2018 ESA Governance Review

Creating Opportunities for the Future

Amended ESA Bylaws Approved

In August 2018, ESA members approved a revised set of Bylaws for the Society. Paired with a new Society Policy Manual, the amended Bylaws are aimed at better enabling ESA to adapt its governance procedures and improve the work of the Society through its volunteers. Support for the Bylaws revision was strong among voting members: Among yes and no votes, the margin was 92 percent yes, 8 percent no. The new ESA Bylaws and accompanying Society Policy Manual will take effect January 1, 2019.

Between now and January 1, Society leadership will communicate with ESA Sections, Branches, Committees, and members at large about the changes and what they mean. Society leadership and staff will also visit with volunteers during the Joint Annual Meeting in Vancouver in November to discuss the new Bylaws and answer questions.

If you wish to review the approved changes, see the Proposed New ESA Bylaws and Society Policy Manual document package [PDF] that was provided for member review in June 2018, in advance of the member voting period. The document includes a memorandum from the ESA Special Committee on Governance; a redline version of the ESA Bylaws, which marks all changes made; and a redline version of the Bylaws with captions explaining the changes, in addition to clean versions of the new Bylaws and the new Society Policy Manual.

All members are invited to contact ESA with questions and feedback about the new Bylaws and Society Policy Manual. Email Executive Director David Gammel at dgammel@entsoc.org.

2017-2018 ESA Governance Review Process

In 2017 and 2018, ESA conducted a full-scale review of its governance structure. The goal: to identify improvements to ESA policies, procedures, and bylaws that would strengthen the entomological profession and enable ESA to better meet the needs of today's entomologists in three specific ways:

  • A more nimble, responsive ESA. Agility in governance and in planning will allow ESA to adapt to a more rapidly changing world.
  • A more inclusive ESA. Further commitment to inclusiveness and engagement will maximize opportunities for all members to participate in the Society.
  • Enhanced leadership development and planning for ESA. Improved development of leadership skills and experience in the membership, and more intentional recruiting of future leaders, will strengthen governance of the Society.

The new ESA Bylaws and Society Policy Manual are the result of this process. (See timeline below.) On March 1, 2018, the ESA Special Committee on Governance (members shown below) issued an outline of generalized proposals for updates to the ESA Bylaws [PDF]. The recommendations focused primarily on streamlining the Society's bylaws to grant greater autonomy and decision-making authority to ESA's Committees, Sections, Branches, and Governing Board. To do so, the task force identified a variety of bylaws provisions that could be moved to a new Society Policy Manual that would be updated by vote of the Governing Board.

Through the end of May 2018, ESA members were invited to provide comment and feedback on these preliminary proposals both online and in person at ESA Branch Meetings. Throughout that period, questions from members were answered by the committee and published on the ESA website. All member comment and feedback was then reviewed by the Special Committee on Governance and considered as it developed its final recommendations for revising the ESA Bylaws. For an in-depth explanation of many of the task force's original proposed changes, see "2018 ESA Governance Review: Answers to Questions and Comments."

At the summer meeting of the ESA Governing Board in June 2018, the ESA Special Committee on Governance submitted its final proposed revisions to the ESA Bylaws and a companion policies and procedures document (Society Policy Manual), with a motion to place the new Bylaws on the ballot for consideration by the ESA membership. The Governing Board approved this motion, and the documents were made available for member review for 30 days (as required by the existing ESA Bylaws) prior to the member voting period, which opened July 23, 2018, and closed August 24, 2018.

Special Committee on Governance Members

Susan Weller Susan Weller, Chair, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, ESA Past President Marianne Alleyne Marianne Alleyne, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Physiology, Biochemistry, and Toxicology Section Representative to the Governing Board
Gary Brewer Gary Brewer, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, North Central Branch Representative to the Governing Board Chris Geden Chris Geden, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Medical, Urban, and Veterinary Entomology Section Representative to Governing Board
Scott Hutchins Scott Hutchins, Dow Agrosciences, Former ESA President Tracy Leskey Tracy Leskey, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Former Eastern Branch President
Alix Whitener Alix Whitener, Washington State University, Former ESA Student Affairs Committee Chair    

Governance Review Timeline

  • February 2017: ESA surveys Society volunteers about their experience in ESA governance and perspectives on future directions.
  • June 2017: Leaders from ESA Sections, Branches, and other Society volunteer groups convene for one-day summit to discuss and develop core goals for future Society governance improvements. 
  • November 2017: ESA Governing Board votes to form a governance review task force, with members to be appointed in December 2017.
  • December 2017: ESA Governing Board appoints members of Special Committee of the Governing Board on Governance.
  • January - February 2018: Special Committee of the Governing Board on Governance convenes via conference calls for discussions about potential improvements to ESA governance documents.
  • March 2018: Special Committee of the Governing Board on Governance issues outline of generalized proposals for updates to ESA Bylaws and seeks member input via online form and in-person "town hall" forums at ESA Branch Meetings.
  • March - May 2018: Member comment period.
  • May - June 2018: Special Committee on Governance reviews member feedback and incorporate member input into formal set of proposed Bylaws updates and new Policy Manual.
  • June 2018: ESA Governing Board reviews proposed Bylaws updates and new Policy Manual and approves them to be placed on a Society-wide member ballot.
  • June - July 2018: ESA provides 30-day period (per current Bylaws) for member review of proposed Bylaws updates and new Policy Manual prior to member vote.
  • July-August 2018: Member vote on updates to Bylaws and new Policy Manual.
  • January 1, 2019: New ESA Bylaws and Society Policy Manual take effect.

About ESA Governance

ESA's governance structure determines how the Society makes decisions and how leaders within the Society are identified and selected. To fulfill its strategic principles, ESA must ensure that its governance system provides opportunities for all members, has a global perspective, and supports ESA's work to increase its influence. Find more details at the links below:

ESA Governance Structure

ESA Governing Documents


ESA 2018 President Michael Parrella, Ph.D., discusses the value of a governance structure that engages all members of ESA in the future of the Society.


ESA Past President (2017) Susan Weller, Ph.D., explains why the Society seeks to adopt governance practices that convey clear paths for all members to engage.