Article 1. Name

This group is called the College of Fellows of the American Geophysical Union. This group is also referred to as CoF.

Article 2. Purpose

  1. The CoF will support and advance the mission, vision, core values and strategic goals of the American Geophysical Union. Link to the current AGU strategic plan:
  2. The CoF exists to foster excellence, integrity and interdisciplinary collaboration in the Earth and space sciences, provide expert and strategic advice to the Union on global scientific issues, and support the professional development and engagement of scientists at all career stages and from all backgrounds.

Article 3. Membership

  1. AGU Information
    1. Types of AGU members are defined in Article III of the AGU bylaws. Link to AGU bylaws:
  2. CoF Information
    1. All AGU fellows are automatically members of the CoF; their participation is of course on a voluntary basis.
    2. Current AGU membership and being an AGU Fellow are required to vote and hold leadership positions in CoF. More information about this is outlined in the AGU bylaws (Article III, Section 1).

Article 4. Elected officers and other executive committee members

  1. AGU Information

Refer to AGU bylaws (Article VII, Section 2) for information on:

    1. Identification of officer positions
    2. Minimum composition of section executive committee
    3. Serving without honorarium
    4. Election of officers
    5. Handling vacancies
    6. Seat on the AGU Council
  1. CoF Information
    1. CoF leadership team consists of three elected officers: the chair, chair-elect and past-chair. They all serve without honorarium.
    2. CoF executive committee: The CoF will have an executive committee that includes at a minimum three (3) elected positions (chair, chair-elect, and past chair), chairs of committees and others as desired. Additional members are appointed by the CoF chair.
    3. Duties of the CoF chair: She/he chairs the CoF executive committee meetings and sets the agenda and near and long term goals. The chair is a voting member of the AGU Council and shall attend Council meetings. The chair delegates work to executive committee members and other volunteers as needed. The chair is the primary partner with the AGU staff.
    4. The chair appoints or reappoints, with the input of the executive committee and other members and staff as desired, the members of all CoF committees and working groups. The chair has the authority to withdraw appointments made while in office or by previous CoF chairs, subject to approval of the executive committee. The chair is an ex-officio, non-voting member of all CoF committees and working groups.
    5. Duties of the CoF chair-elect: The chair-elect will work with the leadership team to become familiar with the CoF, and assume duties of the chair, at the request of the chair or in the absence or incapacity of the chair. Other duties may be delegated by the CoF chair.
    6. Duties of the CoF past chair: Support the chair in mentoring of the chair-elect. Take the lead in nomination process to identify candidates for election and other volunteers needed within the CoF. Other duties may be delegated by the CoF chair.
    7. Other members of the executive committee are responsible for participating in bi-monthly web meetings, including reporting to the executive committee on their area.
  2. Nomination and Election Information
    1. As the chair-elect rotates to chair and chair to past-chair, only one of the three officers, the chair-elect, needs to be elected every two years as part of the AGU election cycle.
    2. The chair should make an announcement via the CoF website and broadcast email asking for AGU Fellows who would like to be nominated for chair-elect and who would be interested in serving on the various CoF committees. The three CoF officers will evaluate the candidates for chair-elect, based upon considerations of needs for the CoF and diversity considerations.

Article 5. Committees and Working Groups

  1. The CoF may form committees and working groups. The word “committee” in this section includes all types of volunteer groups in the CoF unless otherwise noted.
    1. Definition of committee: A group needed to accomplish work for multiple years.
    2. Definition of working group (or task force): A group formed for a limited duration with a specific outcome in mind.
  2. The CoF chair may form new committees and merge or sunset existing committees, subject to the approval of the executive committee. The chair in consultation with the other officers should annually evaluate the volunteer groups needed to accomplish the work of the CoF.
  3. Each committee will have a charge outlining the work and responsibilities of the committee. The questions to answer are: What do we need this group of volunteers to accomplish and by when? What authority and resources do they have? Where do they go for help?
  4. Only after the charge is set, the chair will begin to identify and recruit volunteers. The CoF chair has the authority to appoint and remove committee members. The questions to answer are: How many volunteers are needed to accomplish the charge and what perspectives are important to include?
  5. Committee membership should be distributed by gender, geography, nationality, career stage, and employer type, at a minimum.
  6. More information on AGU’s diversity criteria and rotation guidelines are listed under the volunteering section.
  7. Each committee will have a chair appointed by the CoF chair, subject to approval from the executive committee.
  8. Within 3 months of taking office, the CoF leadership team or executive team will review committee charges and composition, then make recommendations to the executive committee about appointments and reappointments.
  9. The terms of committee office are 2 years, renewable once. This means no committee chair or member should serve in that position for more than 4 years. A committee member may be asked to serve a third term if promoted to the chair position.
  10. Current CoF committees are:
  • Legacy Committee
  • International Hubs Committee
  • New Frontiers Committee
  • Mentoring Committee
  • Distinguished Lecture Series Committee

Article 6. Meetings

  1. Executive Committee
    1. The CoF executive committee may hold as many meetings as desired. Meetings may be held in person, via phone, or online (e.g., Zoom).
      1. The chair in consultation with the AGU staff partner, chair-elect and past-chair schedules the meetings and set the agenda. Input on agenda is solicited from all executive committee members. The AGU staff person takes the minutes, which are kept on the AGU CoF website and available to executive committee members.
    2. The executive committee will meet in person at the AGU Fall Meeting. These meetings are open to executive committee members and others who are invited. The agenda will be set by the chair.
A quorum for making decisions is a majority of filled positions. Attendance can be either in person or virtual. Proxy voting is not allowed.
2. Committees or working groups
    1. Committees or working groups may hold as many meetings as desired. Meetings may be held in person, via phone, or online (e.g., Zoom).
    2. The chair will call the meeting, set the agenda, and ensure that notes and action items are captured.
    3. The CoF chair is an ex officio and non-voting member of all CoF committees and working groups unless otherwise specified.
A quorum for making decisions is a majority of filled positions. Attendance can be either in person or virtual. Proxy voting is not allowed.
3. CoF business meeting / member event at Fall Meeting
    1. The purpose of this meeting is to share information about CoF activities and network.

Article 7. Communication

  1. AGU provides a website using AGU Connect site. The content is developed by the CoF executive committee. Training and support are provided by staff.
    1. CoF website: Once a year, the CoF Executive committee should review the website content to flag places where it needs to be updated. 
    2. CoF Connect community: CoF leaders have the ability to communicate directly with their members via their Connect site. CoF leaders can make announcements and post documents in the library. Any member on the Connect site can start and participate in discussions.
    3. To better communicate with members outside of the US, non-US regional hubs are headed by a fellow to work with other fellows and sections as canvassing groups to identify scientists in their regions to nominate for Fellows, awards, medals and prizes.
  2. The CoF may publish a newsletter or send a direct email message to the CoF as many times as desired throughout the year.

      Article 8. Staff Support

      1. The CoF has been assigned a staff partner.
      2. Bi-monthly calls are held with staff for all members of CoF executive committee.
      3. Governance and volunteer support are provided by the governance staff person and the Leadership Development / Governance Committee as needed.

      Article 9. Amendments

      1. CoF operating guidelines should align to and support the AGU bylaws and AGU polices, processes and guidelines. In case of a conflict, the organization takes precedence over the section.
      2. It is the responsibility of the CoF to keep these operating guidelines up to date. Changes and suggestions for updating these guidelines and appendices should be sent to the CoF chair.
      3. Any member of the CoF may propose a change to the Operating Agreement.
      4. Most changes to how the CoF operates can be made as follows:
        1. The CoF chair receives the proposed change and shares it with the executive committee.
        2. The CoF executive committee considers the proposed change and decides if the change will be incorporated.
        3. If a change affects only the CoF, the executive committee updates the operating guidelines document and sends it to the AGU governance staff person for review. This step is a quick check to ensure the change works with current AGU governance.
      5. If the change potentially affects multiple sections or an AGU policy or process, the CoF chair contacts the AGU governance staff person about how a discussion could be started. Depending on the topic, this could include talking to the Council Chair, Council Leadership Team (CLT), and/or AGU Leadership Development / Governance Committee.