Essential purposes of the American Academy of Religion as a learned society and a professional association are carried out at both Academy-wide and regional levels. Activities designed to implement these tasks at either level reinforce and supplement the work of the other. At present the annual Academy-wide meeting is augmented and expanded by ten geographically distinct regional meetings.
Regional meetings of the Academy often incorporate patterns of organization and presentation similar to those followed at the Academy-wide meetings: section meetings, giving and responding to papers, plenary speeches. Regional meetings, however, offer unique and distinct opportunities for members. Regions have developed a distinct character of their own, providing the following opportunities:
Greater personal contact among members than is possible at the AAR Annual meeting.
The Regions Committee
The Committee thus has primary responsibility for supporting, promoting and developing regional activities. The Committee is the initial forum where regional concerns and policies are discussed and evaluated before being presented to the Board of Directors. It is also the group through which major new initiatives supporting the regions can be implemented.
Regions Newsletter January 2012
Regions sponsor special training sessions to enhance both the work of the regions and the personal teaching and scholarship of members. Some regions have sponsored training sessions on the use of electronic communication for regional officers to improve communication regarding regional affairs and on the use of computers in research and communication among scholars.
Some regions have endowed lectureships that support a scholar from the region to lecture in institutions of the region or that support a scholar from outside the region as plenary speaker for the annual meeting.
Regions Task Force
The Task Force, Chaired by Brian K. Pennington of Maryville College, was appointed by former AAR President Ann Taves to address a handful of specific challenges: 1) The heightened federal scrutiny of nonprofit organizations as a result of the Sarbanes–Oxley Act of 2002; 2) The tremendous variability in regional structures and in regional relationships to other learned societies, such as the SBL; and 3) The absence of a uniform understanding of the relationship of the regions to the AAR as a whole. Highlights of the recommendations include incorporating all ten regions as LLCs in the State of Georgia; adding a student representative to all regional boards; allowing members to choose the region to which they will belong; and providing additional support from the AAR office in Atlanta.
To view the full final report submitted to the Board of Directors, click here.
To view a sample Operating Agreement, click here (PDF) or here (Microsoft Word).