Elevations and Sections: A Short Primer on the Статут

December 11, 2021

According to the Society’s Bylaws (Статут) and in practice, members of the Shevchenko Scientific Society belong to one of four categories: Full (дійсний), Corresponding (член-кореспондент), Associate (звичайний), and Honorary (почесний). The Bylaws contain an additional category of Supporting member (член-прихильник), but this category is not currently in use.

Generally, when members are accepted to the Society, they join as Associate Members and are approved by a majority vote of the Board of Directors during its regular quarterly meetings. When members apply to join the Society, they indicate on their applications one (or more) Academic Sections, to which they feel they might wish to belong. As Associate Members, they don’t join a Section right away; they are “inducted” into a Section upon their elevation to Corresponding or Full member status. Sometimes new members already at an advanced stage of their career are elevated directly to Full or Corresponding member soon after joining the Society in accordance with the judgement of the Section’s leadership.

Elevations are the responsibility of the Sections. Generally, a member of the Section can make a proposal to elevate someone. The Bylaws require “support in writing,” which has tended to mean a candidate’s academic CV and two letters of recommendation written by Full Members of the relevant section. The Section is supposed to consult with the Board of Directors about the candidate’s “civic character” (apart from this the Board has little role in elevations within the Sections). Once these materials are collected, the CV and two letters of recommendation are forwarded to all Full Members of a Section for their consideration. Full Members then vote on the proposed elevations in a secret ballot. A majority of votes cast is required to approve an elevation. The Learned Secretary, who supervises the work of the Sections, is informed and sends out a document summarizing the results of the vote to Section members.

There are currently five Sections: Arts & Music, History/Law/Social Sciences, Math & Sciences, Medicine & Biology, and Philology. Members can only belong to a one Section at any given time. According to the Bylaws, each Section is supposed to be led by a team (дирекція), made up of a Section Head, the Deputy Head, and a Secretary. The leadership of the Sections are elected to three-year terms. At this time, in practice, the Sections are led only by a Section head.

In their ideal form, the Academic Sections are supposed to be the heart of the Society. Sections are meant to be where the scientific work of the Society is carried out, collaborative projects are discussed and proposed, and new ideas generated in discussion with colleagues. The Bylaws outline procedures for creating new sections, for creating Institutes that span the work of two or more sections, and many other functions. These important institutions are meant to work in harmony with the Board. Section heads automatically become members of the Board.

Finally, the Board can nominate any person to become an Honorary Member of the Shevchenko Scientific Society. All decisions on naming Honorary Members are made by the General Meeting. Honorary Members belong to a Section and are the equivalent of a Full Member, with the exception that they do not pay annual dues.