4S Council Meeting, 16 July 2019

In attendance: Kim Fortun, Teun Zuiderent-Jerak, Stephen Zehr, Paige Miller, Steven Jackson, Anita Say Chan, María Belén Albornoz, Lesley Green, Wes Shrum, Ana Viseu, Roopali Phadke, Hsin-Hsing Chen

Kim Fortun called the meeting to order at 9:03 US Eastern time.

Minutes from April 2019 Council Meeting:  Belén Albornoz motioned to approve.  Steve Jackson seconded.  Minutes were approved.

General Announcements:

Kim Fortun updated Council on several items.  Fortun introduced the newly elected Council members and student representative who will begin their terms after the 4S meeting in New Orleans.  Fortun announced the Mullins Prize winner – Thao Phan.

Steve Jackson updated Council on website overhaul progress.  Jackson anticipated that a design will be ready to distribute to Council prior to the New Orleans meeting.  There was some discussion about what content should be at the front of the site and highlighted.

Kim Fortun reported that the 2nd Global STS conference will be held in Indonesia next week.  4S is a sponsor.  Fortun will send a message from Council wishing attendees success.

Conference Announcements:

Travel funds: 4S Council and 6S members will receive travel support of $1000 for U.S. based members and $1500 for non-U.S. based members to the New Orleans meeting.

NOLA 4S Council sessions: Kim Fortun recommended that Council members look for these sessions scattered throughout the program.  A reception is scheduled every evening in lieu of a banquet.  Prize announcements will be made at the Friday reception.  Fortun reminded Council members of the Publications and Affiliations meetings.  The Mentoring, Journal, and Futuring 4S sessions will be held on Thursday afternoon.  The Council dinner will be held Thursday evening following the reception.

Visa Problems and Remote Participation: Kim Fortun has received a request to reinstate a procedure, similar to the Boston meeting, for helping travelers facing visa issues while entering the U.S.  In light of this potential problem, a question was raised about possibilities for virtual participation.  Council recommended limited emphasis on virtual participation given concerns about Wifi connectivity at the hotel, session organizer work, and other potential problems.  A decision was made to not actively acknowledge opportunities for virtual participation this year (they can be considered on a case by case basis by session organizers) and to revisit the issue in the future.

Implementing event ethics procedures: Kim Fortun announced that we have an accessibility policy situated on the web and now need to implement it.  Fortun asked for volunteers to serve on an Ethics Committee at the meeting and for a Publications Ethics Committee.  There was discussion about what roles journal editors perform versus what duties might be performed by an external committee.  This issue will be discussed at the New Orleans Council meeting.

Archiving at the Conference: Teun Zuiderent-Jerak asked whether archival materials from the meeting can be directly integrated into the new website.  Steve Jackson indicated that it is possible depending upon the amount of space available for digital storage.

4S Affiliations Committee: Kim Fortun reminded Council that 4S offers a no-cost affiliation status to other organizations.  Belén Albornoz suggested that we may want to consider the different types of organizations which might request affiliation status.  Albornoz raised several questions.  Do we want to limit the range?  Is the affiliation open-ended or will we consider requests?  Should we invite organizations to affiliate with 4S?  Fortun recommended that we develop a process for accepting or rejecting affiliations.  A committee would conduct an evaluation of requests and renew or remove organizations as necessary.  There was extensive discussion about the risk for 4S of bad actor affiliates.  Council recommended a simple procedure for evaluating requests.  Also, there was discussion of organizations that 4S may wish to affiliate with such as ISC, UNESCO, Third World Academy, and AAAS.  Affiliations might be highlighted at our website.

Reports and Resolutions Committee: Kim Fortun floated an idea to ask ESTS to publish peer reviewed policy statements.  Fortun also mentioned that we regularly receive requests to comment on emergent national and international issues.  Fortun suggested a possible structural arrangement whereby an individual or group of 4S members could use a petition mechanism to gain support for a resolution.  This support would be from societal members rather than 4S itself.   Steve Jackson cautioned against a petition process due to potential abuses that they may engender.  Jackson also noted that there is a fine line between a statement coming from a 4S group and the organization as a whole.  Dikoh Chen suggested that we begin by developing a more normative mission statement that gives the organization grounds for taking stands on issues.  No decision was made on this issue.

Futuring 4S Report: Anita Say Chan summarized the 4S Futuring report distributed to Council prior to the meeting.  Chan indicated the survey received responses from over 50 people representing significant diversity.  The quality of responses was high.  The report is organized around research, pedagogy, general communications, and conferences.  Examples of recommendations included: more effort to support undergraduate education, moving STS policy research into new domains, exploring more diverse forms of communication, exploring virtual conferencing possibilities and hybrid virtual/physical arrangements at conferences, and futuring the Futuring survey.  The committee divided outcomes into short-term and long-term society investments.  Short-term efforts might focus on undergraduate pedagogy support.  Long-term efforts might focus on more virtual opportunities both at the annual conference and throughout the year.  A session will be held at the 4S conference to report the results of the survey and discuss future directions.  Belén Albornoz recommended that the report be made available to society members and shared with other STS organizations.  Roopali Phadke recommended publication of the report in one of the journals and suggested that we prioritize one or more of the recommendations for next year.  There was discussion about releasing the report as quickly as possible to receive feedback on procedures for putting results into action.

Meeting adjourned by Kim Fortun at 10:25 US Eastern Time.