Research and Technical Studies

Rules of Order

The Research & Technical Studies (RATS) Specialty Group focuses on the problems and issues of conservation research and technical studies of cultural heritage. Research issues are important to all AIC specialty groups, yet they are not the first priority of any other group. The function of this group is to support those who are involved in research efforts within the conservation field and to foster increased interaction and communication between conservators of all disciplines and scientists of all disciplines relevant to conservation.  The RATS Specialty Group is a division of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC), and is therefore bound by the Bylaws of AIC and the policies set by the Board of that body. These Rules of Order and any changes therein shall require written approval from the Board of AIC before becoming effective.

Membership shall be open to any member in good standing of AIC. All dues paying members shall have the right to vote on elections of officers, changes in the Rules of Order, membership dues, and any other issue on which a vote by the membership is required. All members are eligible to hold office, serve on committees, and be appointees. All members are entitled to receive publications distributed by RATS and subscribe to the RATS electronic mailing list.

The officers of the RATS Specialty Group shall comprise the Executive Committee.  The officers of the committee shall consist of an Assistant Program Chair, Program Chair, Group Chair, Chair Emeritus, a Secretary/Treasurer, and a Publications Chair.  All members are eligible for office. An attempt will be made to alternate the Assistant Program Chair position annually between a conservator and a scientist in order to equally represent the two main constituents of the Specialty Group.

An Assistant Program Chair will be elected by electronic ballot every year to serve a four-year term, becoming the Program Chair in their second year, Group Chair in their third year, and Chair Emeritus in their fourth year. The Assistant Program Chair begins this four-year term immediately after the Annual RATS Business Meeting following their election. 

The Secretary/Treasurer and Publications Chair will be elected in alternate years by electronic ballot and will begin their two-year term immediately after the Annual RATS Business Meeting following their election. The Secretary/Treasurer and Publications Chair can serve at most two consecutive terms.  
The Assistant Program Chair will assist the Program Chair in the organizational activities related to the AIC Annual Meeting, participating in all relevant meetings and conference calls.

The Program Chair will organize and serve as chairperson for all aspects of RATS programming at the AIC Annual Meeting. This activity will include setting programming themes, organizing joint sessions with other Specialty Groups, garnering sponsor support as necessary, organizing the Annual Business Meeting and any social events or other programs, and chairing a meeting of the RATS Executive Committee to review abstracts and select speakers for the Annual Meeting program.  

The Group Chair will be responsible for all group activities. He/she will coordinate directly with the Board Specialty Group Liaison and the AIC Office. The Group Chair shall inform the AIC Executive Director of his/her approval of disbursements to be made by the AIC Finance Director from funds collected in membership dues for the Specialty Group. The Group Chair will attend the annual Internal Advisory Group (IAG) meeting of the AIC or will appoint another member of the Executive Committee to attend as necessary.  The Group Chair will also appoint, monitor, and coordinate activities of action committees; direct approved expenditures of Specialty Group funds; answer group-related inquiries from the AIC Board and Office; run the group’s Annual Business Meeting; write the bi-monthly column for the AIC Newsletter; and act as general spokesperson for RATS.

The Chair Emeritus will serve the RATS officers in an advisory capacity and will provide an organizational memory for the group. At the request of the current RATS Group Chair, the Chair Emeritus may continue to manage key special projects begun during his/her tenure as Group Chair to ensure their successful continuation and/or undertake new initiatives. The Chair Emeritus will also serve as Chair of the
Nominating Committee.

The Secretary/Treasurer will maintain a written record of the meetings and activities of the RATS Specialty Group and will provide the AIC Executive Director with copies of the minutes. The Secretary/Treasurer will be responsible for preparing the annual RATS budget in consultation with the other officers of the Executive Committee and the AIC Finance Director. The RATS Secretary/Treasurer will maintain the records, reports, and minutes of the Specialty Group along with archives of membership, officers, photographs, and programming notes. After finishing the two-year term, the Secretary/Treasurer will transfer all relevant electronic files and documents to the new Secretary/Treasurer and will act in an advisory capacity, providing the new Secretary/Treasurer with guidance in the specific tasks required of them. 

The Publications Chair is responsible for the collection, editing, and production of the Annual Meeting Post prints, printed or digital; managing the RATS electronic mailing list; and overseeing and updating the RATS Specialty Group digital assets (e.g. wiki, website, etc).  The Publications Chair will also act as the Specialty Group’s liaison to the AIC Publications Committee.

All dues charged by RATS will be collected and held by the AIC and dispersed by them at the request of the Chair of RATS. A budget shall be developed annually by the officers of the Executive Committee as specified above and submitted to the AIC Board for approval before the IAG meeting.  Said officers have spending authority up to $1000 per annum beyond budgeted annual expenses, without requiring a vote of the entire RATS membership.  These additional expenditures must be approved by a simple majority vote of the officers.  A detailed accounting of all revenues and expenses must be presented at each annual business meeting and be made available to the membership electronically or in print. Members have the right to approve planned expenses of more than $1000, as well as proposed changes in membership dues and donations to AIC endowments, via a referendum to be held within two weeks of the conclusion of the Annual Business Meeting, according to Section VI below.

The RATS Specialty Group will have one Business Meeting annually in which the business of the group is conducted, to coincide with the place and time of the AIC Annual Meeting.  The Annual Business Meeting agenda, along with the current budget and minutes from the previous year’s business meeting, will be communicated to the membership at least 30 days prior to the Annual Meeting.  All membership votes arising from business at the Annual Business Meeting aside from the approval of Nominating Committee members will commence electronically within two weeks of the conclusion of the Annual Business Meeting.

Elections and membership votes will take place via electronic ballot.  An electronic ballot can be of any form usual to the AIC, including but not limited to, email or web-based voting.  Any member without access to the Internet can request a special paper ballot.  

A 3 member Nominating Committee consisting of the past Group Chair and 2 volunteers from the membership shall be approved yearly at the Annual Business Meeting. The Nominating Committee shall solicit a slate of candidates for Assistant Program Chair and any other open office from the membership.

The election of officers will be held by electronic ballot before the next Annual Meeting. Every effort shall be made to alternate the Assistant Program Chair position between a practicing conservator and a conservation scientist.  In the event of an officer being unable to fulfill their tenure, then the combined Executive and standing Nominating Committee will appoint a new officer to the vacant position.
Other special elections or voting can take place at the discretion of the RATS Group Chair when needed to conduct especially urgent business.  These special elections or votes can only proceed if at least 30 days’ notice has been given to the membership as to the nature of the business.  These notices can be conducted through special membership postal mailings or email, and the information must also be made available on the RATS website.

Appointed committees shall be formed from time to time to address specific needs of the RATS Specialty Group. The Group Chair shall call for the appointed committee, name a Committee Chairperson, specify the task the committee is to accomplish, determine the length of time the committee has to accomplish the task (usually one year), and identify the method in which the conclusions or recommendations shall be presented, i.e., written report, oral presentation, or the implementation of a program or event.

Committee membership shall be appointed by the Committee Chair from the membership of RATS. Membership in any RATS committee shall be restricted to members in good standing of the AIC and RATS. Committee members serve on a volunteer basis. The costs of conducting committee business shall be borne by its members unless otherwise stated in writing by the RATS Chair. The Group Chair of RATS shall be an ex-officio member of each committee.

After a committee has been formed, the Group Chair shall announce the establishment of the committee in the AIC Newsletter and at the next Annual Business Meeting. The announcement shall include the task assigned to the committee and a list of the committee members.

The members of the committee shall serve for one year (usually from one Annual Business Meeting to the next) unless the duration of the committee is extended by the Chair. The committee shall make a report of their activities annually to the membership at the Annual Business Meeting.  When the committee’s task has been completed, the committee shall be dissolved, and they shall provide a written report of their findings, actions, or recommendations to the RATS Chair. The committee shall also make a final oral report to the RATS membership at the next Annual Business Meeting, and shall provide a written summary to the Group Chair for inclusion in the AIC Newsletter and the RATS website.

A committee has no authority to act for or on behalf of RATS, or to make financial commitments on behalf of RATS unless specifically authorized in writing by the RATS Chair.

These Rules of Order may be amended, added to, or repealed by a two-thirds majority of the members participating in an electronic vote provided that notice of such changes has been provided by the Chair to the membership at least thirty days in advance of the ballot.  Upon ratification of such amendments by the membership, the Rules of Order thus amended shall be submitted by the Group Chair to the Board of AIC for final approval prior to taking effect.