Program Rules and Guidelines

Rules and Procedures

The American Society for Microbiology Branch Lectureships (ASMBL) Program (formerly the Waksman Foundation for Microbiology Lectures Program) gives ASM Branches the opportunity to secure highly-qualified Lecturers for their Branch meetings. The program pays the travel and subsistence expenses for one Lecturer per Branch, per year. (Branches may be able to obtain additional funding for a second Lecturer through their Regional Planning Coordinators.)

The ASMBL Program Committee has selected speakers for the 2008-2009 program year to participate in Branch meetings. Branches make arrangements directly with Lecturers to arrange for their participation in meetings. Lecturer availability is on a first-come, first-served basis, based on each Lecturer’s independent schedule.

Since the provision of one lecture per year to each Branch is conditioned upon resources, the Committee reminds Branches and Lecturers to employ all possible cost-saving measures when making arrangements. The following rules and guidelines have been designed to assist in the conservation of program funds.

The ASMBL program is administered through the Office of Branch Activities in the Membership Services Department of ASM.

Office of Branch Activities
Membership Services Department
American Society for Microbiology
1752 N Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
Phone - (202) 942-9381
Fax - (202) 942-9346




Eligibility Requirements and Selection  



    • The ASMBL Committee invites individuals to nominate Lecturers from all areas of interest to the ASM community. Anyone wishing to nominate an individual to this program should submit the candidate’s Curriculum Vitae (CV) and a letter supporting the candidate's qualifications to the
    • Chair of the ASMBL Committee (c/o Membership Services Department, ASM, 1752 N Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036;
    • Nominees must be ASM members.
    • Self-nominations will not be accepted.
    • Lecturers who have participated in the program over the previous 5 years are not eligible to serve again unless there is a specific need for a topic that justifies the selection of that individual.
    The ASMBL Committee solicits nominations from the general ASM membership through various sources:
    Microbe:  October, November, and December issues
    -  ASM Homepage
    - Call for nominations is published throughout the year ASM Listservs – One posting in November
    - Branch and Lecturer Surveys – Submitted throughout the year
    - Branch Presidents – One letter in November
    - Division Chairs – One letter in November
    Deadline for receipt of nominations is December 30 of each year.
    Scheduling of Lecturers 



    General Information

      • Branches are permitted to request
      • one Lecturer per fiscal year of the program.
      • The fiscal year of the program begins July 1 and ends June 30.
      • Branches select Lecturers from a list released each year prior to the start of the new program year (July 1). The list is published annually in an issue of Microbe and on the ASM Homepage ( Lecture topics, biographical sketches of the Lecturers, instructions for contacting Lecturers, and other program materials are provided to Branches prior to July 1 each year.
      • Lecturers are appointed to the program for up to 2 years.

      Requests for Lecturers

      • Branches assume all responsibility for securing Lecturers for their meetings. When a meeting date and location have been established, a Branch representative will contact the Lecturer directly to invite him/her to the meeting.
      • Once a Lecturer accepts a Branch invitation, the Branch must complete a "Lecturer Confirmation Form" and return it to the ASM Office of Branch Activities for processing.

         The following conditions must be met for a Lecturer request to be approved:

        1. As of September 2001, ASM has been able to guarantee only one speaker per Branch per program year.
        2. The scheduled date for the presentation must fall within the Lecturer’s speaking term. Expiration dates are noted on the ASMBL Lecturer list. For example, "
        3. (’09)" following a Lecturer's name indicates that the Lecturer’s term ends on June 30, 2009.
        4. The "Lecturer Confirmation Form" must be sent (via email, fax, or mail) to the ASM Headquarters Office of Branch Activities at least 8 weeks in advance of the scheduled lecture

      Branches are expected to send Lecturers a copy of the meeting program as soon as it is available.

      Requests for More than One ASMBL program Lecturer

        • Financial support is not available from the ASMBL program for more than one Lecturer per program year. If any additional Lecturers are utilized, Branches will have full responsibility for Lecturer reimbursement. However, Branches may be able to obtain additional funding for a second Lecturer through their Regional Planning Coordinators.
        • In the event that Branches secure additional Lecturers, they can send ASM a copy of the letter confirming the Lecturers, and may use the program slides to introduce the lectures.

        Adherence to ASMBL rules will allow:

        • Branches to finalize meeting dates and arrangements in time to effectively promote the program.
        • ASM to send program materials to confirmed Lecturers and Branches in a timely manner.
        • Government employees to process travel orders and meet agency requirements.
        • ASM staff to facilitate the needs of government employees to meet the standards required by government agencies.
        Reimbursement Policy



        The ASMBL Committee has instituted the following reimbursement policy for Branches and Lecturers. This policy has been designed to limit program expenditures to afford the maximum number of lectures each program year.

        Each year, the ASMBL must justify all expenditures. Expenditures contrary to the policy may be considered "unreasonable," and may jeopardize future funding.

        These rules are extremely important and we urge you to seek guidance, in advance, if you have any questions about them. Please contact

        Anne Dempsey at (202) 942-9381 or  or  if you need assistance.


        Thank you for your understanding of the program's need to conserve resources.


        Expense Reimbursement Rules – Branches

          • Branches will contact Lecturers directly to determine availability and discuss meeting dates and lecture content. Lecturers should be contacted at least eight weeks prior to the meeting date. Advance planning will permit Lecturers to obtain airline tickets at reasonable rates.
          • Branches will provide Lecturers with information on a convenient method of local transportation to and from the airport at the host location. Whenever possible, Branches should arrange for representatives to meet Lecturers at the airport, and to transport them to the meeting site or hotel. Branches must discuss this and all other local transportation options with Lecturers. Instructions and details about local transportation should be provided to Lecturers at least 2 weeks in advance of the meeting.
          • Branches are expected to assume all responsibility for hotel arrangements. These arrangements must be made at a reasonable cost.
          • ASMBL program funds cannot be used to provide Lecturers with honoraria. Branches may choose to use their own funds to provide honoraria, but they are not obligated to do so. If Branches want to provide honoraria, they should verify in advance that Lecturers are allowed to accept honoraria, especially when arrangements are being made with State or Federal government employees.

          General Expense Reimbursement Rules – Lecturers

          ASM will pay full travel and subsistence expenses for each Lecturer except as noted in these rules:

          • Lecturers should not participate in the program if they require or expect honoraria. ASM does not provide honoraria. (However, ASM does not prohibit Branches from providing honoraria to Lecturers.)

            Specific Expense Reimbursement Rules – Lecturers

            Air Transportation Lecturers should book air transportation at the lowest available/excursion fare. No first class travel will be reimbursed without prior authorization from ASM headquarters.
            Branch meetings are usually held on a Thursday, Friday, or a Saturday. The cost of air travel may be reduced significantly (sometimes as much as by 50%) by staying over Saturday night and departing on Sunday. Lecturers should investigate the cost difference between traveling weekdays without a Saturday night "stay-over" and staying an additional day to depart on Sunday. Lecturers are free to arrange their schedules to permit an extended stay if cost savings can be realized.
            Lecturers should make reservations as soon as lecture is confirmed to permit airline bookings at the lowest available fare. Lecturers are required to purchase airline tickets at least 14 days in advance of the travel date.
            Lecturers may be reimbursed in advance for airfare by submitting a copy of the ticket with a reimbursement request to ASM Headquarters.
            Travel by Car Lecturers may drive to the meeting site if more convenient and reasonable than air transportation. The program will reimburse Lecturers at the rate of $0.585 per mile (rate effective as of 7/1/08). The $0.585 includes the cost of gas, oil, maintenance, etc. Tolls and parking fees are not included in the mileage allowance and will be separately reimbursed by the program. (Note – the mileage reimbursement rate is set by the IRS, and is subject to change.)
            Rental Cars The cost of rental cars will not be reimbursed without prior authorization from ASM Headquarters. Lecturers must submit the "Rental Car Pre-Approval form" prior to the meeting date if they wish to rent a car. 
            Hotel The program will reimburse Lecturers for a maximum of 2 nights of hotel accommodation for any one lecture. However, if Lecturers choose to extend their stay over Saturday night to reduce travel costs, the program will reimburse them for the additional nights of hotel accommodation.
            There may be occasions when three and possibly four nights of hotel accommodation are necessary, e.g., when there is extended travel distance, protracted flight time, etc. These circumstances will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. More than 2 nights of hotel, except in the case of those who stay over Saturday night, must be approved in advance by ASM headquarters.
            Reimbursement Requests Lecturers will receive expense reimbursement forms at the beginning of the program year. Additional expense forms are available from ASM Headquarters. Reimbursement requests must be completed in full, signed and submitted within 30 days of the speaking engagement to be assured of reimbursement. Reimbursement requests should be sent to:
            Anne Dempsey, Membership Services, ASM, 1752 N Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036.
            Receipts for hotel, food and transportation costs must be attached. Extraneous expenditures such as hotel movies are not reimbursable.


            Rules about Honoraria  ASMBL program funds cannot be used to provide Lecturers with honoraria. Branches may choose to use their own funds to provide honoraria, but they are not obligated to do so. If Branches want to provide honoraria, they should verify in advance that Lecturers are allowed to accept honoraria, especially when arrangements are being made with State or Federal government employees. 
            Meeting Participation




            Branches play an important role in facilitating student participation in ASM. According to Section 11 of the ASM Bylaws, Branches are responsible for overseeing the functioning of Student Chapters. Branch interaction with existing ASM Student Chapters and prospective Student Chapters is highly encouraged, and the ASMBL Program can foster this interaction.
            Branches are requiredto make arrangements in advance for Lecturers to meet formally or informally with students at Branch meetings.
            Branches should invite students to participate in events surrounding the scheduled ASMBL Lecture to increase student attendance at the Branch meeting. Some suggestions include:
              • Distribute promotional flyers to Student Chapters inviting them to participate in the Branch meeting and meet with the featured Lecturer.
              • Include a representative from ASM Student Chapters in Branch program planning meetings.
              • Invite the Lecturer to present a lecture to Student Chapters. The Branch would be responsible for reimbursing the local travel expenses to and from the Student Chapters.

            Branches should provide the Lecturers with an itinerary so they will be prepared to meet with students in addition to presenting their lecture.


            Members of the Council Policy Committee

            Independent of the ASMBL Program, Branches may invite members of the Council Policy Committee (CPC), consisting of Officers and Board Chairs of the National Society and members of the headquarters staff, to speak at Branch meetings. CPC members and other individuals who attend local Branch meetings as official representatives of ASM will be reimbursed by ASM for their travel according to the General Volunteer Reimbursement Policy.
            Program Publicity



            Program Materials

            ASM provides Branches with the following information to help them publicize the American Society for Microbiology Branch Lectures:

            • Program CDs containing background information on ASM Branch Lecturers and topics are mailed to Branch Presidents and Presidents-elect at the beginning of the program year. Additional program CDs will be made available to Branch Secretaries or other Branch members upon request. The CD contains information that will enable Branches to select appropriate Lecturers for specific audiences. Information on the CD may also be useful for program preparation and Lecturer introductions. A list of ASM Branch Lecturers and topics is also available in the Membership section of the ASM Homepage (
            • Power Point slides with an introduction script are included on the program CD. The slides are to be used as an introduction to ASMBL presentations.
            • Press release samples and instructions prepared by the Director of Public Communications at ASM can be mailed to Branches upon request.

              Media: Microbe, ASM Homepage, and Branch Homepages

              • Branches should submit announcements of ALL Branch meetings for publication in the calendar section of Microbe and the ASM Homepage. Copy, in the Microbe style or calendar format, should be submitted to Jennifer Mercurio ( at least 2 months prior to the meeting and no later than the 14th of each month.
              • Bulk e-mails promoting Branch meetings can be sent to ASM members in a specific region. Contact Anne Dempsey at or to arrange for bulk e-mail. 
              • Branches are encouraged to publish information about the ASMBL Lecture on their individual Branch Homepages. Highlights of Branch and Branch Regional Meetings, including ASMBL presentations, can be published in the Branch section of Microbe. Copy should be submitted by the Branch and can be jointly coordinated with the ASMBL Lecturer. Please note that copy must be kept as brief as possible due to space limitations. Publishing of programs is not permitted. Copy deadline is the 14th of each month, with publication two months following that date. Submit copy to Patrick Lacey (

              back to top

              Program Evaluation

              Feedback from Participants  

              • Electronic evaluation forms will be sent to the Lecturer and Branch representative following each ASMBL Lecture. In addition to standardized forms for program evaluation, ASM collects letters from Lecturers and Branches in support of the ASMBL program to submit as part of grant proposals. These letters reinforce the request for funding of the program. We would appreciate letters from individual Branches explaining how the program enhances Branch meetings
              • Branches are welcome to suggest ways in which the program may be improved. After Lecturers participate in Branch meetings, they are also encouraged to offer comments and suggestions about the program. These comments and suggestions are important, not only for budget justification purposes, but also in support of ASM's continued efforts to enhance this program and maintain its reputation for quality.

               back to top