Main Functions

Members of the Board of Directors have the primary fiduciary responsibility for governance and the exercise and assignment of power of authority for the Society. It is the highest governing body of the Society which oversees all other bodies and functions. The Board of Directors (BOD) functions include:

  • Setting the strategic direction and upholding the objectives of the Society
  • Authorizing policy matters
  • Directing fiduciary, legal, and business decisions
  • Hiring and overseeing the work of the CEO
  • Upholding the strategies and measuring progress through objectives
  • Ensuring that the Society’s property, funds, and affairs are handled in conformity with the Bylaws and within the Articles of Incorporation of the Society under the statutes of the District of Columbia (D.C.)
  • Approving an annual budget

The BOD delegates to the Council on Microbial Sciences (COMS) the role of identifying trends in science and suggesting programs that best capture and serve the future of microbial sciences and its workforce, and reserves for itself the role of approving them. The BOD delegates to the CEO responsibility for leading and managing operations. The BOD does not operate as an “outside examiner” of the Society; rather, it supports the roles of the COMS, Program Boards/Committees, CEO, and staff in a constructive partnership. The role of the BOD is to govern, the role of the COMS is to exercise oversight over scientific and programmatic activities; the CEO is responsible for implementation and operations.

Directors are responsible, in partnership with other Board members and staff, for helping to shape and lead ASM to promote and advance microbial sciences. They accomplish their function by participating actively in Board meetings, guiding and overseeing the ASM strategic plan, and by performing fiduciary, strategic, and policy responsibilities.


At-Large BOD members serve three year terms, and can be reelected only once.

Time Commitment

Directors are expected to attend all in-person meetings and phone calls. It is expected that the BOD will normally meet three times a year. One of the in-person meetings will be in conjunction with the ASM Microbe meeting.

BOD members are expected to read the provided background material in advance and actively participate in meetings and calls. More calls could be scheduled throughout the year, if needed.

BOD members are expected to participate in ASM Microbe meeting and other working groups or events that may require Directors’ presence. In total it is an expected time commitment of ~ 9-10 days per year.

This job requires a level of awareness of ASM as an organization and responsiveness to ongoing Board work.


  • Set direction for ASM, after considering input from the Council of Microbial Sciences (COMS)
  • Establish the vision, mission, and strategic plan of ASM. Oversee the execution of the strategic direction of ASM
  • Articulate, safeguard, model, and promote ASM’s core values and principles
  • Act in the best interests of the organization as a whole, not for any individual, particular constituencies, or sub-discipline
  • Delegate authority for organizational and staff management to the CEO
  • Provide oversight and ensure resources
  • Be knowledgeable about the bylaws, policies and procedures, strategic plan, and governance responsibilities of the ASM BOD
  • Establish financial policies and ensure accountability
  • Ensure resource allocation is aligned with the ASM strategic plan
  • Ensure compliance with applicable laws and ethical standards
  • Receive and examine an annual audit of ASM by an independent auditor
  • Approve an annual budget and review performance of the annual operating plan and budget
  • Hire, support, and evaluate the CEO
  • Serve as an ambassador for ASM to promote and advance microbial sciences, by promoting ASM and encouraging others to get involved in volunteering at ASM
  • Utilize and respect staff expertise
  • Prepare for, attend, and actively participate in all Board of Directors meetings
  • Work collegially with other Board members and key staff by “holding their own” feeling safe to disagree without being disagreeable
  • Understand that the BOD is not a stakeholder group, rather a governing body; therefore, once a decision is made, it is the decision of the whole group
  • Know when and how to present views on policy or issues, knowing that the BOD needs to function as a group that makes decisions and is not simply a discussion forum
  • Understand and apply the provisions of fiduciary responsibility, the bylaws, and other policies
  • Abide by the code of conduct and conflict of interest policies
  • Function at a strategic, not tactical, level
  • Participate in periodic evaluation of the Board’s performance and contribute to ongoing improvement of ASM governance
  • Participate in Board orientation and be knowledge about effective governance