Develop pipelines to leadership through professional development

AAPOR leadership, and especially the AAPOR President, Conference Chair, and Standards Chair, historically has been disproportionately filled by white and/or male AAPOR members.

It is not clear whether the absence of women and minorities in these roles is due to lack of transparency from AAPOR leadership about how to reach these leadership positions, lack of attention to important characteristics other than sector (dictated in AAPOR’s bylaws) when selecting a slate of nominees, or the absence of a pool of members who consider themselves qualified to serve in these leadership roles. From political science research we know that women are less likely to be asked to run for office and are less likely to consider themselves as qualified to run for office when asked. Thus, this set of strategies is designed to meet these objectives:

  • Make pathways transparent to the AAPOR membership
  • Explicitly encourage the nominations committee to consider gender identification and race-ethnicity (among other relevant characteristics) when identifying people to nominate
  • Develop training to provide skills to AAPOR members interested in eventually holding a leadership position in the organization and also to counter the reluctance of otherwise qualified members to seek leadership roles.
  • Short term actions:
    • Identify skills needed for developing AAPOR leadership
    • Develop a “package” of professional development webinars/short courses to develop AAPOR leadership
    • Develop guidelines for nominations committee to reflect diversity of membership when putting together slate of nominees for Council elections
    • Clearly communicate pathways to leadership to members in newsletter articles (e.g., chapter, committee, or task force service; professional prominence in leadership positions)
    • Maintain database of volunteers who have been nominated for any leadership position, whether or not considered on the “short list” by the nominations committee and report demographic composition of considered candidates to Council at Nominations time
  • Medium term actions:
    • Recruit instructors and schedule courses for professional development webinars focusing on leadership/management skills
    • Reach out to chapters to identify potential AAPOR leaders who have come from chapter leadership; recruit these individuals onto AAPOR committees
    • Identify additional AAPOR leadership development activities that could bring in or retain student and early career members to the leadership pipeline, such as   expanding  the MCR student and early career subcommittee
  • Long term actions:
    • Develop a “Preparing Future AAPOR Leaders” (PFAL) program for early-career AAPOR members. This selective program would pair a small number of PFAL members who have been in public opinion research for fewer than 10 years with a prior AAPOR Council member. The program could be modeled after the Preparing Future Faculty program ( in which PFAL members self-nominate or are recommended by employers.
    • Evaluate success of pipeline efforts in increasing diversity