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By-Laws and Guidelines of the GSG

Current by-laws adopted unanimously at the Geomorphology Specialty Group business meeting in Honolulu, HI, March 1999. [Article 6 amended at the GSG business meeting in Los Angeles, 2002.]

Article 1. Name. The name of this organization is the Geomorphology Specialty Group (GSG) of the Association of American Geographers (AAG). The organization shall be referred to as the Geomorphology Specialty Group and it is understood that it is a component of the Association of American Geographers.

Article 2. Purpose. The purpose of the Geomorphology Specialty Group is to foster better communication among those working in the geomorphic sciences, especially in geography.

Article 3. Membership. Any member of the AAG can become a member of the Geomorphology Specialty Group upon selection of the specialty group interest box on the AAG annual dues form and payment of specialty group dues. There are two classes of membership, regular and student. Both classes of members can vote at the specialty group meeting. Dues are currently $10 for regular members and $0 for students. Dues can be changed at the annual business meeting by a simple majority of the attendees, and changes should be duly recorded in the minutes.

Article 4. Elected Officers and Duties. Elected officers must be regular members of the Geomorphology Specialty Group. Their titles and duties are described as follows:

  • The Chair shall preside over the annual specialty group business meetings, shall communicate with the AAG central office regarding specialty group news (other than awards announcements and recipients), shall appoint a member for the Awards Committee, shall coordinate between other elected officers when appropriate, shall submit a column for Geomorphorum (the Geomorphology Specialty Group newsletter), and shall represent the specialty group at official functions. The Chair should also keep track of important issues affecting the membership and bring them up for discussion at the annual business meeting. If for some reason an important decision must be made before the annual business meeting, the Chair should consult with the other officers and the advisory board. The term of Chair is about one year, commencing and ending according to the timing of the AAG annual meetings (usually March-April), although the outgoing Chair continues to perform some post-meeting tasks including submission of a closing column for Geomorphorum and completion of tasks related to the annual meeting.

  • The Secretary-Treasurer shall keep minutes of the specialty group meetings, keep membership records, coordinate and distribute one or two issues of the Geomorphorum annually, send copies to the AAG central office and to the GSG webmaster (currently Allan James, Univ. of South Carolina, http://www.cla.sc.edu/geog/gsgdocs/index.html), keep financial records, and administer the specialty group's financial affairs. The term of Secretary-Ttreasurer is about one year, commencing and ending according to the timing of the AAG annual meetings (usually March-April), although the outgoing Secretary-Treasurer continues to perform some post-meeting tasks including submission of meeting minutes, compiling a post-meeting issue of Geomorphorum, and completion of other tasks related to the annual meeting.

  • The Secretary-Treasurer is authorized to spend GSG funds for standard expenses: awards, Luncheon tickets, newsletter costs, plaques for awards, and meeting registration for invited guests. In cases where consideration for atypical expenses may arise, such as sponsorship of special events (e.g., field trips) and travel assistance for students, award winners, and GSG officers, approval should be obtained from membership if possible, or from other GSG officers (Chair and Awards Committee Chair) if timing precludes discussion with membership. In all cases, GSG leadership shall act in a responsible manner that will protect GSG funds from being depleted.

  • The Secretary-Treasurer is elected by a simple majority of those present at Business Meeting. The Secretary-Treasurer becomes the Chair the following year, and the Chair then becomes a member of the Advisory Board.

  • Only the elected officers (Chair and Secretary-Treasurer) are responsible for signing paperwork to establish new bank accounts. The Chair will normally authorize signatory responsibilities to the Secretary-Treasurer.

  • The Chair and Secretary-Treasurer should communicate with one another regularly to ensure that the above-mentioned duties of the specialty group are performed. If one officer cannot perform their functions, the other officer should preside for them or seek assistance so that the specialty group functions and tasks continue.

Article 5. Duties of Past Officers and Appointed Officers. Past Officers and Appointed Officers must be regular members of the Geomorphology Specialty Group. Their titles and duties are as follows:

  • The Advisory Board consists of the three most recent past GSG Chairs, thus the outgoing Chair of the GSG serves an additional 3-year term on the Board. Among other duties, the Advisory Board functions as the International Association of Geomorphologists (IAG) panel. The senior member of the Board acts as the official GSG representative to the IAG. If the senior member cannot attend the international meeting, the next senior member will be designated. If none of the representatives can attend, the GSG Chair will appoint a representative who can. The U.S. vote in the IAG is shared with Geological Society of America, Quaternary Geology and Geomorphology Division (GSA-QG&G) on an alternating basis. Voting on important issues should involve consultations between representatives and between members of the entire Board when possible through advance notice of issues. Some other suggested activities of the Advisory Board include:

    1. develop, encourage, and promote GSG representation within the AAG organization through the identification of suitable candidates for elected offices and committees;
    2. organize or encourage others to organize special sessions;
    3. identify noted non-AAG scholars and promote their attendance at AAG meetings, through seeking AAG funds for this purpose;
    4. communicate with current GSA-QG&G division representatives regarding issues and concerns of the IAG and U.S. geomorphologists; and
    5. serve in an advisory capacity to the Chair on matters that may arise during the course of the year.

  • Awards Committee Members will rotate off the committee in a three-year cycle with the senior member acting as Awards Committee Chair. A new member, normally to serve three years, is selected by the GSG Chair and announced at the business meeting. The Awards Committee Chair solicits proposals, papers and nominations through announcements for competitions on Geomorphlist and the newsletters. He or she coordinates the evaluation among the three Awards Committee members, reports results to the GSG chair and to appropriate AAG central office staff (e.g. Executive Director or others in contact with him or her) prior to the Awards Luncheon, and sees that appropriate certificates, plaques, and checks are at the Annual AAG Awards Luncheon and the GSG business meeting. Furthermore, the Awards Committee Chair should confidentially inform winners well in advance of the meeting that they are to receive an award, that we will purchase Luncheon tickets for them, and encourage them to attend the Awards Luncheon. Informing candidates is necessary in order to ensure that they will be present and prepared to present an acceptance speech suitable for publication in our newsletter and Geomorphlist. Beyond informing the candidates, the GSG Chair, and the AAG central office staff, award winners' names should be kept confidential to maintain an element of surprise at the business meeting. The Awards Committee Chair should arrange to purchase Luncheon tickets for each awardee planning to attend the AAG Awards Luncheon. Winners are often not known until after the deadline for purchasing tickets, so it is not usually possible to know who will attend. The Awards Committee Chair should plan to attend the Awards Luncheon or make sure that a suitable representative of the GSG is present to deliver certificates and checks to the Executive Director and to see that awardees are recognized properly. Finally, the Awards Committee Chair should present awards at the GSG business meeting. If the awards have been given earlier at the Awards Luncheon, the Awards Chair should finesse them back from the candidates after the luncheon so they can be ceremoniously returned at the business meeting. If the Luncheon is after the business meeting, then vice versa.

Article 6. Description of Awards. The Geomorphology Specialty Group has five awards: the Grove Karl Gilbert Award for Excellence in Geomorphic Research, the Melvin G. Marcus Distinguished Career Award, two Graduate Student Research Grants, and a Graduate Student Paper Competition. The awards are as follows:

  • The Grove Karl Gilbert Award for Excellence in Geomorphic Research: The Gilbert Award is presented to the author(s) of a significant contribution to the published research literature in geomorphology during the past three years. Only books, refereed journal articles, or monographs will be considered with an emphasis on refereed research articles. Nominations should include a copy of the relevant publication and a statement as to why the publication deserves the award. Supporting letters from other colleagues are also helpful.

  • The Melvin G. Marcus Distinguished Career Award: The Melvin G. Marcus Distinguished Career Award is presented to an individual who has made significant contributions to geomorphology over his/her career. Nominations should include: 1) a description of the candidate's contribution to geomorphology, 2) a brief biographic sketch, 3) a selected bibliography, and 4) three letters of support from colleagues.

  • Nominations for both the Gilbert and Marcus Awards should be submitted to the Chair of the Awards Committee of the Geomorphology Specialty Group. The nominated work for the Gilbert award should have been written within the last 3 years at the time of nomination. Nominations for both the Gilbert and Marcus award remain active for 2 years.

  • All materials, including supporting documentation, should be received by the 1st of February before the annual meeting.

  • Each year the Geomorphology Specialty Group of the Association of American Geographers awards two Reds Wolman Graduate Student Research Awards to help cover the costs of data acquisition, field work, and laboratory analysis required to complete thesis research. The awards are $200 to a Master's student and $400 to a Ph.D. student. Eligible students are members of the AAG and GSG. To be considered for the grants, students should submit three copies of the following materials to the Chair of the Awards Committee of the Geomorphology Specialty Group:
    1. A research proposal approximately five pages in length;
    2. Two short letters of recommendation.

  • The awards are presented at the Geomorphology Specialty Group Business Meeting as well as the AAG Awards Luncheon during the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers. Announcements and deadlines appear on Geomorphlist.

  • The Geomorphology Specialty Group also has an annual Graduate Student Paper Competition for the best geomorphology graduate student paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers. The award is $200. Graduate students must be members of the AAG and GSG to be eligible for the award. Applicants for the student paper competition will be placed into special sessions organized for the competition and sponsored by the Geomorphology Specialty Group. The GSG Awards Committee will evaluate the presentations. Presentations may deal with any aspect of geomorphology and will be evaluated based on the research contribution to the field of geomorphology and the effectiveness of the presentation. Students must follow the current registration procedures as outlined by the AAG. Students participating in the paper competition must submit the following materials to the Chair of the GSG Awards Committee:
    1. One copy of the standard abstract required by the AAG;
    2. Three copies of an extended abstract of the paper, consisting of 800-1000 words.
    3. Any other information specified by the AAG annual meeting registration guidelines.

  • The deadline for receipt of all materials for the competition is two days prior to the AAG program participation deadline (usually late August). The award will be presented at the Geomorphology Specialty Group annual business meeting as well as at the AAG Awards Luncheon during the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers.

Article 7. Non-members. Non-members of the Association of American Geographers and the Geomorphology Specialty Group may attend and participate at the meetings, but only Geomorphology Specialty Group members can vote.

Article 8. Amendments. The By-Laws of the Geomorphology Specialty Group can be modified, supplemented, or rescinded by a majority of the voting membership at the annual Geomorphology Specialty Group business meeting.


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