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Society of Women Engineers

SWE Bylaws Committee Presents Governance Bylaws Proposals

The Senate will vote on these proposed changes during their meeting at WE17 on Saturday, October 28th, in Austin, TX.

Published On: September 2017

The Society of Women Engineers Bylaws Committee has reviewed proposed changes to the Society’s bylaws and are presenting them to the membership. The Senate will vote on these proposed changes during their meeting at WE17 on Saturday, October 28th, in Austin, TX.

These motions are a result of the ongoing work to improve the functionality and efficiency of SWE’s governance structure.  For more information on the several years of work, deliverables, and milestones related to the proposed governance changes, please see governance.swe.org and this overall rationale summary for these bylaws amendment proposals, which is also copied below.

The exact wording of each proposal is linked below:

Motion S-1803: Senate and Regions
Motion S-1804: Collegiate Member Voting Rights
Motion S-1805: Competency Model for Nominations and Elections
Motion S-1806: Standing Committees
Motion S-1807: Members at Large President

Please contact your Senators if you have any comments on these proposed changes. Feel free to contact Alexis McKittrick at secretary@swe.org with questions about this process.

Summary of Supporting Rationale for the Governance Bylaws Proposals

The work of the governance task force lays out a proposed plan for the Society moving forward. This
plan was developed to keep our structure relevant while continuing to engage and grow our
membership. While we have been successful over the course of SWE’s history until now, we recognize that today’s ability to network and access information is very different than it was even a few years ago, and many professional organizations are struggling to keep their members in this evolving environment. To keep our members engaged, we acknowledge that more meaningful leadership opportunities are needed to reduce leadership burnout and allow SWE members to develop professionally in these roles. Additionally, many recent changes throughout the Society unrelated to these bylaws proposals, such as WE Local conferences and more effectively incorporating strategic planning responsibilities into the Senate, will require a different leadership structure than we currently have to be the most successful.

The work on the governance plan started in FY15 with the engagement of McKinley Consultants and a task force SWE leaders from several parts of the organization. Throughout FY16, seven sub teams of SWE leaders completed deep dives on each section of recommendations from McKinley’s report and prepared final proposals on how those recommendations fit into SWE. Over the course of FY17, the Governance Task Force prepared the implementation plan. In January of 2017, the Senate voted to endorse the major themes of the implementation plan (below), charging the task force to complete the detailed final version of the plan, which was drafted in June 2017 and is being finalized in September 2017. As communicated throughout FY17, the major themes of the implementation plan include:

  • Collegiates shall be granted full voting rights in SWE;
  •  Terms for senate members shall become three years;
  • All nominations and elections shall be competency-based without regard for geographic location;
  • Regions shall be dissolved by end of FY18; and
  • Selection of the nominating committee shall be on the basis of competency without regard for geographic location.

To ensure that these changes are captured, SWE’s bylaws were examined closely, and the proposed amendments have been submitted to align our bylaws with the governance implementation plan. The bylaws amendment proposals have been grouped into 5 categories:

  •  Senate and regions
  •  Collegiate member voting rights
  •  Competency model for nominations and elections
  •  Standing committees
  •  Members at Large President

The text above represents a summary of the vast amount of background, information, and communications related to governance from the past few years. Please see governance.swe.org for additional supporting information on these changes as well as a detailed timeline and milestones. Each of the above bylaws amendment proposals also has specific rationale included in the individual proposal documents.

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