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Special Interest Groups- FAQs

General Information

What is a SIG?

A SIG is a Special Interest Group. They differ from the traditional AHRD committees in that they:

  • May be organized around an area to which AHRD members are making or are likely to make scholarly contributions.
  • Provide disciplinary "home bases” for members with specific scholarly and/or professional interests.
  • Encourage scholarship, dissemination of information, and fellowship among persons of similar academic and/or professional interests.
  • Can offer a range of service activities, including educational sessions and social events, newsletters, web pages, professional development opportunities, and recognition programs.

SIG Proposals

How do I start a SIG?

Starting a SIG begins with an individual or group drafting a proposal and submitting it via email to both the AHRD Board of Directors SIG Liaison (SIGLiaison@ahrd.org) and the AHRD Office (office@ahrd.org).

What should the SIG proposal include?

When reviewing formal proposals for SIG status, the Board will be looking for four things. The proposal should

    1. Clearly articulate a statement of purpose and objectives for the SIG.
    2. Identify a SIG Steering Committee comprised of a minimum of five active AHRD members, including the proposal writer, who will serve as the point of contact for the AHRD Board until a chair is elected by the SIG.
    3. Identify at least 20 active AHRD members who endorse their support for the SIG and choose their affiliation with the SIG as part of their AHRD membership.
    4. Demonstrate that the full proposal has been circulated widely and reflects the collective thinking of a cross-section of members who will provide intellectual leadership and ongoing support.

How many SIG proposals can an individual AHRD member support?

An individual can choose to affiliate with as many SIGs as they wish. As part of her/his active AHRD membership, an individual can affiliate with up to two SIGs for no charge. There is a nominal charge of $15 for each SIG affiliation beyond the first two.

Can the 20 members identified as supporting the proposal include the five members of the SIG Steering Committee?

Yes. The Steering Committee and SIG Chair are also members of the SIG and can be included in the proposed SIG’s membership.

How can the SIG Steering Committee verify a person’s membership in AHRD?

The proposed SIG Steering Committee can access AHRD membership information by logging into the AHRD website. Every AHRD member has access to the Membership Directory, which provides up-to-date information on a member’s status by looking at the member’s expiration date in the directory.


SIG Formation

Once we submit the proposal, what else do we need to do?

The Steering Committee should:

    1. Develop a SIG Charter using the template provided below, and submit it to the AHRD Board SIG Liaison (SIGLiaison@ahrd.org) for ratification by the AHRD Board. SIG charters must include the roles and responsibilities required of the SIG Chair and any other SIG officers, an agreed processes for choosing SIG officers, the length of time any officer can serve, and procedures for SIG membership to challenge and remove any officer who is not performing.
    2. Set up a SIG website within the AHRD website. This can be accomplished by working with the AHRD office (office@ahrd.org). The website should include a hotlink to the SIG’s Charter.
    3. Set up a SIG listserv. This can be accomplished by working with the AHRD office (office@ahrd.org).

Can the SIG listserv be established on any site?

Yes. The SIG listserv can be accomplished through an academic affiliation, corporate affiliation, or other networking site (e.g., Facebook, LinkedIn). The site must be easily accessed through a hotlink in the SIG’s AHRD website.

Once our proposal is approved, is the SIG permanently established?

No. The AHRD Board of Directors may authorize a SIG to exist for up to three years, at which time the AHRD Board or a subcommittee will review the SIG’s activities and membership numbers. In instances where documentation shows the SIG is accomplishing its charter, the charter will be ratified for another three years. In instances where documentation shows the SIG is not accomplishing its charter, the charter may be conditionally ratified or revoked by the AHRD Board.


Day-to-Day SIG Operations

How will leadership of each SIG be chosen?

The SIG members will elect a Chair to lead SIG activities and serve as point of contact to the AHRD Board. SIG membership will also determine membership of the SIG Steering Committee. Other officers may be elected and committees appointed by the membership as deemed appropriate and necessary to achieve the goals of the group.

What is the function of the SIG Steering Committee?

SIG membership can determine the SIG Steering Committee’s role in planning and conducting SIG activities. The AHRD Board requires that the Steering Committee:

  1. Verify at least 20 SIG members’ active AHRD membership by logging into the AHRD website. Every AHRD member has access to the Membership Directory, which provides up-to-date information on a member’s status by looking at the member’s expiration date in the directory.
  2. Ensure maintenance of the SIG listserv and website that fosters networking, discussion, and learning for the SIG members.
  3. Facilitate SIG sponsorship of at least one activity at the annual AHRD International Research Conference in the Americas.
  4. Foster scholarship, dissemination of information, and fellowship among SIG members.

What kind of oversight will AHRD have over SIG activities?

Each SIG is expected to be autonomous, responsible for its own self-governance (e.g., election of the SIG Chair, selection of the SIG Steering Committee, planning and conducting SIG activities). Once the SIG Charter is ratified by the AHRD Board, the AHRD Board will support SIG initiatives with minimal requirements. Expect that the AHRD Board may occasionally stipulate that some SIG rules, procedures, and processes be common across all SIGs to ensure consistency.

The AHRD Board may revoke a SIG’s Charter at any time.

Will each SIG have a budget?

AHRD will annually budget a base allocation of $250 for each SIG having a ratified charter. The annual budget of $250 will continue, providing the SIG retains a membership of at least 20 active AHRD members upon the SIG’s anniversary date. Allocated amounts may carry over one year, but will go back to AHRD after the second fiscal year, if not utilized. A proposal for an additional amount beyond the annual fiscal year allocation may be submitted to the AHRD Board at any time. Each SIG’s budget will be held by the AHRD Office.

Aside from SIG-sponsored activity at the annual AHRD International Research Conference in the Americas, each SIG can generate revenue through its own events and/or initiatives. That revenue can be carried over indefinitely.

What kind of documentation does the SIG need to provide?

To create a SIG, a Steering Committee must submit a proposal to both the AHRD Office (office@ahrd.org) and the SIG Liaison (SIGLiaison@ahrd.org). The SIG Liaison will notify the Steering Committee of the proposal approval.

Once the SIG proposal is ratified, the SIG must submit a SIG Charter to both the AHRD Office (office@ahrd.org) and the AHRD Board SIG Liaison (SIGLiaison@ahrd.org). The SIG Liaison will notify the Steering Committee of the SIG Charter approval.

Once the SIG Charter is ratified, the SIG can apply to AHRD for funds. To receive funds from AHRD, each SIG expense must be submitted in advance for approval by both the AHRD Office (office@ahrd.org) and the AHRD Board SIG Liaison (SIGLiaison@ahrd.org).

At least twice a year (January 1, July 1) each SIG Chair must submit a written report summarizing substantive activities related to the SIG’s programs, membership, contributions to the community-of-practice, and unique elements of the SIG’s focus. This report should demonstrate successful progress and/or achievement of the SIG’s goals, growth in membership, and support for the AHRD strategic plan. It should also identify any items requiring AHRD Board action or issues/questions you would like addressed by the AHRD Board. A template for this report can be found below. In instances where a SIG does not provide the report in a timely manner, the AHRD Board may revoke the SIG’s Charter.

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