Section Chair

Reference point: You are chair in year n

This table includes regular deadlines and tasks for the chair, plus some information about what was done in the most recent year or years. It does not include special initiatives that the section may undertake in a specific year.



March of Year n-2

ASA elections are held in March and results are available in June. You have been elected in March of Year n-2 to serve as chair in year n. You will be chair-elect in Year n-1.

August of Year n-2

Having been elected to chair the section in Year n, you are the chair-elect-elect in August of Year n-2. You should attend functions at JSM in that capacity. Although you are not formally a member of the section’s executive committee at JSM in year n-2, you are welcomed and encouraged to participate in the section’s executive committee meeting in year n-2 at the JSM and any other section activities that are appropriate.

 September of Year n-2 Appoint the program chair-elect. This person will be responsible for the program at the year n JSM. 

January of Year n-1

You are now chair-elect of the section. You are a member of the executive committee.

August of Year n-1

You should attend the section's committee meetings at the JSM (executive committee, general business meeting, and others) as the chair-elect.

September of Year n-1

The ASA wants a final version of the budget by the end of September. You are in charge of this. You should work with the section Secretary/Treasurer to submit one.

December of Year n-1

  • The current chair should have sent you materials pertaining to the section's business.
  • You should work with the current chair to review the section’s email listserve. Make sure it is up to date for Year n. This will probably involve deleting some names and adding others.

January of Year n

You are now chair of the section. Your first order of business should be an email note to the executive committee welcoming them to the new year for the section. Do this as soon after January 1 as possible. Specifically ask them for a response by a certain date, in order to make sure they are all connected properly. Include a list of section officers and their contact information, and ask for corrections. Telephone any non-respondents. Perhaps their email address is not correct.

March of Year n

  • ASA should be sending out forms for you to request time slots for the executive committee and business meetings at JSM. In 1999 these were Sunday 6:30 to 9:00 pm (executive committee - dinner) and Tuesday 5:30 to 7:30 pm (soft drinks and snacks). The attendance at the 1999 business meeting was about 65 and the meal count for the executive committee meeting was 18. In 1999 several section members asked that we request a time for the business meeting that did not conflict with the business meetings of other sections to which a large number of our section members also belonged. ASA agreed to provide a membership summary in order to discover which sections these would be. Make sure you specify that you’d like an overhead projector in these meeting rooms (any other audiovisual aids should be requested at this time also).
  • Nominations for ASA Fellows are due.
  • Contact the section representatives (and/or others as you designate) and ask them to prepare publicity materials for the JSM meetings, and also to arrange for incentives (such as door prizes) to attend the general business meeting. A one-page handout on the section is requested by the Council on sections for their booth at JSM. It is also good to advertise the general business meeting in various ways. In 1999 these activities were done by the ad hoc Committee on Membership.

April of Year n

  • Respond to paperwork from ASA concerning publication of proceedings. Note that the consulting section has been publishing jointly with the sections on education and teaching in the health sciences. In 1999 at the JSM Council of sections meeting the decision was made to publish the section’s proceedings electronically. The Publications Officer was designated as the person who would work with an ASA committee for these electronic proceedings.
  • If you’d like the section to sponsor a continuing education activity in JSM n+1, now is a good time to think about it. ASA has materials that will help someone put a proposal together. There is a deadline for these proposals in September.

June of Year n

  • Submit to ASA the name(s), home address(es) and social security number(s) for the person(s) who won the section’s travel award(s) for organizing a topic contributed paper session. This is done in cooperation with the secretary/treasurer. ASA will prepare a check and a plaque.
  • ASA will announce the results of the election for section officers. Contact the newly elected officers and congratulate them. Invite them to attend the JSM executive committee meeting. Strictly speaking they are not voting members of the executive committee yet but there is a strong benefit to the continuity of the section to get them involved as soon as possible. Add them to the executive committee email listserve. Announce the results of the election to the executive committee. Add the new officers to your directory of officers. Contact the members who were nominated but did not win. Thank them for agreeing to run for office, inquire about their continued interest in other opportunities, ask for their input.
  • Begin to identify the committee meetings at JSM to which the section should send representatives. Begin to contact section officers and other members and make sure all these meetings are covered. In 1999, these were: Council of Sections meeting on Sunday for section chairs and council of sections reps, CoS briefing meeting for chairs and treasurers on Sunday, section executive committee meeting, section business meeting, meeting for publications officers and newsletter editors, meeting for program chairs for n+1 JSM, meeting for program chairs for n+2 JSM, and CoS debriefing meeting for council of section reps on Thursday.

July of Year n

  • The count of the number of meals and any special menu requests for the executive committee dinner meeting is due in to ASA. Contact the executive committee and obtain their feedback.
  • Prepare agendas for the executive committee and business meetings. Circulate them to the executive committee with time for feedback; circulate the final version to the executive committee before the ASA meeting. As needed, ask officers and other members for reports to be presented at these meetings and sent to the secretary/treasurer for inclusion in the minutes.
  • Make sure that the one-page summary of information about the section has been sent to the appropriate staff person at ASA. This staff person will make sure that it is duplicated and set out at the information booth.
  • Make the final arrangements for publicity for the section’s business meeting. This can include a flyer posted at various places at the JSM meetings, a notice on the section’s web site, and so forth. In 1999 this was done by the ad hoc membership committee.
  • Check with the secretary/treasurer that minutes from year n-1 executive committee and business meetings will be available at the meetings this year.
  • You may want to schedule a breakfast meeting with the section chairs (past, present, -elect, and –elect-elect) to discuss long-term plans. This can be done on Wednesday or Thursday of the JSM.
  • Continue to make sure that committee meetings at JSM are being attended by representatives of the section.

August of Year n: Before the JSM

In 1999, ASA emailed section chairs shortly before JSM announcing deadlines in September concerning changes in section dues, in the section charter, and in the handbook to section officers.

August of Year n: During the JSM

  • Pick up the plaque(s) and check(s) for Travel Award winner(s) from the Council of Sections headquarters at the JSM (ASA should email you telling you where this is and when they are open).
  • Chair the executive committee and business meetings.
  • Attend or send a representative to the Council on Sections business meetings. Typically these have been on Sunday and Thursday.
  • Attend or send representatives to attend other committee meetings during JSM where the section’s attendance is requested.
  • Make sure that someone will be summarizing these meetings for the section (especially items pertaining to the section).

August of Year n: After the JSM

  • Begin to follow up on action items from the committee meetings.
  • Make sure that the minutes of these meetings are circulated to the executive committee. Once approved, they should be posted on the Web.
  • Ask people who attended committee meetings at JSM as representatives of the section to send in a summary. This should be circulated to the executive committee and retained by the secretary/treasurer.

September of Year n

  • Travel Award competition for year n+1 JSM applications are due in to Program Chair.
  • In 1999, there were deadlines in September from ASA concerning changes in section dues, changes in the section charter, and changes in the handbook to section officers.

October of Year n

Proposals for Continuing Education (CE) courses at the year n+1 JSM are due. Note the section receives half of the difference between fees and expenses; expenses include direct costs plus 48% overhead. Note that the difference can be negative, in which case the section has a loss.

November of Year n


Review and update the time and tasks documents that are maintained by the section, with input from officers and others involved most recently in the processes. Be sure these are all passed on to the chair-elect.

December of Year n

  • Organize section materials to transfer to the chair-elect and other officers.
  • Work with the chair-elect to update the executive committee email listserve for the next year.
  • Contact outgoing officers and thank them for their service to the section.

January of Year n+1

You are now past chair. You are also now chair of the nominating committee. You need to find one member to serve a three-year term on this committee. For more details about the activities of this committee, see the nominating committee time and task list.

February of Year n+1

The section’s annual report is due. This is a one-page document to be completed on a form supplied by ASA.

May or June of Year n+1

Activate the nominating committee and begin searching for candidates. See the nominating time and task list for more details.

August of Year n+1

Attend the section executive committee meetings and general business meeting at the JSM in your role as past chair.

September of Year n+1

Nominations for section positions are due (September 15). You are the chair of the nominating committee. There are three additional members, one appointed each year by the chair of the committee. Two nominees for each position are required. Check the nominating committee time and task list for more detailed information.

Chairs who have contributed their wisdom to this document:
George P. McCabe 1998 section Chair
Janice Derr 1999 section Chair