President’s Letter—The Transparency Project: Not the Final Episode

ASPB has made progress in increasing transparency in its activities. Although we have a ways to go, we are on the right track, and with your continued interest, ASPB will respond by initiating changes to better serve you.

Way back in San Jose in the summer of 2019, multiple suggestions were put forward during the Town Hall to increase the accessibility and transparency of ASPB’s activities. We welcomed this interest and hope that you will all work to make this your organization, one of which you can be proud. A list of suggestions was made, and in the past year we have been working through this list.

The progress we have made is due in large part to the work of our dedicated staff: Crispin Taylor, CEO; Shoshana Kronfeld, senior membership manager; Katie Rogers, community engagement administrator; and Mark James, web systems manager.

Judy Callis

Looking back over the past year, what follows are items on the list and our progress to date. New information can be found on the ASPB website ( click on “Membership Benefits,” located in the main menu at the top, and select “Committees & Leadership” from the drop-down menu (you will need your member log-in information); you will then see the heading “Welcome ASPB Members!” The menu on the right of this page leads you to lots of new goodies, described below.

1. Publish redacted minutes of Council, Board of Directors, and other standing committee meetings.
Update: Addressing this suggestion has been initiated and is ongoing. On the “Welcome ASPB Members!” page, click on “ASPB Committees” in the menu on the right to view redacted meeting summaries. A standardized agenda was developed to facilitate this documentation and has been used by a subset of committees already. The form will be rolled out to all committees in fall 2020.

2. Publish short video interviews of ASPB committee chairs and what they do.
Update: Well, we did not get far with this project. Laura Wayne, chair of the Women in Plant Biology Committee, was interviewed (see the President’s Letter in January/February 2020 ASPB News, and view the video at, and another interview was in progress. Unfortunately, this project was derailed by COVID-19. But we did complete Suggestion 3 (below), providing the same information, just in a more boring format.

3. Provide short written descriptions of each committee’s activities on the website—when they meet, how often, and what activities they sponsor.
Update: Done. On the “ASPB Committees” page (again, reached through the right menu on the “Welcome ASPB Members!” page), each committee has a FAQ sheet that describes the committee’s composition, main goals, meeting frequency, current activities, and main outputs. If you want to know which activities a committee is responsible for, this is the place to get that information.The names of current committee members are also available through the “ASPB Committees” page. Remember, new appointments will start in October, so check this page to see new committee members for 2020–2021.

4. Make the job description and qualifications for ASPB president available, and provide a clear description of how nominees are selected.
Update: Done. Detailed descriptions of all elected positions, including president, are now available. It should come as no surprise by now—they are linked from the “Welcome ASPB Members!” page and listed in the right menu under “ASPB Presidents,” “ASPB Secretary,” and “ASPB Elected Member of Board of Directors.” If you are interested in nominating yourself or someone else to run for one of these elected positions, please take a look.

Finally, under “FAQ for ASPB Members” is a wealth of practical information about being an ASPB member.

Thank you for your suggestions. Stay safe and well. And I hope you’re able to maintain safe distancing and be outdoors this fall.

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