January 2014

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January 2014

The Last Word:

The Election Process

Thinking of becoming more involved in the leadership of USITT? Ever wondered about USITT’s nominations process? Here are a few questions answered by Sherry Wagner-Henry, the Institute’s current Secretary.

Results of the 2014 election cycle are here…and the process of nominating those who might want to run for office in the next cycle starts now.

Who is in charge of nominations? The Secretary of the Institute chairs the Nominations Committee. The committee is made up of representatives from different membership categories: Regional Sections, Commissions, Membership Committee, Conference Committee, and members of the Board. This helps ensure the widest possible representation of the Institute to obtain applications for nomination.

How does someone get on the committee? All members are appointed to serve on the committee by virtue of their affiliation with the listed groups. For instance, the President and the board appoint the board member representatives to Nominations: the VP of Members, Sections and Chapters appoints the Membership Committee representative; and so forth.

Why are meetings closed? For confidentiality purposes. Until a ballot of candidates can be selected and they confirm their willingness to be on the ballot, the Committee cannot have an open meeting format.

What does a Board Member do? Board Members are the volunteer leadership of the Institute. They help develop and implement policy and procedure around a whole host of operations, including education programming and conference activity. They also serve on committees to advance new leadership potential (Nominations), manage finances (Finance), select and oversee publications of members (Publications), support research (Grants & Fellowships), determine levels of membership and categories of membership (Membership), and help cultivate philanthropy by supporting the Institute with both their expertise and through financial gifts. They also act as ambassadors of the organization, helping to spread the good work of the Institute to students and professionals in the industry.

Who do we get to elect? Elections are held each winter for open roles as Officers and Directors for the Institute. Presently, the positions of President-Elect, Secretary, Treasurer, and Vice-Presidents of Conferences, Commissions, Members/Sections and Chapters, Communications, Special Operations, Programming and International Activities are open for election. In addition to officers, members also elect a class of six board of directors for three-year terms, so there are always 18 Directors with the Officers as part of the Board.

Why is it called a “slate”? Nominations are made for all the available positions each year. The Nominations Committee evaluates these applications on behalf of the membership and creates a slate or ballot from which the membership chooses qualified applicants.

What if I want to run? How do I get nominated? Members can be nominated by a member in good standing or they can nominate themselves. The nomination form/application can be found on the USITT website under “About Us” and the “Election Process.” Nominations for 2015 are open now and will be accepting applications until March 1. Application guidelines, an online application form, along with a more detailed board member information sheet, can all be found on the site as well.

What if I did not get nominated but still want to run? USITT has a petition to nomination process, which allows anyone to submit an application after the ballot has been established. For details on petition to nomination, visit the webpage and click on the guidelines.

Why is voting online? Who can see how I voted? Voting is conducted online October through December. This results in a new class of board members and officers who are installed the following July 1. Online voting has expedited the process greatly; and it provides members with detailed bio information on the candidates allowing for an informed decision. No one can see how anyone voted. Votes are tallied electronically, and a final report is presented to the Secretary for verification. Election results are announced in January. Confusion often results because the Institute holds elections for one class while it is collecting nominations and applications for the following cycle. For instance, we have just announced out incoming board class of 2014, and we are simultaneously nominating folks for the 2015 cycle, which will be slated at the 2014 Annual Conference and Stage Expo.