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Michigan's Invasive Species Community

Steering Committee Structure/Protocol

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Hello all, I am working on setting up a protocol for determining who should be on the CISMA Steering Committee. Currently my Steering Committee has been made up of whoever is interested in the CISMA, which is great. However, as our partners continue to grow I am trying to determine the best way to decide who should be on the Steering Committee and the process of "electing" them to be on it. My current thoughts on structure are up to 15 people, with at least one representative from each county, and a variety of partner types (road commissions, conservancy, etc...). But how do you determine these people. Any thoughts you have and information on how your CISMA is structured would be greatly appreciated. Thank you! 

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Attached are the appendices from NCCISMA's strategic plan, which outlines our policy for choosing steering committee members, and also what their responsibilities are. It is pretty vague. The way it has really worked is the existing steering committee discusses someone we either want to invite or that has asked to join. All the additional members (besides the founding members that included USFS & CDs) have been chosen because they represented a group that we wanted to reach. For instance, MSU Extension crop pest educator to help us reach farmers & College Science Department Head to become known in that community, etc.

I think 15 is too many people. We have a limit of 12, but we have ten, which is plenty. We have a participation requirement, and we have replaced a couple that were not able to regularly attend. We also wrote in a means to dismiss members, since we found that one negative force can really make things difficult. I recommend you establish this policy before you have a need for it.

Also, I would caution against inviting members that have very narrowly focused objectives in regards to invasive species management. Some partners are only interested in invasive species management as it pertains to their own goals. For instance, some of the CRCs that we partner with are concerned with Japanese knotweed because it is damaging their roads, but are unconcerned with other high priority species on their roadsides because they do not interfere with what they are concerned with. This is fine for a partner, but you really want folks that are all-in on the steering committee.

Also, try to pick folks that you think will be willing to roll their sleeves up and help out. My steering committee does a lot of work towards our semi-annual partner meetings - reserving venues; ordering, serving, and paying for or finding sponsors for meals; set-up, greeting, clean-up. They also do a lot of document/outreach-material review. If you do not have that kind of commitment from your steering committee, then you will be doing it all yourself.

Just some thoughts. I hope this is helpful


Appendices to Strat Plan 19 - NCCISMA.docx

Edited by Vicki Sawicki
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  • 2 months later...

Hi Megan,

I hope that things have worked out so far in determining details of your Steering Committee. We currently work with an up to 9-member Steering Committee comprised of a core team (our four conservation districts have representatives as they are integral in our operations) and other interested CISMA partners. This is in our Strategic Plan and Governance Documents:

"The Mid-Michigan CISMA has a Steering Committee that is comprised of 4 to 9 members— a core team consisting of 4-5 permanent members from the conservation districts (one representative from each, plus coordinator position as funding allows) and 4 additional members from partner organizations. Each additional partner member will serve two-year terms with the opportunity to renew. The committee will meet once every two months to discuss progress of the Mid-Michigan CISMA and make decisions regarding activities with input from partner organizations. Any decisions made at steering committee meetings by vote will pass by majority."

I also agree with Vicki, keep the overall number a bit smaller, and make sure that the members are very engaged. It definitely helps get a lot done that way!

Let me know if you have other questions: erin.jarvie@macd.org

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