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Governance Election FAQs

What is the main difference between the old governance structure and the new one?

The new Board of Directors (BOD) and Council on Microbial Sciences (COMS) are more nimble and able to more effectively plan.  Program Board and Committee Chairs will serve on COMS to more aptly contribute to the programmatic and scientific functions of the Society.  Additionally, seats have been reserved to ensure representation from both early career scientists and international members.


When were the bylaws changes approved and who approved them?

Bylaws changes approved by membership on September 5, 2016.


What happened to the Council Policy Committee (CPC) and Council?

Following the approval of the bylaws the CPC and Council were disbanded and a Transition Council was approved to serve through the end of the election period (February 25, 2017).


What is replacing the CPC and Council?

Two new governance bodies were created with terms beginning July 1, 2017:

  • Board of Directors (BOD)
  • Council on Microbial Sciences (COMS)


What is the difference between the Board of Directors and the Council on Microbial Sciences?

Board of Directors (BOD):
  • To set the strategic direction and uphold the objectives of the Society, authorize policy matters, direct fiduciary, legal, and business decisions, and hire, oversee, and work in partnership with the CEO
  • Consists of 5 officers (President, President-Elect, Past President, Treasurer, and Secretary), the ASM CEO, 2 Directors appointed by COMS (see below), and 6 At-Large Directors voted on by the ASM membership
  • Directors’ terms—three years, renewable once, staggered

Council on Microbial Sciences (COMS):

  • To support the work of ASM by prioritizing the scientific focus of the Society and identifying upcoming opportunities in microbial sciences and scientific trends to ensure effective programs and scientific activities that benefit the members and the scientific community at large
  • To consist of a Chair and Vice Chair (voted upon by COMS), the 5 officers, the ASM CEO, and the Academy Board of Governors Chair (all of whom are non-voting members), Program Board/Committee Chairs, 35 Councilors selected by their respective Branches, 27 Councilors selected by their respective Divisions, 8 additional Division Councilors (to balance out the number of Branch:Division members), and 10 At-Large Councilors voted on by the ASM membership
  • Councilors’ terms—three years, renewable once, staggered


Who nominated the candidates and who selected the slate?

In November 2016, a Nominating Committee was formed. Past President Lynn Enquist (Princeton) chaired the committee and members were: Avery August (Cornell), Mya Breitbart (Univ of South Florida), Peter Gilligan (Univ of North Carolina School of Medicine), Deborah Hogan (Dartmouth), Mary Sanchez-Lanier (Washington State Univ), Vanessa Sperandio (Univ of Texas Southwestern), and Judith Lovchik (Indiana State Dept of Health Labs). 

A Call for Nominations to fill slots on the Board of Directors (BOD) and on the Council on Microbial Sciences (COMS) was distributed to the entire ASM membership. We provided details on the ideal profiles and duties for the various slots to be filled, including the slots that CPC in October designated for early career scientists and international members.

We received 184 nominations. Candidates submitted brief CVs and statements expounding on their skills, knowledge, and expertise that qualified them for the position as well as their vision for the future of ASM and the microbial sciences. 

In December 2016, all nomination submissions were reviewed and discussed by the Nominating Committee. The final slate of candidates was developed by vote of the Nominating Committee


Which positions are on the ballot?

  • President-Elect
  • Secretary
  • 6 At-Large BOD positions: 1 slot reserved for Early Career Scientist; 1 slot reserved for International Scientist
  • 10 At-Large COMS positions:  1 slot reserved for Early Career Scientist; 2 slots reserved for International Scientist


Why are the 27 Division and 35 Branch Councilors not on the ballot?

These representatives are named by their respective Division/Branch to serve on COMS, thus they are not included on ballot The 8 additional Division Councilors will serve a one-year term on COMS, and a new process for their selection will begin in 2018.


Who appoints the two COMS representatives to the Board of Directors?

The Directors to serve as representatives from COMS to BOD will be determined by COMS at its June meeting.


Why are there staggered terms for members of COMS and BOD?

Per ASM bylaws, both BOD and COMS have staggered three-year terms for all positions. Since this is the first election, to introduce staggered terms, the CPC decided to have three different cohorts of seats—one year, two year, and three years. This is occurring only this year; after this all seats will be for a three-year term and renewable once.


Where can I find out how long my Division and/or Branch representative is scheduled to serve?

More information about which Divisions and Branches were randomly selected to serve a one-, two-, or three-year term can be found here Term Lengths for COMS Councilors