CSC By-Laws

I. Overview

A. Mission:

The Council on Strategic Communications (CSC) is a forum for senior professionals who have responsibilities for strategic communications, marketing, university relations and other external constituency relations at one of APLU’s member institutions. Through the interaction of its members, this Council helps identify and share best practices and develop new strategies to publicly convey the benefits, achievements and vital contributions of land-grant and public research universities to the quality of life in North America, thereby increasing the understanding and support for public higher education at the state, province, and national levels.

Integral to the mission is a close and continuing relationship with the Council on Governmental Affairs, which focuses on many of the same issues on a day-to-day basis, and whose support is vital to the success of this Council’s mission. The Council on Strategic Communications works with the Council of Presidents, Council on Academic Affairs, and other APLU Councils and Commissions to provide advice and guidance on advocacy strategies that contributes to increased understanding of public higher education.

Finally, this Council will adhere to the highest ethical standards.

B. Vision: The Council on Strategic Communications will be:

  • At the forefront of anticipating, monitoring and evaluating issues as they affect land-grant and public research universities in order to maintain and establish mutually beneficial relationships with the public on whom our success depends;
  • At the forefront of articulating and advocating for the intrinsic benefits and achievements of land-grant and public research universities key policy and decision makers in order to secure understanding and support for quality public higher education;
  • At the forefront of developing innovative partnerships through which the private and public sectors can address the financial needs of public universities at a time of diminished resources.

II. Organization

A. Membership: Membership on the Council on Strategic Communications shall be open to representatives with substantial responsibility for strategic communications and marketing who are directly named by an APLU member institution’s President or Chancellor to be on the Council or are unquestionably senior leaders in the related areas for their institution.

B. Meetings: The Council will meet at least twice a year — once during the APLU annual meeting and once at the CSC summer meeting. Other meetings can be called by the Chair and/or the Executive Committee.

Other meetings, conference calls, webinars, etc., may be called by the Chair as necessary or requested. It shall be the responsibility of the Executive Committee to organize the location and agenda for the summer meeting and to organize the CSC program for the annual meeting. Special committees may be appointed for this purpose. Working group Chairs who are not members of the Executive Committee may be invited to attend the Executive Committee meetings.

C. Governance: An Executive Committee shall be responsible for conducting the Council’s activities through Council committees and members. The Executive Committee shall consist of 15 members, as follows: Chair, the immediate past Chair, a Chair-elect, and 12 at-large members. The APLU Vice President, Public Affairs and the APLU Director, Public Affairs, will both be ex officio members without a vote. The term of each Executive Committee member and the officer shall begin on the first day of January following the APLU Annual Meeting at which they were elected.

D. Officers: The term of office for officers of the Council on Strategic Communications shall be two years. The officers shall consist of a Chair, the Immediate Past Chair, and the Chair-Elect. The Chair shall serve as the Council’s representative on the APLU Board of Directors.

E. Executive Committee Members: The 15 members of the Executive Committee are chosen to staggered three-year terms. Independent of their leadership positions on the Council, officers are also elected to the overall Executive Committee on the same three-year terms. Members can serve up to two terms for a total of six years with two exceptions that allow for longer periods of time: If an executive committee member serves as chair during their fifth and sixth years on the panel, they may remain a member of the executive committee for an additional three-year term in order to fulfill their past-chair responsibilities; and 2) If a current executive member fills a vacancy more than 18 months into a three-year term, the remainder of that initial term is not counted as one of their two eligible terms on the committee. No more than one person from an APLU member institution may serve on the executive committee at any given time.

While the nature of the job as a senior communications, marketing, or external relations officer at a public university can understandably cause unexpected disruptions, Executive Committee members must make all legitimate efforts to participate in Council and Executive Committee meetings, conference calls, etc. Executive Committee members who cannot participate in live discussions should provide comments or questions to the Chair by e-mail or phone. Failure to regularly take an active role with Executive Committee business could result in a request from the leadership of the Executive Committee or, in extreme cases, a vote to remove that inactive member.

F. Election of the Chair and Executive Committee Members:

  1. Place and Time – The election of the Chair, Chair-elect and Council Executive Committee members shall take place at the annual Executive Committee business meeting of the Council during the APLU annual meeting. Elections shall be by simple majority vote of those present, either in person or via phone or video conference. If there is a tie, then the current Chair shall flip a coin to break the tie.
  2. Selection of Executive Committee Members – Up to five Executive Committee positions will become vacant at the end of each year. Prior to the APLU Annual Meeting preceding the conclusion of an Executive Committee member’s term, APLU leadership and/or the Chair will send an e-mail to the Council’s overall membership list to solicit self or other nominations to serve on the Executive Committee. The list of nominees and their relevant background will be presented to the current Executive Committee for their consideration prior to a vote.
  3. Succession – If a member of the Executive Committee is unable to complete their term, the Chair shall appoint a replacement from the Council’s overall membership to complete the term. If the Chair is unable to fulfill his/her full-term, the Chair-Elect shall become Chair and the Executive Committee will choose a replacement from among its members to serve as the new Chair-Elect. The replacement Chair will be eligible for an additional two-year term in addition to the partial term he/she is filling so long as that partial term has no more than 12 months remaining. If the Immediate Past Chair cannot complete his/her term then that position shall remain vacant until the current Chair’s term expires and he/she moves into the Immediate Past Chair role.

G. Other Committees: The Executive Committee may establish standing and ad hoc committees of the Council. Such committees shall be chaired by a member of the Executive Committee. All members of committees shall be appointed by the Chair with the concurrence of the Executive Committee.

Standing committees and ad hoc committees have the following responsibilities:

  1. Developing an agenda of issues to be pursued by the group;
  2. Keeping Council members informed about matters pertaining to the committee’s area of responsibility;
  3. Fostering the exchange of information and expertise about committee matters, especially by preparing programs for Council meetings;
  4. Developing and, with Executive Committee approval, implementing action plans where action seems appropriate; and
  5. Developing recommendations/resolutions to be brought forward to the full Council and to APLU.

H. Council and Commission Interaction: Subject to each Council and Commission’s interest in such representation, the Chair will assign, as deemed necessary, one or more members to serve as a liaison on other APLU Councils and Commissions to represent the Council on Strategic Communications. Where possible, members will be appointed to a Council or Commission because of an expertise or substantial interest. The Council on Strategic Communications liaison to another Councils or Commissions shall represent the Council on Strategic Communications’ perspectives and offer advice and guidance, as appropriate, to those other groups. The liaison shall report back to the Executive Committee on the relevant work of the other Councils or Commissions.

I. Changes: Changes to these Council by-laws may be made by the Executive Committee at the Annual Meeting business meeting. Modifications may be made to the by-laws at other times of the year if the majority of CSC Executive Committee members approve of voting on such adjustments at a time other than during the Annual Meeting, including via conference calls. E-mail votes are prohibited unless a majority of the other executive committee members who are present (in person or by phone) grant an exception for an extraordinary circumstance.

J. Bylaws. The general by-laws of APLU shall apply to the activities of the Council on Strategic Communications.