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ASA at 175 – The Board of Directors (Overview)

By Ronald Wasserstein posted 04-01-2014 15:01


The ASA Board of Directors meets this week, as it does four times per year.  I will blog this week about the Board meeting, with the purpose of bringing you closer to the group of volunteer leaders who serve the membership with great dedication, and with no small amount of sacrifice, and to help you understand the roles in which they serve.

I'll make no bones about the secondary purpose of this week's blogs as well:  If you haven't voted in the on-going ASA election, and weren't planning to, I hope to convince you that the ASA's leadership is important to the association.  I hope you'll respond by exercising your privilege to vote for your future leadership.

The Board consists of 16 members, 14 of whom are elected by the membership.  Current Board members, and their associated position on the Board, are as follows:

  • Nathaniel Schenker, President
  • David Morganstein, President-elect
  • Marie Davidian, Past President
  • Martha Gardner, Vice President
  • Jim Rosenberger, Vice President
  • Jeri Mulrow, Vice President
  • Janet Buckingham, Council of Sections Representative
  • Richard De Veaux, Council of Sections Representative
  • Cynthia Long, Council of Sections Representative
  • Nick Horton, Council of Chapters Representative
  • Mary Kwasny, Council of Chapters Representative
  • Dan Jeske, Council of Chapters Representative
  • David Banks, Publications Representative
  • Ming-Yen Cheng, International Representative
  • Mingxiu Hu, Treasurer
  • Ron Wasserstein, Executive Director

Mingxiu and I are the appointed members, and while we have essential roles on the Board, we do not vote.  The elected representatives cast the votes and make the policy decisions for the ASA.

Board members serve three year terms, so they attend a total of 13 Board meetings during the course of their terms.  The extra meeting is their first one, when they come to the last Board meeting of the year prior to their taking office.  This meeting serves as an orientation opportunity for new Board members.

Three of the four Board meetings are two days long (always a Friday/Saturday meeting), and the fourth, with focuses specifically on the ASA budget, is a one day (Friday) meeting.  Three of the meetings are at the ASA HQ in Alexandria, VA, and the fourth is the Friday and Saturday immediately prior to JSM.

Attending meetings, however, is by no means the only responsibility or time commitment required of Board members.  As I write, for example, Board members are carefully reading through the "Board Book," a document that (in this case) is over 250 pages long.  The Board Book contains all of the material, or links to the material, with which the Board member must be familiar prior to the meeting.  It contains the details of proposed actions, outlines and context for expected discussions, and information of importance to the body responsible for guiding the largest statistical society in the world, the "Big Tent for Statistics."

Between meetings, Board members respond to requests for various kinds of information or serve on ad hoc committees to provide direction to the full Board.  Six members of the Board (the three presidents, the third-year Vice President, the treasurer, and the executive director) serve as the Executive Committee, and meet each month by conference call to provide for the governance needs of the ASA between meetings of the Board.

Serving on the Board indeed requires a significant commitment, and a sacrifice of time as well, since these Board members have important "day jobs" that require their attention.  Some Board members have to use personal leave to be able to participate in Board meetings.

Over the course of the coming week, I'll fill you in on what the Board is doing in the run-up to and at its April 4-5, 2014, meeting.  You will see how important their work is to our association, and how committed they are to it.

I urge you to follow this blog this week, and I strongly encourage you to cast your vote in the ASA elections, particularly for the Board of Directors positions that are up for election.

In 2014, the American Statistical Association is celebrating its 175th anniversary.  Over the course of this year, this blog will highlight aspects of that celebration, and look broadly at the ASA and its activities.  Please contact ASA Executive Director Ron Wasserstein ( if you would like to post an entry to this blog.