2019 Proposed Changes to the AAR Bylaws


To:          Members of the American Academy of Religion

From:     Alice Hunt, Executive Director

Subject: Proposed Changes to the AAR Bylaws

Date:     October 23, 2019


After careful consideration, the Board of Directors unanimously recommended several revisions to the AAR bylaws

The bylaws outline how revisions and amendments are to be handled:

Article X. Amendment:

These bylaws may be amended by a two‐thirds majority vote of the entire Board of Directors, followed by a two‐thirds majority vote of the Members present and voting at a meeting of the Members, or by mail or electronic ballot. Notice of the proposed revisions and meeting shall be distributed to all Members of the Academy at least thirty days (30) prior to the meeting at which they are to be considered.

With this memo, the Board provides the AAR membership notice of proposed revisions, as well as its intention to bring these proposed revisions to a vote at the AAR’s Annual Business Meeting. The Annual Business Meeting (A24-2) will be held on Sunday, November 24, 2019, from 7:30 AM to 8:45 AM, in the Convention Center-6A (Upper Level West), in San Diego, California.  Please join us at the Annual Business Meeting to discuss and vote on these bylaws revisions.

The proposed bylaws changes are specified below. The actual change in text is provided for each revision. A strikethrough font (like this) indicates passages or text to be deleted. A red font (like this) represents new text or passages to be added.


Proposed Bylaws Revisions

Article III. Membership

Section 3. Membership Categories. The Board of Directors shall establish categories of membership and shall define the qualifications for each category. Current membership categories are student, professional, and retired.

Article V. Board of Directors

Section 3. Student Director. A Student Director shall serve a term of two years and may not serve an additional consecutive term. The Student Director must be, at their election, a Student Member a graduate student.

Article VI. Officers

Section 7. Executive Director. The Executive Director is the chief executive officer of the Academy. Under the authority and policies of the Board of Directors, the Executive Director is responsible for the general supervision and direction of the Academy and its staff, including strategic planning, continuing operations, and programs and services. The Executive Director reports annually on the Academy’s programs, activities, and membership. The Executive Director is elected by a majority vote of the Board of Directors for a five‐year, renewable term subject to annual review and serves as a nonvoting member of the Board and all Committees.

Article VII. Committees of the Board and Working Groups

Part I. Committees of the Board

Section 2. Finance Committee. The Finance Committee shall oversee the financial aspects of the AAR including the annual budget, investments, and fiscal planning. Membership shall include one At‐Large Director and three Members who are not directors. The Director of Finance and Administration Chief Finance and Administration Officer shall staff the Committee. It is chaired by the Treasurer.

Section 3. Audit Committee. The Audit Committee shall review the annual audit, and, as appropriate, recommend its acceptance by the Board. The membership of the Committee shall include the President, the President‐Elect, the Vice President, and one non‐board Member, who may be a non‐Member, with significant experience in finance. It is chaired by the President. The Committee shall meet once per year. The meeting shall include, as needed, the AAR auditor, the Director of Finance and Administration Chief Finance and Administration Officer, the Executive Director, and the Treasurer. Membership should not overlap with the Finance Committee.

Section 5. Program Committee. The Program Unit Director chairs the Program Committee. Membership includes the Vice President (ex officio), one At‐Large Director, and ten other AAR non‐director Members, all of whom must have had significant program Unit experience. The committee shall meet after the Annual Meeting, and once at another point during the year. The Director of Meetings Chief Scholarly Engagement Officer, the Executive Director, and other members of the AAR executive staff, as necessary, shall staff this committee.


List of Amendments

Current AAR Bylaws

Amended Bylaws, pending approval