The Academy’s Board of Directors (BOD) recently proposed to restructure how the Academy is governed. Details about the proposed model are available on the Academy’s website.
Top-line recommendations from the proposal:
Replace the current 113 member House of Delegates (HOD) with a new Strategic Council made up of 15 members. The transition to the Strategic Council will take two to three years.
Multiple groups of subject matter experts will be created to support the Strategic Council (anticipate 10 members per group). The experts will be recruited from dietetic practice groups, member interest groups and affiliates.
Reduce the size of the Board of Directors from 19 to 14. The Board of Directors believe these changes will allow the Academy to be more flexible and responsive to a larger number of issues. The changes are designed to:
Streamline the process to make recommendations on key professional issues in a timely manner with key input from "experts" in the topic area.
Move to a more competency-based selection process for leadership positions.
Provide more leadership opportunities to more members by having shorter term appointments/elections based on subject matter expertise needed to evaluate and recommend responses to current issues.
Academy members who oppose the proposal believe it is vital to keep the House of Delegates as a governing body and not replace it with the Strategic Council:
The HOD provides broad, equitable representation BOTH geographically and through DPGs and now MIGs with an objective election process.
Eliminating the HOD and replacing it with a Strategic Council could result in all the Academy’s governing members being controlled by the Board of Directors. The governing members of both the BOD and Strategic Council could become a process of “self-selection” with appointed versus member elected positions. This opens the door for both corporate dominance and cronyism among friends of the current BODs.
Academy membership will likely decline significantly as eliminating the 113 HOD positions would demotivate activity/recruitment at the local, state and DPGs/MIGs, and At-Large delegates.
The proposed governance transition plan not only eliminates the HOD, but it also eliminates the Council on Future Practice (CFP) which reports up through the HOD. The CFP has the interest and evolution of our profession and practice as their focus. They have in the past conducted and published the extensive visioning report every five years.
Another part of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics restructuring under consideration is how the Bylaws are updated and amended. At the present time, the House of Delegates holds the responsibility to vote on behalf of their members to update Bylaws. The Board of Directors has the responsibility for fiduciary issues and operations of the association. The current system allows for a system of checks and balances. There is a requirement to "notify" membership of potential Bylaw changes and seek input to changes regardless of which "group of members" actually votes to make Bylaws changes.
An argument FOR concentrating the power within the BOD is that they are generally more aware of the current Bylaws and changes needed to operate efficiently as compared to the HOD that deals with more "professional" issues.
The argument AGAINST the change is that the BOD is a small number of members and could make Bylaw changes without any check and balance by a second group of members who dialogue with their constituents and vote on the Bylaws change based on member input.
The notification of the proposed Bylaws change has been posted for general membership input. The link to the proposed change and the rationale has been posted for all members.
You are invited to complete a survey at the bottom of the above link.
If you want to provide your opinion, please do so by July 31st. If you would like additional information before you provide your opinion, please feel free to contact me directly @ firstname.lastname@example.org
Also know that these comments will be provided to the HOD. The House of Delegates will be responsible for approving or rejecting this proposal.
Alyson Fendrick RD, LD
Delegate for IAND