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Action Committees Information Hub

Action Committees: Update January 2021

We are continuing to move forward on our 2018-2022 Strategic Plan, Creating a Culture of Opportunity (PDF). Thank you to the volunteers who have so far contacted us to take part in the new, action-oriented subcommittees supporting the plan’s three strategic priorities.

We’d also like to thank those who joined us for our 2020 Annual Members Meeting on November 27th, 2020. A link to the original page containing all information leading up to the AMM can be found here. You can also find the audio and materials from the event itself here.

Results from Broadening Horizons, our research project asking Atlantic Canadian faculty about their experiences in the post-secondary STEM community, were presented and discussed at the AMM. Participants broke into discussion groups and brainstormed ways to: 

  • create a more inclusive post-secondary STEM community
  • expand the reach of our committees through the introduction of “Divisions”
  • support new faculty in Atlantic Canada
  • explore mentoring opportunities

Please watch this video to learn more. 

In the coming months, we will be calling for participants to continue the work from the Annual Members meeting and our research project. Your participation will serve to strengthen the organization, expand our reach, and deliver our mission to connect science education and research in Atlantic Canada. These opportunities are open to all: current and former faculty, students and grads, and members of the broader community.

Below is the breakdown of the subcommittees involved in making the strategic plan happen. The purpose and description for each strategic priority committee and subcommittee is listed below along with an organizational diagram. If you have skills or interest in these areas or know someone who does, please contact Lois Whitehead.

Three actions coming up in the near future include:

  • Establishing an EDI Action Committee
  • Release of the Broadening Horizons report
  • Panel discussion on faculty service


Updates will be circulated in the newsletter (sign up if you aren’t already receiving it), on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

Strategic Planning Committee

Purpose: The Strategic Planning Committee’s purpose is to assist the Board and Executive Director in setting and maintaining the strategic direction for Science Atlantic, and to empower the strategic planning subcommittees to carry out their activities in support of the goals of the plan.

Terms of Reference: download PDF

Committee members: Christian Lacroix, Robert van den Hoogen, Eddie Francis, Nola Etkin


  • Ensure that Science Atlantic has a current and relevant strategic plan
  • Ensure that measurable goals and objectives are established to enable assessing progress
  • Make recommendations to the Board in order to achieve the goals of the plan
  • Coordinate the actions of the strategic planning subcommittees to ensure consistency and timeliness
  • On a quarterly basis, assess the achievements and activities of the organization against the goals in the plan
  • Prepare an annual written report summarizing the achievements and setbacks of the year (October) and present at the Annual Members Meeting (November)
  • Update the plan as necessary based on previous outcomes and emerging trends, for approval by the Board
  • Ensure the coordination of broader strategic planning activities every five years

Sustainable and Inclusive Governance (SIG) Subcommittee

Mandate: The mandate of the Sustainable and Inclusive Governance Subcommittee is to ensure that the organization sustainably fulfils its legal, ethical, and fiduciary responsibilities, embraces an engaged and diverse community, and supports its staff and members. It accomplishes this through
policy development, resource management, and monitoring and evaluating
Board and member activities.

Terms of Reference: download PDF

Board Lead: Robert van den Hoogen

Sustainable and Inclusive Governance Action Committees

1. Membership Engagement

Purpose:  The Membership Committee is responsible for ensuring the active and effective engagement of new and continuing members at both the institutional and individual levels.

Membership: TBD


      • Develop and implement MOU with member institutions
      • Oversee annual institutional renewal process, including recruiting new member institutions
      • Manage Board director nomination process
      • Perform an annual review of Board activities
      • Provide orientation for Institutional Representatives, Committee Chairs, and Board Directors
      • Actively engage Institutional Representatives and Committee Chairs on an ongoing basis
      • Oversee member recognition including Hall of Fame and service pin criteria and nominee review

2. Ad hoc Committee to Develop MOU with Member Institutions

Purpose: The purpose of the Ad hoc Committee to Develop an MOU is to work with the Board and staff to develop an agreement between the member institutions and Science Atlantic outlining and clarifying the responsibilities and benefits of membership.

Board Leads: Travis Fridgen, Al Joseph

3. Policy Oversight

Purpose: The Policy Oversight Commitee is responsible for identifying required policies, reviewing and giving feedback on draft policies prepared by staff, presenting new and revised policies to the Board for approval, and providing recommendations to the Board on policy decisions that are beyond the scope of the Executive Director’s authority.

Board Lead: Vacant


      • Periodically review the adequacy and effectiveness of governance documents, including by-laws
      • Recommend new policies for approval by the Board
      • Review and recommend revisions of existing policies no less than once every three years
      • Interpret policies as requested to facilitate effective Board decision-making
      • Approve Holding Account uses outside established policy
      • Ensure consistency between SA policies and institutional policies when needed

4. Human Resources

Purpose:  The purpose of the Human Resources Committee is to maximize the successful delivery of Science Atlantic’s mission through its employees and to make recommendations about appropriate job descriptions, work conditions, and compensation and benefits.

Membership: Executive Committee of the Board


      • With the Policy Oversight Action Committee, establish human resources policies
      • Oversee and implement human resources policies as needed
      • Establish and regularly review the job description and compensation for the Executive Director
      • Oversee the hiring and evaluation of the Executive Director
      • Encourage professional development activities for staff
      • Investigate alternative solutions for office space

5. Finance and Resources Action Committee

Purpose:  The purpose of the Finance and Resources Action Committee is to ensure adequate resources to allow the organization to thrive. The Board Treasurer is one member of this committee.

Membership: TBD

Board Treasurer: Rick Pierrynowski


      • Develop and oversee implementation of the annual budget
      • Ensure adequate funding for staff and other resources
      • Establish income generation strategy, including:
        • Periodically reviewing annual fee structure
        • Assessing potential new revenue streams
        • Developing partnerships and sponsorship agreements
        • Fundraising/personal donations strategy
        • Grant writing

Partnerships and Community Subcommittee

Mandate: The mandate of the Partnerships and Community Subcommittee is to cultivate partnerships within and outside the organization that strengthen the regional scientific community.

Terms of Reference: download (PDF)

Board Members: Eddie Francis

Partnerships and Community Action Committees

1. Outreach, Alumni and Engagement

Purpose: The purpose of the Outreach, Alumni and Student Engagement Action Committee is to promote Science Atlantic at events and to networks, demonstrate the value of Science Atlantic to those outside the organization, and engage the large student and alumni community impacted by Science Atlantic activities.

Membership: Vacant


      • Promote Science Atlantic at institutional events
      • Promote Science Atlantic at industry/networking events
      • Identify other channels for promotion of Science Atlantic
      • Work with the Finance and Resources Subcommittee on sponsorship agreements

2. Working Group on Research/Advocacy

Purpose: The Working Group on Research/Advocacy seeks to enhance scientific research capacity and collaboration in the Atlantic region by building on the collective strengths of the Science Atlantic member institutions and collaborating with other stakeholders.

From the Mission Statement: To use our collective voice to address regional science issues.

Board Lead: Alain Joseph


      • Identify opportunities for partnership and collaboration on initiatives that support science research
      • Advise the Board on matters that may affect scientific research capacity in the region
      • Act as a knowledge exchange for information related to scientific research policy
      • Convene stakeholder meetings on topics impacting research in the Atlantic region
      • When a topic of relevance arises, activate the Science Atlantic Animal Care Committee or the Atlantic Facilities Research and Equipment Database (AFRED) Advisory Group

Leadership and Empowerment Subcommittee

Mandate: The mandate of the Leadership and Empowerment Subcommittee is to empower our membership community, students, and alumni to become leaders in both the organization and the greater community.

Terms of Reference: download (PDF)

Board Leads: Michelle Gray, Christian Lacroix

Leadership and Empowerment Action Committees

1. Teaching and Learning

Purpose: The purpose of the Teaching and Learning Committee is to establish a clearinghouse of best practices and initiatives for faculty and students in disciplines supported by Science Atlantic.

Lead: Christian Lacroix


      • Develop new programs and tools to facilitate teaching and learning
      • Plan teaching and learning workshops for faculty
      • Attend annual regional science teaching and learning conferences, e.g., AAU Teaching Showcase, Dal LTC, etc.
      • Conduct surveys to understand learners’ needs and interests

2. Conference Planning Oversight

Purpose: The purpose of the Conference Planning Oversight Committee is to ensure consistently excellent delivery of student conferences, in keeping with the mission and principles of Science Atlantic.

Lead: Michelle Gray


      • Collect and share best practices (e.g., planning, awards guidelines)
      • Provide suggestions and feedback to organizers
      • Encourage the development of value-added initiatives that can be adopted by some or all conferences
      • Ensure judging guidelines are consistent and appropriate
      • Determine solutions for issues that are outside the scope of staff decision-making authority


View the Science Atlantic organizational chart.