Committee Guidelines

(from the Susan B Anthony Institute for Gender & Women 's Studies Constitution on Governance)

Constitution of Committees:

  1. There at present 5 committees concerned with the running of the Institute: Steering, Curriculum, Research, Speakers, and Governance.
  2. The Steering committee is made up of the director, the heads of the 4 other committees, and one elected associate. A former director may serve on the steering committee at the discretion of the steering committee. The elected member will hold a two-year term, and will be chosen from a list of all eligible associates using a system of preferential (ranked) balloting. Before the ballot is made up, eligible associates will be asked to notify the office if they do NOT wish to be listed.
  3. The director calls for volunteers and, taking into account continuity and diversity of discipline, appoints members of the various committees in consultation with the steering committee.
  4. Suggested size of the various committees: Curriculum and Governance ca. 4-5; Research and Speakers, 3-4.
  5. The chair of each committee is appointed by the director, wherever possible from among those associates who have experience on that committee or failing that, on another committee. In particular, it is essential that the head of the curriculum committee have experience as a member of that committee.
  6. The governance committee convenes only as issues emerge. If any concerns arise, associates are invited to communicate with the Director first about any issues they feel need to be addressed.

Decision-Making Procedures:

Procedures for making major policy decisions, such as those concerning the structure of the Institute, its curriculum, appointments, and other matters with long-term impact on the future of the Institute. This is not intended to cover matters such as the scheduling and location of Institute functions, or the like. The committee on governance recommends that less momentous decisions for which these procedures do not apply be revisited by request at the next associates' meeting, should they prove unintentionally troublesome to any associate. The idea is to balance the need for efficient decision-making with the need to make sure that all associates feel fully enfranchised.

  1. Before each associates' meeting, an agenda set by the steering committee will be distributed to all associates by electronic mail. (Associates may propose agenda items to the steering committee.) Major decisions to be taken will be clearly signaled, and any associates who cannot be present will be invited to make their views known to the steering committee before the meeting.
  2. No major decisions will be made without a quorum. In general, the committee has a preference for a consensus-model of decision-making, but in some circumstances a show of hands might be necessary, or, whenever requested by any associate, a ballot sent to all associates. A simple majority rules. (In highly polarized situations, extra time for discussion or negotiation before a vote is taken. If the decision is not urgent, postponement for further discussion my be helpful.)
  3. All associates are eligible to take part in the meetings and in decision-making, regardless of their degree of past involvement. We realize that not everyone will be able to attend all meetings or events, and we welcome associates at all levels of participation. Please remember that if you wish to be heard, you will need to attend meetings or to communicate your views to the director or a member of the steering committee beforehand.
  4. Graduate Students may affiliate with the Institute as Graduate Associates. Graduate associates do not attend associates' meetings or take part in decision-making, but are invited to attend Research Seminars. (The Institute sponsors other events specifically for graduate students, such as reading groups or thesis groups, as well as "brown-bag" discussions of graduate students' work which may be attended by both associates and graduate associates.)

Procedure for Selection of Director:

  1. Steering committee sends a list of all eligible associates, and asks for ranking (and self-nominations) from the associates. While the list of candidates will not be published or announced, all associates are encouraged to share their views with members of the committee throughout the selection process.
  2. Steering committee draws up list of nominations and ranks them, taking into account the level of support, but also a) academic rank b) department or division c)area of research and its relevance to women's and gender studies d) previous service to the Susan B. Anthony Institute. It is anticipated that different weight will be given to these factors depending on the issues faced by the Institute at the time.
  3. Committee approaches top candidates to see if they are willing to be considered. Any member of the steering committee who is a candidate should withdraw from discussions of the matter at this point. The committee may invite additional members to correct any resulting imbalances.
  4. Committee discusses and decides on a candidate. After discussion with this person, the committee makes recommendation to associates.
  5. Candidate meets with associates to discuss the issues.
  6. Committee communicates choice of new director to the dean. Directors typically serve for three (3) year terms.

Director of the Susan B. Anthony Institute
for Gender and Women’s Studies

Qualifications of the Director:

  1. The Director of the SBAI should be a tenured faculty member in the College.
  2. The Director’s research should be within the fields of Women’s and Gender studies.
  3. The Director should be an Associate of the Institute.
  4. The Director should have participated in significant ways in the Institute; to include serving on standing committees. If possible, the steering and governance committees should support a candidate for the Directorship who has chaired the Curriculum Committee.
  5. Optimally, the Director will have participated in the SBAI in multiple ways (committees, research seminars, planning lectures or conferences etc.)
  6. The Director should be chosen in accord with the needs of the Institute. The Steering and Governance committees should also keep in mind the desire to represent the various disciplines and scholarly interests of the Institute.

Director’s Responsibilities:

  1. The Director of the SBAI has many duties similar to that of a Department Chair: representing the interests of the Institute within the College, negotiating budgets, organizing the academic and curricular structure of the program, managing office staff etc.
  2. The Director of the SBAI upholds the Institute’s mission in terms of curricular matters, faculty research, community events, etc.
  3. The Director works closely with the standing committees of the Institute to ensure that all components of the SBAI mission are being carried out. This is especially true in the case of the Curriculum Committee.
  4. The Director is responsible for selecting the Chairs of all SBAI committees.
  5. The Director assists the Curriculum Director in the advising of majors and minors in WST.
  6. The Director upholds the SBAI policy of not asking pre-tenured faculty to serve in time-consuming administrative tasks for the Institute. Faculty up for tenure during their year of intended service may be asked to serve after consultation with the Chair in the faculty person’s home Department and the Dean of the College.
  7. The Director works with the Curriculum Director, Admissions, Financial Aid, and the College as needed.
  8. The Director of the SBAI organizes and hosts 6-8 faculty research seminars each year.
  9. The Director of the SBAI represents the Institute in all interactions with scholars outside of the UR who express interest in the SBAI, with the Anthony Center for Women’s Leadership, with University Public Relations, etc.
  10. The Director organizes any international visiting scholar events sponsored by the US Department of Education.
  11. The Director works closely with the Speaker’s Committee to organize the SBAI Visiting Scholar lecture and undergraduate research workshops. Typically, the Institute supports one or two of these lecture/workshop events each year.
  12. The Director holds regular meetings of the Steering Committee and confers with the Steering Committee on all issues of policy, mission, and practice.
  13. The Director holds regular meetings with the Curriculum Director.
  14. The Director coordinates the annual award of the Janet Heidinger Kafka prize.
  15. The Director holds at least 1 (preferably 2) Associates meetings per semester.
  16. The Director organizes an annual retreat for all Associates to apprise them of the year’s accomplishments, future goals, the status of the SBAI, etc.
  17. The Director represents the Institute at graduation, at the annual Undergraduate Student Conference, at the annual Graduate Student Conference, at academic fairs for prospective students, etc.
  18. The Director generally assists College Departments upon request in the recruitment of faculty in the form of providing materials about the SBAI, individual meetings, attending lunches, dinners, lectures, etc.
  19. The Director represents the SBAI at as many co-sponsored events (across the College and University) as possible.
  20. The Director coordinates Graduate Dissertation fellowship and Graduate Certificate awards each year.
  21. The Director organizes an Open House event each year for new students and faculty.
  22. The Director oversees alumni events.