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Society for Social Studies of Science

4S News

President’s message #20 June 2015


2015 4S Mentoring Award! 

On behalf of the Mentoring Award Committee, I am pleased to announce that Maureen McNeil (Lancaster University, UK) is winner of the 2015 4S Mentoring Award!

The 4S Mentoring Award recognizes a scholar who has made “distinguished contributions to mentoring in Science and Technology Studies.” 

Click here for the formal presentation, Prof. McNeil’s acceptance, bio, and a photo. Congratulations Prof. McNeil! 

Please join me in thanking committee members Kim Fortun (Rensselaer, USA), Leandro Rodriguez Medina (UDLAP, Mexico), Kaushik Sunder Rajan (U Chicago, USA; co-chair), Sharon Traweek (UCLA, USA; co-chair), and Sally Wyatt (Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts & Sciences, The Netherlands).

Contribute suggestions for the 4S statement of purpose! 

On the recommendation of the 4S Governance Review Committee, Council decided to draft an updated statement of purpose for the Society.

Please submit any comments or suggestions you deem appropriate for Council to consider in this process. Council will seek your comments on an initial draft prior to final deliberation.

Council is serving as the committee for this initiative, co-chaired by Claire Waterton (Lancaster University, UK) and myself.

The 4S website currently stipulates the following: “The Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) is a scholarly society founded in 1975 with an international membership of over 1200. Its main purpose is to bring together those interested in understanding science, technology, and medicine, including the way they develop and interact with their social contexts.”

Below is the relevant language from the Governance Review Committee’s report:

“Any charitable organization (with the same legal status as 4S—a US 501(c)3 organization--­nonprofit, tax exempt) is expected to have a mission statement that could well be more elaborate to answer such questions as: ‘what will it do with your money and how?’ Having a mission statement that further elaborates the statement of purpose in the 4S Charter would provide some guidance and act as a touchstone for discussions about strategic and policy choices that the Society needs to make. 

Drafting a more elaborate mission statement is also a subtle task. Such a statement should be inclusive enough to allow for the broad range of activities that 4S has established over its [more than 30] years of development, and it should be open enough to allow for future development without need of frequent redrafting of the mission statement. Yet, it might also address such questions as:

  • What are the topics of study of the Society? (not only science, but also technology, medicine, …)
  • What is the intended membership of the Society? (in terms of nationality, professional background, level of education, …)
  • What does the Society do to promote members’ professional development? (opportunities for young STS scholars, special or regional meetings, use of Technoscience …)
  • What are the means of realizing the Society’s goals? (annual meetings, publications, curriculum development and teaching support, …)

We recommend that Council discusses the possibility of drafting a more detailed mission statement . . . .”

Council accepted the recommendation.

Thanks much in advance for your help!

Gary Downey