the following year's Regular Meeting. The Unit Chair-Elect will serve on the Program Committee ex officio. Each member-at-large will serve on the program committee for the last two years of their three-year term.

    The Assistant Chair and the members of the Student Affairs Committee shall lead the organization of the Short Course. This includes the evaluation of proposals and the management of the event.

    The Vice-Chair shall lead the poster prize during the March Meeting. This includes identifying judges and overseeing the selection process.

    The Program Committee shall be responsible, in cooperation with the Executive Committee, for arranging sessions of Society meetings sponsored by the Unit, and from time to time may organize special meetings and workshops. The Program Committee will be responsible for soliciting and selecting invited sessions and focus sessions at the Regular Meeting, and for sorting all contributed sessions sponsored or co-sponsored by the unit at the annual sorters meeting. The Program Chair shall assure that all invited speakers are notified of their selection (or non-selection) in a timely fashion, that symposia chairs are found, and make corrections and adjustments on the list of the invited symposia and focus sessions, and all invited speakers.

    The Program Committee may also jointly co-organize meetings that are co-sponsored with other societies or organizations.

  3. Fellowship Selection Committee: The Fellowship Committee shall include six members of the Unit appointed by the Chair to three-year terms. Committee appointments shall be made in consultation with the members of the Executive Committee. Two new members are appointed each year as two rotate off. The Unit Vice Chair will serve as non-voting chair of the committee. The Fellowship Committee shall review the qualifications of candidates for Fellowship and report its recommendations to the Head of the APS Honors Program to the Fellowship Committee of the Society.

  4. Student Affairs Committee: The Chair and Vice-chair of this committee shall be the two Student Representatives of the Executive Committee, in order of seniority. The Unit Chair-Elect will serve on this committee along with students and postdocs in staggered two-year terms, as appointed by the Unit Chair. This committee will solicit feedback from student members of the Unit with regards to programming at the March Meeting, tutorials and special programs of interest to the student members, and other issues related to the education, networking and career development of our student members, in an effort to best serve our student members through programming and other offerings. The Student Affairs Committee will endeavor to reflect an appropriate degree of diversity. The Unit Chair in consultation with the executive committee will appoint one new student member every 3 years (to a 3-year term), or as needed to keep the membership of the committee at a total of 5. Students who graduate during their term of service continue to serve through the close of their appointment.

  5. Early Career Award Committee: The Early Career Award Selection Committee will have vice-Chair, Chair, past-Char and at least 2 other unit members appointed by the Unit-Chair. At the end of each year, after the annual Business meeting, the vice-Chair will become Chair and the Chair will become past-Chair. The committee members will serve for three years. The Committee will select the Annual award recipient, in accord with the timetable and procedures specified by the APS. Executive Committee members should not be members of the Awards Committee.

  6. Membership Committee: A membership committee will consist of two faculty-level members and two members who are either students or postdocs. Each year the unit chair will appoint one faculty-level member to the committee. The more senior faculty member will chair the committee. The committee will work with the Unit Chair and Past-Chair to enroll and retain members of the unit.

VI. Nominations and Elections

  1. Not later than April 30, the Secretary-Treasurer shall invite all members of the Unit to suggest to the Nominating Committee candidates for election for Vice-Chair, Secretary-Treasurer during the fourth year of the term of the current Secretary-Treasurer, and for the open Member(s)-at-Large positions.

    Not later than July 31, the Nominating Committee shall submit to the Secretary-Treasurer nominations for each post to be filled on the Executive Committee. The nominating committee will endeavor to nominate candidates who reflect an appropriate degree of diversity, both in sex and ethnicity as well as in career stage and work environment.

    The Secretary-Treasurer shall poll the Unit membership by electronic and, when necessary, paper ballot, no later than August 31, stating a closing date of not later than October 15. The membership will have six weeks to submit their ballots. Electronic ballots are counted automatically by the balloting system. Paper ballots will be counted by a designate of the Secretary-Treasurer who is not a member of the Unit. Election shall be decided by a plurality of those voting. If there is a tie, the Executive Committee shall decide the election, with the Chair voting only in the case of a tie among the other Executive Committee members. The Secretary-Treasurer shall communicate the results of the election to the Chair prior to November 15 and shall publish the results of the election in a regular communication to all members.

    Central to the nomination procedure is that the members should play as large a role as possible. In particular, if five percent of unit membership as of June 30 of the previous year suggests the same person for any office, that individual will be included on the ballot.

    The format and instructions, including deadline dates, for nominations, will be posted on the unit website at all times.

VII. Annual Business Session

The Business Session will include reports of the officers and committees, election results, and financial reports. No scientific program of the Unit shall be presented simultaneously with the Business Session. A majority vote of those Unit members present at the Business Session shall be sufficient for approval of actions. All transactions at the Business Session are to be considered as advisory to the Executive Committee.

VIII. Other Meetings

Special scientific meetings of the Unit may be initiated by the Executive Committee and arranged by the Program Committee, subject to the rules and regulations specified in the Society Constitution and Bylaws. The rules of the Society shall apply to scientific sessions of invited or contributed papers held in conjunction with a meeting of the Society. The Program Committee shall have the responsibility for all arrangements concerning such sessions.

IX. External Meeting Support

Organizers of non-APS symposia and workshops are invited to apply to DSOFT for sponsorship of their event, typically in the range of $500-$1000. The organizers would agree to provide literature on DSOFT to attendees and provide public credit for the sponsorship. The Executive Committee is responsible for making funding decisions. It is not a priority to support meetings run by for-profit institutions, or by other professional societies of similar standing to APS. Successful applications will be aligned with some of the following priorities:

  1. inclusion of early-career researchers and those from under-represented groups
  2. participatory aspects beyond just talks and posters
  3. regional meetings
  4. connections between industrial and academic participants.

Conference organizers interested in DSOFT support should contact a member of the executive committee by providing a brief statement describing the details of the proposed meeting and how it aligns with the goals of the division. Each year DSOFT will start considering requests for conference support upon conclusion of the March meeting. At this point it will consider requests for meetings to be held until June 1st of the subsequent year. Requests will be considered until all the funds are expended for the fiscal year.