Charter Documents (Approved December 21, 2018)
1. Organization purpose
- Mission statement: The Rhododendron Research Network (R-RN) is a collaborative
working group that enhances participation, value and dissemination of scientific discoveries in Rhododendron.
- Collaboration with the American Rhododendron Society (ARS): The R-RN was created in
collaboration with the ARS, with the express intentions of 1) promoting and enhancing research objectives of ARS,
and 2) increasing opportunities for ARS members to conduct citizen science and gain access to scientific findings
- Areas of Interest: The R-RN will conduct projects within specific areas of interest,
these are listed in Table 1 of this document.
2. Organization rules and procedures
- Guiding documents and their revision: These Charter Documents set out the rules
and procedures of the R-RN. This document should be revisited once every five years, or more often as deemed
necessary by R-RN leadership.
- Code of Conduct:
- Research conduct: The R-RN ascribes to, and expects members to abide by, industry standards for responsible
research (outline by the World Health Organization at http://www.who.int/about/ethics/code-of-conduct-responsible-research.pdf)
- Personal safety: The R-RN Policy on Discrimination and Harassment (Appendix 1) outlines expectations for
personal conduct among members, procedures for reporting discrimination and harassment, and releases R-RN Co-chairs
and Steering Committee members from liability associated with discrimination and harassment arising out of R-RN activities.
- Annual reporting: Chair(s) will submit an annual report to ARS board of directors on or about April 1
(See Figure 1 for Timeline). These are archived on the R-RN website for public viewing.
3. Organization structure
- Criteria for membership: Anyone actively involved in some aspect of Rhododendron research can become a
member of the network.
- Citizen scientists - those not officially affiliated with a research-based organization are recognized
as citizen scientists. i.e. people interested in contributing to or conducting research on Rhododendron as a past-time.
- Definition of membership: Membership is constituted by adding one's name, research description and
contact information to the participant list via the fillable web form.
- Membership duration: Membership has no expiration date. Member information will be retained on the R-RN
website indefinitely, but can be removed from the R-RN website at the request of the member. The leadership
of R-RN retains the right to remove individuals from the membership list as deemed necessary.
- Membership benefits:
- Permission to display contact and information about personal research goals/interests on the
- Ability to nominate or be nominated for Chair and Steering Committee positions.
- Invitation to the Mendeley "Private" literature database group. (Note that invitations to the "Invite only"
group are provided to non-members).
- Open invitation to promote publications/projects in the newsletter.
- Membership is not required to sign up for the newsletter.
- Membership fees and recruitment: There is no charge to join the network, and ARS membership is not required
to join. Membership in ARS is encouraged and promoted via newsletters and other venues where the benefits of ARS membership
can be highlighted.
- Leadership by Steering Committee
- Committee Chair(s)
- Qualifications: Chairs must be members of the R-RN with an active academic research program in Rhododendron
that includes publication in peer reviewed journals.
- Term and responsibilities: Five year term, with possibility of reappointment. Consecutive appointments are
allowed. Co-chairs are expected to work with steering committee and network members to update Charter Documents as needed, to
identify new action items, to provide guidance and assistance for current action items, to develop action items of their own,
and to lead creation of the annual report.
- Committee Members
- The committee will include a representative in each Area of Interest (see Table 1
- Qualifications: Committee members must be members of the R-RN.
- Term and responsibilities: 2 year term, with possibility of reappointment. Steering committee members
are expected to work with Chairs, with each other, and with network members to advance network objectives, provide oversight
for network activities (e.g. provide feedback on governance decisions and action plans), contribute to the annual report,
and develop action items of their own. Representatives may be appointed to lead projects, represent stakeholders, or both.
Whenever possible, different representatives should be identified for each project and stakeholder area. When a steering
committee position cannot be filled, Chairs become de facto representative of that position.
- Nomination and appointment procedure
- Prospective steering committee members are nominated by network members and approved by majority vote
of the steering committee. For Chair appointments, the committee will seek additional approval of nominees from ARS Board
of Directors prior to putting the nominee up for a steering committee vote.
- Self-nominations are allowed.
- Steering committee consideration of appointment renewals and nominations will take place between
August 1 and October 1 of each year.
- Current steering committee members will notify the Chair(s) of their intent to remain on or depart
the steering committee at the beginning of the consideration period (i.e. by August 1) of each year.
- Nominees to replace departing committee members should be received by September 1 of each year.
Those with appropriate qualifications (outlined above) will be contacted by the steering committee Chair(s) to determine
if the nomination is accepted. Once the nomination is accepted, nominees will supply a CV to the committee prior to
the voting period.
- Nominees to fill open committee positions can be received any time. The process remains the same
as for replacement of sitting committee members, except that a special election will be held within 2 months of the
date of the nomination.
- Open steering committee positions and deadlines for filling departing member roles will be advertised
in the network newsletter.
- Action Items
- Chairs and steering committee members will propose Action Items, or yearly goals, which speak to
an Area of Interest. Network members wishing to propose Action Items will identify and work with the appropriate Steering
Committee member to sponsor their proposal.
- Proposed Action Items should be submitted to the Chair(s) during the review period, between August 1st
and September 30th, during which time proposers will work with Chair(s) and committee members to refine proposed Action
Items prior to voting by the Steering Committee.
- Voting will be web-based, using the freeware platform SurveyMonkey.
- Voting for all steering committee activities will take place October 1st - 15th.
- Note in year 1 (2018) a special voting period will be held December 17th - 21st to approve Charter
Documents and 2019 Action Items.
- Simple majority is required to approve, only votes cast within the voting period are counted.
- Chairs will be responsible for conducting elections and documenting voting results.
Table 1. Areas of Interest represented by Steering committee positions in the R-RN.
|Citizen Science Experiments
||American Rhododendron Society
||Graduate students and post-docs
|Collaborative Review Articles
|Conferences and Networking
||Rhododendron Research Foundation
|Web Resource Development
|Website Technical Infrastructure
Figure 1. Yearly timeline for steering committee activities.
Appendix 1. Policy on harassment and discrimination
The Rhododendron Research Network (R-RN) is intended to foster the exchange of
scientific ideas, providing participants with an opportunity to establish/renew collaborations, to
learn, teach, and network with a diverse community of professional and citizen scientists. R-RN organizers
are committed to creating an environment where everyone can participate without harassment, discrimination,
or violence of any kind. All participants must be treated with respect and consideration. Registration
for the network is considered an agreement to abide by this policy.
Harassment of any R-RN associate or participant will not be tolerated, either in person
or online. Unacceptable behavior includes (but is not limited to) unwanted verbal attention, unwanted touching,
intimidation, stalking, shaming, or bullying. Discrimination on the basis of gender or gender identity,
sexual orientation, age, disability, physical appearance, race, religion, national origin, or ethnicity will
not be tolerated. Harassment presented in a joking manner is still harassment and constitutes unacceptable
behavior. Retaliation for reporting harassment is also unacceptable, as is reporting an incident in bad faith.
People wishing to report a violation of this code of conduct should contact the R-RN Co-Chairs. Incidents of
harassment and discrimination are taken extremely seriously. Confidentiality will be maintained unless
disclosure is legally required. When a violation is reported, R-RN Co-Chairs will work with the offended
party to identify an appropriate solution. Anyone violating the code of conduct may be: (a) asked to stop,
(b) prohibited from participating in network activities, and/or (c) expelled from the network.
R-RN Co-Chairs or Steering Committee Representatives shall not be responsible for
any defamatory, offensive, or illegal conduct of any R-RN participants, and shall not be held liable for
personal injury, property damage, intellectual theft or damage of any kind suffered by the participants
in connection with R-RN. By registering for R-RN membership, each participant acknowledges that they have
read this Disclaimer, and expressly releases R-RN and its agents from any and all liability in connection
with such activities as provided herein.
The R-RN Co-Chairs reserve the right to enforce this policy in any manner deemed appropriate.
Establishing this policy is intended to prevent incidents of harassment, discrimination, and violence, and
to maintain the high quality of scientific discourse that our members should expect.