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Nominating Committee: Guiding Values for Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

The Council

Council members are BSA’s future leaders: members of the Council gain an understanding of the full picture of the organization. As a body, the Council is responsible for governing the Society in accordance with our mission and values. Duties related to governance include:

  • setting strategic priorities for the short- and medium-term,
  • planning for the future,
  • approving the annual budget,
  • fundraising.

Council members have a fiduciary responsibility to the Society, requiring all Council members to be attentive to matters such as budgeting, compliance, and state and federal tax reporting. In short, Council members should be willing to participate by exercising reasonable care in all decision making, and ensuring BSA activities do not place the organization under unnecessary financial, legal, or other risks.

The general management of the BSA is the responsibility of the Executive Director, who works in collaboration with Officers, Committee Chairs and volunteers to execute programmatic initiatives.

Council Classes

The Council consists of 12 Council members and 4 Officers. Council members serve in three-year terms in groups known as “Classes.” Just like a high school group of graduating seniors is described as the “Class of [graduation year]”, the BSA describes groups of Council members who are elected as part of the same slate as the Class of [Year]. The year is defined by the year in which their term expires; terms always expire in January on the day after the Society’s Annual Meeting. For example:

Someone elected for their first term in January 2020 will thus be a member of the Council Class of 2023, because they will rotate off of the Council or stand for reelection in 2023. If they serve a second term, they would do so as a member of the Council Class of 2026.

Officers & Their Recruitment

Professional compatibility with the Executive Director is a key quality for a potential Officer. The Executive Director attends Nominating Committee meetings at the discretion of the Chair, however, it is advisable to consult with them as early in the process as possible.

Previous Council experience sets Officers up for success, giving them the experience they need to lead the organization and its multi-faceted and interlocking programs. While nominated Officers need not have served as a member of a BSA Council Class in the past, it is preferred; at a minimum, they should have experience with Committee service.

Officers are elected for two-year terms, renewable once.

What Does Active Council Participation Look Like?

A balanced and effective Council depends upon the complementary resources of individual members who are active contributors as leaders of the Society. In the Council orientation packet, we describe these types of contributions as “work, wisdom, and wealth” and we ask each Council member to contribute at least two of these things.

Members of the Nominating Committee are encouraged to seek out people with leadership skills, experience, and/or demonstrated potential as new members of the Council. Council members and Officers are leaders; our By Laws necessitate that the Chairs of the Investments and Publications Committees be members of the Council. Leadership skills that are especially valuable to the BSA Community include:

  • project management skills
  • strong communication skills
  • the ability to share information, organize tasks, delegate responsibilities, and support collaborative partners
  • a demonstrated commitment to equity
  • financial management knowledge and experience

Involving Members of the Current Council in Identifying Nominees

Nominating Committee members should speak with current Council members to help build up the Committee’s list of candidates. An active Council is a community. Current Council members may be well equipped to identify individuals in their network with whom they would be pleased to collaborate and who may be candidates for leadership roles as Officers in the future. Members of the Nominating Committee are especially encouraged to seek nominations from members of the Council who come from under-represented groups.

Council members consulted must be made aware of the fact that a recommendation does not guarantee a nomination and other considerations must be weighed in assembling the slate. 

Equity Action Plan: Seeding the Council with Future Leaders

The BSA has established professional and disciplinary diversity, and we seek to build on this existing strength with meaningful leadership opportunities for members of “under-represented groups” as defined in the EAP. As the governing body of the Society, the Council is the ultimate authority within the organization. For this reason, it is crucial to empower members of under-represented groups through Council appointments: these roles empower them to have a say in creating and sustaining programs that meet their needs and the needs of the broader community in ways that are sustainable, equitable, and inclusive.

Other types of diversity that we value include:

  • Expertise in broad chronological periods and genres of textual and visual artifacts
  • Professional Diversity:
    • Academic faculty across the humanities
    • Independent scholars & private collectors working in other fields/industries
    • Librarians and Curators
    • Conservators, Bookbinders, Book artists
    • Booksellers (including auction house staff)
  • Geographical diversity representative of scholarly institutions and professional communities across the United States and abroad (when feasible)

To facilitate a better understanding of the Society’s EAP and our commitments, the Nominating Committee is required to review the Principles of Equity & Inclusion in Bibliography and Goals for the EAP.