Print Page | Contact Us | Sign In | Join the APA
Governance FAQ

Following are some of the most-asked questions about the association’s structure and governance. Additional questions may be sent to


FAQ Sections

Organizational StructureGovernance (National)Board of OfficersNational Committees
Nominations Elections & VotingGovernance (Divisional)Proposals, Amendments & Policies

Organizational Structure

Is the APA one organization or are its divisions separate?

The APA is one organization with a federal structure comprising the three divisions—the central, eastern, and pacific—a board of officers, and a national office that make up a single 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The organization has functioned under a single constitution and set of bylaws providing for a national board of officers since 1927.

What is the purpose of having divisions?

The divisions’ purpose, as specified in the APA bylaws, is to arrange regular regional meetings which include a philosophical program, a presidential address, a divisional business meeting and other events. 

Where are the offices for the association located?

There is only one administrative office for the association. The national office, which facilitates the work of the association, has been located in Newark, DE, on the campus of the University of Delaware, since 1975. The office is headed by a full-time executive director with a staff of five full-time and two part-time employees.

Governance (National)

Board of Officers

Who are the APA board members?

 The APA board of officers has 28 members:

  • Chair
  • Vice chair
  • Treasurer
  • Executive Director
  • Three Divisional Presidents
  • Three Divisional Vice Presidents
  • Three Divisional Immediate Past Presidents
  • Three Divisional Secretary-Treasurers
  • Three Divisional Representatives
  • Three members at large
  • Chairs of the six standing committees

See the Board of Officers page for information on the current members of the board.  

How long are the terms of the board of officers?

With the exception of the vice chair and the executive director, the board members serve three-year terms. The executive director’s term can be up to five years and the vice chair’s term can be up to fifteen months. Board members’ terms are renewable, though some positions have term limits; see the APA bylaws for more information.  

How often does the board meet?

The board meets quarterly. The fall meeting (normally held in November) is held in person over the course of a weekend. The three other shorter meetings are held via teleconference.

What does the board do?

The board is the primary governing body for the association. Its responsibilities include approving the budget and managing the association’s finances, setting membership dues, reviewing the activities of the committees and the divisions, appointing committee members, setting association policies and practices, overseeing the work of the executive director, and more.

How can I get a copy of the board meeting minutes?

Board minutes are available to all current APA members and can be found on the Board Meeting Minutes page.

National Committees

How many committees does the association have?

There are six standing committees, specified in the bylaws, and fourteen special committees established by the board. The board may also occasionally appoint special task forces to handle current initiatives.

What do the committees do?

APA committees fulfill a wide variety of national purposes of the APA and, in that capacity, are responsive to the needs of APA members. The work of the committee members includes the development, planning, and supervision of a broad range of APA projects, such as prizes, awards, newsletters, sessions at divisional meetings, web resources, surveys, input to the APA board of officers, and, in general, activities that help philosophers perform their professional duties as teachers and researchers. All committees also have the right to recommend to the board the adoption of statements and the initiation of programs that would assist in achieving the aims of the committee and the association.

Who serves on committees? How long are their terms?

Names of committee members and their term-ending dates can be found on the committee pages. Committee members normally serve three-year terms. See the leadership nominations page for current vacancies and information about the nominations process. 

Nominations, Elections & Voting

How are the nominations and elections for board and committee seats determined?

Complete information and instructions about nominations and elections can be found on the leadership nominations page.  

  • Nominators and nominees must be APA members in good standing.
  • All members, including associate members, are eligible for committee service. 
  • Only full members (regular and emeritus) are eligible to serve on the board.

When do the nominations for committee and at-large board seats take place?

Nominations are open annually from September 15 to October 31, and candidates must accept or decline their nominations by November 10.

Calls for nominations are sent to all current members by email and posted on the APA’s website and social media profiles.

Governance (Divisional)

Are the divisions governed by the national bylaws or do they have their own bylaws?

The APA has a federal structure. The divisions are governed by national APA bylaws as well as their own divisional bylaws.

Who are the divisional officers and how long are their terms?

Names and terms of the current divisional officers appear on the divisions' homepages. Each division has an executive committee, which includes the following members:

  • President
  • Vice President
  • Past President
  • Secretary-Treasurer
  • Representative to the board of officers
  • At-large members

Executive committee members normally serve three-year terms.

The divisions each also have a program committee that is responsible for planning their divisional meetings. In the Pacific Division, the program committee chair serves on the executive committee.

How do I nominate someone to serve as a divisional representative or to serve on a divisional program or executive committee?

Each division has a nominating committee that nominates officers for its division. For some divisions, nominations can also be accepted from the floor of the annual business meetings. For other divisions, suggestions may be included with the ballots or may be submitted to the nominating committee after the original slate of nominees has been published. Please refer to the bylaws of the appropriate division for its specific nomination procedures.

How do I vote in divisional elections?

Only full members (regular and emeritus) are eligible to vote in divisional elections. Elections normally take place by secure electronic ballot. Notifications are sent to full members by email at the time of elections. Questions regarding divisional election procedures should be sent to the appropriate divisional secretary-treasurer:

You may only vote in the division with which you are affiliated. Your divisional affiliation is listed in your member profile. If you'd like to change your division, complete a division change request form.

I didn’t receive my electronic ballot notification. Who do I contact?

Contact the national office at, or your divisional secretary-treasurer.

Proposals, Amendments and Policies

I’d like to get a proposal on the agenda of the APA board of officers. How do I do that?

Items may be submitted for the board agenda by members of the board, by APA committees, by divisional executive committees and business meetings, and by petition from at least 50 full (regular or emeritus) members of the association. Proposals for consideration on a board agenda should be sent to the executive director and must be received at least 30 days in advance of a board meeting in order to appear on that meeting’s agenda.

How do I propose an amendment to the national or divisional bylaws?

Amendments to the bylaws may be proposed only by the following:

  • a divisional business meeting
  • a divisional executive committee
  • the board of officers
  • a petition bearing the signatures of at least 50 full (regular or emeritus) members

The APA has a policy that I’d like to see changed. What is the procedure for this?

Suggestions or comments about association policy should be sent to the executive director.

The American Philosophical Association
University of Delaware
31 Amstel Avenue, Newark, DE 19716
Phone: 302.831.1112 | Fax: 302.831.8690