The scientific interests of the society's membership comprise the full spectrum of microbiology. Because of this, the society has been divided into divisions where each division represents scientists with similar scientific interests and research goals. Each division is also represented on the ASM Council that is tasked with governing the activities of the Society.
Upon registering with the Society, scientists or students may designate a Primary and Secondary Division for membership based on their individual interests. Establising Full Membership in their Primary Division includes the right to elect the Division Leadership (Councilor, Chair, and Chair-Elect). Membership in the Secondary Division ensures each scientist can be aware of changes in policy for that division as well as expand the network of scientists with like interests. The member cannot vote for the Division Leadership positions in his secondary division. A member can change division affiliations at any time by changing their Membership Profile found at "Change Your Password and More" under the Members Only Section of the landing page of this website.
Benefits of Participation
Participation in Division activities goes well beyond the informal network of scientists with similar scientific interests. Members can:
- Participate in the governance of the Society;
- Receive current information on the topic through newsletters, direct mail, and participate in on-line discussion groups;
- Be involved in arranging scientific sessions, lectures and seminars held at the ASM General Meeting; and
- Attend and network at specialized programs such as division meetings, social events and other events at ASM General Meeting.
Each Division contributes to the development the scientific program at the ASM General Meeting (the annual membership meeting of the Society). Each year, the Division Leadership encourages the input of session topic ideas and the identification of key speakers to help produce a quality program at the meeting where over 75% of the invited speaker sessions and 100% of the poster program is developed or managed by the Divisions. In addition to the programs produced by the Meetings Department of the ASM Staff, the Divisions disseminate this information to their members through individual websites.
Division Structure and Change
Each Division must have a total of 300 primary and/or secondary voting eligible members officially affiliated with it to take an active part in the governance of both the Society and the Division. The Primary Members of the Division may modify the name or description of division activities using the following procedures:
- To change the name of a division, members must agree by vote that the change is required. The newly proposed name must be sent to the Chair of the Committee on Divisions for review. Because of the Division's General Meeting Programming Activities, this information is also communicated to the General Meeting Program Committee. If there are no problems, the proposal goes to the Chair of the Meetings Board to present the issue to CPC and the ASM Council for approval.
- To change the description of an existing division, the Division Chair should discuss any recommendations with its members, then send the revised description to ASM for review by the Committee on Divisions. The Committee on Divisions ensures that the new description does not significantly overlap those of another Division's description. Once this review is complete, the new description will be adopted and published.
Based on changes to the science and practice of microbiology, it may become necessary to modify the Division structure through the introduction of a new Division. To create a new division, at least 300 Full members must sign a petition agreeing to become either a primary or secondary member of the division if it is successfully created. Once the membership requirement has been met, the issue can be presented to CPC and ASM Council by the Chair of the Meetings Board. If approved by the ASM Council, all qualifying signatories are automatically transferred to the new division.