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Postdoctoral Association Constitution & By-laws
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Postdoctoral Association

Article I—Name

The organization shall be known as “The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Postdoctoral Association” and hereinafter referred to as the PDA.

Article II—Mission

The missions of the PDA shall be the following:

1. To develop a sense of community by fostering professional and social interactions among postdoctoral fellows throughout the institution;

2. To provide a forum to disseminate accurate information and address issues relevant to postdoctoral fellows;

3. To promote a productive dialogue among postdoctoral fellows, the administration, and the faculty.

Article III—Membership

1. All postdoctoral fellows, defined as persons holding a doctorate or equivalent degree performing research at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, are recognized as full members of the PDA. Membership begins upon commencement of postdoctoral training and continues until separation from the institution or reclassification of the individual occurs. All full members are eligible to serve on the Postdoctoral Association Executive Committee (PDAEC) or any other committee of the PDA.
2. Persons not eligible for membership may request to be Associate Members. Associate Members may include past active members, for up to three years following the end of their postdoctoral position, visiting postdoctoral fellows, or other persons agreed upon by the PDAEC.  

Article IV—Government

1. The government of the PDA arises from the Executive Committee and shall always follow the principle of democratic rule.
2. All PDA members are eligible to participate in the PDAEC.  Associate members may be invited to join by the membership of the PDAEC.
3. The Executive Committee consists of two Co-chairs, one Secretary, Subcommittee Chairs and Vice-chairs, regular members, and ex-officio members from the department of Academic and VISA Administration – Trainee and Alumni Affairs (AVA-TAA), i.e., the Program Manager for the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, the Associate Director for Research Trainee Programs, and a Program Coordinator.
4. Executive Committee leaders are elected for at least one year. The Executive Committee shall elect Co-chairs, Secretary, and all Subcommittee Chairs and Vice-chairs for each new fiscal year (usually August).
a. Vacancies created by resignation or departure during the course of the year shall be filled in accordance with the election procedures described in Article VII.
b. If any Executive Committee member is not fulfilling his/her duties, he/she can be asked to relinquish membership by the Co-chairs.
c. Postdoctoral fellows who express interest in becoming regular members of the Executive Committee may be appointed by the Executive Committee Co-chairs. Regular members must intend to maintain an active membership for a minimum of one year.
d. The Executive Committee shall strive to maintain a diverse and equal representation among scientific discipline, experience, gender, and foreign national status.
5. The duties of the Executive Committee and its members are as follows:
a. Executive Committee
i. The Executive Committee serves as the executive body of the PDA, under the leadership of the Co-chairs.
ii. The Executive Committee shall speak for the PDA, shall act as representatives and advocates of the PDA, shall be responsible for the administration of the affairs of the PDA, and shall always be accountable to the membership at large.
iii. Executive Committee leaders (Co-Chairs, Secretary, subcommittee Chairs and Vice-chairs) are required to attend at least 70% of regularly scheduled meetings in one fiscal year.
iv. Executive Committee regular members who do not attend at least 30% of all regularly scheduled meetings shall be asked to resign from the Executive Committee by the Co-chairs.
v. A quorum consists of 50% of the Executive Committee members. Decisions shall be made by majority of those eligible to vote who are present. Although all members of the PDA are welcome at meetings of the Executive Committee, only the members of the Executive Committee are allowed to vote.
vi. Executive Committee members, especially those holding a leadership position (Co-chairs, Secretary, Subcommittee Chairs and Vice-chairs) are obligated to inform the committee if they are unable to perform the duties of their position (e.g., a change in PDA membership due to leaving the institution).
b. Co-chairs
i. The Co-chairs shall be the chief executive officers of the Executive Committee.
ii. The Co-chairs shall identify goals for the fiscal year, set the agenda, and facilitate all PDAEC meetings.
iii. The Co-chairs shall communicate with the PDA, faculty, and administration as representatives of the PDA on the Postdoctoral Advisory Committee (PDAC) and the Trainee Research Day Committee, at Alumni & Faculty Association (AFA) meetings, at Fast Track Orientation, and at any other venue, as appropriate.
iv. The Co-chairs are responsible for appointing all regular members and associate members to the Executive Committee.
v. The Co-chairs must host an annual Town Hall meeting in order to provide an opportunity for PDA members to express comments or concerns, and to update PDA members on PDAEC activities and relevant institutional changes.
c. Secretary
i. The Secretary shall be charged with the accurate recording of the minutes of all general and PDAEC meetings and make them available to the PDA at large, if requested.
ii. The Secretary shall maintain a record of meeting attendance.
iii. The Secretary shall handle appropriate correspondence for the PDA and the Executive Committee, including the writing and mailing of thank you notes, as appropriate.
iv. The Secretary shall serve as a representative on the PDAC.
d. Subcommittees
i. Each subcommittee shall be led by a Chair and Vice-chair who shall be elected from the current members of the Executive Committee, following the election of the Co-chairs (typically in August).
ii. The Chair shall serve as the primary point of contact for the subcommittee and shall serve as a representative to the PDAC.
iii. The Vice-chair shall support the Chair and serve as Chair in the Chair’s absence.
iv. Subcommittees shall provide information to the Communications Subcommittee to publicize the events and shall coordinate with AVA-TAA for scheduling conference space for speakers and events.
v. The individual responsibilities of each subcommittee are outlined below.
1. Policy
a. Maintenance of by-laws
b. Supervision of the election of the PDAEC Co-chairs and Subcommittee Chairs and Vice-chairs, in accordance with Article VII
2. Communications
a. Advertisement of events, speakers, service projects, and other PDA activities to postdoctoral fellows
b. Website assistance to AVA-TAA
c. Management of the MD Anderson PDA Facebook page, LinkedIn page, Sharepoint, and blog
3. Mentor Award
a. Call for Mentor Award nominations
b. Processing of nominations according to the established guidelines
c. Notification of the award winner and finalists
d. Coordination and planning of award ceremony
4. Responsible Conduct of Research
a. Establishment of a calendar of seminars for each fiscal year
b. Selection of, and coordination with, speakers
c. Advertisement of the schedule on the web and in the institutional calendar
d. Coordination with AVA-TAA to ensure that the seminars provided fulfill the National Institutes of Health (NIH) requirement NOT-OD-10-019 for instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)
e. Introduction of speakers at seminars
5. Career Development
a. Collaborate with the Department of Faculty and Academic Career Enhancement and to the Center for Professional Development and Entrepreneurship
b. Organization and coordination of activities to enhance postdoctoral career development (e.g., how to gain teaching skills, how to obtain funding, how to identify scientific career paths, etc.)
6. Presidential Career Symposium
a. Collaboration with local research institutions to develop, coordinate and organize an annual career symposium for postdoctoral fellows
7. Annual Postdoctoral Science Symposium
a. Development, coordination and organization of an annual science symposium for postdoctoral fellows at local research institutions
b. Management of the official call for abstracts, the judging process, and the selection of presenters
8. Outreach
a. Coordination of all social events, such as PDA coffee breaks
b. Identification and organization of service projects (e.g., PDA-sponsored blood drives, toy drives for the MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital, ambassador projects, etc.)c. Provision of information for PDA members with regard to integration into MD Anderson and the surrounding community
d. Assistance with welcoming new PDA members to MD Anderson
9. Science Park
a. Representation of postdoctoral fellows located at Science Park
b. Coordination of meetings and events for PDA members located at Science Park
c. Arrangement of broadcasts and teleconferences of seminars and events of interest to PDA members located at Science Park
d. Determination of the Science Park subcommittee Chair and Vice-chair shall be made by PDA members residing at Science Park, and shall not be confined to the election format outlined in Article VII.
10. Ad-hoc
a. An ad-hoc committee may be formed at any time to address specific issues of concern to the PDA. After the completion of the project, this committee dissolves.
b. Any chair of an ad-hoc committee shall not serve as a representative on the PDAC.

Article V—Rights and Obligations

1. Members of the PDA shall be obligated to observe the Constitution and By-laws of the PDA.
2. All members of the PDA shall have the right to participate in the decision making process of all issues relevant to the PDA. In addition, all members of the PDA shall have the right to petition to amend this constitution as circumstances warrant.

Article VI—Meetings

1. General PDA events shall be held regularly and shall be open to all PDA members.
2. An annual Town Hall meeting shall be held for all PDA members. Meeting minutes shall be made available upon request to any PDA member.
3. The PDAEC shall meet bimonthly. Additional PDA members, associate members, or other persons, may be invited to participate as necessary. Meeting minutes shall be made available upon request to any PDA member.  

Article VII – Elections

1. The Policy Chair shall solicit nominations for all leadership positions of the PDAEC from the current PDAEC membership. Self-nominations shall be permitted. The Policy Chair shall confirm acceptance of the nomination from candidates.
2. If the Policy Chair is nominated and accepts the nomination for any leadership position, the Vice-chair shall supervise the elections.  If a Vice-chair is not available, an alternate Chair shall be selected by the current Co-chairs to supervise the elections.
3. All current PDAEC members vote on candidates with the majority rule. All PDAEC members shall be permitted to cast one vote per election position.
4. Elections shall be held in August and the new leadership shall take office in September.
5. The election for the Co-chairs shall precede elections for the Secretary and the subcommittee Chairs. The runner-up for a subcommittee chair shall be offered the Vice-chair position of that subcommittee. A subcommittee Vice-chair position may be appointed by the subcommittee chair, if the position is unfilled and uncontested.  
6. Members shall be allowed to run for more than one position during the election.  
7. The Co-chairs and Secretary shall not serve as subcommittee Chairs. Subcommittee Chairs shall not serve as the Chair of another subcommittee.
8. Co-chairs, Secretary and subcommittee Chairs may serve as subcommittee Vice-chairs but may not assume the Chair position of said subcommittee should the current leadership be unable to fulfill the term. Subcommittee Vice-chairs may serve as the Vice-chair of another subcommittee.
9. Should an individual be elected to more than one subcommittee Chair position and/or the Secretary position, (s)he shall accept the Chair position of only one subcommittee or the Secretary position. Therefore, (s)he shall forfeit all other positions representing the PDAEC to the PDAC. This individual may serve as the Vice-chair of a subcommittee in which the Chair position was yielded. Winners shall be contacted following a randomized order, generated each year as necessary.
10. To facilitate the transition to the new leadership, the outgoing Co-chairs shall work with the incoming Co-chairs for at least three (3) months.
11. Should the current Chair of a subcommittee be unable to fulfill the one-year term, the Vice-chair shall assume the Chair position, provided that the acting Vice-chair is not occupying a Co-chair, Secretary or subcommittee Chair position. Interim elections shall be held to fill positions as deemed necessary by the PDAEC. Interim Chairs and Vice-chairs shall serve the remainder of the original term, and regular elections shall resume in August.
12. A current Co-chair may be re-elected for a second and third year. No term limits are placed on Secretary, subcommittee Chair or Vice-chair positions.

Article VIII- Ratification and Amendment of the Constitution and By-laws

1. This Constitution shall be ratified for the MD Anderson PDA with a majority vote amongst at least 75% of the PDAEC members voting. PDAEC members may vote in absence if they correspond directly with the Co-chairs and/or Policy Chair.
2. Amendments to this Constitution shall be suggested to the Policy Chair, and if amendment is required, the Policy Chair shall draft the amendment for approval by the PDAEC.  The amendments shall be ratified by majority vote, as described above.


This Constitution was officially ratified by the PDA Executive Committee on February 4th, 2014.

© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center