As a participatory democratic organization, AHS depends on members to volunteer some of their time and skills to accomplish its work. Serving as an AHS officer or committee person provides members with an opportunity to serve their colleagues and contribute to sustaining a unique professional organization committed to the pursuit of peace, equality, social justice, and sustainable living. It also provides members with opportunities to collaborate with other members, develop leadership skills, and benefit professionally from the supportive network of humanist sociologists and fellow travelers who make up AHS.
This handbook attempts to provide the membership with a description of the requirements of the various offices and committees that make up the formal organization. It provides a desired timeline for doing the work of the association, and expected activities of officers and committee members. It in no way supersedes the AHS Constitution, but is intended as a guide to help members and those who serve the association understand the tasks and processes necessary to make AHS a viable, responsive association. This means it will require continual revision as new decisions are made and practices change.
MAINTAINING THE AHS ETHOS
Serving as an officer or committee member in a humanistic association means continually working to involve members in decision-making and administrative processes. Carrying out one’s responsibilities and meeting deadlines is necessary for the association to fully meet the needs of its membership. Those who serve the association in various official capacities are volunteering their time and talents and should be treated by members as valued resources, not bureaucratic figureheads. Conversely, those who serve in offices or on committees of AHS should treat members as respected colleagues and partners. We seek to maintain a respectful, friendly first-name relationship among all AHS members, regardless of their formal status within and outside the association. We seek to share our resources and spread opportunities among members and non-members who are interested in a better world for all. And we maintain a civil line of discourse with those whom we disagree.
The Association for Humanist Sociology (AHS), like other organizations and critical organizations in the human and social sciences, must respond to sexual violence, including sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape. We recognize that power dynamics feature with relation to perpetration and victimhood, and that power is wielded based on factors including (but not limited to) social class, racialization and ethnicity, nation and language, ability, sexuality, religion, and physical appearance. As sociologists, we know that women and other marginalized people are disproportionately harassed, assaulted, or raped, due to their subordinate position in society.
We declare emphatically and unequivocally that we will not tolerate sexual violence in the membership of our organization, and this includes at our conferences, and in the pages of our journal, Humanity and Society. To do otherwise supports the hegemons and re-traumatizes survivors. This is fundamentally contrary to our values as humanists. We believe and support survivors and understand that victimizers and their victims cannot co-exist within the same institutions.
Specifically, when a (sexual) victimizer is associated with AHS, we should take actions that include (but perhaps are not limited to) removing that person from the membership of AHS, stripping them of awards or titles, and/or disallowing their work from appearing in Humanity and Society. In the coming months, we should amend the organization’s Constitution to reflect these matters. Any measures that we take should be discussed with victims/survivors and should not re-victimize or re-traumatize them.
GENERAL RESPONSIBILITIES OF ALL OFFICERS
All officers and committee members should read and become familiar with the AHS Constitution, since it spells out rules and responsibilities, not all of which are included in this handbook. All officers, editors of publications, and committee members are expected to attend the annual meeting. If some problem or emergency arises, the President should be informed as soon as possible. All officers and editors of the journal and newsletter are expected to provide written reports for the purpose of distribution at the annual meeting and publication in the Humanist Sociologist. Officers should bring copies of their reports for all board members, and additional copies for the membership to review. Officers’ reports should be provided in electronic form to the Secretary and Newsletter Editor before, during, or immediately after the meeting.
The President is the leader of AHS beginning the Sunday of the annual meeting through Saturday evening of the meeting over which the President presides. The President has three big responsibilities. One that begins as President-Elect is finding a meeting site and making the arrangements for the annual meeting (see more under President-Elect on this). Promotion of the meeting can also begin prior to assuming the Presidency, and should continue throughout the President’s term.
The second responsibility is to develop the program. This is typically accomplished by selecting and working with a Program Chair, as well as soliciting the assistance of other members for various purposes such as recruiting plenary speakers or local activists.
The third responsibility is overseeing the work of the association and presiding over meetings. The President should communicate regularly with board members about tasks to be accomplished and timelines, meeting updates, and issues that require the board’s attention. The President develops agendas for board and business meetings in consultation with the board, and presides over those meetings.
The President-Elect is elected in the spring and assumes the office on the Sunday of the AHS Annual Meeting. During that year, the President-Elect is responsible for the making the annual meeting site arrangements for their presidency and doing some preliminary work for program development such as selecting a theme and call for participation. Some President-Elects have even secured plenary speakers to advertise in their announcements. As a practical matter, the candidate for President-Elect should begin the site selection process upon completion of the election and before assuming office. The President-Elect selects a site committee to serve as advisors in the selection of a site. It is important that the President-Elect consult with the current President, Past-President, Treasurer and other previous presidents and program chairs who can provide suggestions and feedback on contracted arrangements and costs.
The President-Elect selects a Program Chair to assist with program development and other meeting tasks as worked out between the two. The Program Chair is typically announced at the annual meeting when the President-Elect assumes the Presidency. A call for papers for the next year’s meeting is typically included with annual meeting program materials.
The Past President primarily serves as a mentor to the President and President Elect, and brings the experience of planning and presiding over the annual meeting to the Board.
The Past President will assist with planning any mid-year Board meetings or retreats with the President. The Past President will also work with board members stepping down from their positions at the next meeting to provide transitional mentoring for new officers. This may include facilitating discussions between outgoing and incoming officers.
The Past President may also take on other responsibilities as negotiated with the President and the Board.
The VP for Membership is responsible for recruiting new members and retaining current members, and collaborating with the President and Board to develop strategies to accomplish these goals. The Membership VP provides membership materials to the President and other members for these purposes. The Membership VP also maintains a database of current members’ information and an e-mail list to communicate with members on official AHS business, and is responsible for publishing and distributing a membership directory to all members in the late spring or early summer.
The Membership Recruitment and Renewal process should be conducted in the following manner:
1) Membership forms are included with annual meeting pre-registration and registration materials. This requires the Membership VP to coordinate with the President and Program Chair to assure necessary information is requested on forms.
2) The Program Chair and President should provide the Membership Vice-President with a list of meeting participants. The Membership VP should invite any participants who did not join at the meeting to join.
3) Membership renewals and invitations to meeting participants to join are mailed in late November or early December. A reminder is mailed in early January. A final reminder e-mail is sent in early February. Winter newsletters should be sent to the previous year’s members, but the February issue of Humanity & Society should not be sent without a membership renewal for that year.
4) Membership is currently on a calendar year basis. Members who renew late (after the third reminder) will not receive journals that have already been sent.
5) The VP for Membership may use discretion in determining whether new members who join later in the year are members for that year or also have their membership extended through the following year. The VP for Membership should take into consideration how many journals have been sent for that year. Typically those who join in the summer months may have their membership extended through the next year. This should not include longstanding members who failed to renew in a timely manner.
The VP for Membership is responsible for producing an annual Membership Directory once the membership is set. The Directory is typically produced and sent to members in May or June. Members areas of interest and expertise are typically solicited on membership forms and published in the directory to provide information that will help facilitate interaction among members, assist the President, Program Chair, and other members in soliciting input for annual meeting sessions and panels, and provide information for the journal editor to identify potential manuscript reviewers.
The Membership VP works with members interested in promoting and representing AHS with other groups. This may include designating them as regional representatives of the association. The Membership VP arranges for regional representatives and other interested members to receive promotional materials for display or distribution at the meetings of other associations.
The Vice-President for Publications is responsible for overseeing all publications of the association, including Humanity & Society, The Humanist Sociologist, the AHS website, and AHS-talk or any other forums for communication among members or with the general public. The Publications VP conducts searches for qualified individuals to serve as editors and webmasters when positions come open and submits recommendations to the Board for its decision.
The VP for Publications also oversees the AHS Book Award. The Publications VP recruits members to serve as AHS Book Award Committee Members. Committee members should be sought at the annual meeting, with assistance from Nominations Committee members (who are talking with members about open positions) and the President-Elect, and through the newsletter. The Book Award Committee should be presented to the AHS Board for approval as soon as possible after the annual meeting. The VP for Publications will assist the Book Award Committee Chair with soliciting books from publishers. The Publications VP will notify finalists of their selection and invite them to the annual meeting, prepare and present the award to the winner at the annual meeting with the Book Award Committee Chair, and announce the winner through the newsletter and website.
EDITOR HUMANITY & SOCIETY
Humanity and Society is the official journal of the Association for Humanist Sociology. It was first published in 1977 and has been published quarterly since 1978. The Humanity & Society Editor is one of the most visible representatives of AHS. The journal is a peer-reviewed journal. However, it is somewhat unusual in that it does not use a blind review process. The intent is to encourage authors and reviewers to communicate with each other in an honest and open manner that requires all to take responsibility for their claims and evidence. Abstracts of published articles appearing in Sociological Abstracts, and full text articles are available through EBSCO subscriptions. Humanity & Society publishes articles on a wide variety of topics: studies of inequality (class, race, and/or gender); war, peace, and international relations; aging and gerontology, family, gender and sexuality; health and mental health; social theory; sociology of knowledge and science, and linguistics; social psychology, teaching and sociology practice; social change, humanism and human rights; crime and deviance; ethnic and intergroup relations, and others. Articles may be theoretical and/or speculative, critical essays, or analysis of data utilizing various qualitative and quantitative research strategies. Theoretical orientations may be eclectic, Marxist, feminist, critical theory, symbolic interactionist, humanistic sociology - i.e., contributing to a more humane and egalitarian society. The editor should strive to reflect the humanist values of the association—to make the journal cutting edge, to take chances, but engage with difference thoughtfully.
The editor is responsible for all aspects of the publication and distribution of the journal. This includes:
The timely publication of four issues a year in February, May, August, and November of about 100 pages each;
Soliciting manuscripts;Soliciting reviewers;
Working with the Book Review Editor and the Audiovisual Review Editor for contributions;Copy editing;
Working with the Production Editor;
Following up on requests and resolving problems.
The editor can appoint an editorial board, who serve as advisors to the editor and also are typically expected to review two or three manuscripts in a calendar year. Members of the editorial board are expected to be members of AHS. The ideal editor is also able to secure funding for support from her or his university for release time, administrative support, and other kinds of support that will ensure the success of the journal.
Any changes in editorial policies should go to the Board for consideration, and then may be presented to the membership for approval at the business meeting of the annual meeting. (See the AHS Constitution for a description of the new policy approval process.)
EDITOR OF THE HUMANIST SOCIOLOGIST
The newsletter editor is responsible for producing a newsletter three times a year: typically January/February, May/June, and August/September. The newsletter serves as a vehicle to report the activities of the association and for members to share their work and accomplishments and make announcements. The newsletter also serves as a forum where members can share their views on issues. The editor seeks submissions from members and assures the quality and appropriateness of content. The editor works with the President to provide information and promote the annual meeting through the newsletter. The editor may solicit featured pieces from members. Questions about editorial appropriateness may be submitted to the AHS board in cases where the editor is unsure.
The January/February newsletter publishes minutes and all reports from the previous meeting. The April/May newsletter includes election results. The August/September newsletter typically includes the preliminary program and other information about the upcoming annual meeting as well as the call for nominations for elected positions.
The newsletter editor should solicit announcements, notices, and other contributions from AHS board members and the membership one month prior to publication. For example, the President and Program chair should be providing material about the upcoming meeting for every issue, all officers should be providing reports for the January/February issue, and the Publications VP should be soliciting nominations for the AHS Book Award in that issue. Members’ contributions can by requested by e-mail through the Membership VP.
The AHS webmaster/mistress is appointed by the board to manage the website. The person selected for this position should have the skills necessary to maintain and revise web pages, post documents in a timely manner, and trouble-shoot problems. The webmaster/mistress may delegate certain duties to others with the approval of the board of directors.
The AHS Treasurer is responsible for overseeing the financial business of the association. Appointed by the Board, the Treasurer keeps the AHS financial records, maintains a checking account and other accounts approved by the AHS Board, and is responsible for all financial transactions. The Treasurer works with the President-Elect to develop budgets for the next year that is approved by the AHS Board at the annual meeting and then the members at the business meeting. The Treasurer is also responsible for providing a financial report on expenditures for the current year, comparing those expenditures to budget projections.
The Treasurer may use professional financial services such as an accountant with the approval of the Board, especially since the continuation of the Association depends upon maintaining financial records and filing reports in a timely manner with the Internal Revenue Service.
The Secretary is responsible for all official minutes of the association, and all elections ballots and policy votes. Minutes are taken at all board meetings and the business meeting at the annual meeting. Board meeting minutes should be submitted to the board for review and approval or correction and approval prior to publication. Meeting minutes are published in The Humanist Sociologist, and on the AHS website. Copies of all minutes should also be sent to the AHS archivist at Miami University (of Ohio). In the case where minutes are extremely long, the editor of The Humanist Sociologist may edit them for the newsletter so long as any decisions made at meetings and rationales are provided. Website and archive minutes should be posted/submitted in full.
The Secretary’s role in the development of the slate of candidates and conduct of the election are as follows:
1) The Secretary informs the Nominations Committee and Co-Chairs of the offices for which nominations of candidates are sought. The Secretary also submits a call for nominations (including self-nominations) that indicates open positions and terms of office for publication in the August/September issue of the Humanist Sociologist.
2) The Secretary requests a slate of candidates from the Co-Chairs of the Nominations Committee in February. The ballot should include candidate statements of interest, involvement, and any relevant skills or expertise.
3) The Secretary vets candidates with the VP for Membership to determine that all candidates are members in good standing (have paid their dues for the current year), and with the past presidents and/or program chairs of the previous two meetings to determine attendance at one of those meetings. Once this is confirmed, the Secretary sends the slate of candidates to the Board of Directors for their approval in early March.
4) Upon approval of the slate of candidates, the Secretary prepares the ballot late March/early April, and no later than the end of May (see AHS Constitution).
5) The Secretary mails ballots to all members in good standing at the time of the mailing. The list of members whose dues are paid for the current year is obtained from the VP for Membership.
The Nominations Committee recruits candidates for elected offices at the annual meeting and, if necessary, afterwards until there is a slate of candidates for the election. All Nominations Committee members should play an active role in talking with members about offices and making announcements or posting notices about available offices. The slate of candidates should be submitted by the Nominations Committee Co-Chairs to the Secretary by March 1st.
The Nominations Committee also assists with recruitment for appointed offices, communicating with the Secretary and Board members about members who express interest in serving and have needed knowledge and skills.
Co-Chairs of the Nominations Committee
Two members of the Nominations Committee serve as Co-Chairs. Chairing of the Nominations Committee is shared between a second-year member and first-year member of this committee to help with the transition of leadership from year to year. The current president selects one of the incoming committee members as Co-Chair, and then that person will remain as Co-Chair for a second year to share duties with the next incoming Co-Chair. Note that this arrangement does not conform to the current AHS Constitution, but was instituted so that someone with experience was always involved in the committee leadership role and could mentor the first-year Co-Chair.
Proposed language for the AHS handbook, which is to be distributed to incoming members of the nominations committee.
The Nominations Committee recruits candidates for elected offices at the annual meeting and, if necessary, afterwards until there is a slate of candidates for the election. All Nominations Committee members should play an active role in talking with members about offices and making announcements or posting notices about available offices.
The slate of candidates should be submitted by the Nominations Committee Co-Chairs to the AHS Secretary by March 1st. The AHS election takes place every spring. The Constitution indicates that the election must be completed before June, but every effort should be made to complete the election prior to the close of the spring semester on most campuses, i.e. prior to May 1. Two members of the Nominations Committee serve as Co-Chairs. Chairing of the Nominations Committee is shared between a second-year member and first-year member of this committee to help with the transition of leadership from year to year. The current president selects one of the incoming committee members as Co-Chair, and then that person will remain as Co-Chair for a second year to share duties with the next incoming Co-Chair.
Every year, the nominations committee will be required to identify a single candidate to serve as President and at least two members of the nominating committee. The committee may also be required to find candidates for the other two elected positions, Vice President for Publications, and Vice President for membership. The positions of Secretary and Treasurer are also voting positions on the Board of Directors, but these positions are appointed by the Board. The Board appointees are subject to a vote by the membership to approve or disapprove the Board selection.
The nominations committee may be asked by the Secretary or other members of the Board to assist with finding members to serve as Secretary, Treasurer, or other AHS committees. The nominations committee may comply with such requests for assistance, but the primary duty of the nominations committee is to nominate candidates for the elected positions. Members of the nominations committee are expected to attend the AHS annual meeting during their two years of service. The annual meetings serve as the primary time and place for the committee to talk with members and to seek nominations from the membership. The committee should make full and ample use of the meeting time, but it is neither likely nor expected that all candidates for the spring election will be set and determined by the close of the annual meeting.
The Business Meeting held during the annual meeting is a particularly valuable and important time and place for the nominations committee to make an appeal to the membership for recommendations and prospective nominations. The nominations committee should consider any and all recommendations received from the members.
Members of the nominations committee may communicate regularly with members and members of the Board, but the official communications between the Board and the nominations committee should take place through the secretary. The AHS secretary should meet with the nominations committee at the annual meeting and give the committee its “charge.” When the nominations committee has assembled a full slate of candidates for the elected offices, this slate should be sent to the secretary. The slate is subject to a vote of approval by the Board. The Board will also confirm that all proposed candidates are current AHS members. If, for any reason, the Board fails to approve the slate, the slate will be returned to the nominations committee, and a new slate will need to be resubmitted.
The secretary will work with the nominations committee to insure that short biographical statements are requested from all candidates appearing on the ballot.
Important rules regarding eligibility for office:
All candidates must be AHS members for the year in which they appear on the ballot.
A person may only serve as President for a single term.
The Nominations Committee may nominate only one person to serve as President.
A person may only serve in the elected Vice-President positions for two terms (although a person having been elected for two terms, may serve as an interim appointment if one of these positions became vacant). Unless changes are required, the following is a list of required positions for elected office for upcoming elections.
2016 Elections (recruit at 2015 meeting): President for 2018, two nominations committee members, VP for Membership. Treasurer’s term begins at close of 2016 meeting.
2017 Elections (recruit at 2016 meeting): President for 2019, three nominations committee members, VP for Publications.
2018 Elections (recruit at 2017 meeting): President for 2020, two nominations committee members. Secretary’s term begins at close of 2018 meeting.
2019 Elections (recruit at 2018 meeting): President for 2021, three nominations committee members, VP for Membership. Treasurer’s term begins at close of 2016 meeting.
2020 Elections (recruit at 2019 meeting): President for 2022, two nominations committee members, VP for Publications.
2021 Elections (recruit at 2020 meeting): President for 2023, three nominations committee members. Secretary’s term begins at close of 2018 meeting.
2022 Elections (recruit at 2021 meeting): President for 2024, two nominations committee members, VP for Membership. Treasurer’s term begins at close of 2016 meeting.
2023 Elections (recruit at 2022 meeting): President for 2025, three nominations committee members, VP for Publications
The Program Chair for the annual meeting is selected by the President. The Program Chair is responsible for working with the President to advertise the annual meeting, solicit participation, and collaborate in the development of the program. The duties of the Program Chair are typically negotiated with the President. It is important that the Program Chair and President work together to determine responsibilities and communicate those to the membership and board.
TIME LINE FOR AHS TASKS
The following provides targeted months for accomplishing the tasks of the organization. Note that some tasks are ongoing or accomplished as needed. Those that do not fit in the timeline are indicated under the descriptions of various offices. The persons primarily responsible for accomplishing the tasks are indicated within the text or in parentheses.
January Membership renewal reminder is mailed (Membership)
1st newsletter with meeting minutes sent (Newsletter Editor)
Calls for participation in the annual meeting begin appearing in the AHS newsletter, ASA Footnotes, on the AHS website, and other relevant publications or sites (President/Program Chair)
Winner of the previous year’s book award is noted in the newsletter, and Nominations for the AHS book award are advertised and solicited from members, authors, and Publishers. (VP: Publications and Chair of Book Awards Committee)
Secretary notifies the Nominations Committee Co-Chairs of the need for a slate of candidates with statements.
February Second membership renewal reminder e-mailed (with notice of deadline to be included for voting purposes and toreceive the first issue of Humanity & Society). (Membership VP)
Issue no. 1 of Humanity & Society published.
Candidates for elected offices submitted to the Secretary (Nominations Committee Co-Chairs)
Secretary submits the slate of candidates to theBoard to be vetted by the Membership VP (for membership status), the Past President, and the two previous Program Chairs (for meeting attendance status) to determine eligibility (see the AHS Constitution for requirements of offices).
President works with board members to select a spring board meeting site and who will handle local arrangements.
March Late membership renewal reminder (VP: Membership)
Late March/April Secretary sends ballots for elections, ballots are returned by members, and are counted and verified by a second member. Candidates and the Board are notified of election results by the Secretary.
Spring board meeting place and dates are announced to the membership. Request is sent to incoming officers to attend the spring board meeting for orientation and to promote smooth transitions. (Secretary)
April/May 2nd newsletter published with election results (Newsletter Editor)
May Membership Directory (Membership VP)
Issue no. 2 of Humanity & Society published.
Exempt tax statement filing with IRS by May 15th (Treasurer)
June Presentation proposal deadline for next annual meeting (often around the 15th).
Spring board meeting held. President develops agenda with officers. Past President works with incoming and current officers to facilitate smooth transitions.
July Selection of Book Award Finalists and Winner. VP: Publications, President and Program Chair notified (Book Award Committee Chairperson).
Preliminary Program (President and Program Chair) August 3rd newsletter (Newsletter Editor) with pre-registration (President and Program Chair), membership forms (Membership VP), and Call for Nominations for elected offices (Nominations Committee Co-Chairs). These are also sent electronically to presenters since some may not be members. Call for nominations for offices is also published (Co-Chairs of Nominations).
Issue no. 3 of Humanity & Society published.
October-November The AHS annual meeting is held. Two board meetings and a membership business meeting are held. Officers, Program Chair, and Committee Chairs (as appropriate) present reports, provide hard copies, and provide electronic versions to the Secretary and Newsletter Editor. Terms end for outgoing officers and new officers assume duties at the Sunday board meeting. Membership forms are included with annual meeting materials (Membership VP coordinating with Program Chair and President).
Nominations Committee recruits candidates for electedoffices at the annual meeting, and assists with recruitment for appointed offices and committees.
Members recruited to serve as the next year’s AHS Book Award Committee (VP: Publications, with assistance from the Nominations Committee and President-Elect).
Following year’s annual meeting call for papers is included with annual meeting materials (President-Elect).
November Issue no. 4 of Humanity & Society is published.
Late November/Early December Membership renewals and invitations to meeting participants to join are mailed (Membership VP)
Final reports sent to Secretary (if not already sent) and newsletter editor in electronic form (all officers, program chair, and committee chairs as appropriate).
Previous years’ minutes approved at the annual meeting are sent to the AHS archives (Secretary).
Annual meeting program sent to the AHS archives (Past President).
Annual meeting promotion begins and continues through the summer (President and Program Chair)
Announcement/press release of book award winner (VP:Publications)