Group Pathways & Support (GPS)

A group page dedicated to providing support and resources for official Groups and Group Leaders (of Technical Divisions, Senior Sections, and Research Committees.)

Frequently (and Occasionally) Asked Questions


Q:  What is included under the umbrella of ASME “Groups?”
A:  The term "Groups" includes senior Sections (geographic), subsections, technical chapters, technical Divisions, affinity groups and research committees.

Q:  Is the word "Group" replacing "Sections"?
A:  No. The word "Group" is a generic term for any specially purposed collection of ASME members.

Q:  What does the acronym “GPS” stand for?
A:  Group Pathways & Support. ASME’s Group Pathways & Support (GPS) System was created to help ASME’s various Groups engage more effectively with other members and engage in more of ASME’s available programs and services.

Q:  What activities require an Activity Approval Form? Why is this form required? When does it need to be filed?
A:  Any activity undertaken in the name of ASME requires the submission of a completed Activity Approval Form, whether you plan to use ASME funds or not. The form needs to be completed and submitted ASAP—and then approved—before you move forward.

Q:  Although many activities might be planned, some might not pan out for various reasons. Do we still need to complete an Activity Approval Form?
  We understand that plans change. If, after filing your Activity Approval Form, your event or initiative doesn’t proceed as planned, you can enter the "GPS Requisition Tool" and amend your activity if it’s delayed, or cancel it altogether.

Q:  Within the new ONE ASME, do members work for the ASME staff, or does the staff work for members?
A:  Volunteers and staff work together to meet the needs of our customers, who include (but are not limited to) ASME members.

Q:  How do we have a voice when it appears that ASME staff is now running the show?
All Sectors are populated by volunteers, who partner with staff. The Board of Governors, which has fiduciary responsibility for ASME, is also comprised of volunteers. The Executive Director works for the Board of Governors. The staff works for the Executive Director. All parties work for ASME.

Q:  ASME is a complex organization with one mission and vision but a lot of internal competition for resources. How can we reconcile this without disregarding the interests of smaller Groups in favor of the larger Groups?
There are finite, limited resources available for all ASME initiatives, and the Board of Governors has to balance where we direct those resources so that we can fuel strategic growth while ensuring that we remain market-focused. Our allocation of funds is all about realizing a return on investment by doing things that make the most impact. At the same time, we’ve created the website as a digital resource that can help all members and Groups accomplish things—like networking, collaborating and more—conveniently and inexpensively.

Q:  Within the new ONE ASME, what pathways to leadership exist to motivate the active involvement of ASME individuals who “want to make a difference”—versus simply generating products for ASME to sell to customers?
Generating revenue helps us accomplish our mission and, as such, these products DO make a difference. For members who want to make a more-direct impact, there are leadership opportunities within every Sector that can enable them to make a difference.

Q:  How can Group Chairs encourage members to volunteer? What’s in it for volunteers?
The reason you volunteer hasn't changed, nor have the rewards. We would hope that ASME members would recognize the value of their participation in the activities that support our mission. In addition to contributing to various industries and society, ASME benefits volunteers by providing myriad, ongoing opportunities to learn leadership skills, network, publish papers and more.

Q:  Does ASME have a plan to evaluate the success of ONE ASME over the coming years?
Yes. The Board of Governors has established Key Performance Indicators and success metrics for the entire organization. In addition to defining long-term objectives (Pathway 2025) the Board sets yearly goals.     


Q:  Who has access to the ASME membership roster?
Designated Group volunteers are given access to their Group’s membership roster after signing the Member Data Agreement and Conflict of Interest forms.

Q:  Do individual Groups have access to their own membership rosters?

Q:  Are unit activity reports available on the ASME website?
As part of our intent to be more forward facing, we are no longer posting reports of past or completed ASME activities. Instead, once your activity is approved, use your Group page to announce it and provide updates and results.

Q:  Are webinars recorded so members can play them back at future dates?
For training initiatives, yes. They can be accessed through the GPS page on

Q:  Will Groups be able to make updates to the ASME website through a designated member, enabling "real-time" changes?
Yes, and we will provide training for that very soon. Every Group is required to assign a member to maintain its individual Group page.


Q:  Can Groups endow awards (i.e., technical committee-level awards such as “Best Paper,” student awards, societal-level awards, etc.) with their current segregated accounts? What is the proper procedure?
There are currently several awards already in existence.  If you want to submit a request for a new award or scholarship, you must do so through the GPS.

Q:  How are Division-level awards coordinated with the Committee of Honors?
Division-level awards must be submitted and reviewed through the GPS for coordination with COH.

Q:  Can we request conference income to build endowment funds for new awards?
No. Conferencing is a business of ASME at the enterprise level. Funding for awards must come from segregated accounts.


Q:  Why can’t we use the "" website to communicate with individual members?
You can use to communicate with your Group’s participants, but not to members who haven’t joined the Group.  All ASME members are encouraged to join Groups on topics that are of interest to them and participate in the conversation!

Q:  How much information and slide-presentation content can we share with (1) our Group Executive Committees, (2) Other non-attending Group Chairs and (3) our Group members?
All ASME official documents can be found on our GPS page and are considered public knowledge. Feel free to share them!

Q:  Can we include attachments (such as graphics or flyers) to member notices sent via the ASME list server?
No. Our list server is optimized with a restriction on attachments so that our notices are less likely to get caught in recipients’ spam filters, assuring a higher delivery rate.

Q:  Who should I contact regarding publishing documents on our Group page (activity announcements, flyers, etc.)?
There are rules and guidelines for these types of documents. Please request detailed instructions from GPS.

Q:  Is there a way to capture activity content so that future vice-chairs can be trained?
Orientation tools for future leaders are in development and will be available soon.

Q:  Does ASME have a communication mechanism for the quick redress of problems?
  If you have a concern or complaint, please submit it to GPS, and it will get to the appropriate party. In some cases, it may need to go to the Sector Management Committee if the issue is not resolved by the appropriate party.


Q:  How can individual Divisions collaborate on or co-sponsor technical programs or conference events with external entities? How is the sharing of costs and revenue handled?
The TEC is ultimately responsible for establishing budgets and collaborating with external organizations.  If a group would like to suggest partnerships with external entities, they should submit that request through GPS.                   

Q:  Are local Sections allowed to organize local scholarship events, or are scholarships strictly the responsibility of ASME at the national level?
Scholarships and scholarship fund-raising events are two different things. Local Sections are allowed to suggest/request scholarships and organize events, but requests for both need to be submitted and approved in advance. Scholarship funds should only be dispersed by the ASME Foundation.


Q:  Can separate events with potential synergies that are scheduled within the same timeframe be consolidated into a single event? If so, is the decision to merge events made by the Program Manager or the Event Chairperson?
Yes. Decisions regarding ASME events are made at the TEC level by the appropriate Segment Leadership Teams.

Q:  Larger conferences are better for ASME, but members say they prefer smaller conferences. How do we plan to reconcile this?
Not all members prefer smaller conferences, plus, larger conferences offer attendees more comprehensive and robust networking opportunities. Keep in mind, too, that large ASME conferences invariably include a number of smaller networking venues. Once again, the allocation of funds toward larger events is based on our need to realize the highest possible return on our investment by doing things that make the most impact. This does not mean, however, that ASME will discontinue all smaller events.

Q:  Can small conferences (<250 people) be scheduled at optimal locations (based on price, attendees, logistics, etc.), or must they be held at “destination” locations, such as Orlando, Las Vegas, etc.
The TEC staff is responsible for selecting locations that meet the criteria in our RECIPE rationale for realizing optimal ROI.

Q:  With the financial metric for Divisions going away, who is ultimately responsible for the quality of conference papers and the overall success of conferences, and what are the “success” criteria?
Conference organizers still have responsibility for ensuring the quality of papers. The TEC is responsible for ensuring the financial success of conferences. Although the criteria differs somewhat depending on the conference, some overall metrics may include the ratio of non-presenters to presenters; increased industry participation; exhibitor growth; and activities relevant to all demographics (e.g., industry, government, students); as well as the amount of revenue earned. TEC is in the process of refining these metrics for the ASME business plan.

Q:  What is ASME’s process regarding peer review of technical papers for events (i.e., reviewer selection, paper review, acceptance/rejection of paper, etc.)?
That has not changed for conferences. Volunteers are still involved in all phases of the peer-review. You can find information on our peer-review process in the Organizer’s Help Manual for Conferences published by ASME.

Q:  Entities within the biomedical industry must abide by the “Sunshine Laws” (transparency of financing for conferences). Will this impact ASME’s involvement in bioengineering-related conferences?
ASME’s external and internal legal counsel reviews all contracts and regulations to ensure that our risks are mitigated and that we comply with all compliance mandates.

Q:  How are conference revenues shared between ASME and Divisions?
They’re not. All conference revenues and expenses flow through the ASME General Fund.

Q:  If no new conference revenue is added to the custodial accounts, what source of funds would the Divisions and technical committees use to cover the cost of basic operations and special conference events, such as award certificates, communication costs, newsletters, student lunches at conference, etc.?
Each Division has its own segregated account to cover these items. If the account no longer exists, through GPS the Division can submit a request to ASME for funding for these activities.

Q:  How can Divisions motivate volunteers to participate in conference organizing if there is no revenue sharing among Divisions and their technical committees?
ASME’s mission is to improve the body of engineering knowledge and the quality of life for people around the world. Our hope and expectation is that contributing to that endeavor—versus earning revenue—provides members with the motivation to participate.

Q:  What is the rationale for raising conference registration fees for both students and professionals? What is ASME’s metric for balancing acceptable revenue with optimal attendance?
Conferencing is a sustainable source of revenue that helps ASME fulfill its mission. There are several considerations that are built into the metric that drives our pricing of conference fees and determination of ROI. For starters, the goal for all ASME conferences is to at least cover all the associated costs of doing business.

Q:  It’s hard to explain to members that our registration fees are going up. What can we tell members regarding the benefits they’ll enjoy at the higher price?
Not all fees are going up. Some may increase to be more in line with market pricing or to help ASME and the benefits we provide remain sustainable. At the same time that we’re striving to standardize conferences for the sake of cost and operational efficiencies, we also want to ensure a high-quality experience for attendees at all of our events. In addition to the outstanding technical content we provide, other aspects of the experience will continue to improve.


Q:  How long do approvals generally take?
Most can be turned around in one business day. Others can take two to three weeks, or more, depending on the complexity of the event (planning for a conference often takes over 18 months). It’s important to file your Activity Approval Form as soon as possible, especially if your activity will require marketing/advertising.

Q:  Do we need approval for meetings that do not cost anything?
Yes. This allows us to aggregate data to tell our story.


Q:  How do normal, day-to-day Section and Unit operating expenses get funded?
From segregated accounts, after approval.

Q:  If a Group can spend up to 25% of its segregated account’s prior-year-end balance during a fiscal year, where does the other 75% go? Does it stay in the original segregated fund?
Yes. However, you can spend up to 100% on approved ASME programs.

Q:  We have been told that ASME will not co-organize with government entities such as the FDA. Is this true?
No. ASME will co-sponsor conferences that are mutually beneficial.

Q:  If no new conference revenue is added to the custodial accounts, what source of funds would the Divisions and technical committees use to cover the cost of basic operations and special conference events, such as awards certificate, communication cost, newsletters, student lunches at the conference, etc.?
These items are covered by the Groups' segregated accounts.

Q:  Previously, a portion of staff salaries and benefits were paid out of some Groups’ segregated funds. Since these segregated funds will deplete or disappear over time, will those salaries and benefits now be paid from the general fund?
Yes, beginning this fiscal year (as of July 1, 2014), all staff-related costs will be paid out of the ASME general fund – not from a segregated account.

Q:  What kind of fund-raising incentives exist for Sections and Divisions?
Groups can continue to participate in approved fund-raising activities, which will be coordinated through the Foundation. In the coming months, the Foundation will be reaching out to Groups with a portfolio of activities that Groups can support and engage in.

Q:  Do the financial guidelines of ONE ASME apply to Divisions and Institutes only, or also to Technical Committees?
Also to Technical Committees.


Q:  How will Division bylaws be applied within ONE ASME?
In ONE ASME, there is one set of operating guidelines that apply to all Groups; all Group bylaws have been eliminated. 

Q:  If different Groups within a Segment have different interests, what are the mechanisms for resolving those differences?
A Group can align with more than one Segment. Each Segment has authority to decide what is in the best interest of ASME within that Segment.


Q:  Why is Merit-Based Funding being discontinued?
Under our reorganization, merit-based funding is being replaced with funding for future-facing activity proposals.

Q:  Can special funding requests be submitted for events that feature a presenter from the Speakers’ Bureau?
A:  The Speaker’s Bureau remains, but the funding program behind it has been sunset. Groups may request approval through GPS to use their segregated funds for a presenter from the Speakers’ Bureau.

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