Report From the November 2019 ESA Governing Board Meeting

January 8, 2020

The ESA Governing Board meets four times per year to discuss strategic initiatives, oversee the work of staff and volunteers, and advance new ideas to benefit the Society. A summary of activities is published after each meeting to inform members about board activities and decisions.

The ESA Governing Board met in St. Louis, Missouri, on Nov 16. The board thanked outgoing Executive Director David Gammel for his nine years of leadership as executive director of the Society. Chris Stelzig then gave his first presentation to the board as incoming executive director, giving the board an overview of how ESA’s membership, financial picture, and activities have changed in the 20 years Stelzig has been on staff along with his vision for the future of the Society.

The most significant discussion held by the board related to the financial trajectory of the ESA journals. ESA’s journals provide more net revenue back to the Society than any other program area, and as such, the financial health of the journals is critical to the financial health of ESA. In 2015, the Governing Board elected to waive ESA member page charges based on projections provided by Oxford University Press predicting significant revenue surpluses through the ESA-Oxford partnership. Due to shifts in the scholarly publishing field, we are earning significantly less than those original predictions, and changes in how journal access agreements are negotiated are likely to reduce revenue further in the near future. Although ESA’s current contract with Oxford includes guaranteed payments through 2024, ESA must prepare for the potential of a significant revenue shortfall when our initial contract with Oxford ends in December 2024.

In light of these financial concerns, and following the recommendations of the 2018 ESA Publications Task Force, the Governing Board has voted to reinstate member page charges. The board also voted to reinstate ESA’s previous waiver policies for member page charges, so that members without institutional support for publication can apply for a 100% waiver of page charges once per year. The ESA staff were tasked with communicating this change to members and assisting any members with questions regarding their own upcoming papers. This change will take effect for papers submitted on or after Sept. 1, 2020.

The Governing Board also discussed the following topics:

  • ESA’s meeting strategy and future opportunities to serve the discipline of entomology through ESA’s Annual Meeting, Branch meetings, and other meetings ESA might develop.
  • Efforts to support entomologists pursuing nonacademic career tracks, including plans for additional market research in 2020 and the development of a pilot program to launch in 2021.
  • Updates from the Science Policy Committee and ESA’s science policy partner LewisBurke Associates.
  • ESA’s 2019 yearto-date financials.
  • Recurring issues with individuals submitting papers and posters to the Annual Meeting and not attending, leaving gaps in the program and negatively affecting presenters scheduled to appear after those gaps. The board discussed the option of submission fees to discourage individuals from submitting papers or posters without intending to attend the meeting. ESA staff are researching options for providing reduced or waived fees for members or presenters already registered for the meeting.
  • Steps ESA can take to improve its financial transparency. The staff were tasked with developing a formal annual report that can be shared in draft form at Branch meetings and in final form each summer once final audited financial statements are available.
  • The Fellows selection process. The board agreed to continue to use the process that has been followed for the last several years, with the Governing Board reviewing applications and voting to select Fellows.

The Governing Board took the following actions:

  • Approved the consent agenda, with the Diversity & Inclusion Committee report pulled out for additional discussion.
  • Approved the creation of an Innovation Task Force to advance ideas developed at the 2019 ESA Innovation Day.
  • Approved Columbus as the site of the 2026 Annual Meeting.
  • Approved the 2020 ESA budget.
  • Approved committee descriptions and charges for new Committees on Leadership Development and Canvassing for Awards and Honors, to ensure diversity in the pool of individuals pursuing leadership roles in the Society and the Society’s awards.
  • Approved changes to the ESA Policy Manual (the updated policy manual is posted to the ESA website). The majority of the changes were clarification and cleanup of language. The section of the manual on editorial boards was also updated to allow ESA’s smaller journals to have four editorial board members instead of six.
  • Approved the extension of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee, which was originally scheduled to sunset in July 2020.

The 2019 Governing Board then adjourned and reconvened as the 2020 Governing Board. ESA President Alvin Simmons gave his initial presidential address, focusing on plans for Entomology 2020 in Orlando. The board also elected Jessica Ware and Melissa Willrich Siebert to be members of the 2020 Executive Committee. The 2020 board then adjourned.

The ESA Governing Board also convened as the ESA Certification Corporation Governing Board and discussed year-to-date certification program activity and financial reports and approved the 2020 Certification Corporation budget.

Members with questions about the outcomes from the November Governing Board meeting can contact ESA Executive Director Chris Stelzig at cstelzig@entsoc.org.

See past news and updates from the ESA Governing Board.

Minutes from past Governing Board meetings are available online following Governing Board approval.

For more info, visit the ESA Governing Board page.