Bylaws of the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health Postdoctoral Association

Article I. Name and purpose

A. Name

The organization is known as the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health Postdoctoral Association (HSPH PDA).

B. Vision

We envision a community of productive, successful, and happy annual academic appointees at HSPH who advance the public’s health through learning, discovery, and communication.

C. Purpose

The mission of the HSPH PDA is to:

  1. promote the professional enrichment, development, and training of annual academic appointees at HSPH,
  2. raise awareness about appointees in the HSPH community,
  3. represent the interests and needs of annual academic appointees to the administration and faculty of HSPH,
  4. establish a formal forum for annual academic appointees to meet and discuss issues of importance to them at HSPH, and
  5. promote interaction among appointees across the school, and to help new incoming annual academic appointees integrate into the HSPH community.

The HSPH PDA is not a union and does not represent individuals for the purpose of collective bargaining with any organizations.

Article II. Membership

All individuals who hold a doctoral degree, who are engaged in a temporary period of mentored research or scholarly training, and who have appointments at HSPH are members of the HSPH PDA.

Article III. Organization and Governance

A. The Council

The HSPH Postdoctoral Association shall be governed by the Council. The Council shall be the legislative and executive body of the HSPH PDA.

B. Council positions

The Council membership shall consist of Officers, committee Chairs, and Representatives. There shall be four Officers: President, Vice President, Communications Manager, and Treasurer. An Officer may not also hold a committee Chair or Representative position.

There shall be one Departmental Representative for each department at HSPH and three At-Large Representatives. A Representative may serve as a committee Chair in addition to their Representative position.

C. Council membership

Officers, standing committee Chairs, and Representatives shall be appointed by elective process, held annually in September. A nomination period of at least two weeks shall precede elections. Officers, standing committee Chairs, and Representatives will be elected by Association members during an election period lasting no longer than 7 days.

If a position remains vacant at the end of the election period, that position may be filled by a volunteer. Volunteers must be confirmed by a simple majority vote of Council members at the next Council meeting.  Candidacy must be announced to the postdoc community prior to the meeting where voting will take place. 

Elections and appointments to the Council last until the end of the following election cycle. Upon accepting membership in the Council, individuals agree to maintain active membership until the next election period.

A Council member may resign at any time by informing the President in writing and submitting a summary of their activities on the Council to the Secretary. The Council may choose to hold a vote of no confidence to remove any Council member from the Council at any time. The President shall not serve more than 3 terms.

The Council will strive to maintain diversity and equal representation among HSPH departments, experience, gender, and foreign national status.

By accepting membership in the Council, Council members agree to abide by the policies and procedures of HSPH and Harvard University.

Article IV. Committees

A. Creation

Committees shall be formed by a Council vote. Two types of committees may be formed, standing committees and ad hoc committees. At its formation, an ad hoc committee shall be given a specific task to accomplish and specific period of time to complete its task. The Council may vote to extend the appointment time.

B. Dissolution

Standing and ad hoc committees may be dissolved by a Council vote. When a committee is dissolved, its Chair(s) are no longer members of the Council, unless they hold another Council position. An ad hoc committee will dissolve when it has delivered its final report to the Council, when its appointment time has elapsed, or when it is dissolved by a Council vote, whichever comes first.

C. Composition

Committees may have one or two Chairs as determined by the Council when the committee is created. Ad hoc committee Chairs shall be appointed by the President and approved by a Council vote. Standing committees or the “core” committee chairs shall be appointed by the President and approved by the Council only when the committee is first formed. Subsequent standing committee Chairs will be elected in the regular election process. The Committees shall be composed of volunteers from the Council and the Association.

Five core committees:

  1. Professional Development Committee
  2. Social Committee
  3. Educational Committee (Includes nanocourse)
  4. Awards and Outreach Committee
  5. Communications Committee 

Suggested ad hoc committees:

  1. Poster Day
  2. Advisory board for PDA Council alumni

D. Duties

The duties of a committee and its power to act on certain decisions shall be outlined at its formation and shall be approved by the Council. Each committee may establish its own rules, appoint their own members, and establish subcommittees.

Article VI. Duties and responsibilities

The President shall preside at Council meetings, oversee the Council’s activities, and deliver the year-end Council report.

The Vice President shall assist the President.

The Secretary shall notify Association members of Council meetings, record and distribute minutes of Council meetings, and maintain the Council’s records.

The Treasurer shall prepare the Council’s budget and coordinate all budget and financial decisions.

Committee Chairs shall direct the activities of their committee and ensure the committee fulfills their obligations and responsibilities.

Departmental Representatives shall serve as liaisons between their departments and the Council. At-Large Representatives will represent the Association’s entire membership. Each Representative shall serve on at least one committee.

All Officers, core committee Chairs, and Representatives shall, at the end of their term, deliver to the Secretary an individual year-end report and a document to aid and guide the next individual who will hold their position.

Article VII. Financial Administration

A. Fiscal year

The fiscal year of the Association shall be from July 1 through June 30.

B. Budget

The Council shall annually adopt a budget allocating funds of the Association for the purpose of carrying out the objectives of the Association.

C. Control and Administration

The deposit, investment, and disbursement of all funds shall be subject to the direction of the Council. The Treasurer shall be responsible for the control and administration of all such funds designated for the use of the Association.

D. Fundraising

With the exception of monies allocated to the Association by the offices of the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, all fundraising for the Association shall be coordinated by the Council. If monies are raised to support the Association by fundraising activities, the Association shall complete and file the necessary tax-exempt organization paperwork required by law.

Article VIII. Council Meetings

A. Frequency and attendance

The regular meetings of the Council shall be held at least once every 6 weeks unless otherwise determined by the Council. Meetings will be scheduled for one and a half (1.5) hours and unfinished business relegated to the next meeting. Association members are permitted to attend all Council meetings and to speak if recognized by the meeting Chair but are not eligible to vote unless they are members of the Council.

B. Quorum and voting on motions

Two-thirds of the members of the Council in good standing shall constitute a quorum. A Council member is in good standing if they are present at the meeting or have attended one of the previous three meetings.

A quorum shall be necessary to vote on proposed motions, including the election or dismissal of Council members, and to amend these bylaws. A quorum shall not be necessary to schedule the next Council meeting.

Voting motions shall carry if they receive a simple majority vote. All members of the Council present at the meeting may vote. Each Council member shall have only one vote regardless of what positions they hold.

Motions may be voted on electronically. The poll shall be initiated by an Officer. A quorum must participate in the online vote for it to be valid. At least three non-holiday weekdays must pass between the initiation and end of voting.

C. Agenda

Agendas shall be distributed at least two days in advance of all scheduled meetings. Agenda topics may be recommended by any Council member. Topics must be sent to the President and Secretary by any Council member at least 24 hours before the meeting in order to be added to the agenda.

The general order of business shall consist of, but not limited to the following: approval of agenda, approval of the minutes from the previous meeting, general orders or unfinished business, determination of next meeting date.

Article IX. Bylaws

A. Ratification

These bylaws are the only bylaws of the HSPH Postdoctoral Association and shall take effect immediately following the approval of HSPH administration and ratification by a two thirds majority of the HSPH PDA Council members physically present at the Council meeting.

B. Amendments

Amendments to these bylaws shall be presented to the Council in writing at least three days before they are voted on. Amendments shall require a regular quorum and a two-thirds majority vote to pass. 

The current bylaws were approved by the Council on September 4, 2019.

Article X. Dissolution

A. Process

The HSPH Postdoctoral Association may be dissolved only by the unanimous vote of the full Council membership, by voting at four meetings separated by at least one month each.

B. Assets

Upon dissolution of the HSPH Postdoctoral Association, any of its assets that remain after payment of, or provision for the payment of, all debts and liabilities of the Association shall be managed according as follows. Funds and other assets allocated to the Association by HSPH shall revert to their originating HSPH department(s) or office(s). Funds and other assets generated by the Association (e.g. through fundraising or other activities) will be disbursed to tax-exempt group(s) or organization(s) at the discretion of the Council members in office at that time and in accordance with the stated mission of the Association.