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RSA - Proposed Chages to Standing Committee Structure - Deadline to Vote is December 15

Dear RSA Members:

The Board of Directors has approved changes to the standing committee structure of RSA. The proposed changes are to establish three new standing committees and to revise the title and purpose of an existing standing committee.

The proposed changes are as follows:

  1. To establish as a standing committee a Budget Advisory Committee. The purpose of this committee is to serve as an advisory body to the Executive Director, who is responsible for the Society’s finances, including the development and management of RSA’s budget. The proposed amendment reads as follows:

Section 8.09 Budget Advisory Committee.  The President shall appoint three members to the Budget Advisory Committee, which shall be advisory to the Executive Director. Members shall have prior budgetary experience and be appointed to staggered terms. The Committee shall review any budgetary matters brought to it by the Executive Director, shall provide advice on the budgetary implications of all proposals with budgetary consequences prior to board consideration, and shall review the proposed budget prepared by the Executive Director.  The Budget Advisory Committee shall be free to disclose the nature of the advice it rendered to the officers and board at its discretion.

  1. To establish as a standing committee a Membership Committee. The strategic priorities of RSA have expanded the duties of the Membership Officer beyond maintaining accurate membership roles, issuing notices of renewal, and reporting membership data to the board.  These expanded duties require special efforts to reach underrepresented groups, develop recruitment and retention strategies, survey members to better understand needs and opportunities to better serve them, develop messages that reach members through new media, and coordinate efforts with the Electronic Communications and Outreach Officers. For RSA to succeed in achieving its strategic aspirations of Inclusivity, Leadership Structure/Opportunities, Mentorship, and Public Presence, it requires multiple perspectives when developing and assessing activities to recruit and retain members and assistance in the discharge of the Membership Officer’s assigned duties. The proposed membership committee will serve a dual function as an advisory body and, where appropriate, providing assistance in development and execution of strategies for success. The proposed amendment reads as follows:

Section 8.10   Membership Committee.  The President shall appoint the Membership Committee, which shall consist of the Membership Officer, serving as chair, and at least three additional members, one of whom shall be a graduate student.  Committee members shall serve a two-year term.  The committee shall be charged to aid in retention and expansion of RSA membership, while better enabling the Society to fulfil its commitment to inclusivity, diversity, equity and access.

  1. To establish as a standing committee a Committee on Committees. A major responsibility of the President is to name members to all RSA committees and task forces. The Society has 11 standing committees and presidents in the recent past have each named approximately 12-15 ad hoc committees and task forces.  This represents a considerable time commitment for the President to locate possible committee members and determine their willingness to serve.  In addition to its time demands, locating potential committee members exceeds the President’s knowledge of members who might serve effectively on RSA’s committees and advance the Society’s aspirations to be a model of inclusivity, diversity, equity, and accessibility.  These considerations also create delays in getting RSA’s committees formed and operational, sometimes well into a President’s term.   For these reasons, the board has proposed to establish a Committee on Committees to provide the President-elect with a list of potential committee members which is diverse, who are willing to serve, and who may be appointed at the beginning of the President-Elect’s term as President.  The proposed amendment reads as follows:

Section 8.11 Committee on Committees.  The President-Elect shall appoint the Committee on Committees, which shall consist of eight members, and to include the chair of the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access Committee ex officio. The committee shall identify and recommend candidates to fill the Society’s standing committees. In addition, the committee may be called upon to make recommendations for nominees to ad hoc committees at the request of the President and/or President-Elect.

  1. To revise the title and description of the Equity and Diversity Committee. The Equity and Diversity Committee has not had a clear mandate in the past.  The board wishes the committee to be specifically focused on promoting the broad aspirations of RSA to be a model society in its inclusivity, diversity, equity and accessibility in all its dimensions. The proposed amendment to the bylaws reads as follows:


Section 8.06    Committee on Equity and Diversity.   The President shall appoint at least three members to the Committee on Equity and Diversity who shall serve a two-year term.   The committee should study, make recommendations, and develop programs to enhance equity and diversity within the academic field of rhetorical studies. 


Section 8.06   Committee on Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access.  The President shall appoint at least five members to the Committee on Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access, who shall serve a two-year term, which may be renewed for a second consecutive term.  At least one board member must serve on the committee, either as chair or vice-chair.  The committee is charged to study, make recommendations, and develop programs that counter the ongoing legacies of systematic and structural marginalization and enhance inclusion, diversity, equity, and access within the academic field of rhetorical studies.   

Our Bylaws stipulate that there shall be a 30-day period from notification of a bylaws measure when members may vote to approve an amendment to the Bylaws.  Since these are changes to our Bylaws, they require approval by 2/3 majority of those voting.  Ballots will be accepted until December 15, 2019.

CLICK HERE to vote.


Gerard A. Hauser
Executive Director

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