A yellow graphic that says “Meet the Candidates”

This year marks a turning point for AGU, with probably the most diverse slate of candidates ever presented for the Board of Directors and AGU officers.

The AGU Leadership Development/Governance Committee and section and and College of Fellows officers are proud to announce the slate of candidates for the 2020 AGU election. This year marks a turning point for AGU, with probably the most diverse slate of candidates ever presented for the Board of Directors and AGU officers. In addition to the usual process of identifying potential candidates, described in greater detail below, we had the advantage this year of asking for suggestions from the recently formed Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee, which generated a large, diverse, and deep pool of potential candidates. Never have we had so many highly qualified people suggested for our leadership positions, most of whom enthusiastically agreed to be interviewed by the committee. We thank all who suggested candidates, and we thank all who participated in our interview process. Several of the sections also made an extra effort to solicit suggestions for their leadership positions and instituted interview processes. The slate of candidates selected for the AGU Board of Directors, the student and early-career members of the AGU Council, the section presidents-elect and secretaries, and the College of Fellows vice chair are posted online at agu.org/elections.

Anticipating the Need for Implementing a New Strategic Plan

We are delighted to report that this year’s slate of candidates have the skills, experiences, and motivations to grapple with the challenges and opportunities presented by AGU’s bold new strategic plan, summarized by its three major goals:

  • Catalyze discovery and solutions to scientific and societal challenges
  • Promote and exemplify an inclusive scientific culture
  • Partner broadly with other organizations and sectors to effectively address scientific and societal challenges

Voting Is for AGU Members

Voting is a right of AGU membership. To be eligible to vote in the 2020 election, you must be a member in good standing, which requires joining AGU or renewing your membership by 1 September 2020. In addition to paying your dues, please go online and ensure that your section affiliations are up to date. AGU allows members to belong to as many sections as desired to encourage interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research. Each member will have the opportunity to vote for AGU Board members, student and early-career positions on the Council, and leaders of all sections with which they are affiliated. You must be an AGU Fellow to vote for the College of Fellows vice chair.


Voting opens in late September and will elect leaders to serve in 2021–2022. AGU bylaws require that the proposed slates be announced to the membership 30 days before the ballot is finalized. The bylaws also allow for additional nominations from the general membership by petition, provided that each petition is signed by at least 1% of the full voting members of AGU, the section, or the College of Fellows, as appropriate. This year, petitions must be received no later than 21 August. Each nominee must be an AGU member and provide a letter with the petition agreeing to serve if elected. Please send petitions to Eric Davidson, Past President, AGU, 2000 Florida Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20009, USA, or send them by email to cenderlein@agu.org.

The polls will open in late September and stay open for 30 days.

The polls will open in late September and stay open for 30 days. The Leadership Development/Governance Committee plans to announce the final ballot on the AGU website by early September. Election results will be announced in November, and newly elected members of the Board and Council will serve 2 years, from 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2022.

Emails with election information will go out to all eligible voters beginning in September. It is important for members to vote and provide feedback on the voting process so that Leadership Development/Governance Committee members and staff can continue to improve the voting experience for our members. In the previous AGU election, 2 years ago, over 4,200 comments were received from voters and reviewed, with 87% of commenters indicating that they were satisfied or very satisfied with the process.

AGU Board of Directors Candidates

Board candidates will compete for five open positions on the Board in this year’s election: president-elect, international secretary, and three directors. AGU’s rotation strategy is designed to retain about 50% of elected members each term to ensure leadership continuity. Continuing members for the 2021–2022 term include the current AGU president and the president-elect in their new positions, the general secretary, three directors, one at-large director, and the executive director/CEO (nonvoting).

AGU Council Student and Early-Career Candidates

There are six permanent positions for student and early-career members on the AGU Council. The Leadership Development/Governance Committee invited nominations for two open student and early-career positions. Four student and early-career members will continue for a second term.

Section Candidates

Each section selects its president-elect and secretary candidates. The current presidents-elect will move up to assume the position of president, ensuring leadership continuity. Some sections also asked current secretaries to serve a second term. Two sections are electing leaders for the first time: GeoHealth and Education.

Section presidents and presidents-elect serve as members of the AGU Council, along with the AGU president-elect, the chairs or vice chairs of 11 standing committees, the College of Fellows chair, six students and early-career scientists, the AGU president (nonvoting), the executive director/CEO (nonvoting), and up to five at-large appointed positions.

College of Fellows

The College of Fellows is also participating in the AGU election for the first time.

The College of Fellows is also participating in the AGU election for the first time by electing a new vice chair. The current vice chair will assume the chair position and serve on the AGU Council.

Leadership for the Future

The AGU Leadership Development/Governance Committee is charged with identifying and developing leadership within AGU to advance the strategic plan and strengthen the governance model. The work of this committee is important to AGU’s mission, and its workload has increased significantly. To add more workers and increase its diversity of perspectives, the committee this year expanded to 10 members. Working with the committee chair, AGU past president Eric Davidson, are members Aisling Dolan, Robert Duce, Luis Gonzalez, Peter Griffith, Eileen Hofmann, Betty Johnson, Sarah Kruse, James Pizzuto, Sabine Stanley, and Meng Zhou. They did an outstanding job and deserve our gratitude.

For the upcoming election, the committee followed this process:

  • Nomination: AGU leaders (current and past Board and Council members, current committee and task force members, editors in chief, the College of Fellows, and staff) were asked to identify potential Board and student and early-career Council candidates. Those who met the leadership criteria were invited to apply.
  • Application: This step of the process required interested candidates to read AGU’s new strategic plan, Conflict of Interest Policy, and Scientific Integrity and Professional Ethics Policy. Applicants also had to answer some questions set by the committee and to indicate their willingness to sign conflict of interest and ethics disclosure forms if selected for the ballot. The committee reviewed all applications for Board positions and determined whom to invite for an interview. AGU is in the enviable position of having many more qualified candidates than it has Board positions.
  • Selection: Committee members conducted 1-hour virtual interviews with more candidates than needed for the ballot. Interviews covered clarification of answers already provided by the potential candidate, three new questions, and the opportunity for the interviewee to ask questions. Potential candidates were considered for multiple open positions by committee members as the final selections and pairings were decided. Candidates not on the ballot will be asked to consider serving in other leadership positions.

Renew Your Membership (If Needed) and Vote

Please exercise your right to influence the organization’s decisions and its future by making certain that your membership is current now and by voting.

AGU is offering an impressive and exciting slate of candidates for the 2021–2022 positions. Please exercise your right to influence the organization’s decisions and its future by making certain that your membership is current now and by voting in late September for the candidates you feel are most qualified to lead AGU as we launch our new strategic plan.

—Eric Davidson (pastpresident@agu.org), Past President and Chair, Leadership Development/Governance Committee, AGU


Davidson, E. (2020), Upcoming AGU leadership elections, Eos, 101, https://doi.org/10.1029/2020EO147374. Published on 23 July 2020.

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