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Topic Title: JOM ARTICLE: Meeting the Needs of a Diverse Membership
Topic Summary: From the May issue of JOM
Created On: 5/4/2009 4:09 PM

 5/4/2009 4:09 PM

Ellen Cerreta

Posts: 1
Joined: 2/13/2007

At the TMS 2009 Annual Meeting in San Francisco, California, I officially joined the TMS Board of Directors as the Director of Membership and Student Development. As I begin this term of service to the society, I have been asked by our new President, Ray Peterson, to inform the members of some of the new developments within the membership committee and new benefits of membership to TMS. In all cases, these are initiatives that have been championed by the Board of Directors, most notably my predecessor Jud Ready, TMS staff, and the hard work of TMS members working within ad hoc committees as well as standing committees of TMS.

Late last year, in response to the deepening recession, TMS introduced Job and Financial Security Resources, an on-line suite of resources and tools for society members. This new feature includes benefits, which can be accessed through the Members-Only section of the TMS web site. These benefits fall into three categories: Job Skills and Job Security; Financial Planning and Management; and Ask the Human Resources Expert. Under Job Skills and Job Security, members can find tools such as: guidelines for health-care access and health insurance portability; job transition resources including job postings, a job search tool kit, and engineering salary information; and career coaching and advice. A link to the TMS Career Center is also provided. The TMS Career Center allows job seekers to view current openings and post resumes, while employers and recruiters can review those resumes. In the Financial Planning and Management section of the site, visitors can find personal finance tips, various calculators and tools, and advice on financial planning, even during difficult economic times. Finally, TMS members in the United States with questions about career and work-related matters can get personalized answers to their particular questions by email through the Ask the Human Resources Expert section. TMS’s own human resources expert will respond to the questions.

Future work of the Membership Committee will continue to consider needs of members negatively affected by the current global economy. The Membership Committee has urged the Board of Directors to consider options for revised membership dues offerings and conference registration costs for unemployed members. In response to this, the Board of Directors suggested that the Membership Committee actively work with TMS staff to seek out fiscally feasible options for TMS that are sensitive to the needs of the membership. It is my plan to research options that maintain important membership services for all members.

In addition to responding to the needs of the membership created by the recession, approximately two years ago, in response to the success and feedback generated at the Women in Science breakfasts held at the Annual Meetings, an ad hoc committee titled the Women in Materials Science and Engineering Committee (WIMSEC) was formed to address concerns related to TMS’s female membership demographics, specifically student-to-professional-member conversion and retention. This committee was chaired by Tresa Pollock and J. Wayne Jones and the staff liaison was Maureen Byko. At the Board of Directors Meeting on Sunday, February 15, 2009, Director Elizabeth A. Holm presented the report of WIMSEC. The recommendations of the ad hoc committee were as follows: elevate WIMSEC to a standing committee of the TMS Membership and Student Development Committee; improve networking opportunities, including a reception for women at the Annual Meeting and a multi-society reception at MS&T meetings; develop a diversity page on the TMS website to allow relevant information to be distributed; and create appropriate Division-level awards for recognition of mid-career members of TMS. At this same meeting, the Board of Directors accepted the recommendations of the committee. Additionally, it was noted that the question of mid-career awards would be a topic for an ad hoc committee on awards and that the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) will be considered as a partner during implementation of WIMSEC recommendations. As this standing committee begins to take shape, I would encourage TMS members with concerns related to issues that may be appropriate for WIMSEC to address to contact me at or Maureen Byko at

In closing, I would like to say that I am looking forward to serving the TMS membership. I am excited for the implementation of the above-mentioned membership services and committees and eager to respond to developing needs within the materials science community.

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