Transparency in AUPHA Board Selection
There is nothing more important than the volunteer participation and leadership of AUPHA’s many committees, Faculty Forums, and Board. People in those roles primary concern must be the success of AUPHA and the healthcare management education field for our ongoing success. The process of identifying and selecting these individuals, however, has long been shrouded in mystery. The absence of information breeds a host of theories of how it is done with most being entirely, or at least partially, inaccurate. This blog explains the process with respect to Board membership so that we all operate from the same place.
The Leadership Development Committee (LDC) was formed with a change in the AUPHA bylaws in 2012. It is charged with all aspects of leadership development, including proposing a slate for the Board officers, Board members, and all standing and ad hoc committees of AUPHA. By tradition, it is chaired by the immediate past chair of the Board. Further, the bylaws specify that the committee consists of not less than eight members in good standing, that one additional member of the Board is on the committee, that each membership category is represented, and that a majority of members cannot be currently on the Board. Prior to 2012, AUPHA had both a nominating and a governance committee with similar but overlapping responsibilities. It is clear that the Board believed that the selection of current Board members and leadership as well as the identification of potential future leadership was best determined by a representative group of members in good standing.
While I can’t comment on how nominations were generated in the past, in recent years, the LDC puts out a call for nominations for the Board in the spring of each year. We have been blessed to have many strong applicants each year I have been President. Last year there were 16 nominations for a single position and this year we had eight nominations for the four positions not designated for a practitioner. I am sure that some encouragement to submit a nomination has come from Board members and others but for the most part this volunteer process produces individuals with the history of support for AUPHA as well as the expertise, time and energy to serve on the Board. At the end of the nomination process staff compile the nomination portfolios and validate eligibility for each prospective Board member. These portfolios are distributed to the entire LDC and an evaluation process ensues. The question remains, how does the LDC reach their decisions?
A number of considerations are used to select from among all of the highly qualified candidates. First of all, we don’t allow two Board members to be from the same program. Beyond that, the Committee looks at past activity with AUPHA. Past activity may predict how productive the applicant will be on the Board and what experience he/she brings to the Board. The nomination form specifically asks the nominator to document the nominees’ previous volunteer roles in AUPHA or CAHME. The form also asks for a description of how the nominee can contribute to the Board going forward. The quality and completeness of these parts of the application packet have great influence on the LDC members. It is a good idea to take time to craft the application well and make it as complete as possible.
In addition to how the potential member can assist AUPHA, the LDC believes that examining the diversity of the overall Board is also important. As a result, we collect and analyze information about the current Board and each of the applicants. We examine program type (graduate/undergraduate), gender, race, faculty role (rank, program director/chair), geographic region, type of school (public health, health science, business), and training/discipline (management, public health, global, operations, clinical). As you might expect, LDC cannot find a mix that creates diversity in each of these dimensions listed. The small numbers on the Board make this impossible but these factors are a part of the decision process.
I hope that this helps. It is important that the decision process for Board membership is highly structured and led by a dedicated group of members who take this role seriously. Staff have very little role beyond collecting and disseminating portfolios as is appropriate. The future leadership is in good hands. Please consider applying in the next year. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me for further information.