Chapter 1: President and President Elect


The President of the Society for Psychological Anthropology is the chief executive officer for the S.P.A. and has the primary responsibility for overseeing the direction and the operations of the Society. The President presides over the S.P.A. Board of Directors that acts as the policy-making organ of the Society and advises the President on all important matters concerning S.P.A. policy and functioning.


The SPA President is elected by written ballot by Members of the Society for Psychological Anthropology from a slate of two candidates selected by the SPA Board from a list of potential nominees assembled by the SPA Nominating Committee. There is no restriction on an individual serving more than one term as SPA President, although this is not common practice. Upon election, the successful candidate becomes President-Elect of the SPA and a member of the SPA Board.


The President Elect serves under the current SPA President for two years before assuming the two-year term as SPA President. The President-Elect’s specific responsibilities are as a member of the Board and, traditionally, to serve on the Nominating Committee. The President will normally consult the President-Elect on all important policy issues and make sure that the President-Elect is prepared to assume the office of President. Should the President be unable to fulfill the responsibilities of the office, the President-Elect will assume the powers and responsibilities of the President.


The President of the Society for Psychological Anthropology (SPA) has general responsibility for

  • Long-term planning for SPA Development
  • Developing and maintaining relations with other AAA sections
  • Promoting Psychological Anthropology within anthropology and beyond Anthropology in allied disciplines as a schiolarly discipline and a teaching endeavor.
  • Building membership.
  • Reaching out to other disciplines through joint and cooperative activities.
  • Maintaining communications with society members by using, maintaining and developing e-mail lists, the Society’s list serve, the Society’s website and the AAA newsletter column
  • Doing an Annual Report for the American Anthropological Association each January.
  • Representing the Society for Psychological Anthropology at the AAA Section Assembly Meetings and by maintaining contacts with the AAA Executive Office.
  • Helping the secretary-treasurer prepare the SPA annual budget.
  • Communicating with the SPA Board, other officers, and committee heads to maintain good communication and make sure that regular operations are in order.
  • Helping prepare the President-Elect to assume the SPA Presidency.


The SPA President is responsible for organizing, producing agendas for and presiding over all Board, Business and Biennial Meetings of the SPA, in consultation with the Board and with the General Membership. The regular meeting schedule is as follows:

  1. Regular Board Meeting (2-3 hours) at each Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association generally held prior to the Annual Business Meeting.
  2. Second Board Meeting at the Annual Meetings of the American Anthropological Association is sometimes held on the day following the Annual Business Meeting. This second Board meeting is especially important in those years when there is no SPA Biennial Meeting.
  3. An Annual Meeting of the SPA General Membership held during the Annual AAA Meetings, usually on a Thursday or Friday afternoon for approximately 1 1/2 hours (exact time is decided each year by the President in consultation with the Board). General Meetings are run by the President and include announcements from the President and Board or from the floor, general discussion of issues and usually a formal presentation of the Boyer Prize and brief remarks by the winner. On alternate years when the current SPA President retires, the handing over of the Presidency to the President-Elect occurs at the Business Meeting after brief remarks by the outgoing President.
  4. Scheduling of meeting times and rooms for Business and Board Meetings at the AAA Annual Meetings is done through AAA Meeting Services that send out a request form for the President to fill in 6-7 months before the Annual Meeting. If a form is not received by February, the President should contact AAA Meeting Services to make sure reservation requests are in.
  5. The Biennial Meeting is held on alternate years at a location of the President’s choosing. This meeting generally lasts for three full days and includes
    • A Board Meeting
    • An Awards and Recognition Banquet
    • A Distinguished Speaker
    • Numerous panel sessions

The locale, theme and particular organization of the meetings is the primary responsibility of the SPA Current President and the President is free in choosing how to organize the meeting. Some have organized it by themselves, others with more or less help from the Board and Membership. The President may also choose to constitute an ad hoc planning committee to help with the organization. The President also nominates individuals to deliver the Distinguished Address and to receive the SPA Lifetime Achievement Award. They do not have to be the same individual.

The Planning for the Biennial Meeting is the most complex responsibility of the President, and needs to be begun 12-18 months before the meeting date, which is generally in September or October before the AAA Annual Meetings. Contracts with airlines, hotels and meeting facilities, as well as general announcements about the Meeting and Meeting Registration are done by AAA Meeting Services in cooperation with the SPA President.


The SPA President is the Society’s primary liaison with the AAA. Infrequently this will involve communications with the AAA President or Executive Director. More frequently, contacts are made through the AAA Sections Liaison, Head of Membership Services, Head of Public Relations, or a representative from AAA Meeting Services.

The SPA President is responsible for providing the Section Liaison at AAA with an updated list of SPA Officers, Board Members and Members of SPA Standing Committees and their contact information.


Each January 1, an Annual Report to the AAA is due from the SPA President for use by the Executive Board, The Long-Range Planning Committee and the AAA Staff. The report is 1-2 single-spaced pages in length and covers the period from the end of one AAA Annual Meeting through the end of the following AAA Annual Meeting. The Report comprises a review of the SPA’s activities during the reporting period and any plans for the coming year. The report should indicate any plans and activities that coordinate with the AAA’s Long-Range Plan. The Report should include names and e-mail addresses of the people who were committee members, leaders and SPA officers for the reporting period. The report should be sent electronically to [email protected]


The President, along with the SPA Treasurer and in consultation with the Board, is responsible for preparing and submitting to the AAA an annual budget showing planned income (membership dues, meeting income, sales of publications, special projects) and expenses (publications, operations, meetings, special projects) for the next year. The President and Treasurer are sent regular budget statements by the AAA. The President is responsible for judicious management of the budget and for allocating special outlays of money as well as dealing with long and short-term budget deficits.


In cooperation with the Board, the SPA President is responsible for appointing members and heads of SPA Standing Committees, ad hoc committees certain important appointed offices and making sure that these committees are carrying out their functions properly.

The Standing Committees and their organization are listed below.

Nominating Committee:

  • Three year staggered membership
  • Three members
  • Senior member heads committees.

Boyer Prize Committee:

  • Prize given every year.
  • Three year staggered membership
  • Three members
  • Senior member heads committee.

Stirling Prize Committee:

  • Prize given every other year at the Biennial Meeting.
  • Six-year staggered terms.
  • Three members.
  • One new member appointed every other year.
  • Senior member heads committee.

Condon Prize Committee:

  • Prize given every year.
  • Three year staggered terms
  • Three members
  • Senior member heads committee.

SPA Appointed Leadership Positions

The President, in cooperation with the Board, is responsible for filling the following leadership positions by nominating and recruiting the best possible individuals to fill the jobs:

  • Secretary-Treasurer (4 year term)
  • Newsletter Editor (4 year term)
  • Student member to Board (2 year term)
  • Electronic Media Editor (4 year term)
  • Editor of Ethos (5 year term)
  • SPA Book Series Editor (4 year term)



  • Send memo to Board and Membership soliciting new business for upcoming AAA Meetings
  • Biennial Meeting (alternate years)
  • Make sure nominating committee is preparing a slate of nominees for Board and President-Elect (alternate years)


  • Prepare agendas for AAA Board and Business Meetings
  • Run Board and Business Meetings at AAA Meetings.
  • Discuss and finalize nominees for Spring elections (alternate years)
  • President-Elect assumes Presidency (alternate years)
  • President attends Section Assembly Meeting at AAA Meetings


  • Initiate Board discussions about replacements for retired committee members and for any leadership positions that will come vacant in the next year. Propose or solicit nominations.
  • Prepare Annual Report.


  • January 1 deadline for submission of Annual Report to AAA.
  • Budget preparation
  • Jan. 31. Nomination materials Due to AAA in years of SPA General elections (alternate years)


  • Send in room and time requests for Board and Business Meetings for upcoming AAA Meetings.


  • Spring Section Assembly Meeting in Washington, DC
  • Start arranging venue for Biennial Meetings for 1 1/2 years hence. Set up planning process for Biennial.