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2021 ESA Governance Redesign: Proposed Council Structure and Purpose

The ESA Council’s role in the Society is primarily consultative as outlined in the current bylaws. Council members report on the work of their constituent groups and are tasked with approving member petitions (e.g., to create a new section, change the Bylaws, etc.). The Council membership includes:

  • 32 Section chairs
  • 6 Chapter chairs
  • 8 standing committees chairs
  • 11 Governing Board members (including those who also serve as committee chairs)
  • 6 Editors-in-Chief of the journals

The current Council structure is cumbersome. It is a large group that meets only once a year, and it gives some Society leaders multiple opportunities for influence (at the committee and Governing Board levels) while others have very limited engagement.

The proposed reforms for the Council are meant to make it a more active, representative, advisory body and to better incorporate membership groups into strategic thinking and planning. In addition, these changes support a more robust professional development pipeline by creating more leadership positions. The proposed reforms to Council are designed to be accomplished in concert with the proposed reforms to the Governing Board and committees.

A diagram of the current and proposed compositions of the ESA Council. The current Council includes all of the section and chapter chairs, the editors in chief, the Governing Board and the committee chairs; the proposed would include only the section and chapter chairs, who elect a speaker (-elect, current and past) to lead from among them

A diagram of the current and proposed compositions of the ESA Council

Recommendation 4. Redefine the purpose and structure of Council.

The Governance Subcommittee has proposed that:

  • Council be streamlined to include a single representative from each Section and Chapter, plus the ESA President and Secretary. This would give Sections and Chapters a louder voice in the Council and maintain open communication between the Council and Governing Board.
  • Each Council member serve a two-year term to ensure continuity on the Council.
  • A new position be created, Speaker of the Council, to chair the Council and serve ex-officio on the Governing Board. This position would be structured as a three-year term—Speaker-Elect, Speaker, Past Speaker.

A Council Leadership Team be established to coordinate the work of the Council, nominate candidates for Speaker, and bring business matters to the Council. It would consist of the three Speakers, ESA President, and ESA Secretary.