As proposed to the ICA Board at the annual meeting, New Orleans, May 2004, by Catherine Preston, Chair, Visual Communication Special Interest Group

Edited and updated with feedback from the membership and International Communication Association staff. 

Section Six, regarding elections, has been updated to reflect the most current election procedures with the national office. 

Article I. Name: 

The name of the division shall be the Visual Communication Studies Division, previously the Visual Communication Interest Group. 

Article II. Purpose. 

Visual Communication Studies research touches on all other communication fields, investigating such areas as the interaction of the visual with public policy and law, mass communication processes, corporate image and organization, technology and human interaction, elite and popular culture, philosophy of communication, education and the social sphere. The Visual Communication Studies Division seeks to enhance the understanding of the visual in all its forms — moving and still images, designs, and displays in television, video and film, art and design, and print and digital media through the following: 

1) promoting communication-related and interdisciplinary research into the creation, processing, function, meaning, and critical consequences of the visual; 

2) encouraging the development of appropriate and innovative methods and theories; 

3) providing forums for the presentation and discussion of such research; 

4) facilitating networking among scholars with relevant research interests; and 

5) fostering the broad dissemination of findings outside of (as well as within) the group. 

Article III. Membership. 

Any active member of ICA is eligible for membership in the Visual Communication Studies Division.

Article IV. Officers, Nominations and Elections. 

Section 1 – Officers and Duties 

The division has three elected officers, a Chair, Vice-Chair, and Secretary-Historian, and the Immediate Past Chair, who shall serve ex-officio. The Chair serves for two years, presides at the annual meeting of the division, directs the Executive Committee, and represents the Division on the ICA Board of Directors. 

The Vice-Chair coordinates the submission, review, and assignment to the program of papers, panels, and other presentations at the ICA annual conference, and will automatically become the Chair for two years when the preceding chair retires. The Vice-Chair observes how to coordinate the program in the first year, coordinates the conference program in the second and (as Chair) the third year and assists the new Vice-Chair in the fourth year. 

The Secretary-Historian serves for two years and is responsible for keeping notes of the annual business meeting, for keeping division records, and for carrying out the announcement of candidates and elections process. 

The Immediate Past Chair coordinates the nominations of visual communication studies scholars for the ICA annual awards, serves on the Executive Committee, and acts as an advisor to the Division and its members. 

Section 2 – Executive Committee 

The officers of the division comprise an Executive Committee. The Executive Committee meets (or holds telephone conferences) as needed to maintain contact and communication during the year. The Executive Committee identifies issues of interest to the division, and puts these before the Members for discussion and advice through electronic or regular mail, or at the Annual Business Meeting.  

Section 3 – Advisory Council 

The past presidents of the division (and of the predecessor interest group) form an Advisory Council. The Advisory Council acts as a resource for the Chair and Executive Committee, who may call on Council members for information about past activities, recommendations on current practices, and advice concerning future plans of the Division. Council members make their contact information available to each succeeding group of Division officers and seek to stay in contact with the Division membership through the routine channels of Division communication.

Section 4 – Other Positions 

The Chair may appoint persons to fill other posts. These include (but need not be limited to) a Webmaster–Newsletter Editor, who maintains the Division web page; a Membership Coordinator, who recruits new division members and works to retain active members; and one or more Nominations Coordinators, who solicit candidates for elected and appointed positions from among interested members of the Division. The Division announces openings for these positions at the same time and by the same channels used to announce the openings for Division officers. 

Section 5 – Terms of Office 

The Vice Chair and Secretary-Historian shall be elected in alternate years, each for a term of two years (in accordance with the ICA Bylaws). Officers may not serve two consecutive terms in office. Terms begin on the last day of the annual ICA conference. 

Section 5 – Removal from Office 

Any elected officer of the division may be removed from office by the following procedure: At least one-third of the active members of the division must sign a petition to the Executive Director of ICA requesting a special election and including nominations for the office in question. The Executive Director will arrange an extraordinary election within 60 days at the division’s expense, with the challenged officer(s) included on the ballot. The result of the election becomes effective immediately. 

Section 6 – Elections 

The Nominations Coordinator(s) solicits as many candidates from among the active Division membership as are interested in the available position according to the schedule put forth the ICA executive office. 

The usual channels for announcing openings in the Division may include an on-line or print newsletter, direct paper or electronic mailings, and/or any other means commonly in use. The Coordinator(s) mails a ballot containing candidate names, together with candidates’ philosophical statements (of 100–200 words) regarding their relationship to visual communication studies, to headquarters for placement on the annual ballot. The ICA Executive Director conducts the election and announces the results to the Membership through the usual channels. 

Article V. Decision Making 

Section 1 – Egalitarian Decision Making 

The Division operates by building consensus among its members. To that end, whenever practical and possible, the Division discusses and votes on substantive decisions related to its affairs at the annual meeting, following the voting procedures (Art. V, Sect. 3, below). During periods between annual meetings, the officers of the Division forming the Executive Committee make routine administrative decisions on behalf of the Members throughout the year. 

Section 2 – Annual Meeting Agenda 

The annual business meeting of the Division takes place at the ICA conference each year. The Chair composes the agenda for the Division business meeting, including a summary of division business for the year, a fiscal report, and any items for discussion or action suggested by other Division officers, appointed leaders, or Members. At least seven days before the business meeting scheduled in the ICA conference program, the Chair provides the agenda to all Members. Active Division Members attending the business meeting discuss and vote on any agenda items requiring action, as identified in the agenda. 

Section 3 – Voting 

Voting at the annual meeting occurs by voice vote for items that face no serious opposition among Members. Agenda items facing disagreement, are resolved by a secret vote using a written ballot. Only active Division Members (that is, those whose ICA and division dues are current) may vote. On items requiring a ballot, the Secretary-Historian (with a second person assisting) will count ballots and announce results. A simple majority (one half plus one) of the active Members present shall decide the result. Ballots shall be kept one year as a record. In the event of a tie, a second round of voting may be held. 

Section 4 – Meeting Protocol 

Roberts Rules of Order (Revised) will provide a guide for conducting meetings, as required by the official ICA Bylaws (11/2000). 

ARTICLE VI – Changes to Bylaws 

Any Member or Officer of the Division, or an ad hoc committee the Chair appoints may recommend Amendments to the Bylaws. Members proposing Amendments must also submit a rationale to the Chair. The Chair asks for review and advice from members of the Executive Committee and may consult the Advisory Council, before announcing the Amendment(s) through the usual channels. The Amendment(s) then circulate to the full Division membership through electronic or regular mail at least 30 days before the ICA office issues an official ballot through the same channel. When possible, the Chair includes the proposed Amendment(s) on the agenda for the Division annual meeting, issuing the notice 30 days in advance. To pass, the amendment(s) must receive an affirmative vote of the majority of the ballots returned. The Amendment(s) take effect immediately following the counting of ballots and announcement to the Membership through the usual channels. 

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