Policy and Procedures

Extended Articles on Policies and Procedures

Timing and location of the ISA Annual Convention


ISA produces an annual convention typically between February and April of each year.


The Governing Council has delegated to the Executive Director the decision on the location of the annual convention, and contract negotiations with hotels over site selection. In turn, the executive director reports annually to the Governing Council on all future sites selected for the annual conference.

The executive director’s decision is guided by a combination of recent ISA Governing Council policy decisions, past practices, and a set of general principles in identifying the appropriate sites for ISA’s annual conference and those other conferences overseas for which ISA is a major participant and sponsor.

Site Selection:

The Governing Council has adopted a number of policies regarding site selection for the annual conference. These include:

  • Rotation of sites:

    ISA rotates its annual convention site in order to equalize travel costs and time demands for members. The rotation includes concerns about weather challenges during the winter months.

  • Urban settings:

    Meetings are to be held in large urban settings in order to guarantee quality transportation access to venues and to a variety of activities for members after program hours.

  • Choice of venue properties:

    Typically, the conference is created in a hotel setting rather than a convention center in order to reduce costs and create an atmosphere less impersonal than a convention center. The “convention hotel” then typically hosts nearly all the program activities of the annual program, and it provides typically the bulk of sleeping rooms contracted. Depending on the size of the hotel, overflow properties may be contracted within short walking distance of the hotel for additional sleeping rooms and program activities.

Note that the decisions to stay away from convention centers, coupled with the growing size of the convention, limits site selection.

Minimizing Costs

In combination with a variety of other objectives, sites are chosen to reduce costs to participants and the association. Typically, this is a function of negotiations with hotels over minimum occupancy, the specific dates of the conference, and costs for sleeping rooms. Whenever possible we contract with hotels only under the condition that they waive fees for the use of rooms for program activities, and for some basic audio visual services.

Non-discriminatory provisions:

ISA is committed to high standards of professional conduct and ethics in choosing a site, planning, conducting its meetings, and including protection of academic freedom, equitable access to opportunity, and a commitment to non-discrimination. We will meet in only those cities in North America and overseas where all of our members are welcome; and we will not meet in any city with known discrimination practices against any groups of its citizens. In order to protect the association from unknown actions between the time of signing of contracts and future actions of state or local governments, we include the following language in all new contracts: "ISA reserves the right of termination of this agreement, without penalty or liability, if the various political entities governing location in which the conference is located establish or enforce laws that, in the estimation of ISA, abridge the civil rights of any ISA member on the basis of citizenship, color, gender, gender identity, marital status, national origin, physical ability, race, religion, or sexual orientation. Such discrimination is antithetical to the spirit and purpose of this organization."

1. These policies were adopted by the ISA Governing Council, at its annual meeting, February, 2009, and takes effect for new contracts. We gratefully acknowledge Michael Brintnall and APSA’s work on a similar document which has helped greatly the evolution of this policy for ISA. The policies were amended by the ISA Governing Council at its annual meeting, February, 2017.
2. We avoid convention centers for two reasons: extraordinary expenses charged by convention centers and the perceived impersonal nature of the facilities.