The Council of Scientific Society Presidents (CSSP) is a tremendously valuable resource for professional associations and the individuals who represent the associations at the semi-annual CSSP meetings. The meetings offer informative presentations by first rate scientists about current trends and developments in the sciences and science policy. In addition, they provide valuable opportunities for networking, discussion, and exchange across the disciplinary boundaries of the scientific associations represented. At a time when interdisciplinary collaboration across science and social science disciplines are becoming increasingly important, CSSP and the networking and information sharing opportunities it offers are invaluable.
The semi-annual meetings of the Council of Scientifc Presidents has been informative on very important topics related to science, technology, and science policy. The meetings always facilitate making connections with leaders and pioneers in the field. Presidents of scientific organizations are not only informed on important scientific-political events, but they also have an opportunity to have direct access to the leaders who make science and technology policy. It is an organization where all the presidents of leading scientific organization can gather and discuss common shared goals.
The Council of Scientific Society Presidents has semi-annual meetings of many scientific society presidents and officers. Every meeting that I have attended has made me rethink some very important ideas related to science, technology, and society. The meetings have me more effective as a leader and as a citizen. In addition, it keeps me informed about important scientific-political events.
The Council of Scientific Society Presidents provides an invaluable resource to our professional associations. Specifically, the CSSP meetings focus on current trends and forecasts in the sciences, the role of science and technology for R&D and for education, and provides opportunities for the presidents of each association to form viable and thriving professional networks. At each meeting, I personally have formed productive collaborations with other presidents, which in turn has enabled us to continue innovative partnerships. As a female leader, the CSSP has also been very helpful in providing executive leadership through seminars with the pre-eminent scholars in the field.
The December, 2009, meeting of the Council of Scientific Society Presidents in Washington, D.C., stands out as perhaps the best and most stimulating meeting I have ever attended, coming just six months before my retirement after 51 years as a professional geoscientist. The presentations were remarkably stimulating and intellectually challenging, and most importantly they highlighted specific needs for scientific leadership in decision making in both government and industry. I will cite two examples. Dr. Mark Jacobson of Stanford University began a “Review of energy solutions to global warming, air pollution, and energy security” with a ranking of effects and impacts of energy production, including abundance of resources, carbon dioxide emission, air pollution, water consumption, footprint on the ground and required spacing, ability to match peak demand, effects on ecosystems, thermal pollution, and water pollution. The primary conclusion is that a combination of wind, solar (photovoltaic and concentrated solar power), geothermal, wave, tidal, and hydroelectric can supply enough electricity for all world needs for energy, including battery-electric and hydrogen-fuel-cell vehicles. Furthermore, these alternative sources of energy have a much smaller impact on atmospheric composition (both greenhouse gases and other pollutants) than do coal (even with carbon capture and sequestration), ethanol, or nuclear. That perspective on the use of carbon capture and sequestration set the stage for a later presentation by Dr. Christine Economides, a petroleum engineer at Texas A&M University. Dr. Economides and her colleagues have shown through modeling of reservoir volumes that the capacity for carbon sequestration is a formidable challenge and may render the process impractical. Considering the necessity for energy in the context of negative impacts of energy production is one of the greatest scientific challenges of our day, and the discussions at CSSP provide a scientific forum to hear and debate all sides of the issue. CSSP clearly provides leadership and leadership development for issues that require understanding of science; participation has improved my leadership skills, as well as my understanding of issues.
CSSP provides a nucleus for interaction, for education about the newest scientific achievements, the upcoming challenges, and a network for all Scientific Presidents in the USA. Many people do not realize how difficult it is for scientists to understand the 'languages' of the many scientific disciplines - but twice a year, 3 presidents or their representatives are invited to participate with presidents of other scientific disciplines in one meeting. The range from stream ecologists to nuclear physicists. The meeting examines common problems faced by scientific societies and their thousands of members - publication of journals, fees, issues, new discoveries and more importantly how to communicate the science and interact with scientists in Washington. Top international and national scientists address the large Board as a means of updating us on the changes that may affect our members and our science. It is a learning experience that is highly valued and has numerous benefits in scientific education and science worldwide.
In all of the years since I became an active member, I found CSSP to be in a unique position to bring together science-related issues of public policy and education. The continual focus of member societies on STEM education provided multiple opportunities to bring groups together for a common cause, the improvement of STEM teaching and learning in all of our schools. Not only were the CSSP meetings a venue for discussing our needs, strengths, and dreams related to science and education, these semi-annual meetings were the best place I have ever found for meeting scientists in leadership positions with ideas, energy, and platforms for making a difference in our scientific and educational efforts. Looking back on my 23 years with CSSP I can recall multiple instances where member organizations began new initiatives, collaborated positively, and provided me with personal connections that I found invaluable. CSSP is unique in role, function,, and leadership and I have found it among my most rewarding opportunities, both professionally and personally.
I first became involved with CSSP through my society's 3-year presidential cycle. I found that CSSP is THE SOCIETY that allows the wide array of scientific societies to interact with each other and with members of the U.S. legislative and executive branches. The meetings are very stimulating and the society representatives return exciting about both recent scientific advances and the roles of science in public policy. I would never have met Nobel laureates and members of Congress on my own. What an opportunity for a scientific leader! CSSP operates austerely and is doing a great service to American science and society as a whole on very frugal budget.
Scientific societies are very valuable to society. They play a critical role in the advancement of science by promoting the exchange of scientific ideas, disseminating scientific information, and encouraging scientific debate; they also nurture the future generation of scientists, advance science and math education, and instill in members an ethical standard. The Council of Scientific Society Presidents (CSSP) is an unusually valuable organization because it brings the leaders of very diverse science, math and STEM education societies together to advance and promote the sciences & math and science & math education and benefit scientists and society worldwide. In its twice yearly meetings, top science leaders work together toward better public policy based on science, better science and math education, and a better public understanding of science. Basically the meetings are a four-day short course in being an effective leader of a scientific society – which has a major impact on each society and its members (collectively about 1.4 million scientists). Each meeting is different but has a good mixture of cutting edge science, public policy, leadership training, and issues of importance to scientific societies – and provides an opportunity to work with other leaders using this new knowledge. They also provide an excellent place to network with leaders of other scientific societies, building relationships that last long after the members terms of office expire, and to provide sound scientific advice to public policy makers. I started attending meetings when I was president elect of a large scientific society and found them invaluable, both for my society and to me personally. Everyone I have ever talked to that has attended one of these meetings has agreed on how valuable they found them. Initially the meetings were learning experiences for me where I learned how to be an effective leader and about a wide range of issues of importance. The speakers and interactions I had with other members opened my mind to new ideas, new approaches, and was a catalyst for new creative plans for my society and my academic institution. I found the contributions of CSSP so valuable that became involved in its leadership, being first elected as a member of the board, then Board Chairman, and have continued as an alumni board liaison, having attended the meetings for over a decade. I can easily trace a great many major advances that my society and other societies in my discipline and my department and school have made to things I learned at CSSP meetings. CSSP had a major impact on my career path – and by doing so on a great many others. The multiplier effect is tremendous.
CSSP is uniquely effective in these areas: â€¢perpetually enhancing leadership skills development and practice in the science community â€¢bringing top leaders in government, business, humanities and science into engaging discussions with all of us who are members on important new ideas, at every meeting â€¢broadening the knowledge of science leaders in important ideas outside areas of prior expertise, in ways that improve their own decision-making â€¢perpetually learning about the most significant evidence about leadership excellence from the best and most creative thinkers and leaders â€¢developing an active network of past and present national leaders in science â€¢stimulating collaboration among the various scientific disciplines â€¢defining key issues affecting health of science and national science policy and take effective strategic action on them: Some examples I know of or actively participated in include-- â€¢initiating the creation of the current White House Office of Science & Technology Policy to fill the gap in getting sound science counsel into the White House â€¢designing, developing the Institute of Education Sciences to fill the rigorous evidence gap in making huge national resource allocations for education. â€¢designing, initiating the office of Science Advisor to the Secretary of State (equivalent to an undersecretary) to build then absent sound science into our international statecraft â€¢issuing the first position statement in the world taken by a scientific group on the ethics of human cloning, and issuing thought-leading policy guides on increasing and managing demand for clean water, developing alternative energy sources and energy efficiency savings, qualified teachers in every classroom, the high payoff of investing in university research, and more. â€¢Being a unique model of cost-effectiveness in showing others how to stretch limited resources into large achievements I have served as a university president, chairman of the National Science Board, (list...) and have won many medals and awards, but I most value the recognitions from the members of the CSSP