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Last rev. Feb 13, 2018

These bylaws govern the Interdisciplinary Program in Women, Gender, and Sexuality (WGS), which is an interdisciplinary program of the College of Arts and Sciences of the University of Tennessee. The Program’s activities are also governed by policies of the College and of the University and applicable state and Federal regulations. Any provision within these bylaws that conflicts with College or University policies or with state or Federal regulations shall have no effect.

I. Mission statement

WGS is an academic major dedicated to the study of how gender and sexuality shape the past, present, and future of human cultures and societies. Our interdisciplinary curriculum trains students in critical studies of the ways in which gender and sexuality intersect with race, ethnicity, nationality, ability, and other dimensions of difference. Our courses provide students with a wide variety of methodological skills and perspectives with which to conduct their own research, creative activity, and activism. 

II. Program membership

  1. WGS includes a Steering Committee and Affiliated Faculty.
  2. Any faculty member with teaching or research interests in WGS matters may be considered Affiliate Faculty.  The Chair of the Program will include Affiliated Faculty in communications about WGS activities, but Affiliated Faculty will not be expected to attend WGS meetings and may not vote on WGS Program matters.
  3. Steering Committee members are, by invitation from the program Chair, drawn from faculty who are actively engaged with the program, including those who teach courses on a regular basis that are a part of the WGS curriculum.
  4. Interested WGS Affiliate Faculty members may, upon request to the Chair of WGS, be considered for inclusion to the Steering Committee.
  5. The Steering Committee will consist of at least five members (excluding the chair) and will represent a diversity of departments involved with the WGS program.
  6. The main right of Steering Committee Members is to vote on matters of WGS curriculum, program policy, and other issues that come before it. The primary responsibilities of Steering Committee Members are to attend WGS Committee meetings, to work with the Program Chair to support the mission of the program, and to advise WGS majors, minors, and graduate certificate students.
  7. A Steering Committee Member’s term will last three years.  Steering Committee Members may serve consecutive terms with the Chair’s approval, provided that they remain active in the program.
  8. The Program Chair shall inform the Dean of the College (or an Associate Dean designated by the Dean) of changes in the Steering Committee’s membership.

III. Program governance

  1. Program Chair
    1. The Chair oversees the day-to-day functioning of the Program, manages the Program’s budget, insures that Program activities are conducted in accord with these bylaws, and prepares an annual report for the Dean of the College summarizing the Program’s activities and objectives.
    2. The Chair is appointed by the Dean of the College from a slate of one or more candidates approved by the Steering Committee. The Chair ordinarily serves for a term of three years. With the approval of the Steering Committee, the Chair can be reappointed for subsequent terms by mutual agreement of the Chair and the Dean of the College.
    3. The Chair is a member of the College’s Interdisciplinary Studies Committee.
    4. Specific additional administrative duties of the Chair may be enumerated in the Chair’s letter of appointment.
  2. Steering Committee Members
    1. Members of the Steering Committee provide advice to the Chair regarding the administration of the Program, curricular matters, student programming, and the allocation of the Program’s budget. They constitute the voting members of the WGS Program.
    2. The Steering Committee oversee the Program’s curriculum and propose changes to it; these proposals are transmitted by the Program Chair to the appropriate divisional Curriculum Committee(s) of the College for further review and approval. The Steering Committee also helps the Chair assess the Program’s major learning outcomes and recommends changes aimed to strengthen the Program.
    3. The Steering Committee shall meet at least once during each semester, and more often as needed. Regular attendance of WGS Committee meetings is expected of Steering Committee members. A Steering Committee member not on leave who misses all the Committee meetings in a year will be dropped from the Committee but may request reinstatement after a year.
    4. The Chair shall prepare an agenda for each WGS Committee meeting and shall distribute it by electronic mail to members of the Steering Committee at least three days before the date of the WGS Committee meeting.
    5. Affiliate Faculty Members may attend Steering Committee meetings to discuss program matters but they may not vote on action items.
    6. The Chair shall insure that minutes of all WGS Committee meetings are sent to the Steering Committee members and to the Dean of the College (or to an Associate Dean designated by the Dean) in a timely fashion.
    7.  Any WGS faculty member may initiate consideration of changes to the curriculum (new courses, revised course titles and descriptions, dropped courses, revised major requirements, and so on) by contacting the Program Chair. To be enacted, any changes to the curriculum must be brought before the WGS Steering Committee at a regularly announced meeting for discussion and a positive vote.
    8. The Steering Committee reviews these bylaws on a regular basis and may approve amendments to them as outlined below in Section V.
  3. Ad hoc committees
    1. The Program Chair, in consultation with members of the Steering Committee, can set up ad hoc committees as needed. The Program Chair should give the ad hoc committee a clearly defined charge. The committee will dissolve after it has fulfilled its charge.
  4. Voting procedures; definition of quorum and majority; written proxy votes
    1. Unless otherwise specified in these bylaws, decisions of the WGS Committee, or of ad hoc committees, require a simple majority of the votes cast at a Committee meeting. A majority consists of more than half of the votes cast.
    2. The WGS Chair will lead discussion but will not cast a vote on Steering Committee matters, except when needed to break a tie.
    3. Votes will generally occur by voice vote, although a secret ballot may be taken if requested by any member of the Steering Committee.
    4. For purposes of taking final action, a quorum consists of a majority of the Steering Committee members who are not on leave.
    5. Faculty at a given meeting may accept written proxies, submitted in advance of a meeting.

IV. Program dissolution

  1. The Steering Committee may choose to dissolve the Program. Program dissolution by the Steering Committee can only be considered at a meeting of the WGS Committee during the nine-month academic year, and requires the approval of a two-thirds majority of the Steering Committee. Dissolution of the Program will be effective on July 31 following the vote.

V. Amendments

  1. These bylaws shall be reviewed by the Steering Committee at least once every five years.
  2. Amendments to these bylaws can only be considered at a meeting of the Steering Committee and require the approval of a two-thirds majority of the Steering Committee.
  3. The text of the proposed amendments must be distributed by electronic mail to members of the Program and members of the Steering Committee at least 10 days before the date of the Steering Committee meeting at which the amendments are considered.
  4. The Chair shall inform the Dean of the College (or an Associate Dean designated by the Dean) of any changes in these bylaws.