DECLARATION OF INTERDEPENDENCE
March 8, 2008
We, leaders of academic survey research organizations, today join together to form a new association of organizations, the Academic Survey Research Association [ASRA].*
We represent survey organizations from both private and public universities, in every region of the United States. The organizations that we represent, and other academic survey organizations in the U.S. and elsewhere, share a common mission. We provide professional, scientific survey expertise and infrastructure to researchers inside and outside of academe. We advance the research, educational, and service goals of our respective universities. As academic centers, our organizations share common features:
- We are embedded as parts of larger educational institutions that govern our functioning and the conduct of our research. We vary in the degree of independence that our universities grant to us, but each of our organizations is part of a university or college
- We share in the traditions of excellence, diversity, entrepreneurship, and political independence from government that characterize higher education in the United States. No other country in the world has a larger number of academic survey research organizations.
- As academic centers, we prize our objectivity, our adherence to high ethical standards, and our ability to innovate and educate as we strive for the highest standards of quality in our research.
- Although we charge for many of our services, we operate on a non-profit basis.
- Our numbers include many small and medium survey research organizations, and a few larger ones. Thus, most of us bear many of the burdens and share many of the advantages that are typical of small enterprises everywhere.
- We operate as generalists, with each of our organizations carrying out surveys in several modes, surveys large and small, for, academic, governmental and non-profit clients.
- As academic centers, we face special challenges and opportunities in management, fiscal and organizational development. We are distinctive due to various supports and constraints of the university environment and our reliance on faculty, academic professionals, and students as employees.
By virtue of our unique academic mission, we serve a vital function in the larger survey industry, the advancement of the social and behavioral sciences, and the betterment of society. Academic survey research centers are vital players in the advancement of survey methods, the publication and dissemination of important survey results, and the enhancement of our field’s reputation in the eyes of decision makers, the media, and the public we serve.
Our Vision We join together to form ASRA today because we have a common vision for the future of academic survey research:
ASRA will be recognized as a leading voice in support and promotion of excellence in survey research conducted in academic settings.
Our Mission. To achieve its vision, ASRA will facilitate mutual support among member organizations in the following ways:
- Promoting excellence and integrity in the conduct of survey research;
- Sharing information for effective administration and organization of academic survey research centers;
- Promoting the value of survey research conducted in academic settings; and,
- Advancing the role of survey research centers across diverse university structures.
As we take this historic step toward formalization, we wish thank our initial leaders, John Kennedy and Ronald Langley, who have brought us together informally for many years at the AAPOR meetings, under the name ‘ASRO Directors,’ to discuss our common interests and problems. We thank Bob Groves and the University of Michigan Survey Research Center for hosting our first national conference at Ann Arbor in February 2007, Bob Lee and the Survey Research Center at University of California—Berkeley for hosting our present gathering, and Jim Wolf for leading our discussions at both these conferences.
The structure of ASRA will be voluntary, democratic, and inclusive. ASRA is committed to working in cooperation with AAPOR (to which nearly all of us belong as individual members) to advance our common interests.
To this end we form an Interim Steering Committee, whose members we will elect today by acclamation, and we charge them with prompt establishment of a formal governing structure for ASRA. The ASRA Interim Steering Committee is charged with:
- promptly drafting By-Laws for our organization,
- nominating at least one qualified person for each position as an ASRA officer,
- securing the approval of the By-Laws by the member organizations when we convene again at the AAPOR meetings in New Orleans in May 2008, and
- holding the first election of our officers at that time, with provision for voting by participating organizations that do not have representatives present at New Orleans.
Once the by-laws are passed by the membership and officers are elected, the Interim Steering Committee will be dissolved.
Our Pledge. Understanding that our respective survey organizations will be called upon to pay dues to ASRA, that final criteria for membership have yet to be determined, and that we will need to commit our time and effort to achieving ASRA’s goals, we pledge today our individual support for ASRA’s vision and mission and we hereby approve or recommend ASRA membership for our respective organizations.
(*Later changed to AASRO, Association of Academic Survey Research Organizations)
[Amended to include revision of Art. I, point 2 "Purpose", and Art. VI point 4 "Finances", June 11th, 2012]
ART. I NAME AND PURPOSE
1. Name. The name of the organization shall be Association of Academic Survey Research Organizations. The short form of the name shall be AASRO.
2. Purpose. The purpose of AASRO is to facilitate mutual support among member organizations in the following ways:
- Promote excellence and integrity in the conduct of survey research;
- Help academic survey centers advance the research, educational and service goals of their respective colleges and universities by providing both formal and informal education and training for effective organization and administration of academic survey research organizations;
- Ensure the ability of academic survey centers to educate the next generation of survey researchers by advancing the educational and research role of survey research organizations across diverse university structures
- Advance society and the social and behavioral sciences by promoting the values of academic survey research: methodological innovation, scientifically-grounded data collection practices and public dissemination of important survey research results
ART. II MEMBERSHIP
1. Membership Qualifications. AASRO is an association of academic survey research organizations, not individuals. Member organizations will meet the following criteria:
- the organization is part of an academic institution (a university or college);
- the director of the organization reports to a university or college official;
- the organization’s primary function is the design and implementation of scientific surveys;
- the organization maintains a sustained physical and administrative infrastructure; and
- the organization’s project funding comes from multiple sources, some of which are external to the academic institution.
Organizations that do not meet the above criteria may request membership by submitting a petition in writing to the Executive Committee’s Membership Coordinator detailing what criteria they may not meet and why this should not preclude membership. The Executive Committee can allow membership by majority vote of all members of the Committee.
2. Voting. Each member organization will have one (1) vote in AASRO officer elections and all matters to be voted on by the full membership. Each member organization’s voting delegate must be employed by that member organization. Unless otherwise specified by the member organization, the voting delegate will be the director.
3. Duration of Membership. The membership period is for one (1) calendar year, from January 1st through December 31st. The membership of any member organization may be terminated by the Executive Committee for not paying dues.
4. List of Members. It shall be the duty of the Secretary/Membership Coordinator to maintain a list of current AASRO member organizations. The current list will be available on request by any member. A directory of members will be kept on the AASRO website and will be updated no less often than annually.
ART. III MEETINGS
1. An Annual Meeting of the directors of AASRO member organizations for the transaction of business shall be held each year. Other, special meetings may be held as determined by the President or the Executive Committee. Time and place of all meetings will be set by the Executive Committee, and notification will be sent to all member organizations at least 30 days in advance.
2. Meetings of the Executive Committee are scheduled by the President as needed.
ART. IV EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
1. The affairs of AASRO shall be managed by the Executive Committee, to consist of the following officers, each of whom must be the designated voting delegate of a member organization:
- Vice President (VP)/President-elect
- Secretary/Membership Coordinator
- Communication Coordinator
- Program Chair
- Past President
- Serves for a term of one year and is elected as Vice-President
- Directs AASRO activities
- Presides at meetings of AASRO
- Authorizes payments of AASRO expenses
- Acts as chief spokesperson and representative for AASRO
- Coordinates with the Executive Committee to ensure that AASRO has an active program of events and initiatives
- Appoints ad-hoc committees and such committee chairs as designated in the AASRO Bylaws
- Vice President/President-Elect
- Serves for a term of one year
- Presides at AASRO meetings in the absence of the President
- Assists the President as requested
- Succeeds to the office of the President in the year subsequent to election as Vice President or in the event the President cannot serve the full term
- Secretary/Membership Coordinator
- Serves for a term of two years. In the event a Treasurer is also newly elected, the Secretary/Membership Coordinator will only serve one year.
- Maintains the AASRO membership list
- Conducts a quarterly reconciliation of the current membership list with the Treasurer to verify status of all member organizations
- Distributes and collects sign-in sheets at AASRO events
- Keeps minutes of the AASRO membership meetings, Executive Committee meetings and all official votes and actions of the Executive Committee
- Maintains the online archive of AASRO records, documents, and templates
- Maintains hard-copy records of AASRO official correspondence and documents
- Serves for a term of two years
- Tracks AASRO revenue and expenses
- Maintains account for AASRO funds
- Sends membership renewal reminder to members
- Deposits member dues
- Pays bills for all AASRO expenses as authorized by the President or the Executive Committee
- Conducts a quarterly reconciliation of the current membership list with the Secretary/Membership Coordinator to verify status of all member organizations
- Prepares annual budget and quarterly financial reports for Executive Committee approval
- Prepares annual financial report for membership review at the Annual Meeting
- Communication Coordinator
- Serves for a term of two years
- Maintains overall responsibility for communication with AASRO membership
- Assists the Program Chair with Program Committee activities
- Performs duties of the Program Chair in his/her absence or disability
- Sends announcements about AASRO events to the full membership list
- Drafts press releases as requested by the Executive Committee
- Responds to e-mail inquiries received through the AASRO website
- Program Chair
- Serves for a term of one year
- Is responsible for local arrangements of the Annual Meeting
- Past President
- Serves for a term of one year, in the year subsequent to serving as President
- Chairs the Committee on Nominations
- Assists the President with the election process
- Assists the President and other Executive Committee members as requested
2. Election of Officers
- Election. The following officers shall be elected by the membership prior to the Annual Meeting: VP/President-elect, Secretary/Membership Coordinator, Treasurer, and Communication Coordinator. The VP/President-elect shall be elected each year, while the Secretary/Membership Coordinator, Treasurer, and Communication Coordinator shall be elected in alternating years. No more than one person from any member organization can be on the Executive Committee, and no person may hold more than one office at a time. The Committee on Nominations is responsible for recruiting a slate of at least one candidate for each office. Other candidates may be nominated by representatives of member organizations.
- Balloting. Voting for officers shall be by secret ballot. Member organizations must have paid dues for the current membership year to be eligible to vote. The ballot will be sent to the designated voting delegate of the member organization. Each member organization will have one vote.
- Appointment. The Program Chair shall be appointed by the President in consultation with the Executive Committee. This appointment may be made as early as 18 months prior to the Annual Meeting for which that Program Chair will be responsible, and will normally take place no later than the conclusion of the Annual Meeting preceding the one for which the Program Chair will be responsible. The Program Chair will normally be the director of the member organization hosting the meeting.
3. Term of office. Newly elected members of the Executive Committee will take office when the Committee meets on the last day of the Annual Meeting. The outgoing Executive Committee will meet with the newly elected members attending as guests, report on the year’s activities and consider any old business. They will then turn over their offices to the new Committee members. The new Committee will continue the meeting by receiving their charge from the new President and considering any new business.
4. Vacancies. Vacancies on the Executive Committee shall be filled in the following way: If the Presidency is vacant, the Vice President/President-Elect assumes the President’s position. In that event, or if the position of VP/President-elect is vacated for any other reason, the Vice Presidency shall remain vacant until the next regular election of officers, unless the Executive Committee chooses to hold a special vote of the entire membership to fill it. Vacancies in the remaining positions (Secretary/Membership Coordinator, Treasurer, Communication Coordinator, Program Chair, and Past President) are filled through appointment by the remaining Executive Committee members. When a vacancy in an elective office is filled by such appointment, the appointee shall serve in that office from the time of appointment to the Annual Meeting immediately following the next regular election of officers.
5. Resignation. Any Executive Committee member of AASRO may resign as an officer at any time by giving written notice to the President. If the President is the member resigning, the written notice shall be given to the VP/President-elect. Such resignation shall take effect at the time specified in the notice. If a member of the Executive Committee ceases to be the voting delegate of a member organization, that person is ineligible to hold office and must resign; in that event, the vacancy is effective immediately.
6. Quorum and Manner of Acting. Three (3) members of the Executive Committee shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business at any meeting, and the act of a majority of the Executive Committee members present at any meeting at which a quorum is present shall be the act of the Executive Committee. Once it has been determined that a quorum is present, the Executive Committee may transact business at any meeting for which prior notice has been given.
7. Action by Consent. Any action required or permitted to be taken at any meeting of the Executive Committee, or of any committee thereof, may be taken without a meeting. Written consent may be provided electronically (i.e., via email or other electronic means) following rules for electronic discussion and voting to be established by the President with approval of a majority of the Committee.
ART. V COMMITTEES
1. The Standing Committees include:
- The Committee on Nominations, consisting of the Immediate Past President as Chair and two voting members appointed by the President, shall issue a call for nominations at least 60 days before the election voting period begins. The Committee shall present a slate of nominations for the expiring elected positions to the membership at least 30 days before the voting period begins. The Committee shall also present nominations for the Program Chair to the Executive Committee at this time. The presentation of the slate of candidates to the membership shall include biographical sketches and instructions on how to vote, including procedures on voting for a “write-in” candidate.
- The Program Committee, consisting of the Program Chair and Committee members appointed by the Program Chair, shall be responsible for making local arrangements for the Annual Meeting.
- The Mentoring and Peer Review Committee shall consist of a Chair appointed by the President and Committee members appointed by the Chair. The purpose of this Committee is to develop and maintain a set of criteria to be used for evaluating an academic survey research organization; to recruit evaluators to conduct peer reviews; and to administer a mentoring program to assist new directors.
- The Education and Advocacy Committee shall consist of a Chair appointed by the President and Committee members appointed by the Chair. The purpose of this Committee is to develop ways to promote the importance of academic survey research organizations to clients, university administrators and faculty; and to facilitate the training of the next generation of survey research professionals.
- Member Survey and Data Sharing Committee shall consist of a Chair appointed by the President and Committee members appointed by the Chair. The purpose of this Committee is to collect and disseminate annual, aggregated information on the state of the academic survey sector, to track trends in its size and activities, and to provide effective means of collating and sharing any organizational information that member organizations agree to share, with attribution, with other members.
- Human Subjects and Research Compliance Committee shall consist of a Chair appointed by the President and Committee members appointed by the Chair. The purpose of this Committee is to provide timely information about research compliance regulations regarding the use of human subjects and to assist member organizations in working effectively with their research compliance offices.
2. Chairs of Standing Committees who are not members of the Executive Committee may participate in Executive Committee meetings as non-voting members.
3. The Executive Committee may appoint other ad hoc committees as needed for special projects.
ART. VI FINANCES
1. Dues. The Executive Committee shall establish a schedule of dues annually. Dues shall be collected by the Treasurer for conducting AASRO business and for providing programs and events that benefit AASRO members. Requests for dues payment shall be made annually and payments should be received by the Treasurer no later than March 1st. The Executive Committee must authorize the levy of any fees that may be necessary to cover the costs of specific AASRO activities.
2. Fiscal Year. The AASRO fiscal year will begin on January 1st and end on December 31st.
3. Any expenditure of more than $500 that is not in the approved annual budget will require approval from the Executive Committee.
4. Upon the dissolution of this organization, assets shall be distributed for one or more exempt purposes within the meaning of section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or corresponding section of any future federal tax code, or shall be distributed to the federal government, or to a state or local government, for a public purpose.
ART. VII AMENDMENTS
These Bylaws may be amended by majority vote of all member organizations that cast a vote. Any voting delegate may propose an amendment to the Executive Committee. Those amendments approved by the Executive Committee will be sent to the members along with instructions on how to vote for or against acceptance.