SWE Senate Society Bylaws Streamlining Sub-Team Findings and Recommendations

This week, the SWE Senate is providing updates on the progress of their goals and initiatives for the year. Read on to discover what the Society Bylaws Streamlining Sub-Team has been up to.
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This year the Senate Bylaws sub-team set out with a lofty goal: streamline the Society bylaws. We took on this task with several objectives in mind:

  • Ensure inclusive and flexible framework for future Society growth,
  • Avoid structural barriers to the evolution of SWE,
  • Structure the bylaws to reflect SWE’s current operating reality,
  • Align with organizational best practices, and
  • Reduce the frequency of amendments required to allow the Society to operate.

A tall order to be sure.

The sub-team gathered input from a number of different sources and generated a detailed list of ideas for Society Bylaws improvements. Through a prioritization exercise, the sub-team grouped and ranked ideas based on the impact the change would have on our streamlining goal and the relative effort it would take to make the change given the number of stakeholders.

We reviewed our initial findings with the Senate mid-year, received comments and feedback on potential amendment topics, and had follow-up discussions with the Senate and Bylaws Committee during the 2nd half of the year to gather additional feedback and perspectives as the amendments and pro/con discussions were finalized. In short, there is no low-hanging fruit in bylaws. Every idea identified has numerous threads of impact that had to be examined to determine the best path forward for the future of the Society.

Pursuant to our goal, the team proposed 6 amendments to the bylaws that were put forth for a vote in the Senate. The results of each motion’s vote can be found at the SWE Senate site.

While the bylaws are not yet “streamlined” in the way we might have originally imagined it at the beginning of the year, the sub-team has identified several areas that we recommend SWE’s Senate, BOD, and other stakeholders continue to discuss and work at a strategic level. These include continuing to consider the potential impact of restrictions in the bylaws on our leadership pipeline, reviewing the structure of global SWE groups, and discussing the appropriate SWE governing bodies for authority of the bylaws.

The sub-team has taken steps to document discussions and understandings developed while collaborating with many different SWE leaders and groups. These documents will be passed on to the next SWE leaders of this important work.

I’d like to thank all those that contributed to these discussions, in particular the sub-team members, Senators Alison Bergmann, Stephanie Loete (Vice Lead), Lisa Rimpf, and Heather Wiest, our BOD Advisor, Society Secretary Sandy Pettit and Bylaws Committee leadership, Genevieve Kane (Chair) and Gail Dyer (Chair-Elect).


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Author(s) Information

  • SWE Senate Society Bylaws Streamlining Sub-Team Findings and Recommendations society bylaws

    Kristine Barnes, P.E.

    Kristine Barnes, P.E. is a Senator and Life Member of SWE with 20 years of SWE volunteer leadership experience. She is currently a Vehicle System Engineer for Full Size Truck programs and has worked for General Motors for over 5 years with numerous assignments within Body Engineering. Prior to working at GM, she worked in the nuclear energy industry for 10 years as a structural engineer at AREVA, Inc. (now Framatome) and was a technical expert in finite element structural analysis. Kristine is a licensed engineer in the state of Texas, holds a BSCE and MBA from Valparaiso University and an MSCE from Marquette University.

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