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Postdoctoral Association Constitution

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:

1. To develop a sense of community by fostering professional and social interactions among postdoctoral fellows throughout the institution.
• Examples of interactions include the Department of Trainee Alumni & Affairs Postdoc Appreciation week with coffee & cake, Postdoktoberfest, and Spring Picnic; the PDA’s monthly events, Responsible Conduct of Research Series, service activities, and the Annual Postdoctoral Science Symposium.  
2. To provide a forum to disseminate accurate information and address issues relevant to postdoctoral fellows.
• Examples include the PDA website, postdoctoral association email address; the PDA distributes the calendar of events, and holds the Town Hall meeting.  
3. To promote a productive dialogue among postdoctoral fellows, the administration, and the faculty
• The PDAEC helps communicate postdoctoral fellow needs through: 1) PDA email address for postdocs to contact; 2) bi-monthly PDAEC meetings with the Director of Trainee Alumni & Affairs; 3) PDAEC subcommittee membership on the Postdoctoral Advisory Committee; and 4) PDAEC chair membership on the Alumni & Faculty Association committee.

Article III—Membership

The membership of the PDA shall consist of:

1. All persons in a post-Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree research postdoctoral fellow position at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC) shall be classified as Members. Membership begins upon commencement of postdoctoral training and continues until separation from the institution or reclassification of the individual occurs.
2. Persons not eligible for membership may be asked to be Associate Members. Associate Members may include past active members, visiting postdoctoral associates or other persons agreed upon by the Postdoctoral Association Executive Committee (PDAEC) for up to three years following the end of their postdoctoral position. At the discretion of the chair of the PDAEC, they may be a subcommittee chair.  Associate Members serving in leadership positions on the PDAEC shall enjoy all privileges of membership.  

Article IV—Government

1. The government of the PDA arises from, and shall always follow, the principle of democratic rule.
2. The PDA shall be organized and guided by the PDA Executive Committee.  The PDAEC shall be selected from the members.  All members are eligible to participate in the PDAEC.  Associate members may be selected to join by the membership of the PDAEC.
3. The PDAEC 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.
4. The chair, secretary, and subcommittee chairs of the PDAEC shall regularly represent the PDA at Postdoctoral Advisory Committee (PDAC) meetings, which includes faculty, administration, and administrative staff.
5. The secretary and subcommittee chairs will be appointed from the current PDAEC membership.  In the event multiple candidates are interested in an official position, an election shall be held or they may be appointed as co-chairs.  Only one subcommittee co-chair shall serve as a voting member at PDAC meetings.

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

1. Take meeting minutes, distribute and post the minutes (coordinate with Publicity chair)
2. Writing thank you notes
3. Maintaining spreadsheet of contact information for Executive Committee members

6. The following committees shall be formed from the active members to address specific issues of concern to the PDA.

A. Policy
1. To identify and investigate issues that affect postdoctoral fellows
2. To maintain by-laws
3. Supervise election of Chair
B. Events
1. To plan and order food for the annual picnic, kickoff event, mentor award reception and other monthly or special events (coordinate with Speaker chair)
2. To represent the MDACC PDA in event planning committees for TMC-wide events for trainees
3. To plan and order food for social events
C. Speakers

1. To organize a monthly speaker or event (coordinate with Events chair)
2. To coordinate with Trainee and Alumni Affairs for scheduling conference space for speakers and events.
3. To communicate with speakers (title, introduction, if outside, travel arrangements, etc…)
4. To communicate with TAA to establish itinerary and travel arrangements for outside speakers
5. To provide the speaker information to the Publicity chair for publicity
6. To coordinate with Science Park and South Campus regarding needs for teleconferencing broadcasts of speakers of interest
D. Publicity

1. To advertise events, speakers, service projects, and other PDA activities via flyers, websites, etc.
2. To provide website assistance to TAA      
3. To manage the MDACC PDA Facebook page, Sharepoint, or blog
E. International  
1. To respond to issues relevant to international trainees at MDACC
2. To organize an annual speaker or event about international issues (coordinate with Speaker chair)
3. Assist TAA with initiatives for new postdoctoral fellows
F. Science Park
1. To represent postdoctoral fellows at the Science Park campus
2. To coordinate with Speakers chair regarding teleconference broadcast of seminars and events of interest to postdoctoral fellows in Science Park
3. To coordinate meetings and events for the postdoctoral fellows on the Science Park campus.
G. Mentor Award

1. To make the call for nominations
2. To process nominations according to the guidelines established by this subcommittee
3. To notify the award winner
4. To coordinate with Events Subcommittee to plan ceremony (speakers, food, room, etc…)
H. Service
1. To coordinate the annual PDA blood drive in collaboration with the Blood Bank
2. To identify service projects that the PDA can participate in
3. To coordinate the selected service projects
I. South Campus
1. To represent postdoctoral fellows on the South Campus and coordinate a yearly event focused towards postdoctoral fellows.
J. Postdoc Liaison   

1. To serve as an initial contact for fellows who need help navigating the system for grievances or questions.
2. Contact point between PDA and Trainee Research Day Committee   
K. Responsible Conduct for Research Seminars
1. To organize a minimum of eight (8) education hours annually meeting the National Institutes of Health (NIH) requirement for instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research.
2. To coordinate with Trainee and Alumni Affairs (TAA) to establish a calendar and schedule conference space for RCR seminars for each academic year.
3. To identify and solicit speakers with the expertise/qualifications to lecture on RCR topics and to handle all communication necessary to facilitate speakers’ presentations.
4. To coordinate with TAA and the PDAEC publicity chair to publicize the RCR seminars.
5. To coordinate with TAA to monitor contact hours completed by postdoctoral fellows and graduate students and provide certification after completion of eight contact hours annually.
6. To coordinate with Science Park and South Campus regarding needs for teleconferencing broadcasts of speakers of interest.
L. Ad hoc committees shall be formed from the active members as deemed necessary to address specific issues of concern to the PDA. These subcommittees will disband once their specific functions have been carried out. They will not report to the PDAC as regular members.

7. Terms of PDAEC Membership

A. Attendance – Members are required to miss no more than 30% of regularly scheduled meetings in one academic year. Any member who does not attend at least 30% of all regularly scheduled meetings will be asked to rotate off of the committee.
B. Subcommittee chairs and co-chairs are obligated to inform the PDAEC if they are unable to perform the duties of their position (i.e. a change in PDA membership due to leaving the institution).

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 public and posted on the PDA web site.
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 public and posted on the PDA web site.

Article VII – Election of PDAEC Co-Chairs

1. The current chair of the Policy Subcommittee shall solicit nominations for the positions of PDAEC Co-Chair from the current PDAEC membership.
2. If the Policy Chair is nominated and accepts the nomination for Co-Chair, an alternate Subcommittee Chair will be selected by the Chair, Secretary and Policy Subcommittee Chair to supervise the elections.
3. All current PDAEC members vote on candidates with the majority rule.
4. Elections shall be held in December and the new Co-Chairs shall take office in January.
5. To facilitate the transition to the new leadership, the current Co-Chairs will work with the new Co-Chairs for at least 3 months before leaving office.
6. Should the current Co-Chairs be unable to fulfill the one year term, interim elections will be held to fill the position.
7. The current Co-Chairs may be re-elected for a second and third year if necessary.
8. PDAEC members shall elect Co-Chairs for a 1-year term with potential for re-election for a second and third term. In the advent that both Co-Chairs leave the position before the completion of their term, the PDAEC committee shall vote for interim Co-Chairs. Interim Co-Chairs shall serve the remainder of original Co-Chairs' term and regular elections shall resume in December.

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

1. Function as the liaison with Trainee and Alumni Affairs (TAA)
2. Preside over the meetings
3. Present the PDA segment at Fast Track Orientations
4. Represent the PDA at all necessary functions
5. Participate in Mentor Award selection and ceremony
6. Attend or designate an appropriate representative to attend the National Postdoctoral Association Annual Meeting.
7. Represent the PDA at Alumni & Faculty Association (AFA) quarterly meetings and serve on a committee (i.e., usually Trainee Lecture Series)
8. Attend Postdoctoral Advisory Committee (PDAC) meetings

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

1. This constitution shall be ratified for the MDACC PDA with a majority vote amongst at least 75% of the PDAEC members voting.
2. Amendments shall be suggested to the Policy Subcommittee Chair, and if amendment to this Constitution is required, the Policy Subcommittee shall draft the amendment for approval by the PDAEC.  The amendments shall be ratified by majority vote amongst at least 75% of the PDAEC Members voting.


This Constitution was officially ratified by the PDA Executive Committee on December 7, 2012.

© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center