4S Council Meeting, 12 April 2018

In attendance via Zoom conferencing: Kim Fortun, Paige Miller, Stephen Zehr, Wes Shrum, Gwen Ottinger, Noela Invernizzi, Anita Say Chan, Steven Jackson, Sara Wylie, Gloria Baigorrotegui, Teun Zuiderent-Jerak, Oscar Maldonado, Roopali Phadke, Aadita Chaudhury

Meeting called to order by Kim Fortun at 3:00 pm USEST.


Kim Fortun will schedule another Council meeting in July and a full day meeting on Tuesday 28 August at the Sydney conference.  Fortun reviewed annual meeting events that Council members should be aware of and involved with.

We plan to conclude the election by 1 June, if possible, which is when registration opens for the annual meeting.

Fortun announced that Council members and 6S members may receive up to $1500 for travel costs, as necessary, for the trip to Sydney, but requested that Council members seek other forms of support.

Fortun also announced that Gwen Ottinger has resigned as Chair of the Publications Committee.  Fortun welcomed expressions of interest in chairing this committee.

Fortun requested that Council members discuss ways of increasing membership benefits as a means for increasing membership in the society.  Anita Say Chan is chairing a new ad hoc committee Future 4S to consider growth and the public face of 4S.  Chan reported that the committee will work on identifying areas of growth – where our constituencies are and mapping affiliations.  The committee also will assess what neighboring societies are doing for their membership.  Fortun added that the committee should identify society indicators that would regularly monitor the society’s health.

There was general discussion of the meaning of 4S membership totals.  Membership size revolves around attendance at the annual meeting.  A key question is what we do outside of the annual meeting to involve or provide services to the membership.  One suggestion was to build internal and external collaborations and affiliations such as discussion groups, engagement groups, practice networks, etc.  Another challenge is keeping material on the website fresh.  Steve Jackson recommended that we look at other scholarly organizations for ideas.  Teun Zuiderent-Jerak recommended that we simply stress the importance of continued membership in the organization.  Sara Wylie suggested that we take parts of the annual meeting and thread them to the membership throughout the year (e.g., webinars).  Council members expressed support for this latter idea.

Committee Reports

Fortun suggested making more reports and documents available to the membership, but also acknowledged the challenge of accomplishing this with unpaid staff.  There was discussion of procedures for sharing documentation within Council.  Zuiderent-Jerak cautioned that putting together a system for document sharing requires a lot of effort, but then is often minimally used.  We also need both private space for reporting and deliberation and public space where reports and documents become available for the membership.

Future Meetings:  We will meet in New Orleans in 2019, Europe in 2020 (location yet to be determined), and Toronto in 2021.  We have received a proposal to meet in Puebla, Mexico in 2022.  Wes Shrum indicated that prices would be very reasonable in Puebla and there are direct flights from Houston.  There are two options for timing: July and September.  Fortun and several Council members recommended July for the possibility of extra days for holiday travel.  However, some concern was expressed about the loss of summer vacation days.  Further comments are welcome about the timing.  In general, the Puebla proposal was received positively.  Noela Invernizzi expressed some concern about problems with violence.  This particular region may be sufficiently safe, but still the question must be considered.  Council also requested more information about local logistics.

6S Advisory: Fortun made the 6S Advisory Committee a formal 4S committee.  Zuiderent-Jerak reported on changes made to the 6S Charter.  One change was to alter language that requested only the 3rd year representative to attend the Council meeting to language that encouraged all three representatives to attend.  Aadita Chaudhury found helpful the clarification of roles of the three representatives in successive years.  Council unanimously approved the revised charter.  The vote included an amendment that encouraged all three 6S representatives to attend Council meetings.

Sydney Making and Doing: Zuiderent-Jerak reported that we will likely have 39 contributions.  The Making and Doing venue provides good space, sufficient for additional demonstrations that are being scheduled.  Zuiderent-Jerak recognized the challenge of making the making and doing sessions a regular and legitimized part of the meeting.  Council discussed means for drawing more attendees to the venue.  Zuiderent-Jerak reported that the committee has focused on building connections across the contributions.  Individuals will be enlisted to serve as Crits who will discuss relationships among projects.  The Crit process also will provide thoughtful feedback to presenters.  There was additional discussion of potential scheduling conflicts, but the committee has minimal concerns in this regard.

STS Across Borders: Fortun reported that work in this project is enriching what STS is and where it can go.  The installations will be configured as builders intended them.  On the second day they’ll be reconfigured.

Visual Design Committee: Work is ensuing to develop a society logo that is stable but adaptable to different applications.  Fortun asked for feedback on initial work.  There was some discussion about the current logo design and what to maintain.  Council agreed about the importance of maintaining logo continuity across different society related activities (e.g., social media, conference, etc.).

STS in Practice: This committee is focused on connecting 4S to non-academic practitioners.  The committee will develop a report for Council to consider.  One item is to make certain that practitioners have access to society journals.

Website Update: Steve Jackson asked Council members to provide feedback on the website.  A survey also will be sent to the membership requesting feedback.  The committee would like to gather ideas at this point and then determine what can be accomplished with available resources.

Elections: Fortun asked Council to rank the nominations that have been submitted.  Council members discussed the nominations and areas where there may be gaps.  Council also discussed nominations who are not members and do not regularly attend 4S conferences.  Fortun is working on the development of a presidential slate.

Member Survey: We’ll be sending out a survey to the membership asking them to comment on the directions of the society.

ESTS has been approached by organizations wishing to advertise in the journal.  Fortun asked for comments on these requests.  Jackson suggested that we limit it to academic advertising.

Kim Fortun adjourned the meeting at 4:05 PM.