For this installment of the SSAR leadership profiles, Student Participation Committee Member John Bellah interviewed Dr. Tiffany Doan, the current chair of the Nominations Committee.
The primary objective of the SSAR Nominating Committee is to identify and nominate enthusiastic candidates to stand for election to SSAR offices. Historically, SSAR officers are expected to be individuals who will work for the Society while in office.
Specifically, the Nominations Committee selects candidates to serve elected positions on the Board of Directors (BoD). The BoD consists of Officers (President, Treasurer, Secretary, Immediate Past President, President-elect, Publications Secretary), Directors (eight positions), and Editors. All, except Publications Secretary and Editors, are elected positions. The President who served prior to the current President is designated the Immediate Past President and the President-Elect assumes the role of President at the end of the current President’s two-year term. The Directors serve 4-year terms. The Director roles are staggered, meaning half of the Directors are replaced every 2 years. The Nominations Committee normally strives to have at least two people running for each office (except for Treasurer and Secretary, who generally run unopposed).
Activities throughout the year, including at the annual meeting
Most of the work for this committee occurs when officers’ terms are about to expire, every other year. Alternate years are considered off-years for the Nominations Committee unless a position opens unexpectedly. During the year leading up to the election (even years, e.g. 2020, 2022), the committee identifies individuals to serve elected positions on the BoD. Once candidates are identified and have agreed to run for office, their names are forwarded to the SSAR Secretary. The official ballot is presented to the BoD by the Nominations Committee Chair at the annual SSAR meeting. SSAR membership can then make additions to the ballot at the Board or Business meetings. Once the final ballot has been approved, voting begins no later than 1 month after the annual meeting.
Interactions with other SSAR committees and leaders
The Nominations Chair primarily interacts with the BoD when presenting the nominees at the annual SSAR meeting. The nominations Chair also works with the current SSAR President when selecting new members for the Nominations Committee.
Path to joining the Nominations Committee
The Nominations Committee is composed of five people who are all directly appointed by the current President, and who typically have served on other committees or in other roles. For example, Dr. Doan has served as the Nominations Committee Chair since 2017. Prior to this she was the chair of the Victor Hutchinson Award and Siebert Award committees, an editor for Journal of Herpetology, and a two-term Director.
Future of the committee
Overall, Dr. Doan does not see the committee changing very much in the future. In contrast with most other committees, the role of the Nominations Committee is specified in the SSAR constitution, so any changes would require changes to the constitution. The nominations committee strives for diversity and inclusivity when selecting candidates.
Members with ideas or suggestions for nominations are encouraged to contact Dr. Doan at (email@example.com).