Ohio Psychological Association leaders have been contemplating and discussing our current governance structure over the past year. A number of factors have triggered this discussion, including similar discussion and exploration at APA, and new ideas generated by the State Leadership Conference. Current thinking is that alternative models of government may serve our membership better than the current, more traditional one. The present structure places the primary power for association governance with the Board of Directors. This board consists of individuals who represent both specific geographic regions of Ohio as well as key association committees. Our present board is comprised of approximately 30 members, including 22 voting members, who meet five times per year. As our association joins the broader momentum of reevaluation of association governance, many are questioning the effectiveness and efficiency of our current structure.
This topic was discussed during the Board of Directors Retreat at the beginning of our association year in September. Dr. David Hayes gave a presentation to the entire board on the importance of evaluating our current governance structure. The board’s response to this talk was an emerging interest in exploring alternatives to our current concept. Specifically, board members stated they would open to considering alternative models if they could see a better picture of what those models might look like. In response to this request, I appointed a Governance Structure Task Force. The purpose of this group has been to help the board evaluate our current government model, and to propose alternative models for the Board of Directors and membership to consider. This group is chaired by our President-Elect, Dr. Kathleen Ashton. Its members include: Dr. Sandra Shullman, Dr. Josh Shuman, Dr. Kevin Arnold, Mr. Michael Ranney, Dr. Mary Miller Lewis and Dr. Cathy McDaniels Wilson. Over the course of the past several months, this group has been hard at work moving toward their assigned goal. They have been able to complete a survey of the board which has helped evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of our current governance model, as well as identify present needs of the association. The group is presently at work on identifying alternative models for the board to consider. A brief summary of their work was presented at the April meeting of our Board of Directors. We were reminded that the board may choose to keep our current government model, or may choose a model not presented. The purpose of the group is to stimulate thinking in this area and help ensure we choose a structure model which meets our association’s current needs.
My main reason for writing this is to keep our membership informed of current thinking and upcoming possibilities. Any change in our governance structure would require, not just approval of the board, but a vote of approval from the entire membership. My hope is that all our members will begin to think about possibilities in this area. As information on this topic emerges from the Board and Task Force, we will continue to share with the larger membership. Make sure to read Dr. Kathy Ashton’s article featured in this month’s e-newsletter. It is my hope that our members will take some time to educate themselves on the changing environment for associations and the increased demands for new association models to keep up with these changes. A great starting point for this is the book “Race for Relevance” by Harrison Coervers and Mary Byers. The concepts presented in this book have stimulated much of the current discussion and exploration among OPA leaders, and will help all of us understand important factors should we be required to make decisions in this area.