In 1963, the Senate of Scientists was established by the scientific research staff of the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) to address their professional concerns. Modeled on faculty senates in universities, the Senate was structured to function as a source of collective opinion outside normal administrative channels. The Senate is managed by a council consisting of a chairman, chairman-elect, secretary, and one councilor elected by each curatorial department. Full membership in the Senate is restricted to scientists employed by NMNH, but associate membership is extended to research associates of the Museum and to scientists located in NMNH but employed by other government agencies. Significant issues addressed by the Senate have included issues of Smithsonian governance, library service, parking policies, off-mall storage and curatorial facilities, technical assistance, automated data processing facilities, funding for systematics research, and publications policies. In addition, the Senate has served as a stimulus to collegiality within NMNH, through its publications, seminars, teas, and dinner forums.
Chairmen of the Senate of Scientists have included Gordon D. Gibson, 1963-1964; Richard S. Boardman, 1964-1965, 1978-1979; W. Donald Duckworth, 1965-1966; Roy S. Clarke, Jr., 1966-1967; Francis M. Hueber, 1967-1968; Clifford Evans, Jr., 1968-1970; Martin A. Buzas, 1970-1971; Clyde F. E. Roper, 1971-1972; Thomas R. Waller, 1972-1973; W. Duane Hope, 1973-1974; Erle G. Kauffman, 1974-1975; Donald J. Ortner, 1975-1976; Richard H. Eyde, 1976-1977; Meredith L. Jones, 1977-1978; Jack Warren Pierce, 1979-1980; Herman J. Viola, 1980-1981; W. Ronald Heyer, 1981-1982; David L. Pawson, 1982-1983; William G. Melson, 1983-1984; Richard W. Thorington, 1984-1985; George R. Zug, 1985-1986; Raymond B. Manning, 1986-1987; Martin A. Buzas, 1987-1988; Brian Frederick Kensley, 1988-1989; Paul Michael Taylor, 1990-1991; V. A. Funk, 1991-1992; James N. Norris, 1992-1993; Wayne N. Mathis, 1993-1994; Scott L. Wing, 1994-1995; Conrad Labandeira, 1995-1996; Sorena S. Sorensen, 1996-1997; Melinda A. Zeder, 1997-1998; Paula T. DePriest, 1998-1999; M. G. Harasewych, 1999-2000; and William W. Fitzhugh, 2000- .
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Agency History. Record 229405