Objectives and Operational Guidelines for Study Groups

Objectives:

Study groups of the Institute of Australian Geographers (IAG) achieve the following objectives:

  1. promoting the scholarly development and impact of a diverse range of geographical sub-disciplines and fields in Australia;
  2. fostering collegial, productive, diverse and self-governing communities of practice within the IAG;
  3. hosting events and activities that realise high-quality and innovative research, education and engagement outcomes, foster career development and build collaborations with cognate disciplines and professions;
  4. advancing the reputation of Australian geography nationally and internationally;
  5. attracting and retaining financial IAG members by adding value to IAG membership; and
  6. contributing to the intellectual and logistical success of the IAG’s annual conference.

Operational Guidelines:

To support the formation, administration and activities of study groups, the following operational guidelines were developed for comment at the IAG in Adelaide in 2016, and presented in draft form to IAG Council in April 2017.

These guidelines are proposed to replace the former Guidelines for Setting up Study Groups document. Study Groups will be requested to ensure compliance with these Guidelines and to follow these requirements when submitting their Annual Reports. Proposers of new study groups will also be requested to follow these guidelines when making applications to create new study groups.

1. Formation, Renewal and Termination

a. An application to IAG Council for the creation of a study group is to be submitted to the IAG Honorary Secretary and to provide the following:

 (i) an initial membership list that includes a minimum of 15 current financial members of the IAG;
 (ii) a statement of intent to remain active for a minimum of four years, including meeting the annual minimum threshold of 15 financial IAG members and encouraging diversity within the IAG membership;
 (iii) an explanation of how the area of focus is clearly geographical, different from any existing study group and broadly relevant to Australian geographers; and
 (iv) a Constitution that outlines the formal title of the group and its relevance to the six objectives of IAG study groups, arrangements for the election of office bearers (including at least one Convenor), and arrangements for the holding of a General Meeting, whenever possible to coincide with an IAG Conference. A model Study Group Constitution is appended to these guidelines.

b. It is recommended that proposals for the creation of a new study group be promoted through the IAG-List, IAG Newsletter, IAG website and, if possible, at the IAG Conference, so as to reach as many members as possible.

c. The approval of a new study group will be 4 years in the first instance, subject to approval of annual reports documenting membership, expenditure of any IAG funding and outcomes over the past year. Annual reports are submitted using the Annual Report template to IAG Council via a means and at a time determined each year by the IAG Council and communicated in advance to all study group convenors. Study Group status and eligibility for funding will be conditional upon receipt and acceptance of a completed Annual Report.

d. IAG Council reserves the right to withdraw study group status from any group on the basis of information provided in annual reports, failure to submit an annual report or on the basis of demonstrated failure to abide by the operational guidelines herein. In addition, a study group may at any time be dissolved at a General Meeting or an Extraordinary General Meeting of the IAG by two-thirds of those present.

e. While there is no maximum limit on the number of study groups, approval for new study groups and applications for study group renewal will take into account possible duplication and overlap between study groups, size of group membership, level of effective group activity and the overall number of study groups relative to the membership base of the IAG.

2. Membership

a. Study Group Convenors are responsible for submitting a membership list, including the names of office bearers, as part of the Annual Report (at a time determined each year by the IAG Council and communicated in advance to all study group convenors). These details will be reported at the Annual General Meeting. Study group convenors are required to keep accurate records of any non-IAG members of the study group.

b. Study Group Convenors are responsible for ensuring that the study group maintains a minimum of 15 financial IAG members at the time of each Annual Report. Study groups are free to include non-IAG members in study group activities, but are encouraged to promote the benefits of IAG Membership to the group.

c. IAG members are able to be members of a maximum of three study groups.

d. The IAG is responsible for maintaining accurate and up-to-date financial membership lists via the IAG website as part of wider IAG membership record keeping. This information will be made accessible to study groups for membership monitoring and reporting purposes.

e. Study groups are not permitted to require a membership fee for study group membership, in addition to that of IAG membership, but are permitted to levy a charge related to a study group activity in which members can choose to participate.

3. Funding           

a.  All study groups are eligible to apply for annual IAG funding so as to meet the objectives of study groups, subject to having submitted an Annual Report. Funding applications may include the opportunity for study groups to make a competitive bid for IAG Keynote Speakers at the IAG Annual Conference. Applications are due at a time determined each year by the IAG Council and communicated in advance to all study group convenors. Funding applications must be accompanied by a completed annual report. Applications and annual reports are assessed by IAG Council or a Sub-committee of IAG Council and applicants will be notified of the results in a timely fashion. In addition to the assessment of the merit of proposed activities against the objectives of the IAG and of the Study group, allocation of funding shall be dependent upon submission and approval of an annual report for the previous year. In addition, the assessment may also take into account the following:

 (i) the total of any IAG funding provided over the prior 2 year period;
 (ii) and co-investment from other organisations, which may be cash and/or in-kind.

b. Study groups are required to create their own financial account to receive and disburse funds and to manage the account on an ongoing basis. IAG funding will be paid directly into this account. Study groups must detail how allocated funds have been expended in the subsequent annual report.

c. IAG Council cannot undertake to underwrite losses by a study group arising from its activities but equally profits from such activities can be retained by the study group to further the aims of the group.

d. Upon the termination of a study group any unspent IAG funds allocated to the group will revert to the IAG.

4. Administration

a. The organisation of a study group’s activities shall be entirely a matter for its elected office bearers.

b. Each study group will be provided an online platform through the IAG Website, for which Convenors will have administrative access and the ability to directly email Group members, and are also encouraged to use the IAG-List, IAG Newsletter and IAG Annual Conference to give wide publicity of their activities to the membership of the Institute.

c. Publications and other academic outputs arising from study group activities must identify the IAG as the host organisation of study groups and acknowledge any funding provided by the IAG. Study groups are encouraged to contact the Editors of Geographical Research at an early stage of planning to ascertain the possibility of participating in the formal Institute publication program as a themed issue of the Institute’s journal.

d. Study groups are encouraged to hold their meetings in conjunction with the IAG Annual Conference, in order to provide the maximum opportunity for IAG members to participate in study group activities, and to increase Conference attendance.

APPENDIX A: Model Constitution for IAG Study Groups

1. The Group shall be called the ……….. Study Group, hereinafter referred to as the Group.

2. The Group shall be a Study Group of the Institute of Australian Geographers, hereinafter referred to as the Institute.

3. The Group must ensure compliance with the requirements of the IAG in order to maintain its status as a Study Group of the Institute.

4. In keeping with the six objectives of the Institute’s Study Group program, the specific objectives of the Group are to ………….

5. Membership of the Group shall be open to all financial members of the Institute and such other persons as the committee of the Group shall consider eligible, subject to the requirement that the minimum proportion of financial members in the group is eighty per cent.

6. With the exception of members of the Group who are not also members of the Institute, all members may be nominated for any office of the Group.

7. Management of the Group shall be in the hands of elected office bearers including at least one Convenor.

8. The Group shall endeavour to hold a General Meeting once a year, whenever possible to coincide with the IAG Annual Conference. An Annual Report of the Group’s activities shall be submitted to the IAG Council each year.

9. The funds of the Group shall be managed in accordance with any requirements stipulated by the Institute and at the discretion of the Committee in pursuit of the objectives of the Group. Proper books of account shall be kept by a Group office bearer.

10. The group may cease to be the …… Study Group of the Institute either by a decision at the Annual General Meeting of the Institute, or by a decision of the Council of the Institute.

11. The Group may at any time be dissolved at a General Meeting of the Institute or Extraordinary General Meeting of the Institute by two-thirds of those present.

12. In the event of the Group being dissolved, all debts and liabilities shall be discharged by the members of the Group. No individual member of the Group shall benefit financially. Any balance remaining in the account will be made over to the Institute.