In 2019, President Cameron Thies constituted an Ad Hoc Committee on Constitutional Revision with the following charge: “This committee is charged with updating the ISA Constitution to reflect current practice and deal with previously unanticipated eventualities.” Since the ISA constitution was written, we have seen significant changes in the association; it has become considerably larger and considerably more diverse. As a result, it has many more component units (sections, caucuses, and regions), more journals, more meetings, and a much larger budget. It seemed prudent to consider whether governance changes were appropriate. Our committee met monthly via zoom, and most importantly, in a full day retreat in December, 2019. We examined considerable data from peer associations, especially regarding leadership selection procedures. Based on our discussions, we developed a draft of a new constitution that we presented to the Governing Council at its virtual meeting in April, 2020. We received feedback from the GC and embarked on a year of extensive consultation with individuals and groups within ISA. This resulted in a revised draft that was passed by the Governing Council in March, 2021 and will be submitted to the full membership for a vote.
The committee started with the following goals:
- Create a constitution that allows for efficient governance that is also representative and accountable.
- Modernize the constitution to reflect current practice and norms.
The most consequential proposed changes do three things:
- Require competitive elections for leadership positions.
- Change procedures for selecting members of the Executive Committee and the Nominating Committee to allow the Governing Council (composed of representatives of the Sections, Caucuses, and Regions) a greater role.
- Better specify the roles of the Executive Committee and the Governing Council, charging the Executive Committee with “primary responsibility for oversight on financial, personnel, and contractual matters for the Association” and the Governing Council with “responsibility for setting long term strategic goals for the association and providing oversight”.