2018 AGU elections
Credit: AGU

The American Geophysical Union (AGU) Governance Committee and section officers are pleased to announce the slate of candidates for the 2018 AGU election. Voting opens in late August and will choose leaders to serve in 2019–2020. Names of candidates for the AGU Board of Directors, the student and early-career members of the AGU Council, and section presidents-elect and secretaries are posted online at elections.agu.org.

Voting Is for AGU Members

Voting is a right of membership. To be eligible to vote in the 2018 election, you must be a member in good standing, which requires joining AGU or renewing your membership by 1 August 2018. 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 of the Council, and leaders of all sections with which they are affiliated.


The polls will stay open for 30 days. The Governance Committee plans to announce the final ballot on the AGU website by mid-July.

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 the Union or section, as appropriate. This year, petitions must be received no later than 3 July. Each nominee must be an AGU member and provide a letter with the petition agreeing to serve if elected. Please send petitions to Margaret Leinen, Past President, AGU, 1 Thomas Circle, NW, Suite 900, Washington, D.C. 20005, USA, or send them by email to cenderlein@agu.org.

The polls will open in late August and stay open for 30 days. The Governance Committee plans to announce the final ballot on the AGU website by mid-July. Election results will be announced in October, and newly elected members of the Board and Council will be invited to observe the December 2018 Board and Council meetings held in conjunction with Fall Meeting in Washington, D. C. Elected members will serve 2 years, from 1 January 2019 to 31 December 2020.

Emails with election information will go out to all eligible voters beginning in August. It is important for members to vote and provide feedback on the voting process so that Governance Committee members and staff can continue to improve the voting experience for our members. In the previous AGU election 2 years ago, nearly 6,000 comments were received from voters and reviewed, with 91% of voters indicating that they were satisfied or very satisfied.

AGU Board of Directors Candidates

Board candidates will compete for six open positions on the Board in this year’s election: president-elect, general secretary/treasurer, 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 2019–2020 term include the current AGU president and the president-elect in their new positions, three directors, 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 Governance Committee invited volunteer leaders familiar with AGU’s governance structure to submit nominations for four open student and early-career positions. Two 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 president position, ensuring leadership continuity. Some sections also asked current secretaries to serve a second term. To ensure leadership continuity for the newly created GeoHealth section, the three founding leaders appointed by the Governance Committee 6 months ago will continue to serve.

Section presidents and presidents-elect serve as members of the AGU Council, along with the AGU president-elect, the chairs of three standing committees (Honors and Recognition, Meetings, and Publications), six students and early-career scientists, the AGU president (nonvoting), the executive director/CEO (nonvoting), and up to five at-large appointed positions.

Leadership for the Future

The AGU Leadership Development Committee is charged with identifying and developing leadership within AGU to advance the strategic plan and strengthen the governance model.

The AGU Governance Committee is charged with identifying and developing leadership within AGU to advance the strategic plan and strengthen the governance model. It recently changed its name to the Leadership Development Committee to better reflect its charge. 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, this year the committee expanded to nine members. Working with committee chair AGU past president Margaret Leinen are members Robert Duce, Luis Gonzalez, Hans Lechner, Catherine McCammon, James Pizzuto, Sabine Stanley, George Tsoflias, Vaughan Turekian, and Tong Zhu.

For the upcoming election, the committee made improvements to the highly successful candidate selection process used in previous ones. Those include adding an application form and implementing AGU’s new ethics policy in the process. The steps now are now the following:

  • 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 new step of the process required interested candidates to read AGU’s 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 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, five 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

AGU is offering a strong slate of candidates for the 2019–2020 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 August for the candidates you feel are most qualified to lead our Union through its centennial year and into the start of its next century.

—Margaret Leinen (email: pastpresident@agu.org), Past President and Chair, Leadership Development Committee, AGU


Leinen, M. (2018), Upcoming leadership elections, Eos, 99, https://doi.org/10.1029/2018EO100695. Published on 07 June 2018.

Text © 2018. The authors. CC BY-NC-ND 3.0
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