Constitution of the SFU PDA

This constitution was approved by the members of the SFU PDA on June 19 2019.

Article I: Name and Definitions 

  1. The organization shall be named the “SFU Postdoctoral Association” and will also be identified using the acronym “SFU PDA” or “PDA”.

  2. In compliance with the Postdoctoral Fellows Policy (R 50.03), Postdoc refers to any individuals appointed to undertake advanced research and professional development at SFU beyond a doctorate, in association with one or more SFU faculty members for a limited period of time.

  3. Executive Council refers to the governance board of the PDA. 

  4. Executive refers to a member of the Executive Council. 

Article II: Vision 

The overarching goal of the PDA is the improvement of the postdoctoral experience at Simon Fraser University (SFU). Toward this goal, the PDA will advocate for improvements in the University’s policies related to postdoctoral training, working conditions, and social benefits. In addition, the PDA will work to strengthen the postdoctoral community at SFU by enhancing engagement in University governance, as well as organizing events and initiatives to increase social support, wellbeing, and services to postdocs. We envision building and maintaining a strong community in which postdocs enjoy rights and privileges similar to other research and academic positions at SFU, such as: fair compensation and benefits, a supportive social network, and effective professional development opportunities. 

Article III: Mission Statement 

The mission of the PDA is to build the community described in the vision statement above (Article II). Toward this goal, the PDA will: 

  1. Represent all postdocs at SFU by acting as a collective voice for members on issues relevant, but not limited to postdoctoral policy, guidelines, and services at SFU; 

  2. Build and maintain a strong, caring, and supportive postdoctoral community by providing support services for members and facilitating communication and interaction among members via social and networking events or other initiatives; 

  3. Act as the primary liaison between the postdoctoral community and the SFU administration by meeting with administrators, in particular the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (GPS), to advocate for improved working conditions, training opportunities, and integration in SFU’s community;

  4. Organize career development events and knowledge transfer initiatives for members;

  5. Distribute information of relevance and share resources of utility to the postdoctoral community at SFU; 

  6. Solicit information about the experiences and views of our members via surveys and other means to ensure appropriate representation of the interests of members; 

Article IV: Membership 

Section I: Eligibility

All postdocs engaged in research and/or academic duties at SFU in compliance with the Postdoctoral Fellows Policy (R 50.03), are automatically considered members of the PDA, and are granted all rights afforded members under this Constitution. Membership ceases immediately upon the end or termination of an individual’s postdoctoral contract at SFU.

Section II: Rights of PDA Members

All members of the PDA shall have the right to: 

  1. Vote in any election or referendum conducted by the PDA;

  2. Be nominated and elected to any of the positions on the PDA Executive Council;

  3. Propose an amendment to this Constitution or to the bylaws.

 

Article V: Governance and Administration

Section I: The PDA Executive Council

  1. The PDA Executive Council shall be composed of PDA members elected in accordance with this Constitution. The governance and administration of the PDA shall be the sole responsibility of the elected officials that make up the Executive Council. 

  2. Any executives may resign at any time by submitting a letter of resignation to the Executive Council. An executive will automatically resign from office upon termination of their appointment at SFU.

  3. An executive may be removed from office by a resolution passed by a minimum two-thirds vote of the council.

  4. If the office of President becomes vacant, one of the executives shall become the Acting President until such time as a new President is elected. If any other executive office becomes vacant, the duties of that office will be assumed by other executives of the PDA, until the next election.

  5. The executives shall vote number of the seats in the Executive Council. It should at least be composed by three members.

Section II: Duties of the Executive Council 

The Executive Council shall perform the general duties of governance and administration of the PDA. The Executive Council must assure the continuity of the association by transferring knowledge and experience to the next elected council. Specific duties of the members of the Executive Council must be decided by the executives. The elected positions on the PDA Executive Council and their respective duties shall be, but may not be restricted to the following ones:

  1. The president shall serve as the primary representative of the members of the PDA and play a lead role in setting the priorities of the Executive Council and ensuring adherence to this Constitution. The President is responsible for ensuring the effective and efficient functioning of the Executive Council and the continuity of the PDA.

  2.  Conduct all financial transactions on behalf of the PDA and manage all of PDA’s financial accounts including the storage and sharing of financial records as needed and in accordance with SFU policy.

  3. Act as public relations officer and, whenever possible, shall be the PDA liaison to the Canadian Association of Postdoctoral Scholars, other postdoctoral associations, off-campus groups, government agencies, granting agencies, and the public at large.

  4. Be responsible for disseminating information of importance to postdocs, including maintenance of the PDA email database, the PDA homepage, and official PDA social media accounts.

  5. Be committed to advocating for postdoc benefits and supporting the PDA members regarding SFU policies related to postdoctoral employment status and working conditions.

 

Article VI: PDA Calendar Year and Elections 

  1. The PDA shall operate on the academic year that runs from August to July of each year. The election of a new PDA Executive Council shall occur annually at the end of the academic year. Ideally, the elections should occur at the end of June, in order to allow one month of transition and knowledge transfer from the current to the new Executive Council. 

  2. The new Council shall take over duties on August 1st of that year. Under special circumstances, the Executive Council may, by a simple majority vote of the executives, extend once the transfer of power to the new Executive Council for a period no longer than one additional month. 

  3. The Executive Council can decide after a unanimous vote, the anticipation of the election in case of resignation of half or more of the executives.

 

Article VII: Bylaws

The Association can adopt Bylaws that supplement, interpret, and are in accord with this Constitution.

 

Article VIII: Supremacy of the Constitution 

This Constitution shall be supreme to the Bylaws of the PDA or any other rules or regulations enacted by the PDA Executive Council. 

 

Article X: Amendment of the Constitution 

This Constitution can only be amended by a two-thirds majority of the PDA members who vote in a referendum called by the PDA President following the approval of a proposal for amendment to the Constitution by the Executive Council.