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ACE Constitution

Article I — Name

Section 1. The name of this organization will be Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (hereinafter referred to as ACE).

Article II — Objectives

Section 1. Mission. ACE develops professional skills of education, government, and research communicators and information technologists to extend knowledge about agriculture, natural resources, and life and human sciences to people worldwide. ACE derives its basic mission from the longstanding experience of land-grant universities within the United States, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and equivalent institutions in other countries in delivering necessary information for improving the lives of all citizens.

Section 2. To aid the delivery and use of practical ideas and services, and to increase the professionalism and ability of communicators, ACE will exist as a nonprofit organization to further the following objectives:

a. Foster research in communication processes.

b. Study and evaluate the effectiveness of ongoing information and education activities of public institutions.

c. Provide forums for discussion of public issues related to the dissemination of agriculture, natural resources, life and human sciences, and related information.

d. Provide or encourage the development of workshops, courses, and other educational activities aimed at increasing the skills of professional communicators in serving the needs of people and the institutions we represent.

e. Stimulate and encourage innovation by communicators of public institutions, the various news media, and private industry in furthering a two-way flow of information with various audiences.

f. Lead or assist in producing and distributing information in appropriate media to meet the needs of communicators and the people they serve.

g. Establish criteria of professionalism for members and encourage universities, government agencies, and others to apply these criteria as guidelines in recruiting, employing, and promoting their communicators. h. Cooperate with other organizations and industries in furtherance of the ACE mission.

i. Contribute to institutional profile management

j. Raise the profile of communicators so their expertise is recognized.

Article III — Membership

Section 1. Membership in ACE will consist of:

a. Active Member. Any person will be eligible for active membership whose duties consist wholly or mostly of preparing agriculture, natural resources, life and human sciences, or related educational information in any medium or of furthering the technology of communications, and who is connected with a publicly supported university or other institution or with a unit of federal, state, or provincial government. Active membership also includes any person with a professional interest in agriculture, natural resources, life and human sciences, or related communications.

b. Retired Member. Any active member who has retired from employment is eligible for retired membership on the membership application form for the next membership year.

c. Life Member. Any retired member who is eligible for retired member status and who has at least 10 years of membership in ACE may apply to become a life member. Life membership will take effect upon approval by the ACE board and after the retiree has made a single payment of five times the annual dues for retired members or five annual payments.

d. Student/Recent Graduate Member. Any person who is a full-time undergraduate or graduate student, or has graduated within the last two years, will be eligible for student/recent graduate membership.

e. Affiliate Member. The ACE board can designate ‘charter’ status to countries where budgets and salaries preclude paying individual memberships if a designated representative of a country applies for that status and pays the equivalent annual dues of an active membership. The representative provides a list of communications and technology professionals qualified for membership (working in information and technology units of agricultural education, research, and development institutions). These persons have 'affiliate member' status, while the designated representative has active member status. The charter country receives the equivalent of one individual membership (e.g., one vote in ACE elections and one set of ACE materials that can be duplicated for wider distribution in the country). Affiliate members are eligible to participate in the Critique and Awards (C&A) program and meetings and conferences at the active member rate, but cannot be officers or directors of the ACE board. The designation of charter status for a country is determined by the board based on specific criteria (see Bylaw B. ACE Policies and Procedures Manual). It does not imply a lesser professionalism or skill level on the part of the members from charter-status countries. Charter status for a country does not preclude individuals in that country from applying and paying for active membership.

f. No partial-year memberships exist.

Section 2. Rights of Members.

a. Voting. Each member of ACE will have one vote in all organization-wide and appropriate elections and meetings of ACE. The one exception is that life members are not eligible to vote on increases in dues because they no longer pay dues.

b. Officers. The privilege of serving as an officer will be restricted to active members.

c. Directors. The privilege of serving as director is restricted to active members, with the exception of the retiree director, who must be a retired or life member.

Section 3. Membership Eligibility.

The ACE board will have the authority to review and determine the eligibility of all applicants for membership in the various classes defined in this article. No individual may be denied membership on the basis of race, national origin, religion, sex, disability, marital status, veteran status, or sexual orientation. Each member will belong to only one membership group.

Article IV — Dues

Section 1. Initiation Fee.
There will be no initiation fee.

Section 2. Active Member Dues.
The annual dues for active members will be an amount set by the ACE board. Changes in dues must be approved by a majority of the dues-paying membership voting at any annual business meeting of ACE, or by a majority of the dues-paying members voting if the vote is carried out electronically as appropriate. The ACE board will determine if the vote is to be at the annual meeting or conducted electronically.

Section 3. Retired Member Dues.
The annual dues for retired members will be one-half of the dues for active members.

Section 4. Life Member Dues.
Life members pay no annual dues.

Section 5. Student/Recent Graduate Member Dues.
The annual dues for student/recent graduate members will be one-half of the full annual dues for active members.

Section 6. New Member Dues.
A first-time member will pay one-half of the full annual dues and be credited with membership for the year.

Section 7. Members on Military Leave.
Active members of ACE who are on leave for active duty with the Armed Forces will be considered dues-paid members and will be carried on the rolls of ACE until the tour of duty ends.

Article V — ACE Board: Definitions

Section 1. ACE Board.
The ACE board will consist of the officers and directors. The executive director and treasurer will serve as nonvoting, ex officio members of the board.

Section 2. Term of Office.
Except as otherwise noted, 'year' means from the close of one annual business meeting to the close of the next. An officer or director who is elected or appointed to fill an unexpired term created by a vacancy will not be considered to have served a full term.

Section 3. Officers.
The officers of ACE will consist of a president, president-elect, vice president, and past president. Officers will be chosen from among the active membership and must remain active members throughout their terms.

a. President. The president will serve for one year, having previously served as president-elect. The president will not be eligible to serve two consecutive full terms as president.

b. President-elect. The president-elect, having previously served as vice president, will serve for one year, following which the president-elect will automatically become president. The president-elect will not be eligible to serve two consecutive full terms as president-elect.

c. Vice President. The vice president will serve for one year, following which the vice president will become president-elect. The vice president will have been an active member in good standing of ACE for at least four consecutive years immediately before assuming office. The vice president will not be eligible to serve two consecutive full terms as vice president.

d. Past President. Term of office for the past president normally is one year. In the case of a vacancy in that office, the current president may ask a previous past president to serve out the remainder of a term.

Section 4. ACE Directors.
ACE has six directors. All must remain active members throughout their terms of office, with the exception of the retiree director. With the exception of the retiree director, directors will be elected through a vote by all ACE members. The retiree director will be elected by vote of the retired and life members. All directors serve as director-elect for one year upon election then serve a two-year term.

a. Membership Director will be responsible for sustaining and growing the membership; retaining members; organizing orientation, mentoring and other services for new members; and working with state representatives and international members on membership and services issues.

b. Professional Development Director will be responsible for all forms of professional development, including conferences, workshops, institutes, online learning, and other professional training and development programs. The professional development director will serve (or a designee) on the annual meeting program committee.

c. Marketing Director will be responsible for working to increase positive visibility for ACE in the communications and IT professions and to seek partnerships with other organizations. This director also is responsible for new membership campaigns and development.

d. Learning Communities Director will be responsible for ensuring that all Learning Communities are active and have effective leadership, and represent the needs and interests of Learning Communities before the board.

e. Research Director will be responsible for contributing to the advancement of ACE by conducting or commissioning research to address the organization’s priorities and needs. This director also will serve as the liaison between the Research Learning Community, Journal of Applied Communications (JAC) editorial board and JAC executive editor, and the ACE board.

f. Retiree Director will be responsible for ensuring that retired and life members are kept abreast of ACE happenings and encouraged to participate in and lead ACE activities.

Section 5. Directors-elect.
Directors-elect will be elected to serve during the second year of a director's term to aid in program development and continuity. Directors-elect are expected to join in deliberations of the ACE board as soon as they are elected. Directors-elect are encouraged to attend meetings and serve on board task forces and subcommittees, but will not have voting privileges. The director-elect will assume the duties of director should the director be unable to fulfill the duties of that office.

Section 6. Executive Director.
The executive director is appointed by the ACE board. The executive director, whose duties include serving as secretary, may be an active or retired member and is a nonvoting, ex officio member of the ACE board.

Section 7. Treasurer.
The treasurer is appointed by the ACE board and serves a three-year term. The treasurer provides leadership for ACE financial planning and review. The treasurer may be an active or retired member, and is a nonvoting, ex officio member of the ACE board.

Article VI. ACE Board: Duties

Section 1. ACE Board.
The ACE board will direct the policies of ACE in accordance with the ACE mission (Article II, Section 1). The ACE board will be the authority on interpreting the ACE Constitution and will present its interpretations to the membership in the form of bylaws.

No bylaws may be adopted that are not in keeping with the educational and scientific purposes of ACE as a nonprofit organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Section 2. Officers.

a. President.

1) The president will preside at all meetings of ACE and of the ACE board. The president also will perform all other duties expected of a president or as prescribed by the ACE board or by majority vote of ACE members, including appointing standing and ad hoc committees.

2) If the annual meeting is not held, the president will ensure that elections are completed and incoming officers and directors installed not later than August 31 of the year in which the annual meeting is skipped.

b. President-elect.
The president-elect will preside in the absence of the president at all meetings of ACE and of the ACE board, and will perform various other duties in case of absence or incapacity of the president or upon assignment by the president. The president-elect will lead the Critique and Award program process.

c. Vice President.
The vice president will assist with all duties as assigned by the president throughout the year. The vice president will assume the duties of the president-elect if the president-elect is unable to perform his or her duties. The vice president will lead organizational communications efforts and serve as the organization’s parliamentarian.

d. Past President.
The past president will assist with all duties as assigned by the president throughout the year and chair the nominating committee.

Section 3. Directors.

a. Each director will be responsible for carrying out the duties described in Article V, Section 4, leading appropriate committees, regularly communicating with members, soliciting their input, appropriately managing group funds, and helping identify nominees for director-elect.

Section 4. Executive Director.
The executive director serves the ACE members, board, and other ACE groups, and performs all other duties as assigned.

Section 5. Treasurer.
The treasurer approves or rejects expenses as submitted by the executive director, proposes an annual budget to the board, provides a financial update for each board meeting and provides leadership on other financial issues. The treasurer chairs the Finance Committee.

Section 6. Development Fund Officer.
The development fund officer chairs the development fund committee, advises the annual conference committee, and sets guidelines and recommendations for sponsorship, grants and giving opportunities.

Article VII — Elections

Section 1. Eligibility for Office.
Officers and directors of ACE will be chosen from among the active membership, except as noted in Article V, Section 4, g. (i.e., retiree director).

Section 2. Order of election for Directors-elect.
The Professional Development, Marketing, and Research directors will be elected in even-numbered years. The Membership, Learning Communities, and Retiree directors will be elected in odd-numbered years.

Section 3. Date of Elections.
Elections will be held in February for the vice president and the appropriate directors-elect. If necessary, the board will call for a special election at another time of the year to fill a vacancy.

Section 4. Nominating Committee.
The president will appoint a nominating committee of not less than three or more than five members, and the immediate past president will serve as chair. The committee will be responsible for finding eligible candidates for vice president and directors-elect. The committee will work with directors to find potential candidates for director-elect and, if necessary, communicate directly with members to find potential candidates. In seeking candidates for vice president, the nominating committee will consider all currently active members in good standing of ACE for at least four consecutive years immediately prior to the election.

Section 5. Slate of Candidates.
The nominating committee will present a slate of eligible candidates, consisting of two candidates for vice president and two for each director-elect vacancy, to the ACE board for approval. The committee will seek a slate of candidates representing the diversity of the membership. If, after an extensive search, the nominating committee cannot come up with two candidates for an office, the ACE board may decide to:

a. Approve one qualified candidate, if available, and submit that name to the members; 

b. Reschedule the election for later in the year if at least one qualified candidate can be found by February elections; or

c. Leave the position vacant and elect a member to serve, starting at the end of the term of the current officer or director.

Section 6. Method of Voting.
The executive director will arrange to have appropriate ballots delivered to all members. Brief background information on each candidate will accompany the ballots, along with instructions for submitting them. The ballots will be counted and audited and the results reported to the ACE president. In case of a tie in the election for vice president or director-elect, a majority vote of the ACE board will determine who will be certified as the winner.

Section 7. Vacancies.
In the event of the death, resignation, or ineligibility of a member of the ACE board to complete his or her term of office, the senior member of the board will oversee the replacement of a member to fill the unexpired term. Seniority will be as follows: president, president-elect, vice president, and past president. Seniority among directors will be on the basis of length of membership in ACE.

a. In the interim between the occurrence of a vacancy and the election to fill that vacancy, the functions of the vacant office will be fulfilled by the next senior officer, director, or director-elect.

b. If the ACE board decides by majority vote that a vacancy will not materially interfere with the proper functioning of ACE, filling of the vacancy may be postponed until a special election is called or until the next regularly scheduled election.

c. A director may be nominated to be a candidate for vice president only in the second year of his or her term as director.

Article VIII — Appointed Leadership Roles

Section 1. Executive Director.
The executive director is a nonvoting, ex officio member of the ACE board (see Article V, Section 6, and Article VI, Section 4).

Section 2. Treasurer.
The treasurer is a nonvoting, ex officio member of the ACE board (see Article V, Section 7, and Article VI, Section 5).

Section 3. Curator.
The ACE board will recruit and appoint an ACE curator whose duty it will be to maintain and share with the membership the archives of ACE. Term to be determined.

Section 4. Journal of Applied Communications (JAC) Executive Editor.
The board will appoint an editor for the Journal of Applied Communications who will solicit manuscripts, oversee the review process and publish the online journal. This may be a paid position.

Section 5. Committees, Boards, Task Forces, Learning Communities, or Other Entities.
Any such leadership group that supports the educational and scientific purposes of ACE may be established by the ACE board or voted by the membership. The objectives, organizational structure, and membership composition of each will be determined by the ACE board or as set forth in the bylaws.

Section 6. State Representatives.
Each state, working with the Membership Director, will appoint one active ACE member as its state representative, who will work on recruitment and retention of local members.

Section 7. Development Officer.
The Development Officer is a nonvoting, ex officio member of the ACE board.

Article IX — Meetings

Section 1. Annual Meeting.
There will be an annual meeting of the ACE membership.

a. Place of Meeting. The location of the annual meeting will be decided by the ACE board two or more years in advance.

b. Date of Meeting. The date of the annual meeting will be determined by the ACE board. The date and place of the meeting will be announced to the membership at least six months before the meeting is held.

c. Program of Meeting. The Program Committee, working with the ACE president and Professional Development director, will determine the program. Workshops or other informational and educational activities in conjunction with the meeting may be considered and sponsored by ACE in cooperation with universities, institutes, government agencies, and others in furtherance of the educational and scientific purposes of ACE.

d. Meeting Expenses. The program committee will submit a proposed budget to the ACE board at least six months before the meeting.

Section 2. Board Meetings.
The ACE board will convene at the annual meeting of ACE and once more in person during the year. The board may meet in person or electronically at such other times as called for by the president or upon the request of a majority of the board members. Each board member will be notified of any special meeting at least three days in advance, with a statement indicating time and place as well as information about the primary subject(s) to be considered.

Section 3. Other Meetings.
Any ACE group may convene regular or special meetings to further the educational and scientific purposes of ACE. Notice of such meetings will be sent in advance to each concerned member and other interested parties, as well as to the executive director.

Section 4. Procedural Guide.
The usual parliamentary rules as laid down in 'Robert’s Rules of Order', as newly revised, will govern all deliberations at business meetings of ACE, when not in conflict with the provisions of this constitution.

Article X — Quorum

Section 1. Annual Meeting.
The number of ACE members present at the annual business meeting will constitute a quorum of ACE. A majority vote of the members voting is considered an act of the membership, unless indicated otherwise elsewhere in this constitution. Proxy voting will not be permitted.

Section 2. ACE Board.
A majority of the voting members of the ACE board will constitute a quorum of that body.

Section 3. Meetings of ACE groups.
The number of ACE members present at a meeting or responding to an email inquiry by the leader of one of these groups will constitute a quorum of that group.

Article XI — Organization Funds

Section 1. Tax-exempt Status.
Notwithstanding any other provisions of these articles, ACE will not carry on any activities prohibited by an organization exempt from Federal Income Tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 (or corresponding revisions of any future United States Internal Revenue Law).

Section 2. Acceptance of Funds.

a. ACE may accept gifts, bequests, donations, grants, or funds for any purpose within the scope of its objectives. No part of the funds of ACE will inure or be distributed to the members of ACE, except that ACE will be authorized and empowered to pay reasonable compensation for services rendered and to provide awards, scholarships, and other incentive programs to further the objectives and purposes of ACE, and to improve communicators’ services to people.

b. No gift, bequest, donation, grant, or fund received by ACE will in any way imply a preference for any product or service marketed by any corporation or other entity that has provided funds or in-kind services to ACE.

Article XII. Dissolution

Section 1. Dissolving ACE.
ACE may be dissolved upon a two-thirds majority vote of all members voting in an official vote.

a. Upon dissolution of ACE, any assets not required for payment of its liabilities and obligations and not held upon conditions requiring return, specific transfer, or conveyance upon dissolution, will be paid over and transferred to one or more corporations, societies, or organizations engaged in activities substantially similar to those of ACE and that are exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

b. The ACE board in office at the time of dissolution will select the organization(s) for transfer of ACE’s assets and funds, provided each organization selected meets the criteria in Article XII, Section 1, a.

Article XIII — Bylaws

Section 1. ACE may adopt bylaws to set forth basic policy and operating guidelines for any activity, purpose, or structure to meet ACE objectives.

Section 2. No bylaw provision may conflict with this constitution.

Section 3. Bylaws may be adopted or amended by a majority vote of ACE members present and voting at any legally called ACE business meeting, by a majority vote of members voting in an electronic mail vote, or by a two-thirds majority of ACE board members voting at an ACE board meeting.

Section 4. Bylaw changes may be proposed by any ACE member in good standing, in writing to the ACE board, provided such changes are proposed in time for the ACE board’s consideration and notification to ACE members at least 30 days in advance of an ACE board meeting or annual meeting.

Section 5. The ACE executive director will maintain the master set of bylaws together with the ACE constitution, and the ACE president will notify ACE members of approved bylaws and approved amendments to the bylaws.

Article XIV — Amendments

Section 1. This constitution may be amended only by a two-thirds vote of all members present and voting at any annual business meeting of ACE or, if the membership is canvassed on a proposed amendment or amendments electronically, by a two-thirds vote of all members voting. Notification of proposed amendments to the constitution will be sent to the last recorded address of each member at least 30 days prior to the date of the meeting or the deadline for return of ballots.

Section 2. Any proposed amendments that receive a positive vote of the membership will take effect immediately unless the motion to adopt contains a proviso that says otherwise.

bAny proposed amendment on which a majority of the voting members vote 'no' may not be reintroduced until the next official business meeting.

Section 4. The ACE president will notify ACE members of approved amendments.

Section 5. Any change(s) required by the Internal Revenue Service to maintain the status of ACE as an educational and scientific organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code will automatically be deemed a fully approved amendment to the constitution and bylaws of ACE. Notice of such change(s) and reasons for the change(s) will be provided by the executive director to each member of ACE along with revised text of the constitution.

Article XV — Date of Effectiveness

Original constitution adopted June 25, 1915, Madison, Wisconsin, and subsequently amended.

(The curator maintains the full listing of amendment modes and dates.)

Amended by unanimous vote of the membership at the 63rd annual meeting, July 11, 1979, Newark, Delaware.

Amended by unanimous vote of the membership at the 65th annual meeting, July 13 and 14, 1981, Mackinac Island, Michigan.

Amended by unanimous vote of the membership of the 68th annual meeting, June 26 and 28, 1984, Washington, D.C. Amended by unanimous vote of the membership at the 73rd annual meeting, July 19, 1989, Portland, Oregon.

Amended by vote of the membership at the 75th annual meeting, July 3, 1991, Rapid City, South Dakota.

Amended by vote of the membership canvassed through mail, October 20, 1992.

Bylaw A passed by vote of the ACE board at the 76th annual meeting, June 26, 1992, Washington, D.C.

Amended by unanimous vote of the membership at the 80th annual meeting, July 17, 1996, Washington, D.C.

Amended by unanimous vote of the membership at the 82nd annual meeting, July 15 and 18, 1998, Asilomar, California.

Amended by unanimous vote of the membership at the 83rd annual meeting, June 13, 1999, Knoxville, Tennessee.

Article IX, Meetings, Section 1a amended by a vote of the membership, conducted by e- mail and regular mail, in January 2001.

Article III, Membership, Section 1f amended by a vote of the membership, conducted by e- mail and regular mail, in April 2001.

Article V, ACE Board: Definitions, Section 4f amended by unanimous vote of the membership at the 87th annual meeting, June 17, 2003.

Article I, Name, Section 1 amended by a vote of the membership, conducted by email and regular mail, in July 2003.

Article III, Membership, Section 1b, and related matters in other sections amended by vote of the membership at the 88th annual meeting, June 23, 2004, Lake Tahoe, Nevada.

Article V, ACE Board: Definitions, Section 4, subsections g and h and Article III, Membership, Section 1, subsection d amended by vote of the membership, conducted by email and regular mail, August and September, 2005. Amended by majority vote of ACE membership, February, 2012.


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