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Executive Board Seeks Bylaws Changes

12/3/2014-

by SIOP Administrative Office

SIOP Voting Members to Decide on Three Issues in February

At its May 18 and September 26, 2014 meetings, the SIOP Executive Board voted to present three bylaws amendments to the voting membership that could result in major changes to the organization.

The proposed bylaws amendments include:

  • Eliminating the prerequisite organization membership requirement-The Board approved a motion to recommend a bylaws change to remove the prerequisite organization membership (APA, APS, Canadian Psychological Association, European Association of Work and Organizational Psychology) requirement in order to become a member of SIOP. Although it is expected that many members will continue to be affiliated with APA and the other organizations, it will no longer be a requirement for new members.
  • Establishing a pathway to Member status for Associate members: The Board approved a motion to recommend a bylaws change to provide a pathway by which Associate members with master’s degrees can become full SIOP Members.  The Executive Board will approve a policy establishing the criteria for Associate members to become Members. Those criteria will include Associate member status for a period of at least 5 consecutive years, engagement in professional activities, letters of nomination, holding a master’s degree, and attendance at least three official SIOP meetings within the last 5 years.
  • Removing the listing of standing committees and other changes: The SIOP Executive Board voted to recommend a bylaws change to remove the list of standing committees from the Bylaws and instead include them in the Administrative Manual, which contains all Executive Board policies. The current Bylaws are out of date, not having been revised to reflect the current list of committees. This change will enable the list to be kept up to date without formal changes to the bylaws (which require a vote of the membership). Other “clean-up” changes are also contained in the amendment.

Voting will be held February 5-March 7, 2015 on the SIOP website. Voting members (Members, Fellows, Retired Members, and Retired Fellows)* will be notified via email when voting begins. The amendments will be voted on separately, and an affirmative vote from the majority of those voting will be required for approval.

Per the bylaws, SIOP will hold a 1-month comment period prior to the vote, January 5-February 4. All SIOP members will be encouraged to post comments to a designated my.SIOP discussion board at that time. Communications about where to find that discussion will be made to members via the SIOP website, social media, and email. Full language of the proposed amendments will be available at that time.

The elimination of the prerequisite organization membership requirement reflects years of comments by SIOP members and potential members that this requirement is an undue burden to membership.

The establishment of a pathway to Member status for SIOP’s Associate members similarly reflects comments of members and former members, explained Eric Heggestad. Heggestad, who serves as Membership Services Officer on SIOP’s Executive Board, researched and wrote the proposed bylaw amendment language.

“For me, the idea started to take hold several years ago based on conversations with some of my former students,” he explained. “I am the director of a master’s program. I saw many of our very talented students, who became interested and attached to SIOP while they were students, graduate and begin working in I-O-related jobs. Within a few years of graduating, very few of them were attending the SIOP conference. When I asked them about it, they said that they just didn’t feel all that welcome at SIOP, that the organization just didn’t value people with MA degrees.  That is when I learned about the differences between the society’s Member and Associate member categories. It just didn’t feel right to me that these very talented people, who were doing I-O-related work, did not feel valued by their own professional organization.”

Heggestad explained that of all the reasons for creating this option for Associate members, the biggest for him personally is inclusiveness.

“There are a number of Associate members who identify SIOP as their primary professional organization,” he added. “These individuals attend the conference, feel a connection to I-O psychology, and are working in I-O-related jobs. Yet, they are not allowed to vote on the direction of the society, volunteer their time to serve their society by chairing a standing committee, hold office, or be recognized with Fellowship status. It is no wonder that many Associates do not feel valued by SIOP. It just doesn’t feel right to me that these people, who are contributing members of our professional community, are precluded from these rights because they did not complete a PhD degree – a degree that is not required to have a successful career in our profession.”

Regarding the removal of committees from the SIOP bylaws, SIOP Executive Director Dave Nershi explained that this change will be much more practical.

“We’re reflecting the reality of an organization that has to change quickly to meet the needs of its members,” he said. “Amendment 3 also includes changes to align the bylaws with contemporary practices and procedures and to remove superfluous language.”

Questions regarding SIOP’s voting procedures can be directed to the SIOP Administrative Office at 419-353-0032.

*Please note that in accordance with the bylaws, SIOP Associates, International Affiliates, and Student Members are not eligible to vote.