Latest updates (board roles) February 2020

Applied Geography Specialty Group Bylaws

Article I            Name and Purpose

The name of this organization will be the Applied Geography Specialty Group of the American Association of Geographers.  Applied geography broadly refers to research that uses approaches and concepts from geography (human, physical, nature-society and/or GIScience) to solve real-world problems that have a spatial dimension. Hereafter, the specialty group will be referred to as the AGSG and the American Association of Geographers as the AAG. The objectives of the AGSG will be 1) to increase awareness about applied geography and applied geographic approaches used in government, academia, the private sector and beyond, 2) to promote and facilitate communication and knowledge-sharing among AGSG members, and 3) to promote and recognize individual excellence in applied geographic research. 

Article II           Membership

The AGSG has two categories of membership: regular members and student members. Both regular and student members are AAG members in good standing who have notified the AAG of their desire to be AGSG members subject to the rules of the AAG regarding specialty group membership. Membership in the AGSG by regular members is on an annual basis concurrent with AAG membership. Annual dues for regular and student members are established by the Board of Directors. Any member of the AGSG may hold office if duly elected or appointed according to the requirements of Article IV below. 

Article III          Board of Directors

The AGSG is administered by a seven-member Board of Directors (hereafter referred to as the Board) consisting of the following: a chairperson, a vice-chairperson (also known as the chairperson-elect), a past chairperson, a secretary, treasurer, and two student representatives. All Board members must be members in good standing of the AGSG. No Board member may hold more than one elected position at any given time. Chairpersons of standing committees (article VIII) shall also serve as ad hoc, non-voting Board members (standing committee chairs who are also regular voting members of the Board may still vote).

The Board will exercise general supervision over the affairs of the AGSG, legislating policies as seen proper to the interest of the AGSG. The Board will perform its duties and abide by the limitations specified in these Bylaws and specified by the AAG Council. The Board will meet, either virtually or in-person, at least once per year before the annual business meeting of the AGSG, and the Board will make a full report of its actions to the AGSG members at the annual business meeting. Actions of the Board are subject to approval by a majority of the AGSG members voting by email or digital ballot/survey, or in-person at the annual meeting. A special ballot regarding a Board action may be requested by a majority of the AGSG members present and voting at a business meeting or by a petition signed by at least 25 AGSG members. 

Article IV         Duties of Board Members and Committee Chairs

The chairperson is to preside at all meetings of the AGSG and the Board, to be an ex officio member of all AGSG committees and task forces, to convey information about the views of the AGSG and the Board to the AAG Council, and to perform all duties inherent in the office and as directed by the Board. Duties include facilitating the creation of newsletters, submitting annual reports, developing agendas for meetings, publicizing events and announcements through community discussion boards, updating the website (with secretary) and attending the chairs’ meeting at the annual meeting to keep membership updated on AAG happenings.

The vice-chairperson assumes the duties of the chair in his or her absence, facilitates the election of officers, coordinates, with the secretary, planning for Annual Meeting activities (such as the Anderson Medal of Honor Distinguished Speaker), and performs other duties as requested by the chairperson. Duties include facilitating creation of newsletters (with chair), and identifying sessions for AGSG sponsorship.

The past-chairperson serves as a source of advice and guidance for the incoming Board, and shall work with the incoming chairperson and vice-chairperson to facilitate a smooth transition of roles. 

The secretary organizes and takes minutes for any meetings and reports on past meeting minutes, working with the chair to create agendas. The secretary may also take on a number of administrative duties to support the board, including (but not limited to) event-planning, room booking, document organization and archiving.

The treasurer works with the AAG Membership Director to remain aware of the financial and budgetary matters of AGSG. As such, the treasurer advises members on financial matters, including (but not limited to), award amounts, membership dues, and event budgets. The treasurer also works with the chair to create annual reports, and works closely with the vice chair to plan events to ensure their financial soundness.

Student representatives report to the Board on student AGSG members’ concerns and achievements. Student representatives attend Board meetings as voting members, encourage student participation in AGSG, and perform other duties as requested by the Board. Duties include creating content for the website as needed, leading social media strategies and outreach, and reaching out to student membership to assess student perspectives and needs.

Committee chairs serving as ad hoc, non-voting Board members shall regularly communicate with the Board about committee concerns, progress and achievements, and are expected to attend any Board meetings, virtually or in-person. The Awards Committee chair will create and distribute calls for annual award applications, and lead the review of submissions with Award Committee members in order to make recommendations to the chair. The Anderson Medal Chair will orchestrate Anderson Medal Reviews and lead the recommendation process (see Article IX)

Article V          Term Limits of Board Members

All Board members will serve a three-year term of office, commencing at the end of the AAG Annual Meeting at which they were elected. Board members may serve for up to two consecutive terms, if elected to do so. Elections will be announced in the newsletter during election years.

Article VI          Election of Board Members

Nominations for Board positions will be accepted from members in good standing either by the chair, vice chair or secretary of AGSG on or after the February 1 preceding the AAG annual meeting. A call for nominations will be sent out via the AGSG community message board and any other means deemed appropriate by the standing Board. Such nominations should include, at a minimum, the name, affiliation of the nominee, the position for which s/he is being nominated, and a brief statement about the nominee’s suitability for the role. If nominating a person other than oneself, there should also be an indication that the nominee has been consulted and is willing to stand. Offices will be filled either by email/digital ballot or by voice vote at the AAG Annual Meeting, unless secret ballot is requested by at least 10% of the members present at the meeting. If the vote takes place in-person at the annual meeting, additional nominations will be accepted from the floor given that the nominee is present and willing to stand. All positions will be filled by the person receiving a plurality of votes cast. The secretary will inform the Board of the results of the election by the business meeting held at the AAG annual meeting. New Board members will assume their positions at the end of the annual business meeting. 

Article VII         Business Meeting

 The annual business meeting of the AGSG will be held during the AAG Annual Meeting at the site of the AAG Annual Meeting. AGSG members will be notified of the time and place of the annual business meeting in the AAG Annual Meeting program. Among items to be covered at the annual business meeting are the announcement and approval of the agenda, approval of the minutes of the previous business meeting, announcement of the names of the new Board members and committee members, a financial report from the treasurer, and a report of the board actions and general AGSG activities by the chairperson.

 Other meetings may be called as appropriate and feasible by action of the Board.

A quorum shall consist of those members present and voting at the annual business meeting of the group and at any other properly called meeting of the group.

Article VIII         Committees

The AGSG will have two standing committees: an Awards Committee and the James R. Anderson Medal of Honor Committee. The Awards Committee is responsible for selecting the recipients for AGSG Awards and assessing and providing comment to the Board on the value and desirability of existing and proposed award programs. Members of the Awards Committee will serve one-year terms with a limit of three consecutive terms. Members of the Awards committee may apply for awards for which they would like to be considered, however they shall recuse themselves from voting on matters regarding those awards for which they’ve applied. The James R. Anderson Medal of Honor Committee screens nominees and selects the recipients of this award. The award is made annually to an individual or individuals in recognition of highly distinguished service to the applied geography profession. The composition and duties of the James R. Anderson Medal of Honor Committee are described in Article IX of these bylaws.

 Other committees and task forces of the AGSG may be established by the Board, as needed. Members of all committees and task forces are responsible for reporting to the Board at a time designated by the Board.

Members of the Awards Committee will serve one-year terms, with a limit of three consecutive terms. Chairs of any AGSG committees, either standing or ad-hoc, shall be appointed by the Board. With the exception of the James R. Anderson Medal of Honor Committee, committee members shall be determined by the Board, as will the number of members on any committee.

Article IX    James R. Anderson Medal of Honor Committee

The James R. Anderson Medal of Honor (Anderson Medal) winner is selected by the AGSG, guided by the Anderson Medal Committee. Because the award is granted by the AAG, it is a unique and distinguished honor. Anderson Medal winners are “game-changers” in the field, and the selection of winners is based on the person or institution’s contributions to shifting the status quo rather than the amount of quality work that the person or institution has produced.

Anderson Medal candidates must be nominated by AGSG specialty group members, yet the nominee is neither required to be an AGSG or AAG member. The award can be granted to institutions/organizations as well as individuals. While more than one Anderson Medal Award may be granted in a given year, it is rare. There are five steps in the Anderson Medal process:

: A nominator shall compile, and send to the AGSG Anderson Medal representative, an application package containing the following:

  1. Letter of Nomination
  2. Candidate’s CV
  3. Candidate’s Bibliography (can be co-written by nominator and candidate)
  4. Letters of recommendation (Minimum of 3 maximum 5) 

STEP 2: The application package is sent (by AAG) to the chair of Anderson committee. 

STEP 3: The Anderson Committee chair recruits and selects a jury of 5-7 past Anderson Medal winners. Based on the application package, each jury member gives a vote of YES or NO, based on their view of whether the applicant meets the rigorous standard of an Anderson Medal winner.

STEP 4: Completed application packets for the nominees who received majority YES votes from the jury are then sent to the Anderson Medal Committee and the AGSG Board by the Anderson Committee Chair. The Anderson Committee and board members then hold a second vote to determine which applicants are awarded. Nominators and/or nominees who are on the jury, committee or board must recuse themselves from voting, at any stage.

STEP 5: Once the votes are taken, the Anderson Committee Chair presents the final applicant(s) to the AGSG Board Chair, who has final say to pass on winners to the AAG. The Anderson Medal winner gives a distinguished lecture at the Annual Meeting.

The James R. Anderson Medal of Honor Committee Chair is appointed by the previous Anderson Committee Chair, and must be a past Anderson Award winner, and current member of the AGSG in good standing. The Anderson Committee Chair shall serve a three year term, with a limit of 3 consecutive terms. Both the jury and committee members are recruited and appointed by the Anderson Committee Chair, with final approval from the Board. Both jury and committee members must be past Anderson Award Winners. Since this limits the pool of potential Anderson Committee members, Anderson committee members shall serve two-year staggered terms, with a limit of four consecutive terms.

Article X          Annual Report

With support from the Board, the chairperson will submit an annual report to the AAG Council on the activities of the AGSG when requested by the Membership Director  each year. The report should specify the objectives of the AGSG, its program for activities, and an accounting of funds expended.

Article XI           Newsletter

The AGSG will publish and distribute a newsletter to members at least two times each year. The newsletter will include announcements and descriptions of AGSG activities, affairs, and it will include notice of activities, programs, publications, policies, employment opportunities, and other matters of interest to AGSG members. The newsletter editor will be appointed each year by the Board and can serve consecutive terms.

Article XII          Ratification and Amendment of Bylaws

These Bylaws will take effect immediately after their approval by at least 60% of all AGSG members voting by email or digital survey/ballot. Amendment of these Bylaws may be formally proposed by a majority vote of the Board or by a petition signed by at least 25 AGSG members. Final approval of any amendment must be by a positive vote of at least 60% of the AGSG members who vote.

Article XIII         Dissolution of the AGSG

If the AGSG is dissolved, any funds will be remanded to the AAG.