President's Calling - Serving the Academy as a Board Member

Published January 25, 2018

January 2018

Serving the Academy as a Board Member

Serving the Academy as a Board member has been a wonderful journey. I can tell you without any reservation that the experience has been nothing short of incredible. I encourage anyone who is interested in seeking a Board position to earnestly contemplate the move. You will not regret it; I promise. 

This year is an election year for the Academy Board of Directors. The Nominating Committee, headed by Dr. Elizabeth Muckley, is seeking candidates to serve on the Board. Listed below are their desired credentials for candidates to be successful:

  • Knowledge of the Academy and a record of service to the Academy
  • Knowledge of the profession and an awareness of the challenges that face the profession
  • Strong dedication to the profession and Academy
  • Working knowledge of other relevant health care, optometric, government and scientific organizations
  • Fiscal and business management experience
  • Integrity, honesty, and peer respect
  • Demonstrated leadership, including skills and abilities related to speaking, communication, interpersonal relationships, organizing, consensus building, creativity, problem solving, dependability, listening, and support for majority decisions.

What’s involved in being a Board member? The Board of Directors is responsible for identifying desired futures and outcomes for the Academy. The Board sets policy. Our biggest focus centers around the annual meeting, journal, and relationships with other organizations in eye care, both in the US and worldwide. Board members contribute knowledge and input on a wide range of issues the Academy faces throughout the term. We generally have four in-person, two-day meetings (one is the annual meeting) and monthly conference calls for about an hour. Each member is assigned key liaison positions to Academy committees and/or Sections and SIGs. Ancillary meetings might include other organization liaison responsibilities and school visits to help promote the Academy’s mission.

A complete Candidate Information Guide for 2018 is available through the Academy office and highlights the primary duties of any functioning board.

  • Duty of Care - legal responsibility to participate actively in making decisions on behalf of the organization and to exercise best judgment while doing so.
  • Duty of Loyalty - each member of the Board must put the interests of the organization before their personal and professional interests when acting on behalf of the organization in a decision-making capacity.
  • Duty of Obedience - Board members bear the legal responsibility of ensuring that the organization complies with applicable federal, state, and local laws and adheres to its mission. (from the Academy Candidate Guide 2018)

If you are interested or know of someone who might be interested and willing to serve, please forward their name, letter of intent and resume to Bonnie Rizzo, Governance Coordinator, at by April 3, 2018. Attach two letters of reference from current Academy Fellows to a one-page letter stating your interest in serving and what you might bring to the Board of Directors. The Nominating Committee will carefully review the names submitted and contact individuals to confirm interest in serving. From there, several qualified candidates will be interviewed (Wednesday, November 7, 2018 in San Antonio, TX) and a slate of nominees will eventually be listed on the ballot with the election taking place on Friday, November 9, 2018. Candidates will be notified by the end of June as to whether or not they will be interviewed.

Candidates not put forward by the Nominating Committee may still run with a nomination from the floor and a seconding speech from any Fellow in good standing. Election of officers and nomination of Board members-at-large (there are four at-large positions) will take place at the Business Meeting on Thursday, November 8.

It's important to note that no one has to sign on to serve for 14 years! We’ve had several valued at-large Board members who serve one, two and possibly even three terms who have made significant contributions to the Academy without ever serving as an officer.

I realize that not everyone is in a position to serve on the Board, but if you are, I hope that you give the possibility of serving our Academy serious consideration. Should you have any questions, feel free to contact any of the Board of Directors. We would welcome your call or letter and enthusiastically share our experience with you!


Joseph P. Shovlin, OD, FAAO