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Governance Modernization Project

WHAT

Launched in April 2020, the purpose of the AAAS Governance Modernization Project is to answer the question:

What governance culture, processes, structures, and documents will provide the best framework for successful achievement of the AAAS mission in the coming years and match the reality of the way in which the modern organization is run?

This means ensuring a governance system in keeping with best association governance practices that:

  • Supports effective decision-making and oversight functions of the Board of Directors;
  • Aligns the work of the entire organization toward achieving mission, including the Board, Council, Sections, Divisions, and Committees; and
  • Enables appropriate community connections.

WHY NOW?

Over the 172 years of our existence, AAAS has flourished by adapting and evolving our governance, sustainability model, and programmatic priorities to the needs of the times while staying absolutely true to our mission of advancing science and serving society.  (That mission has never been more important than during this time of public health crisis.)

The last major rewrite of the organization’s governing documents was in the 1950s. Much has changed in how our members work, grow, and interact over the last 70 years. In parallel, AAAS has evolved, matured, and modernized over that time. The time-availability and expectations of member-leaders has changed.  Over time, the changes in the organization and the way in which members are able to interact with it have created mismatches among the governing documents, the day-to-day operations of the organization, and the long-term oversight and planning required to ensure the continued success and relevance of AAAS in achieving its mission.

With these and other mismatches in mind, and in response to the feedback of members and elected leaders across the organization over several years, the AAAS Board of Directors has initiated this Governance Modernization Project.  The project will be driven by a Working Group that is comprised of current and former leaders from across all areas of AAAS governance - including the Board of Directors, Council, Sections, Divisions, Committees, and others - and represents the diversity of scientific disciplines that makes AAAS so unique.  A complete list of the Working Group members can be found below.

In the weeks and months ahead, the Working Group will be collecting input from stakeholders across AAAS and beyond.  We invite all members who wish to provide written comments to send them by email to GovernanceModernization@aaas.org.  Please identify the AAAS Section(s) with which you are affiliated along with any comments. 

We endeavor to set the stage for an organization that can best serve its members and its mission for the next century.  We look forward to providing you, the members, with regular updates throughout this process. 

WHO

In conjunction with two highly experienced consultants who will help us drive this project, the Working Group will be the core strategic and operational body for this project.  Along with input from dozens of other stakeholders, the Working Group will deliberate and craft proposals for the next iteration of AAAS governance.

The Working Group includes members drawn from a broad range of governing perspectives and will consist of approximately 20 current and former representatives from across the AAAS governance structure, including the Board, Council, Sections, Divisions, Committees, and others:

 

WORKING GROUP MEMBERS

Claire M. Fraser, Ph.D. (Chair)
AAAS President; Chair, AAAS Council; former member, Electorate Nominating Committee, Section G (Biological Sciences)
Dean’s Endowed Professor and Director, Institute for Genome Sciences
University of Maryland School of Medicine
Baltimore, Maryland

Edward F. Aboufadel, Ph.D.
Former Secretary, Section A (Mathematics); former Chair, Subcommittee on Fellows
Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Professor of Mathematics
Grand Valley State University
Allendale, Michigan

Carolyn N. Ainslie
AAAS Treasurer
Chief Financial Officer
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Seattle, Washington

Susan G. Amara, Ph.D.
AAAS President-elect; Chair, AAAS Committee on Council Affairs
Scientific Director, Intramural Research Program
National Institute of Mental Health
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, Maryland

Cynthia M. Beall, Ph.D.
Member, AAAS Board of Directors; former Chair, former Member-at-Large, and former member, Electorate Nominating Committee, Section H (Anthropology)
University Distinguished Professor and Sarah Idell Pyle Professor of Anthropology 
Case Western Reserve University
Cleveland, Ohio

Andrew Black, J.D.
Chief of Staff and Chief External Affairs Officer
American Association for the Advancement of Science
Washington, D.C.

Rena N. D’Souza, D.D.S, M.S., Ph.D.
Chair, Section R (Dentistry and Oral Health Sciences)|
Assistant Vice President of Academic Affairs and Education, Health Sciences
Professor and Ole & Marty Jensen Chair
University of Utah School of Dentistry
Salt Lake City, Utah

Wambura Fobbs, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow, Psychology
American University
Washington, DC

Morton Ann Gernsbacher, Ph.D.
Chair, former Member-at-Large, and former member, Electorate Nominating Committee, Section J (Psychology)
Vilas Research Professor and Sir Frederic C. Bartlett Professor of Psychology
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Madison, Wisconsin

Melinda Gormley, Ph.D.
Secretary, Section L (History and Philosophy of Science)
Research Development Officer
School of Biological Sciences
University of California, Irvine
Irvine, California

Laura H. Greene, Ph.D.
Member, AAAS Board of Directors; former member, Electorate Nominating Committee, Section B (Physics)
Chief Scientist, National High Magnetic Field Laboratory
Krafft Professor of Physics
Florida State University
Tallahassee, Florida

Jay Labov, Ph.D.
Former Chair, former Member-at-Large, former Council Delegate, and former member, Electorate Nominating Committee, Section Q (Education); former member, Committee on Council Affairs
Senior Advisor (retired)
National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine
Washington, D.C.

Shirley M. Malcom, Ph.D.
Former member, Electorate Nominating Committee, Section Q (Education)
Senior Advisor
American Association for the Advancement of Science
Washington, D.C.

Holly M. Mayton, Ph.D.
Co-founder and Director of Membership
National Science Policy Network
Charlottesville, Virginia

Norine Noonan, Ph.D.
Secretary and former Chair, Section X (Societal Impacts of Science and Engineering); former Chair, former Member-at-Large, and former Council Delegate, Section Y (General Interest in Science and Engineering)
Professor Emerita of Biological Sciences
University of South Florida St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg, Florida

Kelly O’Brien
Director of Governance
American Association for the Advancement of Science
Washington, D.C.

Sudip Parikh, Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer
American Association for the Advancement of Science
Washington, D.C.

Muriel Poston, Ph.D., J.D.
Former Chair, Section Q (Education)
Professor of Environmental Analysis
Pitzer College
Claremont, California

William D. Provine, Ph.D.
Member, AAAS Board of Directors; former Member-at-Large, Section P (Industrial Science and Technology)
President and CEO
Delaware Innovation Space
Wilmington, Delaware

Juan S. Ramírez Lugo, Ph.D.
Former President, Caribbean Division
Assistant Professor of Biology
University of Puerto Rico
Río Piedras, Puerto Rico

Susan M. Rosenberg, Ph.D.
Former Council Delegate, Section G (Biological Sciences); former member, Committee on Council Affairs
Ben F. Love Chair in Cancer Research
Baylor College of Medicine
Houston, Texas

Leslie M. Schoop, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Princeton University
Princeton, New Jersey

Marwan Simaan, Ph.D., P.E.
Secretary, Section M (Engineering); former member, Subcommittee on Fellows
Florida 21st Century Chair
Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
University of Central Florida
Orlando, Florida

Vassiliki Betty Smocovitis, Ph.D.
Former Chair, former Council Delegate, and former member, Electorate Nominating Committee, Section L (History and Philosophy of Science); former member, Committee on Council Affairs; former member, Subcommittee on Fellows
Professor of the History of Science
University of Florida
Gainesville, Florida

Karen B. Strier, Ph.D.
Secretary, former Chair, and former Council Delegate, Section H (Anthropology)
Vilas Research Professor and Irven Devore Professor of Anthropology
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Madison, Wisconsin

JoAnn M. Valenti, Ph.D.
Council Delegate and former member, Electorate Nominating Committee, Section Y (General Interest in Science and Technology)
Professor Emerita of Communication
Brigham Young University
Tampa, Florida