The new improved ASC SA branch

The SA branch of ASC reformed in 2010 after a lapse of several years. It has been a successful year, with strong membership and support of programs. Given that the branch lapsed because too much was being done by too few previously, the committee was structured this time to ensure that each person on it has only one job to do. This ensures that the various tasks are done well, but there is a finite limit to what is being asked of each busy person.

This worked very well in 2010 and we have extended it for 2011. It also means committee meetings are short and few, being held for about 30 minutes after some events. Effectively the “portfolio” system manages itself, thanks to the quality of those who have taken the portfolios on.

For those interested in experimenting with this, the various positions are President, VP, Secretary Treasurer, Program Coordinator, Event Manager, Membership Co-ordinator, Minutes Secretary, and three committee members, who take on some of the extra tasks and overflow (eg forming a program committee). Some are also representatives of other bodies (eg National Science Week [NSWk], RiAus) with whom we work closely.

The program in 2010 consisted of two kinds of activities, monthly events and additional workshops. Both are free for members while non-members pay, and this encourages some to join on the night to get free entrance to what is on offer. We also have a policy that members can bring a prospective member to one event free to see if they like us.

A special event in National Science Week is the ASCSA/NSWk awards of Unsung Hero of Science and of Science Communication (2 awards). We started this at the same time as the national award many years ago, and have run it ever since, the National Science Week Committee taking it on when ASCSA lapsed. it is now jointly run. We expanded the awards from just science to an additional science communication award for two reasons. (1) Many applicants for the unsung hero of science were actually in science communication, and (b) who will offer such an award if ASC doesn’t? These awards have good local recognition and press coverage, and we make them at the launch of National Science Week in front of a large and influential audience, the Minister handing out the awards while the Chief Scientist reads the citation.

2010 ended with the national AGM in Adelaide, followed by a fabulous evening with David Ellyard doing his quiz, and Zoz Brooks providing tremendous video interludes, showing extracts from his TV shows (mostly very high speed video of scientific phenomena slowed down).

Our program for 2011 is already mapped out, thanks to our terrific programs group, and I would be happy to share it. We would also love to see the programs of other branches, as there will certainly be good ideas there that we could also try.

Rob Morrison, ASCSA Pres/branch rep.

Workshops (eg media training, how to make a video segment etc) are typically $50 for non-members; partly to raise funds, butr also to show members that they get value for their membership (2 workshops and you are in credit).

Dr Rob Morrison
rob.morrison [at] flinders.edu.au