This is the final year of my 5-year term as Membership Secretary. That means that we need to identify a successor during 2001, who can work alongside me to ensure a smooth transition. So I thought it might be useful to describe what the job entails, for the benefit of anyone thinking of putting themselves forward for it.
The job is cyclical, with most of the work coming in November-January. In November, the renewal notices are sent out to members. The use of an Access database means that labels are printed only for those members who renew by cheque or credit card and aren't sent to those who pay by direct debit or overseas members who have paid in advance.
Then comes the business of dealing with the resulting renewal slips and payments. This is simply a matter of logging the payments in the database and sending them off to the Treasurer. Blackwell need to be informed of any changes in subscription options too.
Most of the renewals are in by the end of January. Blackwell are then informed of any members who haven't yet renewed and their subs are suspended. These are then activated again as late payments trickle in. A reminder is sent out in March, which usually prompts a further rush of renewals. Direct debit lists are sent out to Barclays Bank in February, May and August and these are deducted by the banks. The work involved here consists of maintaining the list (amending bank details etc.) and writing in the amount to be deducted.
New members arrive all year round, with a peak in October/November in time for the December conference. The details are entered into the BSPP database, the online database and also emailed to Blackwell. The member is sent a welcome email containing their password for the database. This process will be easier when the membership database is integrated with the online version. This work will be completed in 2001.
The BSPP Board meets 4 times a year and the Membership Secretary should both attend and provide a written report, including information on new members, current membership total and other information. This will be made easier by the provision of automated reports, which will arise from the work to be carried out on the database. As a Board member you are also responsible for the management of the BSPP, something which is in many ways a greater responsibility than the specific Membership Secretary role.
Aside from all of that, the other part of the role is to act as a clearing house for miscellaneous enquiries regarding membership status, missing journals etc.
And that, really, is the Membership Secretary's job in a nutshell. I should say that you do get some tools which will help you – a laptop computer (P3 450), expenses for secretarial help and a copy of 'Access 2000 for Dummies' (essential). The big plus points of the job are that you get the chance to make a contribution to the Society and also to interact with the hundreds of genuinely nice people who make up its membership.
If you are interested in serving the Society by filling this post then I'd be delighted to discuss it with you, so do get in touch.
We warmly welcome the following new members, who have recently joined BSPP.
Babikir H Abdalmajid, a plant pathologist from Saudi Arabia, whose interests include diagnostics and resistance for a range of crops and pathogens.
Dr Sue Angell, from the John Innes Centre, whose interests include viral genetics.
Ms Rebecca Babbage, from the Jealotts Hill Research Station, whose interests include the molecular biology of resistance in biotrophic fungal pathogens.
Dr Andy Bailey from the University of Bristol, whose interests include the molecular biology of necrotrophic fungal pathogens.
Miss Amanda J Bennett, a postgraduate student at HRI Wellesbourne, researching biocontrol of Sclerotinia sclerotiorum in vegetable crops.
Mrs Diane Butcher, a postgraduate student at the University of the West of England, researching the genetics of bacterial pathogens of legumes.
Dr Diane J Carlisle, from Queen's University of Belfast, whose interests include population biology and epidemiology of biotrophic fungal pathogens.
Dr Pushpalata Chaure, from the University of Oxford, whose interests include molecular biology of mildew in barley.
Dr Hayley D Clarke, from the University of Birmingham, whose interests include the molecular and cell biology of fungal pathogens.
Ms Jacqueline Freeman, from IACR-Rothamsted, whose interests include molecular diagnostics for root pathogens in cereals.
Mr Graeme J Down, from HRI East Malling, whose interests include molecular diagnostics for fungal pathogens.
Dr Yu Gao, from Falmouth, USA, whose interests include biochemistry and post harvest pathology of pathogens of rice and fruit crops.
Rodanthi Holeva, a postgraduate student at SCRI, working on molecular virology.
Mrs Nancy Mapuranga, a postgraduate student from CABI Bioscience, whose interests include diagnostics for bacterial pathogens in vegetable and ornamental crops.
Dr Elisabeth Mueller, from Zeneca Agrochemicals, whose interests include the physiology of fungal pathogens in cereal and vegetable crops.
Mrs Yongju Huang, a postgraduate student at IACR-Rothamsted, researching the epidemiology of nectrotophic fungal pathogens in oilseed rape.
Ms Carolyn Nisbet, from the Scottish Agricultural Science Agency, whose interests include molecular diagnostics for non-indigenous pathogens of potato.
Miss Emma L Perfect, a postgraduate student at the University of Oxford, researching the molecular genetics of mildews in barley.
Dr Gail M Preston, from the University of Oxford, whose interests include molecular biology of pathogenic Pseudomonads.
Miss Gemma Priddey, a postgraduate student from the University of Oxford, researching the molecular biology of powdery mildew in barley.
Dr T S Lokeswari Sivaswamy, of the Centre for Biotechnology, Chennai, India.
Miss Paraskevi Skamnioti, a postgraduate student at the John Innes Centre, whose interests include the molecular biology of avirulence in barley mildew.
Joana M G N Vicente, a postgraduate student based at HRI, Wellesbourne.
Ms Helen Wicks, a bursary summer student based at IACR Rothamsted.
Mr Brande B H Wulff, a postgraduate student at the John Innes Centre, whose interests include molecular biology of resistance to fungal pathogens.
Mr Robert Zarnowski of Wroczaw Agricultural University, Poland, whose interests include biochemistry of non-isoprenoid phenolic lipids and their role in both plant-microbe interactions and physiology.
Dr Ziguo Zhang from the University of Oxford, whose interests include the molecular biology of resistance in powdery mildew of barley.