Committee on Membership


The Committee is charged with:

Identifying ophthalmic leaders of integrity and outstanding character and to encourage them to apply for membership in the AOS. It is hoped that such individuals will be identified and recruited early in their professional careers. When indicated, Committee members should assist potential candidates in selecting AOS members who would be willing to submit appropriate nominating and seconding letters. It is preferable for the Committee to encourage AOS members to nominate individuals rather than the Committee to nominate individuals that they do not know well and cannot assist with thesis preparation.

Reviewing, evaluating, and ranking the nominating and seconding letters and the application forms of potential candidates for membership using a standardized checklist. The Committee Chair presents the findings of the Committee to the Council during both the May and the Fall Council Meetings when requested.

Attending the Society’s Annual Meeting during the term on this Committee. The Committee Chair must attend a portion of the Council Meeting at the AOS Annual Meeting and must be available for conference call during the Fall Council Meeting if asked.


Four Active Members constitute the Committee on Membership. The Council appoints one new Committee member each year, and the terms of new members are four years. The member who is senior in service on the Committee serves as Chair.


The application process for membership in the AOS involves the identification of prospective candidates (Membership Nomination Process), submission of a formal nominating and seconding letter by member sponsors (See Nomination Letter Guidelines), completion of an application form by the candidates, and then acceptance or rejection of the application following independent review by the Committee and Council.

Candidates whose applications are accepted are then invited to submit a thesis. Sponsors and candidates should be aware that an acceptable thesis is the culmination of the application process. Before the candidate is nominated or proceeds with the application, sponsors should consider not only the talents of the prospective candidate, but the likelihood of he or she being capable of submitting an appropriate thesis.

All sponsors and potential candidates should be aware that a thesis is defined as “a position or proposition, advancing an original point of view and supported by research or argument. It is a demonstration of scholarship that presents new findings or provides strong evidence to confirm or deny the value of a concept, procedure, or technique.”

Appropriate topics for a thesis include, but are not limited to, clinical, applied, or basic research; observational and population-based studies; medical services research; bioethics position papers; laboratory biomedical research; innovative surgical techniques; administrative issues, and other investigations that advance the science and art of ophthalmology. The most important factors are: (1) that the impetus and creativity behind the research be predominantly that of the candidate, and (2) that the work be new and original and not previously published elsewhere. The AOS realizes that most research is now accomplished across disciplines or across specialties, so a multi-authored thesis is acceptable, provided the AOS candidate is clearly the main creative force behind the thesis.

Members of the Committee on Membership should be vigilant in attempting to identify potential candidates who meet the established member characteristics and to encourage them to seek nomination prior to the April 30 deadline each year. A conference call early in the process to identify individuals who should be invited to apply is helpful. When indicated, Committee members should assist potential candidates in selecting AOS members who would be willing to submit appropriate nominating and seconding letters. Letters are due no later than April 30 of each year. Names of candidates are reviewed and approved by the Council. The names of potential candidates (approved by the Council) and their sponsors are read at the annual meeting and distributed in a subsequent Confidential Report to the membership in July. In early June, soon after the names are read at the meeting, the potential candidates are invited to submit a formal application within 30 days.

After the applications have been received by the stated deadline, they are distributed to each member of the Committee, along with the nominating and seconding letters and with any subsequent letters from members regarding the candidate. Each member of the Committee then grades each potential candidate using a formal checklist.

The Chairperson of the Committee on Membership is responsible for arranging one or more meetings, generally by conference call, of the Committee well in advance of the autumn meeting of the Council. Meeting face-to-face at the Society’s Annual Meeting is encouraged. At the final meeting, the names of candidates who are believed to fulfill the criteria for membership in the Society are identified and submitted to the Executive Vice President along with a list of those not so selected, with a rationale for the decisions. At its autumn meeting, the Council reviews the recommendations with the Committee Chair, and individuals selected for potential membership are invited to write a thesis.


January - March

Hold conference call to identify potential candidates for membership

Prior to April 30

Contact and follow-up with members for nominations/seconds


Request periodic updates from staff about status of nominations


Nomination deadline: April 30 (nominating and seconding letters due)


Chair prepares written report for Executive Session, Council Meeting and Transactions


Chair presents report in person at Council Meeting


Council reviews names of nominees, discusses, and approves selection of applicants during Council Meeting


Names of accepted nominees are read at Executive Session


Committee meets face-to-face during Annual Meeting (optional)


Candidates are invited to submit membership applications


Confidential Report mailed to members with dues invoices


Deadline for receipt of applications from invited candidates (30 days after invitation)


Applications and supporting materials sent to Committee


Committee reviews applications and supporting materials


Conference call scheduled to finalize recommendations and rationales


Committee Chair prepares report and submits to Executive Vice President for Council Meeting


Council meets and considers Committee’s recommendations


Chair of committee is requested to be available during the Council Meeting to present report


Letters from Executive Vice President inviting candidates to submit theses are sent

Revised 06.16.20