Scott Edwards, 9/20/2012

Dear SSE Membership,

I hope you’ve recovered sufficiently from what can only be described as a fabulous annual meeting in Ottawa.  I write to update you on a few issues of relevance to the SSE membership and, as always, to ask you informally to let us know if you have thoughts as to how the Society could improve its service to its members.  I also wanted to let you know that the trouble we were experiencing with online access to Evolution has been resolved. 

Most importantly, here’s an update on our upcoming annual meetings. Save the date!! Next year we will meet in Snowbird, Utah from June 21-25.  The meeting organization is in the capable hands of past SSE Executive Vice President Charlie Fenster and details will be posted on the SSE web site soon.

In 2014, we will meet in Raleigh, North Carolina from 20 – 25 June for a meeting co-organized by the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent).  This will be NESCent’s last year of funding from NSF and we look forward to celebrating its remarkable contributions to the evolutionary community and beyond, and to helping it navigate its future.

Beyond 2014 we have no firm commitments for our annual meetings, so please step up if you are at all interested! There is a possibility under consideration that the 2015 meetings will be held in Brazil, but it is not confirmed yet. One of my goals as SSE President was to increase the international impact of the Society and help build bridges with nations where evolutionary studies are growing.  SSE has an important role to play in the advancement of evolutionary biology globally, and indeed we already support many overseas activities of nascent evolution societies and workshops through our international program.  Our last truly ‘overseas’ meeting was in New Zealand in 2007 and we expect to have in place some funding for US and other graduate students to attend any overseas meeting we organize, because we recognize that such meetings can be costly to one of our key constituents, graduate students. So stay tuned.

The results of several awards given out at the annual meeting in Ottawa are now posted on the SSE web site  Congratulations again to our award winners!  Also, the a complete video of the 2012 address by David Quammen, the 2012 Stephen Jay Gould Award winner, is available on the web site.  Take a moment to listen and watch again the many inspiring messages from this address.  The SSE council is currently discussing and exploring possible ways to involve graduate students in the council's activities and deliberations.  The Council envisions graduate students as an excellent and long-overdue conduit to the opinions and perspectives of our student members, which form the bulk of SSE membership. 

In other news, Evolution Editor-in-Chief Daphne Fairbairn has summarized the activities of the journal for 2011 and this REPORT has been placed on behind the member log in.  There are some really interesting trends and perspectives in this Editor’s report, so I encourage you to take a look.  One of our two handling editors, Lynda Delph, will be stepping down at the end of 2012, and Jeff Conner from Michigan State University has accepted our invitation to fill this position for the coming three years.  Jeff studies plant evolutionary genetics and genomics, and the journal will benefit from his expertise.  We thank Jeff for his willingness to serve in this important capacity.

As always the Society is challenged by membership issues and competes with the many other ways in which members can spend their funds and time.  The current membership is 2590 and, while stable over the last few years, this number waxes and wanes with the location of the annual meeting.  For example, our membership numbers are up over 100 members from last year at this time, perhaps in part due to the exciting draw of the Ottawa meeting.  The SSE Council is keenly aware that the Society needs to deliver attractive products and services for its membership if we are to retain members and remain viable, and in addition to publishing Evolution and organizing the annual meeting we are constantly searching for ways to serve the membership better (for example, through research awards for graduate students).  We welcome your suggestions and look forward to another year of growth and exciting scholarly exchange for SSE!

Best wishes,

Scott Edwards  |  President
Society for the Study of Evolution
SSE Business Office 4475 Castleman Avenue

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