MSU-PDA Bylaws

Article I: Definition of Postdoc

A postdoc is defined as an individual having a Ph.D, M.D., or equivalent degree and temporarily working under the supervision of a faculty member to acquire the professional skills needed to pursue a career in their chosen field.

At Michigan State University, this definition may apply to individuals under, but is not limited to, the following employment titles:

  • postdoctoral fellow
  • research associate
  • senior research associate
  • visiting research associate

Article II: Name, Purpose and Activities

Section 1

The name of this organization shall be the Michigan State University Postdoctoral Association (MSU-PDA). Participation in the MSU-PDA and its associated activities is on a voluntary basis and postdocs have no obligation to participate in any function, event or activity.

The MSU-PDA does not discriminate against individuals on the basis of age, gender, race, disability, height, weight, marital status, national origin, political persuasion, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status.

Section 2

The purpose of the MSU-PDA Steering Committee (defined in Article III, Section 3) shall be:

  • To provide representation and a collective voice to address the needs and concerns of MSU postdocs as defined in Article I.
  • To act as a liaison between MSU postdocs and MSU administration.
  • To work with the MSU Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (MSU-OPA) to promote and provide opportunities for career and professional development of postdocs at MSU.
  • To disseminate information relevant to postdocs.
  • To promote interaction between MSU postdocs on an academic, social, and cultural basis.

Section 3

The activities of the MSU-PDA Steering Committee will include, but are not limited to:

  1. The organization of regularly scheduled monthly meetings of the MSU-PDA Steering Committee.
    • The aim of these meetings is:
      • To discuss areas of concern to the MSU postdoc community.
      • To plan MSU-PDA events (see below).
      • To provide information relevant and useful to the MSU postdoc community.
  2. The organization of three (3) recurring events:
    • The annual MSU-OPA and Office of the Senior Vice President for Research and Innovation  postdoc awards luncheon and MSU-PDA recruitment event in May.
    • The annual summer picnic in August.
    • The annual MSU National Postdoc Appreciation Week (NPAW) events.
  3. The regular maintenance of the MSU-PDA web presence on the MSU-OPA website (http://postdocs.msu.edu) and MSU-PDA social media accounts that should constantly display the most current information relevant to the MSU postdoc community.

Article III: Membership

Section 1: MSU-PDA – Members

  • Membership is automatically conferred on all postdocs appointed within the current academic year at MSU. As such, new postdocs will be automatically added to the MSU Postdocs mailing list (msupostdocs@list.msu.edu) by the MSU-OPA.
  • Members can remove themselves from the MSU Postdocs mailing list at any time. To unsubscribe from the MSU Postdocs mailing list, the individual should send a blank email to MSUPOSTDOCS-unsubscribe-request@list.msu.edu.
  • An individual remains a member of the MSU-PDA as long as the individual remains affiliated with MSU in a postdoctoral position as defined in Article I.

 

Section 2: MSU-PDA – Department Liaisons

  • Membership as a Department Liaison is a voluntary one-year commitment. However, members may choose to end their participation at any time, without any consequence or repercussion to themselves.
  • The duties of Department Liaisons include, but are not limited to:
    • Relaying information shared by the MSU-PDA to postdocs in their departments and encouraging postdocs within their departments to participate in MSU-PDA organized events.
    • Informing the MSU-PDA of any concerns/issues/updates from postdocs within their departments.
  • Department Liaisons are otherwise not expected to have an active role in the MSU-PDA Steering Committee (e.g., attend meetings, help plan events, etc).

Section 3: MSU-PDA Steering Committee – Members 

  • Membership on the Steering Committee is a voluntary one-year commitment, except for the position of Co-Chairperson which is a voluntary two-year commitment. However, members may choose to end their participation in the MSU-PDA Steering Committee at any time, without any consequence or repercussion to themselves.
  • Co-Chairs and Sub-Committee Chairpersons shall be elected by common consent or majority vote of the Steering Committee Members.
  • All members of the MSU-PDA Steering Committee consent to attend all monthly meetings in-person or virtually. In case of a conflict in schedule, members of the MSU-PDA Steering Committee that are unable to attend a monthly meeting are expected to inform the MSU-PDA Co-Chairs ahead of time.
  • All MSU-PDA Steering Committee Members will be granted access to a shared cloud storage drive and are expected to keep all relevant files and folders up-to-date, and all materials confidential.
  • Membership on the Steering Committee will be reviewed on a quarterly basis (Aug – Nov – Feb – May). Members who have been absent, without prior notice, from 3 consecutive meetings (based on review of meeting attendance sheets), uninvolved within their respective sub-committee, and/or have not fulfilled their general duties as a Steering Committee Member as outlined in these bylaws will be contacted to ask if they would like to continue to be a member. If they do not respond to this email, they will be automatically removed from the MSU-PDA website, MSU-PDA Steering Committee mailing list, and shared cloud storage drive.
  • The MSU-PDA Steering Committee shall be governed by the positions and sub-committees outlined in Article IV, and the number of members, titled positions, or sub-committees in the Steering Committee may be amended at any time as deemed necessary by common consent or majority vote by MSU-PDA Steering Committee Members.

Article IV: MSU-PDA Steering Committee Member Positions & Sub-Committees

Section 1: Co-Chairperson 1 and Co-Chairperson 2

To serve as Co-Chair of the MSU-PDA Steering Committee, the candidate(s) must have been an active and contributing member of the MSU-PDA Steering Committee for at least one (1) year in any position or role. Ideally, Co-Chairpersons serve staggered two-year terms, such that one Co-Chairperson is in their second year (Senior Co-Chair), while the other is in their first year (Junior Co-Chair).

Duties will be divided among the chairpersons as agreed upon by the two.

The duties of the Co-Chairpersons include, but are not limited to:

  • Providing overall leadership and public representation of the MSU-PDA.
  • Working closely with the administration and other entities at MSU on postdoctoral affairs.
  • Proposing agenda topics to be discussed during the monthly MSU-PDA Steering Committee meetings.
  • Leading discussions of topics during the monthly MSU-PDA Steering Committee meetings.
  • Managing the pda@grd.msu.edu email account.

Section 2: Professional Development Committee

The Professional Development Committee shall be composed of one (1) Chair and two (2) members.

The duties of the Professional Development Committee include, but are not limited to:

  • Working with the MSU-OPA and the Graduate School to plan, organize, coordinate and evaluate workshops, seminars and events designed to promote career and professional development of MSU postdocs.
  • Generating flyers advertising MSU-PDA events that contain all of the relevant information for attendees.
  • Distributing, collecting, and collating evaluations from event participants.
  • Making sure that at least one member of the committee will be present at each event.

Section 3: Communications & Digital Presence Committee

The Communications & Digital Presence Committee shall be composed of one (1) Chair and two (2) members. The duties of the Digital Presence Committee include, but are not limited to:

  • Facilitating communications with the MSU postdoc community.        
  • Working with the OPA to maintain and update the MSU-PDA pages on the MSU-OPA-run website (https://postdocs.msu.edu/).
  • Maintaining and updating the MSU-PDA social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter).
  • Managing the grad.newsletter.pda@msu.edu email account.
  • Gathering content for, producing and distributing, the MSU-PDA Weekly Update and MSU-PDA quarterly newsletter which can include, but is not limited to: relevant MSU-PDA events and activities, noteworthy information relevant to the MSU postdoc community, events and activities organized on the campus of MSU or outside of the campus of MSU not directly related to the MSU-PDA, MSU postdoc achievements.
  • Collaborating with the other standing sub-committees to communicate and share relevant information to the MSU postdoc community.

Section 4: Social Committee

The Social Committee shall be composed of one (1) Chair and three to five (3-5) members.

The duties of the Social Committee include, but are not limited to:

  • Planing, coordinating, and attending monthly social events for MSU postdocs and their families with the goal of generating a sense of community. 
  • Generating flyers advertising MSU-PDA events that contain all of the relevant information for attendees. 

Section 5: Members At-Large

The duties of the Members At-Large (up to 6) include, but are not limited to:

  • Representing the needs of the postdoc community to the MSU-PDA Steering Committee.
  • Providing assistance with decision-making and activities of the MSU-PDA when needed.

Article V: Eligibility of Steering Committee Members for Postdoc Awards

Section 1

Current and former MSU-PDA Steering Committee Members may apply for any postdoc-specific awards offered by the MSU-OPA or any other MSU offices/units/departments/colleges for which they meet the eligibility requirements as outlined in the specific award application details. 

Section 2

As a benefit of their service to the MSU-PDA, Steering Committee Members may be eligible to receive travel funding to attend the Annual National Postdoctoral Association (NPA) Conference. Funding is provided by the MSU-OPA and while not guaranteed, is typically available to send two (2) Steering Committee members (co-chairs, or other members with at least one year of service) to this conference each year. Attendees are encouraged to submit abstracts to facilitate sessions/workshops or give poster presentations at the conference, and/or volunteer on the NPA Meetings Committee or ad hoc volunteer at the conference.

Article VI: Changes and Amendments to Bylaws

Changes and amendments to these Bylaws, other than those formerly stated under Article II, may be discussed and/or implemented at any time according to the discretion and two-thirds majority approval of the MSU-PDA Steering Committee members.

 Amendment history:

  • Steering committee voted to pass revised Bylaws document on 04/06/2018
  • Steering committee voted to pass revised Bylaws document on 5/11/20 (16 approve, 3 abstain)

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