Chapter GuidelinesChartering and Administration(Adopted by Council November 1993, revised April 2008)

Chartering a Chapter

The process for forming a chapter of the American Physiological Society is quite simple.  The interested group needs only to submit a Petition for Chapter Status to Council, via the APS Executive Office.  This petition must be signed by twenty Regular Members of the Society who reside in the same region.  A name, reflecting its geographical location, should be specified on the petition.

A chapter may adopt bylaws for the regulation of its affairs provided they do not conflict with the �Articles of Incorporation� or the Bylaws of the APS.  Bylaws must be submitted to Council for approval before they may be formally adopted by a Chapter.

Chapter Administration

The Society has no regulations regarding the administration of its individual chapters.  In this section of the manual, we would like to recommend methods of administration.

In general, chapters have adopted an organizational structure which includes a President or Chairperson. They may also include a Secretary and Treasurer (often both these roles are performed by a single individual).  The mechanisms for officer selection differ, though most are elected for a specified tenure by a plurality or majority of votes.  Chapters which choose to adopt bylaws often include a section which carefully defines further election procedures.

The degree of formalization of the chapters' administrative structure varies considerably and tends to be related to the size of the chapter.   A chapter might be composed of a council, as well as officers.  The council may also include student representation.  In this way, responsibility is delegated to a group who may be better able to represent the membership as a whole.  A chapter may find it advantageous to appoint committees which are responsible for specific functions such as membership drives, newsletters, and special programs.

Leadership Transition

The transition in the leadership of a chapter is often accompanied by a breakdown in communications within the chapter.  It is vital that the outgoing and incoming officers work together to exchange important information and documents.

Listed below are several suggestions to help smooth the transition.

  1. All new officers should specifically request the transfer of any existing files regarding the chapter and its previous activities.

  2. The APS Executive Office should be notified, preferably in writing, immediately after a change in leadership to ensure that all mailings are sent to the appropriate person.

  3. A position of Past President and/or President-Elect should be established.  This assures that the incoming president will have a �training period� before assuming complete responsibility for the chapter.  A variation of this would be to have the President serve as Secretary immediately following his/her tenure.

  4. A Chapter Advisory Committee Meeting, to be held in conjunction with the APS Annual Meeting, will serve as a valuable source of information for all Chapter Officers and will provide a useful orientation to newly elected leaders.  New officers are encouraged to contact the APS Executive Office if they require any assistance.  The APS Executive Office will maintain files on each chapter, including their annual reports.

Chapter Responsibilities to the National Society

The Society imposes only two specific obligations for the maintenance of an active chapter.

A.  Annual Meeting

The chapter must hold at least one meeting annually.

B.  Membership

The chapter must maintain at least twenty Regular Members in good standing who reside in the area.  In addition, all chapters of the Society will have an obligation to promote, at the local level, the general objectives of the Society, including its goals of interdisciplinary contacts among the research workers interested in the physiological sciences and education of the general public and future scientists.

1.   Annual Report

Each chapter is asked to submit an annual report to APS each July. The annual report will provide the Chapters with its most comprehensive principal source of information regarding the administration, organization, and activities of the chapters.  Data accumulated from each report is used to compile, with the approval of Council, a report which is circulated to the local chapters.

2.   Chapter Representatives Meeting

Each year, The Chapter Advisory Committee will hold an annual meeting in conjunction with the Society's Annual Meeting (EB). The meeting provides a forum in which chapter delegates may voice their views on a variety of issues and exchange information among themselves.  All chapters will be invited and will be urged to respond to the yearly request to send a representative to this meeting.  Any chapter member may be chosen as a delegate, although officers should be given priority.

3.   Financial Affairs

A chapter should exist as an incorporated state society.  Consequently, the chapter is responsible for its own finances, maintenance of records, and filing of necessary forms to the Internal Revenue Service.  As a courtesy, the APS Executive Office should be informed of sources from which your chapter derives funds. In so doing, the APS can assist in the acknowledgement of the support provided by these companies.  Chapters having any questions concerning plans/strategies to raise monies should contact the APS Executive Office for ideas and suggestions.

The APS Lectureships

The American Physiological Society allocates funds to support an APS Lectureship at the annual meeting of an APS Chapter.  The program serves as an important means for chapters to host visits that would have otherwise been impossible.

The lectures foster the exchange of ideas with distinguished physiologists and provide updates on recent research developments.  The program is also an ideal vehicle for attracting the interest of the general public to the physiological sciences.

The APS allocates $1000 to support the scientist invited to participate as an APS Lecturer.  In order to assess the success of the program, the chapters are asked to provide adequate feedback to the Chapter Advisory Committee about the program.  The continued success of this program relies upon the cooperation of the chapters.

Chapter Finances

Chapter finances are always a concern for those individuals responsible for conducting the affairs of the chapter. Many chapters are interested in increasing their level of activity of support but are inhibited by a lack of financial resources.  In order to help formalize the existing chapter program and to encourage the formation of new chapters, the APS Council is prepared to make a grant of $1000 to a chapter to either initiate or to strengthen operations.  The following descriptions will also be of some assistance to chapters in their efforts to maintain financial stability.

A.  Chapter Dues

Most chapters have instituted a form of local dues, generally ranging from $5 to $15, frequently with a reduced rate for students.  Based on estimates of mean chapter size, proportion of student members, and mean faculty/student size, it expected that a chapter could generate approximately $400 per year.  While this amount of money cannot cover all the costs of an active chapter, dues revenue is a good place to begin.  For example, this amount would probably cover all the clerical expenses for the chapter. This would cover several mailings, a newsletter, a membership directory, etc.  The average annual dues revenue would also be sufficient to sponsor one visiting scientist from a nearby region.

B.  Institutional Contributions

Most chapters receive some degree of local support.  Frequently this is obtained through departmental contributions, generally for the support of visiting scientists.  Funds may also include input from interdisciplinary grants or institutional monies.  There is also the possibility of seeking institution support through a �matching funds� approach.  It may be worthwhile to approach an administrator with the proposition that the institution match chapter funds obtained from membership dues or from an APS Visiting Lectureship Grant or start-up grant.

C.  Non-Institutional Contributions 

Local groups often request support from various foundations and local companies in the name of a chapter of the American Physiological Society.  A few requests of this nature have been addressed to an organization that was already providing support to the Society as a whole.  Since the chapters are separate, incorporated organizations, they can solicit funding from organizations that may also provide support to the Society. It should be noted that local firms, such as banks or insurance companies, may be more likely to make financial contributions than larger national companies.  Similarly, the local pharmaceutical or instrument representative to your institutions might be willing to make a modest contribution in support of the Chapter meeting.

D.  American Physiological Society Support

As indicated earlier, the Society is prepared to make a one-time grant of $1000 to a Chapter to either initiate or strengthen operations. The Society will also provide each chapter an additional $500 per year for student awards at the annual Chapter meeting. This is in addition to the $1,000 allocated for the APS Lecturer at the chapter meeting.

E. Other Sources

It is important to all the chapters that the above list be expanded as groups find new vehicles for increasing support for their activities.  We urge you to provide such information in your forthcoming annual report.  It is clear that there is no easy way to generate financial support; this is a problem faced by most national societies and non-profit organizations.  However, with the aggressive pursuit of funding, your chapter can generate extra resources with which to sponsor activities.

F.   Scientific Meetings

It is typical for a chapter to hold an annual meeting at which lectures and volunteered papers are presented.  In order to support this meeting, it is necessary to charge a registration fee to cover administrative and meal cost for the meeting.

New Chapter Petition Form

A new chapter petition form would include the proposed name of the chapter, endorsees, and new chapter members.