What is the Nominating Committee, anyway?


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The National Council on Public History is governed like many other professional and scholarly societies. It has an elected board with officers, official standing committees, and uses parliamentary procedure along with other widely used non-profit governance tools. Today I would like to introduce you to the Nominating Committee and what we do.

In the NCPH’s bylaws (which I recommend that everyone read; they are useful and not just for governance nerds), the Nominating Committee is charged with identifying, determining the eligibility of, and recommending to the Board of Directors persons to be considered for elected offices of NCPH. These elected offices are the  Board of Directors, Officer positions (Vice President/President-Elect and Secretary-Treasurer), and the Nominating Committee itself. Candidates for the Board and Nominating Committee run for election and candidates for Officer positions run unopposed.

The Nominating Committee consists of seven members. Six are elected for staggered three-year terms, and the seventh member is the immediate NCPH past president. The current members of the committee are Suzanne Fischer and Greg Smoak (serving from 2014-2017), Laurie Arnold and Nicole Moore (2015-2018), Aleia Brown and Daniel Vivian (2016-2019), and Patrick Moore (serving as Past President, 2016-2018.)

The Nominating Committee has a big responsibility: it shapes the future of NCPH by shaping its future leadership. That’s why we try to cast as wide a net as possible in searching for candidates. We use the organization’s Long Range Plan as a guideline for recruiting and shaping the slate. The plan sets out goals for NCPH’s future, such as “build a more inclusive and vibrant public history profession,” which includes racial and ethnic diversity, as well as representation of different professions and disciplines, and “increase NCPH’s financial capacity to fulfill its goals.” Other considerations include previous service to NCPH and to the public history profession.

Every year, the Nominating Committee spends the spring and summer identifying people who would be great candidates for NCPH offices. By October, the committee compiles the slate of candidates for the annual election. The election usually lasts several months, ending in January. Though the Nominating Committee shapes the election slate, NCPH members make the decisions about who will serve on the Board. A higher percentage of NCPH members vote in our annual elections than in many other professional associations but there is still lots of room for expanded participation.

We would love your help in identifying possible candidates for NCPH offices. Please add your suggestions to our online form, or contact any of the committee members directly.

~Suzanne Fischer, Oakland Museum of California and chair of the 2016 Nominating Committee 

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