Message from the President
Marvalee H. Wake
I hope to see all of you at our upcoming annual SICB meeting in Toronto in early January! The preparations for the meeting are well along, and our Program Officer, Stacia Sower, and the Divisional Program Officers, as well as several of our committees, with exemplary facilitation by BAI, have an exciting and stimulating meeting, scientifically and socially, in store for us. It is a particular pleasure to be able to meet in Canada, and with the Canadian Society of Zoologists. Our program will include symposia featuring Canadian science, as well as some co-sponsored by divisions of both of our societies. This year's Evolution Town Meeting, ably organized by our Public Affairs Committee, includes the participation of Canadian and US scientists. This meeting is a wonderful opportunity to meet with friends, and possibly to establish some new international collaborations. I look forward to joining you in welcoming our Canadian colleagues, and to working with them.
We have had a year of notable accomplishment for SICB, in my opinion. First, our journal is now changed in name and format; congratulations to our Editor, John Edwards, and all who work with him, on this achievement. I've heard mostly praise for it, including from library personnel. As you may be aware from the long time before you received numbers 1 and 2 this year, Allen Press needed that time to effect the new format, but everything is well on line now. Good progress is being made in reducing our backload now, and symposia are being published quickly---John expects that ICB will shortly be able to publish the opinion pieces, teaching contributions, etc., that we long have planned.
Our Treasurer, Ron Dimock, and our Executive Director, Brett Burk, have been managing our funds most ably during a year in which we've all witnessed our difficult economy. The Treasurer's Report is likely to be a presentation of more good news than bad, at a time when the reverse is usually true.
Our management group, Burk and Associates, continues to work effectively and creatively with us. Brett, Sue, Micah, Mike, Heide, and many others are usually highly responsive, and come up with not only great ideas, but the mechanisms for putting the best of them into action. As you've seen, we are now able to do our elections electronically, and our newsletters and e-mails to you are done in that manner. We keep 'tweaking the system' as we hear suggestions, comments, and even complaints from you, so please read all of these items, and tell us what you think of them! Even more importantly, please RESPOND to them, if they are appropriate to your interests---we have begun asking you for information pertinent to various issues that are arising for biologists, and welcome your contributions.
Because so much has changed in terms of management and format for SICB, I determined, with the advice and consent of the Officers and the Executive Committee, that a revision of our Constitution and Bylaws was in order to bring us up-to-date in terms of current practices, and to provide for our future. An ad hoc committee chaired by our Secretary, Penny Hopkins, has been hard at work on this, and we will have a draft to present to you for discussion at our meeting in Toronto.
Our committees have been working hard and well; their chairs and members are loyal and committed. Our new Membership Diversity Committee has many plans, and our longer-standing committees continue their good work. At the same time, I must note that we always need new members for our committees (and candidates for our offices), so please think of ways that you can contribute to SICB. I am especially grateful to all of the folks who have agreed to be candidates for office in our upcoming elections.
Finally, because this is my last message to you, as I will hand over the gavel (or would, if we had a gavel) to John Wingfield at the second Executive Committee meeting in Toronto, I want to thank many people for many things: to Ron Dimock for being the perfect Treasurer; to all the other officers, both society-wide and divisional, for their loyal support and hard work; to Brett Burk for being willing to take on all sorts of suggestions, always with a pleasant demeanor; to all the folks at BAI for all their help and ideas; and to all of you for your participation in SICB. I continue to believe in the enormous potential of integrative and comparative biology in dealing with complex issue, problems, and questions in science, and in SICB as a nearly ideal way of expressing and realizing much of that potential. So, welcome to John Wingfield and to all the other incoming and continuing officers and committee members, and very best wishes for much success!