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Council Job Description

Updated: June, 2021

The Secretary and Treasurer are three-year terms (renewable), while the Councillors and Graduate Student Representative are two-year terms (renewable). The Editor of the Canadian Journal of Soil Science is a member of Council for a three-year term.


  1. Chairs the Awards Committee with duties as follow:
    • As soon as possible after January 1, appoints two past-presidents to serve on the awards committee and move that the incoming awards committee be approved by council.
    • Prepares a call for award nominations for the CSSS website, the first CSSS newsletter of the calendar year, and for distribution by the business office to members to cover the following CSSS awards: fellow, honorary membership, soil science for society, pedology travel award, student travel, student presentation and student book awards.
    • Contacts CSSS treasurer to determine funds available to cover travel and book awards.
    • Chairs an awards committee (president-elect, two CSSS past-presidents, appointed by the president); receives nominations documents and award applications, compiles and provides copies to other committee members; oversees evaluation of nominations and applications.
    • Presents awards committee recommendations to CSSS council for approval at least one month before CSSS annual meeting.
    • Invites nominators of successful fellow, soil science for society or honorary member nominees to informally notify their candidates (president writes the official letters of congratulations).
    • Contacts nominators requesting they convey outcomes of awards committee decisions to unsuccessful fellow, soil science for society or honorary member nominees.
    • Notifies Travel Award applicants about the Awards Committee’s decision.
    • Arranges preparation of the Fellow and Honorary Membership certificates (template with Business Office and Secretary) and selects a suitable frame.
    • Prepares a report of the Awards Committee for the CSSS annual meeting.
  2. Oversees and organizes the student awards (book, Bentley, President’s awards) at the annual meeting.
    • Contacts universities (soil science, land resource, environmental departments) to select recipients of the CSSS undergraduate student book award. Informs office manager who orders books. Prepares book plates (template with business office and secretary). Informs CSSS treasurer of costs and reimbursement.
    • Checks that registration and/or abstract submission form for the annual meeting includes a request for students to indicate if they intend to compete for the student presentation awards (CF Bentley oral; president’s poster).
    • Prior to the annual meeting, selects judges for the Bentley and President’s awards (the total number of judges being left to the discretion of the President-elect). Appoints one of the judges to chair the evaluation process (score cards and evaluation procedure on web page) for each award.
    • Prior to the annual meeting, liaisons with the program chair of the local organizing committee to ensure student presentations for the Bentley award are scheduled to allow each presentation to be judged by at least three judges. All student presentations should be completed early in the afternoon prior to the banquet to ensure adequate time to evaluate scores and select winners.
  3. Oversees awards banquet of the annual meeting.
    • Prepares and arranges printing of awards booklet for the CSSS awards banquet (template with business office and secretary), to include:
      • short table of contents
      • photograph and short write-up for each of the current year fellow(s), soil science for society award recipient(s) and honorary member(s) (as applicable; write-up usually prepared by first nominator)
      • list of any other current year awards that are determined prior to the conference, including undergraduate book award awardees (names and affiliation) and travel award recipients (names, affiliation, amount of travel award)
      • updated fellows list
      • list of awards committee members
      • list of new CSSS council members
    • Arranges with the annual meeting organizers to provide complimentary banquet tickets in registration packages for new fellows and honorary members (plus guests).
    • Arranges for someone, usually the first nominator, to present citation at the awards banquet for each new fellow, soil science for society award recipient, and honorary member. Suggests citations and replies be limited to approximately 10 minutes for each award.
    • On behalf of CSSS, extends thanks to the annual meeting organizers and volunteers for their work and efforts at the close of the banquet.


  1. Serves as Chief Executive Officer of the Society.
  2. Presides at all society and council meetings and has general and active management of society affairs.
  3. Sees that all orders and resolutions of council are carried into effect.
  4. Arranges for and conducts the annual CSSS council meeting, and the annual general meeting.
  5. Serves as master of ceremonies for the annual banquet, and presents all awards at the banquet.
  6. Arranges and conducts council meetings as required throughout the year.
  7. Appoints members to standing committees.
  8. Makes recommendations for the CJSS editor in chief.
  9. Makes recommendations for the local arrangements committee chair for upcoming CSSS meetings and indicates CSSS financial and other support available to that committee.
  10. Updates CSSS council job descriptions as required.
  11. Chairs the rules committee.
  12. Serves as public relations contact for the society and communicates with the membership.
  13. Writes official letters of congratulations to successful nominees for CSSS fellow, honorary membership and soil science for society awards.
  14. While in office, maintains files related to the business of the CSSS, including correspondence and project reports, and passes files to the next president as needed.
  15. Maintains schedule for the CSSS activities and ensure progress.


The general purpose of this position is to provide for a certain level of continuity in the functioning of council.

  1. Performs duties and exercises powers of the president if the president is absent or unable to act.
  2. Member of the Rules Committee.
  3. Member of the Finance Committee.
  4. Promotes and initiates nominations of members for awards and other forms of recognition from institutions and organizations other than the society (awards from other societies, helping appoint CSSS members to roles on the Global Soil Partnership, the International Technical Panel on Soils, and other relevant UN-FAO positions).


(Three-Year Term)

The Secretary of the Canadian Society of Soil Science records the activities of the Society and assists Council to carry out the objectives of the Society according to the Bylaws. The Secretary is responsible for ensuring the scientific community is aware of the location and date of the Annual Meeting. The Bylaws require that the membership be notified by the Secretary of the time and place of the annual convention at least 15 months in advance.

  1. Records activities of the society and assists council to carry out its objectives according to the by-laws.
  2. Ensures the scientific community is aware of the annual meeting location and date.
  3. Conducts general correspondence of the society.
  4. Collects committee reports prior to the meetings of council, distributes reports to council and records and distributes minutes of meetings of the council.
  5. Ensures proposed rules and guidelines changes are received from the rules committee prior to April 1.
  6. Ensures the call for nominations for vacant council positions is issued to members before the end of the calendar year (usually mid-October); see Rule #3.


(Three-Year Term)

  1. Responsible for day-to-day management of the financial affairs of the society, including but not limited to the following (with some activities completed by contractors at the direction of the treasurer):
    • Collects dues from members.
    • Pays for purchases of goods or services on behalf of the Society.
    • Makes banking arrangements.
    • Makes financial investment arrangements.
    • Keeps financial record of the Society.
    • Files required reports to Revenue Canada and Consumer and Corporate Affairs Canada.
    • Meets provincial government reporting requirements.
    • Chairs the Finance Committee.


(Two-year Term)

The Councillors of the CSSS are involved with membership and communication/publicity concerns of the society. Councillors prepare and present reports to CSSS Council and the Annual Meeting on membership and publicity issues. They liaise as needed with CSSS members: The Eastern Councillor covers Ontario, Québec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador and Nunavut; while the Western Councillor is responsible for Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon and the Northwest Territories.

  1. Membership issues.
    • Cover concerns of members within respective region.
    • Both Councillors cover the concerns of international members as needed.
    • Correspond as needed to new and interested members within respective region.
  2. Communication/publicity issues.
    • Eastern Councillor prepares three Newsletters (generally January/February, June/July, and September/October) to include society reports and news, information on CSSS Awards, and Election information/results.
    • Western Councillor oversees CSSS WebPage and ensures information correct and up-to-date; including coordinating revisions with a web designer, and updating the CSSS Wikipedia page.
    • Both councillors ensure that a team is in place for effective informal communications (notably the effective and prudent use of social media to contribute to the CSSS mandates) via the education committee.


(Two-year Term)

The Graduate Student Representative provides liaison between the Society and active or potential graduate student members of the Society. The position should alternate between candidates from eastern and western Canada.

  1. Participates in council activities and vote on all motions brought to Council.
  2. Promotes and maintains communications (e-mail network) between the society and Canadian academic units involved in soil science education.
  3. Provides information on CSSS awards and annual meeting to students.
  4. Helps coordinate and plan student activities at the annual meetings.
  5. Provides student news for each publication of the CSSS newsletter.
  6. Provides input as needed to society publicity material


(Three-year Term)

Whether or not a full voting member of Council, the editor in chief of CJSS provides liaison between the society and activities and editorial aspects of the CJSS and promotes and maintains communications between the society and CJSS, the science arm of the society.