Table 3.

Best practices reported by chapters

StateList of Best Practices
  • Host annual 2-day meeting with dinner and social hour on Friday night.

  • Select APS-sponsored national lecturer.

  • Include minute posters; students have 1 min to orally share their poster before traditional poster sessions.

  • Establish trainee talks and posters with awards.

  • Establish an email account for society communication.

  • Establish dynamic website and web master. Provide links and forms for meeting registration, abstract submissions, and nominations.

  • Host online registration both prior to and day of the annual meeting; plan to allow use of credit/debit card, ideal to avoid handling cash money. We’ve also found that approximately 95% of registration occurs in advance, ideal for meal and facilities planning.

  • Establish different meeting registration cost for students, faculty, and industry. Provide scholarships for students (primarily high school) that may find the cost prohibitive.

  • Develop online abstract submission with automatic e-mail to Society.

Submission requirements as to font, size, and format provide easy download and publication in meeting program.
  • Organize a study section of volunteer postdocs and doctoral students to read and score abstracts using a rubric. Top scores invited for 1 of 8 available student oral presentations, all others invited to present posters.

  • Coordinate volunteer faculty judges and use a rubric to score all oral and poster presentations. Base awards on sum of abstract and presentation scores.

  • Include two 45-min poster sessions during the day to maximize interaction. Allow posters to include diverse topics related to the discipline.

  • Conduct council meetings once a month via distance (web-based) platform. Meeting minutes are recorded and distributed, and actionable items are highlighted,

  • Develop breakout sessions at annual meeting; target student’s interest, career development, and education of the educator.

  • Establish a meeting theme each year; target keynote to match theme.

  • Rotate the annual meeting each year. Site location and meeting management is typically handled by the Vice-President (usually on the campus of the Vice-President).

  • Work closely with mentors for high school health and science programs.

  • Plan for transferring leadership. President-Elect is actively involved in the year prior to their term. Copies of all meeting minutes and other important documents are kept in a binder and transferred to the President.

  • Set the date for the annual meeting as early as possible (in Indiana, we select the next site at the first councilors meeting after the annual meeting).

  • Send “Save-the-Date” notices at least 4–6 mo prior to the annual meeting.

  • Write personal letters to any donors stating exempt status, the amount donated, and a sincere thank you. Share details for the next meeting.

  • File annually: APS reports, Business Entity report (state), and IRS tax statement.

  • Elect treasurer with extended term (3 yr); be sure to keep record of all financial transactions and reports.

  • Focus on APS goals at the state level.

  • Join forces when organizing. When IPS was founded in 1995, its organizers felt that the cause of physiology in Iowa could best be served by joining forces with the IAS. The current IPS President and President-Elect are elected to corresponding positions in the IAS Physiology & Health Section and chair the session at the annual IAS meeting. IAS has a large enrollment of precollege and undergraduate teachers. By joining forces with the IAS, close interdisciplinary contact is established between researchers, teachers, and potential young physiologists throughout Iowa.

  • Conduct elections according to by-laws. IPS Executive Board currently consists of a President (1-yr term), President-Elect (1-yr term), Past President (1-yr term), and Secretary/Treasurer (3-yr term).

  • Remember that all members have voting rights.

  • Invite any person who is presently engaged in physiological research or teaching in to become regular members. Students who engage in physiological work are eligible for student membership.

  • Communicate via email often.

  • Visit each other’s university to organize the annual meeting.

  • Make regular announcements (via email, faculty meetings) to get more involvement.

  • Provide service learning credits for students who attend the annual meeting.

  • Recruit students from many universities and high schools. Reach out to high school science teachers.

  • Give awards for the best presentations (trainee category, Post Doc, Graduate, Undergrad, High School).

  • Plan for both oral sessions and poster sessions.

  • Invite speakers (faculty) and include both research and educational focus.

  • Organize a website that can collect payments. This will save you a lot of work.

  • Establish a meeting site planning team. Have someone on site close by to work out details.

  • Identify every college and university with a physiology/biology department or program within the state and send a letter of invitation to every department/director/chair.

  • Identify a core group of about 5 dedicated members from multiple institutions that are willing to get a chapter off the ground.

  • Organize efforts to become a nonprofit. You can immediately become tax exempt with your state, but you need a year of financial expenditures to determine an approximate annual budget necessary to apply for nonprofit status with the IRS.

  • Plan to have individuals on site on the day/days of the event to run a registration booth, take pictures, set up poster boards, work with the caterer, and handle any last minute issues. This person typically does not take part in meeting/scientific activities.

  • Announce the following year’s dates and location at the annual meeting.

  • Debrief council in a conference call following the annual meeting. Starting in the fall, have monthly, 1-h conference calls to plan the meeting.

  • Fundraise several months in advance from all academic institutions and industry sponsors to cover the costs for anticipated attendance.

  • Hold monthly meetings to keep abreast of NPS activities.

  • Keep the chapter executive office stable at one university. Best advice to other chapters is to keep administration in one institution even if the President and council members change.

  • Centralize support; one university provides all administrative support for the chapter.

  • Plan for active and consistent outreach activities.

  • Recruit members from adjacent states.

  • Send out sponsorship letters. We usually get 4–5 sponsors for each meeting.

  • Agree on meeting locations more than 1 yr in advance.

  • Hold executive meetings quarterly.

  • Coordinate outreach PhUN activities with elementary schools.

  • Plan to include high school teachers and students.

  • IPS, Iowa Physiological Society; IAS, Iowa Academy of Science; NPS, Nebraska Physiological Society; PhUN, Physiology Understanding.