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6. Committees: General Structure and Purposes

National Council for the Social Studies will promote the full and active participation in the social studies profession of men and women from all levels of education, all ethnic groups, and all geographic areas, urban, rural, and suburban. In all policies and activities, every effort will be made to achieve this goal.

Additionally, as the NCSS mission statement affirms our commitment to engaging and supporting educators as they strengthen and advocate social studies, every effort will be made to ensure that the overall composition and leadership of NCSS committees, task forces, and commissions include preK-12 classroom teachers in proportion to their membership in NCSS. It is the responsibility of local, regional and state affiliates to aid NCSS in this essential task by recommending appropriate members for these committees, task forces and commissions.

6.1 Committees of the Board of Directors

6.1.1 Purposes

The NCSS Board of Directors has management committees which review and advise the full board on specific areas of operations and policies as well as completing assignments specifically designated to the particular committee by the board.

6.1.2 Management Committees

The management committees of the board are:

  • Audit
  • Documents Review
  • Endorsements and Special Projects
  • Executive
  • Finance
  • Grant
  • Stewardship Fund
  • Personnel

6.2 Ad Hoc Committees

6.2.1 Purpose and Guidelines in Establishing an Ad Hoc Committee

The function of ad hoc committees is to accomplish specific tasks, often on a short-term basis not easily provided for elsewhere in the committee system. Each ad hoc committee has a particular goal to achieve or product to provide to its initiating body; when its task is completed, the committee is dismissed. While neither the board of directors nor the house of delegates can delegate its ultimate decision-making responsibilities, both groups have the authority to establish ad hoc committees. As a general rule, the board adheres to the following guidelines in establishing an ad hoc committee:

6.2.1.1 If a committee exists with the focus of the problem to be solved or task to be accomplished, and if time, representation, expertise, or committee size are not at issue, the task is assigned to an existing standing or operations committee.

6.2.1.2 If a committee exists and time, representation, expertise, or committee size are at issue, the president will confer with the chair of the existing committee to appoint an ad hoc committee.

6.2.1.3 If no committee exists or if there are several relevant committees, the president will confer with the appropriate chairs and others to make the appointments.

6.2.1.4 The ad hoc committee may seek guidance from existing committees, individual members, or other experts through hearings, reviews, or other means. Final reports will go directly to the NCSS Board of Directors (or the Steering Committee of the House of Delegates if it is the organizing body) for final approval.

6.2.2 Composition

Ad hoc committees may be created by the NCSS Board of Directors or the House of Delegates. Ad hoc committees of the board of directors are appointed by the president.

6.2.3 Duties

To perform the task assigned within a specified time and to submit the results of the task to the appointive body.

6.2.4 Term of Office

Unless the task of the ad hoc committee is expected to be accomplished in less time than two years, the term of office of ad hoc committee members shall be two years. If necessary committee membership may be extended beyond two years in order to complete the assigned task. If a committee has not completed its task within the time set, it may be reconstituted or disbanded by the appointive body.

6.2.5 Liaison

A board of directors liaison will be appointed to each ad hoc committee created by the board.

6.2.6 Budget

Ad hoc committees often require meetings outside the annual conference or meetings of the board of directors. When forming an ad hoc committee, the board should analyze the necessity of meetings and make appropriate budget decisions. The committee chair should be informed about the budget when the committee is organized. When an ad hoc committee appointed by the House of Delegates requires special funds to perform its task, the request for funds requires action by the board of directors.

6.2.7 Sunset

Each ad hoc committee will be scheduled for sunset (cease to exist) during the second year after formation and annually thereafter.

6.3 Task Forces

6.3.1 Purposes

A task force is formed to accomplish major projects or tasks when the task requires intensive, focused, long term effort and special expertise and representation. Such tasks or projects require a small number of persons with varying expertise and representation of particular groups within the field (e.g., ethnic, geographic, level, etc.). A task force will usually develop a report or statement for submission to board of directors. A task force holds hearings at then annual conference and seeks input from members before completing their report.

6.3.2 Composition and Guidelines in Establishing an Ad Hoc Committee or Task Force

A task force of the board is appointed by the president, in consultation with the board. The composition of a task force depends on the task at hand. A member of the board will serve as liaison or as a member of the task force. As a general rule, the board adheres to the following guidelines in establishing an ad hoc committee or task force.

6.3.2.1 If a committee exists with the focus of the problem to be solved or task to be accomplished, and if time, representation, expertise, or committee size are not at issue, the task is assigned to an existing standing or operations committee, which will be the designated task force accomplishing the identified task.

6.3.2.2 If a committee exists and time, representation, expertise, or committee size are at issue, the president will confer with the chair of the existing committee to make the specific appointments to the task force.

6.3.2.3 If no committee exists or if there are several relevant committees, the president will confer with the appropriate chairs and others to make the appointments.

6.3.2.4 The task force may seek guidance from existing committees, individual members, or other experts through hearings, reviews, or other means. Final reports will go directly to the NCSS Board of Directors (or the Steering Committee of the House of Delegates if it is the organizing body) for final approval.

6.3.3 Duties As assigned.

6.3.4 Term of Office Unless the work of the task force is expected to be accomplished in less time than two years, the term of office of task force members shall be two years. If necessary, task force membership may be extended beyond two years in order to complete the assigned task.

6.3.5 Liaison A member of the board of directors will serve as liaison to the task force.

6.3.6 Budget A task force may require meetings outside the annual conference or meetings of the board of directors. When forming a task force, the board should analyze the necessity of meetings and make appropriate budget decisions. The committee chair should be informed about the budget when the committee is organized.

6.3.7 Sunset

After two years, or if extended by the president, upon completion of the task assigned.

6.4 Standing Committees

The annual budget for normal operating expenses for committees will be $50.00. When a committee is assigned a special task, the committee chair will work with staff to design a budget for this work. Staff will handle major copying and mailing in-house if feasible. This agreed-upon budget will then be included in the annual budget plan submitted to the board.

6.4.1 Purposes

6.4.1.1 Implement Policy

Standing committees carry out board-mandated operations, duties and policies as well as carry out many of the necessary business and organizational functions of the council.

6.4.1.2 Coordination

Standing committees relate their work, where possible, to board directives, the long range plan of the council, and the leadership theme of the year set by the board.

6.4.1.3 Continuity

Standing committees carry out their work throughout the year. Terms of membership are established to enable the work of the committees to have continuity from year to year.

6.4.1.4 Advisory

Standing committees make recommendations to the board as well as provide advice through established channels and as requested.

6.4.1.5 Advocacy

In addition, these committees bring items to the attention of the board and executive director when deemed appropriate by the committee membership or leadership.

6.4.2 Standing Committees

The operations committees are: Archives; Awards; Conference; Membership; Nominations and Elections; Public Relations/Government Relations; Publications.

6.43 Membership

6.4.3.1 Number of Members

Unless otherwise specified, each operations committee consists of sixteen members, plus an ex officio liaison from the board of directors.

6.4.3.2 Selection and Eligibility

6.4.3.2.1 All committee members must be members of NCSS except exempted specified others as, for example, the Children's Book Council.

6.4.3.2.2 Committee members selected by the house of delegates for operations committees may not need to be members of the house at the time of selection or after being selected. The house of delegates may determine membership requirements for eligibility.

6.4.3.2.3 Except for board liaisons, no one may serve on more than one operations committee at a time.

6.4.4 Appointment, Tenure and Terms

6.4.4.1 Unless otherwise stipulated, all members serve three year terms which are staggered so that one-third of each committee is replaced each year.

6.4.4.2 After their appointments or elections, chairs, vice-chairs, and committee members assume office on July 1 unless specified otherwise. Members who fill term vacancies will assume office immediately.

6.4.4.3 The president-elect announces committee appointments, chairs and vice chairs no later that the beginning of terms on July 1.

6.4.4.4 The chairs of associated groups, in accordance with rules established by each group, shall appoint one member to each operations committee. The term of committee membership for these appointees will be for three years. NCSS will send notice to the associated groups about which committees have opens slots. If the groups do not appoint a member by the deadline, the NCSS president will appoint a group member to fill the vacant slot.

6.4.4.5 The house of delegates, in accordance with rules established by the house, shall select six members to each operations committee. The term of committee membership for these appointees will be for three years. One third of then shall be elected each year to each committee.

6.4.4.6 An NCSS member may be re-appointed to a position on any operations committee, but may not serve more than six consecutive years on any one committee.

6.4.5 Diversity

6.4.5.1 When making committee appointments, the president-elect and president shall strive to achieve the full and active participation of men and women from all levels of education, all ethnic groups, and all geographic areas'urban, suburban, and rural.

6.4.5.2 When making committee appointments, the chairs and leadership of the associated groups shall strive to achieve the full and active participation of men and women from all levels of education, all ethnic groups, and all geographic areas (urban, suburban, and rural).

6.4.5.3 When making committee appointments, the house of delegates shall strive to achieve the full and active participation of men and women from all levels of education, all ethnic groups, and all geographic areas (urban, suburban, and rural).

6.4.6 Attendance and Vacancies

6.4.6.1 Members accepting appointments to a committee are expected to make all regularly scheduled meetings of the committee, and are required to make every reasonable effort to attend committee meetings and sessions held in conjunction with the annual conference in November.

6.4.6.2 Members seeking appointment to and accepting appointment to a committee must be informed, in The Social Studies Professional and the appointment letter, of the importance of attending the committee's meetings, attending to the committee's work, and of the consequences of non-participation and non-attendance.

6.4.6.3 If a committee member cannot attend the annual conference, he/she shall contact the committee chair one month in advance and make arrangements to share committee responsibilities. If advance notice is not possible, the member shall contact the chair within two weeks following the annual conference.

6.4.6.4 The committee chairs will report to the president-elect the names of members who fail to meet committee responsibilities. The president-elect will take these names into account in making future appointments. The president may also replace a member whom the committee chair and board liaison have observed as inactive.

6.4.6.5 When a member of an operations committee can no longer serve, the president is responsible for appointing a person to fill the vacancy of officer-appointed members. Appointments for vacancies of committee members representing the house and associated groups shall be made in alignment with rules established by these respective groups.

6.4.7 Meetings and Reports

6.4.7.1 Annual Conference

Operations committees meet at the annual conference and at other times during the year when they are able or called to meet by the board of directors.

6.4.7.2 Interim

Most of the deliberations of committees must be carried out through correspondence between committee meetings. Each committee chair therefore is encouraged to send regular email updates to committee members, with copies to the board liaison, the NCSS officers, and the executive director.

6.4.7.3 Reports

Committee chairs are expected to submit reports to the board of directors prior to regularly scheduled board meetings.

6.4.8 Liaison

The president-elect assigns a board of directors liaison to each committee after the spring board election. The liaison serves a three-year term beginning July 1. Liaison assignments are reviewed annually by the president.

6.4.9 Leadership

6.4.9.1 The president-elect shall appoint a vice-chair from recommendations made by each committee. In appointing the vice chair prior distinguished service on the committee shall be a high priority for qualified appointees. Whenever possible, the president-elect confers with the current chair and board of directors liaison before making the appointment of the future vice chair.

6.4.9.1.1 Each committee will recommend candidates for vice-chair at the annual conference. The committee chair shall send these to the president-elect no later than January 31 each year.

6.4.9.1.2 The appointment of a vice chair not currently serving on the committee or re-appointment of a committee chair or vice-chair may occur in circumstances as the president-elect deems necessary or appropriate.

6.4.9.2 The vice-chair shall be appointed as chair.

6.4.9.2.1 The president-elect may re-appoint a committee chair or appoint another member of the committee as chair in circumstances he or she deems necessary or appropriate.

6.4.9.3 In making these appointments, the president-elect shall make every effort to achieve the goal of full and active participation of men and women from all levels of education, all ethnic groups, and all geographic areas (urban, rural, and suburban).

6.5 Budget

6.5.1 A new committee may receive a budget up to $100 if extra expenses are incurred as a result of start-up.

6.5.2 New committee chairs will receive a letter informing them of the budget policy for committees.

6.5.3 A committee may request additional money from the board to carry out its responsibilities. This request must be in writing and should be submitted to the executive director and president. The board liaison must submit a letter providing a rationale for the additional funds.

6.6 Select Subcommittees

6.6.1 The board of directors may create special select subcommittees as deemed necessary to fulfill on-going council activities.

6.6.1.1 Board of directors select subcommittees are permanent subcommittees of standing operations committees, and are charged with specific and on-going duties that relate to the operations committee.

6.6.1.2 Board of directors select subcommittees report to the operations committee under which they are assigned. The operations committee must report all select subcommittee actions and recommendations to the board of directors as a part of its annual report to the board.

6.6.2 Except when otherwise noted, all requirements for select subcommittee purposes, membership, appointment, tenure, diversity, attendance, vacancies, meetings, reports, liaison, leadership and budget shall be the same as for operations committees.

6.6.3 The president shall appoint the chair and members to board of directors select subcommittees for a period equal to the normal appointment length for full operations committees. Each select subcommittee will have ten members.

6.6.4 Board of directors select subcommittees are: Carter G. Woodson Book Award (under Awards Committee); Children's Book Council (under Publications Committee); and Social Education (under Publications Committee)