Welcome to the APPAM Policy Council and APPAM Committees!

Information for those new to the Policy Council

There are many ways that members can volunteer their service to the association, but none are more important to the long-term success of APPAM and its activities than the Policy Council. This page is only accessible by new Policy Council members and will lay out everything you need to know to fulfill your role as a Policy Council member. 

Below are links to some relevant information, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's), committee member and chair responsiblities and tasks. committee reports and meeting minutes, and links to bylaws and the current Policy Council roster that that will help bring you up to speed on the work that APPAM's Policy Council has undertaken recently.

We will have an orientation call with all new Policy Council members, Carolyn Heinrich, APPAM President, David Johnson, APPAM President Elect and Tara Sheehan, APPAM Executive Director.  The purpose of this call is to discuss:

  • Policy Council member expectations, including attendance requirements, committee participation and participation in Board Meetings
  • Highlights from the 2016 committee work
  • Current and emerging Policy Council issues
  • Board culture and what to expect at meetings
  • Feedback from new Policy Council members: What do you expect to achieve on the Board? What would you like to get out of APPAM Policy Council service? 

The call will be Wednesday, February 8th at 1:00 PM Eastern time. The call in number is 1.888.387.8686 and the conference code is 4993049.

Important Links to Reference Materials

Below are some links to important materials that you should review prior to our orientation call. 

•    Minutes from November 2016 Policy Council meeting and the April 2016 Policy Council meeting
•    Committee Reports from the November 2016 Policy Council meeting
•    The Strategic Plan Report and the Strategic Scorecard
•   Policy Council members, APPAM Leadership and Committee Descriptions

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

What exactly is the Policy Council?

APPAM is a nonprofit corporation, chartered in Washington, DC and recognized as income tax exempt under section 501 (c) (3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. APPAM also is sales tax exempt in Washington, DC. As a nonprofit corporation, APPAM must have a duly constituted board of directors who bear the ultimate, legal responsibility for its operations and success. The Policy Council is that board of directors. But APPAM also is a membership association, and, as such, its membership must have representation in its governance. Unlike the boards of directors of other types of nonprofits, the APPAM board is elected by the membership.

What is the composition of the Policy Council?

Currently, the full Council has 26 total members (there are some vacancies as of January 2017). The bylaws were changed in June of 2013.  The changes included electing four people each year to the Policy Council, instead of eight, and adding two student seats to the Policy Council.  There are 9 members of the Executive Committee and they are the officers of APPAM and can be found here.

The Policy Council is comprised of the following categories of members, elected each year:

  • Two academic members elected by APPAM’s individual members.  Each member serves a term of four years. Every other year, one of the academic members is an early career academic. 
  • One person elected by APPAM’s institutional members from within the APPAM Committee of Institutional Representatives.  This member serves a four year term.
  • One practitioner member elected by APPAM’s individual members.  Each member serves a term of four years. 
  • One student member selected by the current APPAM President and the Chair of the Institutional Reps.  There are a total of two student member seats and one student is selected each year for a two year term.  The terms are staggered for continuity.  
  • Eight officers of the association, including the Immediate Past President, the President, the President-elect, two Vice Presidents, a Secretary and a Treasurer and a Chair of the Committee of Institutional Representatives. Other than the presidents, the term of service of all officers is two years. T
  • Two ex officio non-voting members: the Executive Director and the JPAM Editor (both are compensated by APPAM for their service, and thus cannot vote to avoid conflicts of interest).

As may be evident, the APPAM Policy Council is among the larger boards of directors of professional/scientific societies. For example, the Council of the American Political Science Association has about 16 people. The bylaws change approved by the membership in 2013 ensures that after the election in December of 2017, the Policy Council will be 28 people (16 Policy Council, 2 students, 8 officers, APPAM ED and Journal Editor). 

Does APPAM carry directors/officers insurance? What is the potential legal exposure of Council members?

APPAM does have directors/officers insurance, and generally Council members would be shielded personally from any legal action taken against APPAM. This is because APPAM is incorporated and that means APPAM as an organization is legally distinct from its officers and directors. The one exception would be demonstrable, intentional malfeasance by a Council member, but that is not the scenario most often in the minds of persons worrying about legal liability. Pragmatically, APPAM faces little liability because it has employees and there could be legal issues related to human resources issues; APPAM signs contracts and there could be disputes; APPAM holds conferences and attendees could experience personal injuries while in attendance; and JPAM rejects articles for publication and authors could seek redress for damage to professional reputation. In its existence, no legal actions have ever been taken against APPAM, and our insurance underwriters have deemed all of these risks to be very small (as evidenced by low insurance premiums). Note that in the case of JPAM, the publisher Wiley includes JPAM editorial decisions under its legal liability coverage.

What does the Policy Council do in a typical year?

The Council normally meets twice a year, in the spring (usually early April) and the fall (at the start of the Fall Conference). Meetings generally last about four hours. Here are the regular items of business on the meeting agendas in each season:

  • Spring meeting: Review the audit results from the prior fiscal year (ending December 31) and the annual performance of the invested reserves; review the modified budget for the year, review and modify the priorities of the APPAM office for the current year, receive a report on planning for the Fall Research Conference, receive a report on JPAM editorial activity, receive a report on the activities of all the committees and hear about progress against the strategic plan. 
  • Fall meeting: Review the projected financial report for the year and the proposed budget for the upcoming year, receive an annual report from the Executive Director on various programs and activities in the current year, receive reports from all the committees, receive reports on the Fall Conference, hear about progress against the strategic plan.    

These usually straightforward reports occupy the first half of a Council meeting. The second half may be devoted to a range of special policy matters that the Council may be asked to decide.

What else do Policy Council members do?

Council members will all be appointed to serve on at least one committee, from the roster of standing and ad hoc committees.   The chair of that committee (appointed by the APPAM President) will let the committee members know when committee meetings are, what the committee priorities are, etc.  Information on the committees will be sent separately.   

Policy Council members may be called on to act as reviewers for Program Committees or otherwise assist APPAM with its’ programmatic goals. 

Are there attendance requirements of the Policy Council?

Policy Council members cannot miss more than two in person meetings in a row.  Participation by telephone in a Policy Council meeting is not considered attendance for the attendance requirement.  

Does APPAM pay for travel to Policy Council meetings or otherwise compensate its Council members?  

APPAM offers a travel stipend for the Spring Policy Council meeting only, up to $500.  APPAM does cover travel for its student members for all meetings. 

What is the Executive Committee, and how does it relate to the Policy Council?

The full name of this committee is the Executive Committee of the Policy Council. It consists of the elected officers, and the Executive Director and the JPAM Editor (the two again serve ex officio, non-voting). The APPAM bylaws authorize the Executive Committee to act when circumstances require action with the authority of the Council but it would be difficult or untimely to hold a Council meeting. The Executive Committee always meets before the Policy Council meets, in the Spring and the Fall. The committee maintains much closer contact with the day-to-day operations of APPAM than does the full Council.

What is the role of the Committee of Institutional Representatives in APPAM’s governance?

This committee consists of the persons appointed to represent each institutional member of APPAM to the association’s leadership. Officially, its current membership is about 100 people. The committee is empowered under the APPAM bylaws to elect one person to the Executive Committee (the Chair of the Institutional Reps) and one person each year to the Policy Council.  It is represented through these Council members in many activities related to the services APPAM offers its institutional members.  The Committee has its own bylaws.

Basics of Committees

There are 11 standing committees and one ad-hoc committee for 2017.  All Policy Council members must serve on at least one committee.  Some of the chairs and members of these committees are laid out in our Governance Structure document that was presented to the APPAM membership in 2011, as part of the initial Strategic Plan.

We also solicit committee member volunteers from our general membership, both to help them become more involved in APPAM and to groom future leaders.

There is a staff liaison listed on each committee assignment. This is the staff member who is assigned to each committee and who can help the committee chair manage the task list. 

Expectations of Committee Chairs

  • Hold quarterly committee calls and in lieu of one of the calls, hold an in- person meeting, in conjunction with the Spring or Fall Policy Council meeting.  Please note that your committee should meet once before our Policy Council meeting on March 31st
  • Create an action plan and assign specific tasks to committee members
  • Note that the APPAM President or President Elect could join 2nd Q calls or meetings, if necessary
  • Check in with your staff liaison monthly, to review tasks and to check on progress
  • Prepare two written reports, one for each Policy Council meeting, using the assigned tasks as the foundation for the reports
  • Be aware of the function of the other APPAM committees and, if necessary, check in with other chairs to jointly work on issues that affect multiple committees
  • If you’re unsure of whether you or your committee has governance or budgetary authority for decision making, please reach out to your staff liaison
  • The staff liaison will take notes and prepare an action plan for distribution after each call

Expectations of Committee Members

  • Committee members need to join all calls and attend all meetings of their assigned committee. 
  • Committee members need to complete assigned specific tasks by committee chairs.

2017 Committee Tasks, Assignments and Rosters

Please note that all contact info for all committee members can be found here. All members are listed below. Non PC member indicates a APPAM member volunteer on the committee, a non Policy Council member.  For your reference, all committee reports from Fall 2016 can be found here.

Communications Committee

Chair, Kosali Simon
Staff Liaison, Kathryn Grandstaff,
Members: Molly Irwin, Misty Heggeness (non PC member), Martha Kropf (non PC member), Alexandra Allman (non PC member, student)


  • Work on creating a plan for the production of podcasts and webinars: how to reframe APPAM member expertise and knowledge for this new delivery method?
  • Work with staff to determine potential topics and focus for the forthcoming Policy Newsletter
  • Discuss redesigning for 2018 and gear redesign plan, if recommended, with particular emphasis on policymakers and stakeholders looking for policy-relevant materials
  • Create a plan to increase the usage of the E-lists (Cross-listed with Membership Committee)
  • Consider how to ensure that messaging, branding and intent of all communications, both print and digital, are consistent (Cross-listed with Publications)


Finance Committee

Chair, Scott Allard
Staff Liaison, Tara Sheehan,
Members: Carolyn Heinrich

  • Create a policy statement on how to use APPAM reserves, earmarking 6 months operating costs as untouched
  • Determine a transparent and automatic process for moving extra money from operating funds to reserves
  • Help staff create a 3 – 5 year financial forecast for the Spring Meeting
  • Work with staff on a funding plan for the future, what we can approach foundations for, what foundations would be interested in working with APPAM, etc. (Cross-listed with Policy Relevance Committee)

Diversity Committee

Chair, John Martinez
Staff Liaison, Tara Sheehan,
Members: Raphael Bostic, Rachel Swanger, Joaquin Alfredo-Angel Rubalcaba, Kitt Carpenter (non PC member), Brandi Holder (non PC member, student), Mayra Sanchez Gonzalez (non PC member, student)


  • Review the applications received for the Equity and Inclusion Fellowship and determine the 35 recipients
  • Assess the success of the Fellowship Breakfast from 2016 and make recommendations for changes, if necessary
  • Review rubric for assessing fellowship applications and edit, if necessary
  • Create a mechanism for tracking the next steps our alumni take (job placement, more schooling, etc.)
  • Help assess the viability of the Public Policy Camp proposal for Spring 2017 and make a recommendation for further action at the Spring Meeting
  • Create a plan for engaging Equity and Inclusion Fellow alumni, both at the conference and throughout the year (Cross-listed with Meetings Committee)
  • Examine how to best help our institutional members with pipeline issues, both for potential students and staff

Meetings/Conferences Committee

Chair, Colleen Barry
Staff Liaison, Tristanne Staudt,
Members: Stephen Bell, Min Sun (non PC member), Mehdi Nayebpour (non PC member, student)


  • Research the viability of e-posters for the Fall Conference and make a recommendation on their usage for the future
  • Reissue call for proposals for international conferences 2018 and 2019
  • Review all conference dues and recommend increases, if necessary (this committee task is performed every other year)
  • Review the 2016 Fall Conference survey results and determine ways to address each of the issues (if it appears the issue affected more than just a few attendees) that were raised
  • Provide input to staff on the 2021 Fall Conference location and hotel selections
  • Review the schedule for the conference and make suggestions on how to increase the opportunities for networking
  • Create a plan for engaging Equity and Inclusion Fellow alumni, both at the conference and throughout the year (Cross-listed with Diversity Committee)
  • Create a plan for maximizing job interview space and other resources aimed at students at the Fall Conference (Cross-listed with Professional Development Committee)
  • Create RFP and circulate to institutional members for pre-Fall Conference workshop focused on topics that increase the relevance of APPAM member work 
  • Assess the Fall Research Conference policy areas and submit a list of recommendations to the Executive Committee for use in future years

Membership Committee

Chair, Matt Stagner
Staff Liaison, Meghan Grenda,
Members: David Morar, Turner Bitton (non PC member), Hongtao Yi (non PC member), Victoria Mansfield (non PC member, student)


  • Create an RFP process for members to organize a podcast or webinar
  • Create a plan to increase the usage of the E-lists (Cross-listed with Communications Committee)
  • Explore the possibility of automatic renewals and make a recommendation for their future use
  • Further explore APPAM Chapters and make a recommendation for their future use
  • Contact new members either by phone, email, or in-person to welcome them to the association, brief them on the benefits of membership, and encourage them to become more involved with APPAM volunteer activities
  • Create a plan for maximizing member engagement at APPAM Central, APPAM’s booth on the floor at the Fall Conference 
  • Review membership dues and recommend increases, if necessary (this committee task is performed every other year)

Nominating Committee

Chair, Ron Haskins
Staff Liaison, Tara Sheehan,
Members: Charles Betsey, David Johnson, Samuel Myers

  • Review all the nominees for Policy Council and leadership and prepare a diverse slate of nominees for the full Policy Council to vote on
  • Assess the mechanisms used to develop future leaders of APPAM and make suggestions as to new mechanisms we might explore

Policy Relevance Committee

Chair, Jenni Owen
Staff Liaison, Tara Sheehan,
Members: Keshia Pollack, Molly Irwin, Denis Alves Guimaraes (non PC member), Colleen Casey (non PC member), Chris Eshleman (non PC member), Jon Larsen (non PC member), Jane Lincove (non PC member)

  • Clarify exactly what APPAM’s advocacy position is/should be and how best to maintain/achieve that position
  • Identify and foster affiliate relationships that will benefit APPAM’s advocacy position
  • Work with staff on a funding plan for the future, what we can approach foundations for, what foundations would be interested in working with APPAM, etc. (Cross-listed with Finance Committee)
  • Figure out the best way to promote our members research to the media/general public
  • Revisit the ‘Impact of Excellence’ Award to promote policy relevance

Professional Development Committee

Chair, Cynthia Osborne
Staff Liaison, Tristanne Staudt and Meghan Grenda,,
Members: Dylan Confer, John Duffy, (non PC member), Rebecca Myerson (non PC member)


  • Put together a podcast for assembling a good panel for the Fall Conference, debut it in early February and archive it on the website
  • Increase the number of students served via the Mentoring Matching program, from 35 to 50 students
  • Produce quarterly webinars/podcasts on various policy areas of interest and how to make the most of your APPAM membership
  • Create a plan for maximizing job interview space and other resources aimed at students at the Fall Conference (Cross listed with Meetings Committee)
  • Hold a master’s student outreach event at the 2017 Fall Research Conference, in conjunction with the Institutional Representatives

Publications Committee

Chair, Jason Fletcher
Staff Liaison, Kathryn Grandstaff,
Members: Dylan Conger, Ken Couch 


  • Continue to consider whether APPAM should start a second journal.  Provide a recommendation that the Policy Council can vote on by the Fall
  • Determine the best way to structure the Conference Proceedings issue for 2018
  • Consider how to ensure that messaging, branding and intent of all communications, both print and digital, are consistent (Cross listed with Communications)
  • Provide APPAM staff with forecasted article and author list prior to final issue publication, allowing staff to promote articles and contact authors in advance

Dissertation Award Review Committee

Chair, Heather Campbell
Staff Liaison, Tristanne Staudt,

  • Review all the submissions for the PhD dissertation award, pick a winner and a runner up for the annual award
  • Provide a historical look at the number of submissions received for this award each year, for the last 10 years

Student Advisory Committee (SAC)

Chair, Mallory Flowers
Staff Liaison, Meghan Grenda,
Members: David Morar, Kirk Heffelmire (non PC member, student), Luis Rodriguez (non PC member, student), Menbere Shiferaw (non PC member, student), Kathryn Yeager (non PC member, student), Lisa Zingman (non PC member, student)

  • Program 3 – 4 sessions of student relevant content at the Fall Conference
  • Serve as ambassadors at the Student Lounge at the Fall Conference
  • Create a plan for helping to grow the Mentor Matching Program and make the program more responsive to student needs
  • Continue work on ‘The Wonk’, the APPAM student-run podcast

Data Committee (AD HOC)

Chair, Sherry Glied
Staff Liaison, Tara Sheehan,
Members: David Johnson, Elizabeth Peters

  • Review the statement on open data access that our members approved in 2015 and create a plan for supporting this statement through affiliations, advocacy and any other means the committee feels will further the mission

"We ask our colleagues in federal, state and local governments to facilitate open access to administrative data, with appropriate protections for confidentiality, but also support for linking across datasets. We ask them to ensure that researchers have timely access to the data necessary to support research that produces benefits for the government agencies and the public. Without access to timely data, research can be compromised, contributing to inferior analysis and public policies that fail to meet the public interest."

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