Officer’s Handbook

Biological Anthropology Section

Nov. 2010

The Biological Anthropology Section (BAS) of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) has the following elected and appointed officers: Chair, Past Chair, Chair-Elect, Secretary-Treasurer, Member-at-Large for Student Awards, Member-at-Large, Student Member, Program Chair, W.W. Howells Book Award Committee Chair, Newsletter Editor, Webmaster. Their primarily responsibilities are outlined below.

Chair (elected, 2 year term)

November/December AAA meeting: Organize and coordinate activities at the annual meeting

  • Chair the Executive Board meeting
  • Chair the BAS business meeting
  • Introduce the Distinguished Lecturer
  • Present Distinguished Lecturer with honorarium check (and a certificate?)
  • Arrange dinner for the Distinguished Lecturer after reception, and invite Howells Award winner and members of the Executive Board.
  • Attend the section chair’s breakfast meeting
  • Attend the AAA business meeting

January: Write and submit the Annual Report to the AAA, and post on the website.

January/February: Coordinate elections for BAS offices with assistance of incoming chair

  • Identify open BAS positions
  • E-mail membership soliciting nominations
  • Discuss potential candidates with the Executive Committee and Nominations Committee (Chair, Chair-Elect/Past Chair, Member-at-Large)
  • Contact potential candidates
  • Construct the slate of candidates. The requirements for the slate will be sent to the Chair from the AAA. Due in late January or early February.

February/March: Invite the Distinguished Lecturer. Invitation is based of suggestions solicited at the Executive Committee meeting.

April 1 deadline: Insure that BAS functions are included in the AAA annual meeting agenda.

  • Request rooms online for BAS functions in response to the AAA annual Call-for-Papers. Deadline is usually April 1st. Rooms are needed for: (i) Executive Board meeting; (ii) BAS business meeting, presentation of the Howells Award; (iii) Distinguished Lecture; (iv) reception. The business meeting and Distinguished Lecture are usually in the same room, but are different events on AAA program.
  • Include the name of the Distinguished Lecturer in the request for the room for the lecture.

September: Finalize arrangements for Distinguished Lecturer

  • Arrange for a room at the meeting hotel.
  • Order a plaque; cost is reimbursed.

September: Order food for the executive board meeting and reception.

  • Submit food orders directly to the meeting hotel in response to notification from them. Costs vary from year to year; in 2009 the cost of the reception was about $2300.
  • Contact the publisher of the Howells Award book and ask for a contribution toward the reception.

September: Ensure that BAS members are nominated for AAA leadership positions. Open positions are announced by the AAA Nominations Committee, along with guidelines for nominations.

Keep in touch with members. Use AAA list serve to let members know of important BAS matters, activities and sessions at the annual meetings and open seats on AAA committees.

Act as the official liaison between the BAS and the AAA.

Chair-Elect (elected, 2 year term)

November/December AAA meeting:

  • Attend the New Chairs meeting at the annual meeting of the AAA
  • Attend the Section Assembly as an incoming chair
  • Attend BAS Executive Committee and business meetings

January/ February: Assist the Chair with nominations and elections as member of Nominations Committee

February/May: Serve on the W.W. Howells Book Award Committee

Past Chair (1 year term)

Provide continuity

Be available for special projects

Secretary-Treasurer (elected, 3 year term)

November/December AAA meeting:

  • Take minutes at Executive Committee meeting and business meeting
  • Provide minutes from past meetings at the Executive Committee and business meetings.

Receive budget information from AAA and inform Executive Committee about financial matters

Provide budget information to AAA annually and as requested.

Arrange for checks to pay speakers, honorees or to reimburse other officers for expenses.

Help with development efforts (e.g. Howells Fund, etc.)

Ensure that the website is up to date.

W.W. Howells Book Award Committee Chair (appointed, 3 year term)

November/December AAA meeting: Coordinate activities regarding the W.W. Howells Book Award

  • Present the award at BAS business meeting
  • Take the award winner to dinner after the business meeting
  • Hand out flyers to publishers’ representatives to let them know about the prize and how to make nominations.

Soon after AAA meetings: Write to W.D. Howells with news of the award winner

Soon after AAA meetings: Make sure committee is fully populated – committee consists of Committee Chair, BAS Chair-Elect, one other member of BAS Executive Committee, and one other BAS member.

February: Receive and distribute nomination materials

  • Receive nominations for the award. Due by February 1 each year.
  • Compile a hard copy of all nomination materials received (new and carry-overs) and send to all committee members as a packet. Also include in the packet any reviews of the nominated books that were not sent by the nominators.
  • Request that the committee rank the nominated books, with the goal of identifying 3-4 books for a short list.

Late February/early March: Contact the editors of the short-listed books, and ask for review copies for the committee members who need them. Follow up with publishers to make sure that books are sent to committee members.

March/April AAPA Meeting: Hand out flyers to publisher representatives letting them know about the prize and how to make nominations.

Mid-May: Have the committee members rank the short listed books to determine the prize winner. At that point, the work of the committee members other than the chair is complete for the year.

May: Announce award

  • Follow up with letters to the BAS Chair, the book winner, his/her publisher, and the artist who makes the medal for us
  • Write an announcement that BAS Chair can e-mail the membership
  • Write an announcement of the award winner for the Newsletter Editor to put in the BAS column (this can be done somewhat later since the announcement usually appears in the November Newsletter).

September: Contact artist again (at his request) to remind him about medal.

September/October: After BAS Chair has announced the award in the email to the membership, contact award winner and his/her publisher to let them know they are free to publicize the award.

Program Chair (appointed, 3 year term)

Responsible for recruiting, organizing and vetting the abstracts and organized sessions that have to do with the general topic of “biological anthropology.”

November/December AAA Meeting: Coordinate activities related the current program

  • At the BAS Executive Committee meeting report on the development of the program, number of submissions received, ideas for the following year’s meeting
  • At the BAS Business meeting provide a similar report

November/December AAA Meeting: Recruit abstracts and organized sessions that have to do with the general topic of “biological anthropology.”

  • Talk up theme of following year’s meeting
  • Work with the Chair, Executive Committee and membership to develop a session in line with the theme for the following year that could be considered for AAA invited/sponsored status (this is negotiated between the BAS President and the AAA Executive Program Chair)
  • Recruit organized sessions that can be sponsored by BAS or co-sponsored with another section.
  • Recruit volunteered papers

February 1: Prepare an e-mail solicitation for organized sessions and ask Chair to forward to membership. Set a target date of March 1 for members to submit sessions to Program Chair. Be prepared to assist members as needed.

March 1-25: Receive proposals for organized sessions. Decide which will be BAS sponsored sessions. Work with other sections to formulate co-sponsored sessions. BAS is allotted 3.75 hours (225 minutes) of organized sessions to sponsor or co-sponsor.

April 1: All abstracts (volunteered papers, organized session abstracts, and organized session individual paper abstracts DUE to AAA through on-line registration and abstract submission.

Mid-April: Receive access to online BAS submissions, and begin the vetting process. (Note: BAS accepts almost all abstracts, except those that are very poorly written, on topics that are not relevant to biological anthropology, or those that do not have a major central thesis with data).

  • Establish a review committee consisting of the Chair, Past Chair or Chair-Elect, and self
  • Provide review committee copies of organized sessions and ask for a recommendation to accept or reject
  • Provide review committee copies of abstracts for volunteered papers and ask them to rank A, B, C, with C being unacceptable. Note: this ranking is required by AAA.
  • Organize A & B abstracts into sessions and discuss same with review committee
  • Select chairs for volunteered paper sessions

May 15: Submit (via online instructions) the reviewed, organized, and vetted BAS sessions (organized and volunteered) – WORK IS DONE

Summer/Fall: Continue working with BAS Chair to encourage BAS members to think about organizing sessions for the subsequent meeting

NOTE: The AAA Executive Program Chair and various AAA staff people provide a very clear set of instructions for how to work with the online system, and for the various deadlines that have to be met.

Member-at-Large for Student Awards (elected, 2 year term)

The chair assigns one of the Members-at-Large the responsibility for the student award. In accepting this responsibility the Member-at-Large agrees to the following:

November/December AAA meeting: Coordinate activities related to the student award

  • Report to the BAS Executive Committee on the previous applicants for the award, the process, and the winners.
  • Provide the same report at the BAS Business Meeting.
  • Solicit help in judging from the BAS membership (if judges still needed – this should be done prior to the meeting).
  • See as many papers/posters as possible.
  • Schedule judges so that papers/posters of all applicants are judged by at least two judges.
  • Solicit summaries of papers/posters from judges and communicate same to Executive Board.
  • After discussion, announce student prize winner to judges and Executive Board.

Immediately after AAA meeting:

  • Announce winner to Chair and Executive Committee.
  • Provide Newsletter Editor with copy for the BAS column.
  • Provide Secretary-Treasurer and Webmaster with copy for the BAS website.


  • Make sure information regarding the award is correct on website.
  • Draft text of e-mails that can be sent to membership reminding students of the award and encouraging them to apply.
  • Respond to questions from students.
  • Receive notification of students applying for the prize; keep updated list with names/titles.
  • Solicit help in judging from the BAS membership.

Be available for special projects.

Member-at-Large (elected, 2 year term)

November/December AAA meeting: attend BAS functions and assist as needed

December/January: Serve on W.W. Howells Book Award Committee

January/February: Serve on Nominations and Elections Committee

Be available for special projects

Student Member (elected, 2 year term)

November/December AAA meeting: represent student concerns at BAS Executive Committee and Business meetings

Recruit student members

Work with Member-at-Large on student prize

Be available for special projects

Newsletter Editor (appointed, term undefined)

November/December AAA meeting: Attend Contributing Editor’s Breakfast, usually scheduled on Friday morning for 2-3 hours. Attend BAS Executive Committee Meeting and BAS Business Meeting, and make reports at each.

August-March by 15th of each month (~2 months in advance of each issue [October-May] in which column appears): submit column to Managing Editor for review.

Coordinate with W.W. Howells Book Award Committee Chair to announce award recipient in October or November column, with the Program Chair to announce sessions at upcoming AAA meeting in October or November column, with the Member-At-Large to announce student award winner and publish abstract in January column, with Chair to announce Distinguished Lecturer in October or November column.

Solicit and review column contributions from BAS members.

Webmaster (appointed, term undefined)

Update and maintain website as needed