10 June 2014

Organization & Endorsement of AAS Regional Meetings

Kevin Marvel

Kevin Marvel American Astronomical Society (AAS)

The AAS seeks to achieve its mission to enhance and share humanity’s scientific understanding of the universe via a variety of activities, including organizing conferences. However, it is inefficient for the AAS staff to organize small gatherings at the regional level. At the recent meeting of the AAS Council in Boston, a new effort — AAS Regional Meetings — was proposed based on a query from AAS member Gerard Williger (University of Louisville).

The AAS will now endorse regional meetings that meet a few simple rules designed to support and foster diverse astronomical discourse.

Definition of a Regional Meeting

A regional meeting is a scientific conference organized for the benefit of a clearly defined geographical area (e.g., Kentucky, or the Northeastern seaboard states), not a conference organized around a specific scientific topic or topics for attendees from any geographic location (such a gathering would more appropriately be considered for the AAS Topical Conference Series).

Criteria for Endorsement

The AAS Vice-Presidents may opt to provide AAS endorsements for regional meetings at the request of conference organizers when the following criteria are met:

  1. The meeting is organized as a venue for presentation of results of scientific research in disciplines represented by the AAS and its Divisions.
  2. The organizing committee for the conference contains a majority representation of current AAS full members.
  3. The organizing committee for the conference is composed of members from institutions within the defined geographical region.
  4. The local organizers, not the AAS, handle all financial and logistical organization.
  5. The conference organizers agree to abide by and publicize the AAS Ethics Statement, paying careful attention to the section entitled “Conduct Towards Others."
  6. The conference adopts and publicizes the Anti-Harassment Policy for Meetings and Activities of the American Astronomical Society and Divisions.
  7. The demographic distribution of invited speakers reflects the overall demographic distribution of the AAS membership within the region in terms of gender and ethnicity.

How to Seek Endorsement

Organizers of regional conferences seeking AAS endorsement should contact the current AAS Senior Vice-President with a description of the meeting, an explanation of how the various guidelines will be met by the organizers, and the date(s) and location of the meeting. The AAS will publicize approved AAS Regional Meetings on its website, and, when requested, in email communications to AAS members within the geographical region itself.