Cultural Studies
College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Bylaws

BYLAWS OF THE GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY CULTURAL STUDIES PROGRAM

Article I: Aims

I.1 The Cultural Studies Program is dedicated to fostering studies of culture that integrate theoretical and methodological approaches across disciplinary boundaries. It grounds the study of cultural objects, including texts, institutions, and events, in a complex understanding of the ways in which cultural meaning is produced, circulated, received, and contested in particular societies and historical eras. It joins faculty and students in a center for advanced learning, with the aim of educating academics and professionals to understand and critique the past and present in the interests of a humane and equitable future.

Article II: Membership

II.1 Applications

II.1.1 The Cultural Studies Faculty is open to all members of the faculty whose teaching and research interests lie within the field of Cultural Studies and whose applications are approved by the Executive Committee.

II.1.2 Applications for membership shall consist of a brief statement of purpose and a CV.

II.2 Categories of Membership

II.2.1 There are three levels of membership: Core, Active, and Affiliate.

II.2.2 Core membership is extended to those faculty members who have a line or part-line in the Cultural Studies program, or who have a regular and recurring commitment to provide instruction in the program through faculty fellowships, interdepartmental memos of understanding, or other means. Core members will be intensively engaged in the day to day operation of the program. Core members also will demonstrate active research and teaching in the field of cultural studies, at levels appropriate for faculty in an advanced graduate program.

II.2.3 Active membership is extended to those faculty with lines in other units who meet the following two criteria: a) demonstration of an active research, publishing, and teaching interest in the field of cultural studies, and b) commitment to participate on a regular basis in the governance, teaching, advisory, and related operations of the program.

II.2.4 Affiliate membership is extended to those faculty with lines in other units who a) indicate an intellectual, scholarly, or pedagogical interest in the program, and/or b) can provide expertise to students in one or more areas related to the field of cultural studies.

II.3 Core Faculty: Rights and Responsibilities

II.3.1 Core faculty members are all members of the program Executive Committee

II.3.2 Core faculty members will be responsible for tasks related to the regular functioning of the program, including student advising.

II.4 Active Membership: Rights and Responsibilities

II.4.1 All Active members are members of the Committee of the Whole and have voting rights in the program.

II.4.2 Active members maintain their active membership through regular participation in one or more of the following: teaching of cultural studies (core, special topics, and/or field/dissertation related) courses; teaching of cultural studies directed readings courses; direction of Cultural Studies field preparation or theses; service on standing or ad hoc committees of the program; participation in the cultural studies colloquium and related events.

II.4.3 Active members are expected to maintain their participation in program activities; the director is responsible for periodic reviews of the participation of Active members.

II.5 Affiliate Membership: Rights and Responsibilities

II.5.1 Affiliate members are eligible to serve on field and dissertation committees in roles other than dissertation committee Chair; they are thus eligible to give courses in guided research (870) and field statement production (880), but not in dissertation proposal (998) or dissertation research (999).

II.5.2 Affiliate members are invited to participate in all meetings of the Committee of the Whole but are not voting members.

Article III: Director

III.1 Responsibilities

III.1.1 To act as the official representative of the CS program in negotiations with the college, the university, and the public and to serve as a channel of communication on program, personnel, and budget matters.

III.1.2 To call and preside over meetings of the Executive Committee and the Committee of the Whole and to serve as an ex officio member of any other CS committees.

III.1.3 To circulate written agendas for meetings of the Executive and the Committee of the Whole at least 3 working days in advance.

III.1.4 To be responsible for having recorded and for distributing written minutes of all meetings of the Executive Committee and of the Committee of the Whole.

III.1.5 To supervise the allocation of program resources, in consultation with the Executive Committee, and to prepare an annual budget report and make it available to Executive Committee members upon request.

III.1.6 In consultation with the Executive Committee and the appropriate departments, to determine teaching assignments in CS courses and negotiate with departments concerning their faculty's participation in such courses.

III.1.7 To advise departmental chairs on the nature of their faculty's participation in CS programs when so requested by those CS faculty who are being considered for tenure and promotion and where appropriate for annual reviews.

III.1.8 To be in charge with the Admissions Committee of recruiting new students and coordinating the admissions process.

III.1.9 With the advice of the Admissions Committee, to award fellowship and assistantship support to students in the program.

III.1.10 In consultation with the Executive Committee, appropriate units, and the students in question, to determine teaching and other work assignments for program GTAs and GRAs.

III.1.11 To oversee an effective advising process for all students, in conjunction with core and active faculty.

III.1.12 In consultation with the Executive Committee, to appoint members to any ad hoc committees.

III.1.13 In consultation with the Executive Committee, to oversee the formation of students' field committees and dissertation committees.

III.1.14 To implement the procedures for grade appeals in CS courses, in keeping with university and college procedures for handling grade challenges.

III.1.15 To call additional meetings of the Committee of the Whole as necessary or when requested to do so by written petition of 25% of voting members of the Committee of the Whole.

III.1.16 To remain in communication with junior faculty members about their teaching, research, and service over the years prior to a renewal, promotion, and/or tenure review.

III.1.17 To fulfill the other duties and responsibilities of program directors stated in the Faculty Handbook and University Catalog.

III.1.18 To publish an end of the year report on the program's activities.

III.2 Policies on Appointment and Renewal

III.2.1 The term for the director shall be four years and is renewable. In cases of foreseeable temporary leaves from the directorship, procedures will follow college guidelines.

III.2.2 In cases of a search for a new director, the search committee will consist of five members. The dean will select a chair from among the faculty of the college but not of the program. The dean will appoint two other members from the CS faculty. Two additional members will be elected by the Executive Committee from the ranks of Core, Active, and Affiliate members.

III.2.3 The task of the search committee shall be to solicit input from the CS faculty and students on the qualities sought in a new director, to seek qualified candidates for the directorship, conducting an outside search if necessary according to the Faculty Handbook guidelines 2.13, to moderate discussion of candidates by CS faculty, to meet with the CS student body to discuss the candidates, and to conduct balloting of the CS faculty to determine their preferences. The committee shall then submit to the dean an assessment of candidate(s), the results of votes taken, and its own recommendations concerning the directorship.

III.2.4 In cases of renewal, by September 15 the program constitutes a committee to elicit and formulate the views of the CS faculty and students. The committee will be constituted according to the same procedure as for the search for a new director.

III.2.5 The renewal committee will consult with the program faculty, students, and other persons it deems appropriate concerning the past performance of the director and the desirability of the director's renewal. The committee determines the will of the program students and faculty and makes recommendations to the dean no later than October 15.

III.2.6 Other aspects of the director's appointment and renewal will be in keeping with procedures for departmental chairs as specified in Faculty Handbook sections 2.13, and 2.12.2 through 2.12.3.

Article IV: Faculty Ranks: Policies on Renewal, Promotion and Tenure for Core Faculty in the Cultural Studies PhD Program

IV.1 The program director will appoint a Chair of the Cultural Studies Renewal, Promotion, or Promotion and Tenure Committee. The chair shall be a tenured full professor not affiliated with the Cultural Studies program.

IV.2 The program director and the tenured members of the Executive Committee will appoint to the Renewal, Promotion, or Promotion and Tenure Committee 3 tenured members of the Cultural Studies faculty.

IV.3 In cases of renewal, candidates will provide the committee with a current CV, and a dossier of materials divided into research, teaching, and service. This dossier will include a statement of research accomplishments and plans; a statement on teaching and curricular development activities; and a statement detailing service to the program, the college and the university, and the profession beyond the university. The dossier will also include all appropriate documentation: copies of scholarly work and works in progress; copies of syllabi, course assignments, teaching evaluations, and other relevant teaching materials; any additional materials documenting service work. After reviewing the dossier, the committee will then consider and evaluate the candidate's record and future plans, and report its recommendations to the program director. The director will consider the committee's letter, evaluate the case and make a recommendation to the dean. The director must include a copy of the committee's letter with the recommendation to the dean. The director must discuss the recommendation with the candidate and supply the candidate with the committee's letter and the director's letter.

IV.4 Other aspects of renewal will be in keeping with section 2.7.2 of the Faculty Handbook.

IV.5 In cases of promotion, or promotion and tenure, candidates will provide the committee with an updated CV and a dossier of materials organized in the same manner as for cases of renewal (IV.3). The committee will then solicit a minimum of five evaluative letters from scholars outside the university from a list generated by the Chair of the Committee in consultation with the candidate and the program director.

IV.6 In cases of promotion, or promotion and tenure, the candidate will be invited to discuss his/her teaching and research accomplishments and plans at an open meeting of the Cultural Studies faculty.

IV.7 In all cases (promotion, or promotion and tenure), the committee will review the candidate's scholarship, teaching and service record. The committee will then call a meeting of the members of the Cultural Studies faculty to discuss the case.

IV.8 In the case of promotion and tenure, tenured Core and Active members of the Cultural Studies faculty who have read the candidate's file will vote on the case within one week in a secret ballot administered by the Chair of the Committee.

IV.9 In the case of promotion to Full Professor, tenured full professors of the Core and Active Cultural Studies faculty who have read the candidate's file will vote on the case within one week in a secret ballot administered by the Chair of the Committee.

IV.10 The Chair of the Committee will send to the program director a letter reporting the results of the faculty vote, a summary of faculty discussion, and the recommendations of the committee.

IV.11 The program director will consider the committee's letter, evaluate the case and make a recommendation to the dean. The director must include a copy of the committee's letter with the recommendation to the dean.

IV.12 The director will supply the candidate with a copy of both the committee's and the director's letters.

IV.13 These and other aspects of promotion, or promotion and tenure, will be in keeping with section 2.7.3 of the Faculty Handbook.

Article V: Executive Committee

V.1 Membership and meetings

V.1.1 The Executive Committee shall consist of ten faculty members, including all core faculty members, with the remainder elected by Active and Core faculty members. In the event that an insufficient number of faculty members agree to stand for election to fill the elected posts, the director will appoint as many members as necessary to fill the Executive Committee. Elections and appointments shall be adjusted to ensure that no more than two members of any one department (other than CS itself) serve on the committee. The elected/appointed terms shall be for two years, and are renewable. On a year-to-year basis, the Executive Committee also may invite up to two representatives of closely related university programs to serve as ex officio members of the committee.

V.1.2 The director shall call meetings of the Executive Committee at least once each semester.

V.1.3 Failure to participate in the work of the Executive Committee may result in that member's removal from the Executive Committee by the director.

V.1.4 Executive Committee decisions affecting the Program shall be publicized to CS faculty and students within one week after they have been made. The committee's deliberations shall be confidential in acknowledgment of the sensitive nature of its concerns with individual faculty and students, resources, and internal governance.

V.2 Responsibilities

V.2.1 To advise the director on policy and internal governance of the program.

V.2.2 To approve curriculum decisions and academic policy for the program.

V.2.3 To approve all action taken by any ad hoc committees.

V.2.4 To advise the director on the allocation of program resources.

V.2.5 To advise the director and the colloquium instructor on planning for the student/faculty colloquium.

V.2.6 To advise the director on the staffing of CS courses and thesis committees.

V.2.7 To advise the director on graduate students' fellowships and on appointments to teaching and research assistantships.

V.2.8 To advise the director on faculty appointments to any ad hoc committees.

V.2.9 To conduct faculty elections for the admissions, search, and ad hoc committees.

V.2.10 To designate members annually to conduct program business related to Faculty Matters and Student Matters.

V.2.11 The Faculty Matters designee(s) shall recruit applicants for membership in the CS faculty; encourage faculty participation in program activities; and annually update the faculty designations according to the criteria set out in II.2.

V.2.12 The Student Matters designee(s) shall coordinate the conduct of mandated reviews of student progress, to be undertaken by instructional faculty in the 802-804-806 sequence, after the conclusion of each cycle, and shall serve on an ad hoc basis as needed.

V.2.13 In addition, Faculty Matters and Student Matters designee(s) shall be available, as liaisons, for business brought to the Executive Committee by the SOC.

Article VI: Committee of the Whole

VI.1 Membership and Meetings

VI.1.1 The Committee of the Whole shall consist of all members of the CS faculty and members of the CS student body.

VI.1.2 Voting members of the Committee of the Whole shall consist of Core Faculty, Active Faculty Members, and two designated voting members of the SOC.

VI.1.3 The Committee of the Whole shall meet at least once every year. Members may request additional meetings on two weeks' notice by petition of 25% of the voting members. (Faculty or students may informally request additional meetings.)

VI.2 Responsibilities

VI.2.1 To receive reports from the three standing committees of the Committee of the Whole: the Executive Committee, the Admissions Committee, and the SOC.

VI.2.2 To make recommendations concerning CS programming and policies to the director, the Executive Committee, and any other committees.

VI.2.3 To vote on actions approved by the Executive Committee whenever 25% of the voting membership files a petition to do so.

VI.2.4 To debate changes to the by-laws and approve them for mail ballot by the program voting faculty.

Article VII: Admissions Committee

VII.1 Membership and Meetings

VII.1.1 The Admissions Committee shall consist of four faculty members, recruited as volunteers and/or appointed by the director for a two-year term, and two student members. The student members shall be elected by the SOC and must have completed all core, theory, and topics requirements.

VII.1.2 Meetings of the Admissions Committee shall be open only to its faculty members when applicants are ranked for financial aid offers.

VII.2 Responsibilities

VII.2.1 To review all applications to the program.

VII.2.2 To recommend admission to the program.

VII.2.3 To advise the director on the recruitment of students to the program.

VII.2.4 To recommend a ranked list of students to receive financial aid (faculty members only).

Article VIII: Cultural Studies Student Organization Committee

VIII.1 Membership and Meetings

VIII.1.1 The Cultural Studies Student Organization Committee (SOC) shall consist of all members of the Cultural Studies student body.

VIII.1.2 For the purposes of this Article, the term "student" is defined as admitted (degree seeking) to the Cultural Studies Program; in all instances, "student" shall be construed strictly in accordance with (a) the official policies and procedures governing student status at George Mason University and (b) all applicable provisions of the George Mason University Catalog.

VIII.1.3 The Cultural Studies Student Organization shall meet at least twice every semester on a schedule designated at the beginning of each semester.

VIII.2 Responsibilities

VIII.2.1 To review and maintain the SOC constitution.

VIII.2.2 To elect two co-chairs of the Cultural Studies Student Organization Committee at the end of the school year. The terms for co-chairs shall be two years, staggered, and are renewable for no more than one term thereafter. Co-chairs shall call and preside over meetings of the Cultural Studies Student Organization Committee and act as official representatives of the Cultural Studies student body in negotiations with the director, the Executive Committee, and other administrative entities.

VIII.2.3 To elect student voting representatives to the Committee of the Whole, the Admissions Committee, and any ad hoc committees at the beginning of the semester for one-year appointments.

VIII.2.4 To plan and carry out student-organized activities, such as new student orientations, a student mentoring program, student-initiated conferences, and student reading groups.

VIII.2.5 To propose, debate, and vote upon issues concerning Cultural Studies programming and policies. Decisions will be based upon a simple majority of those voting. Student representatives shall then make recommendations to the appropriate committees. If appropriate, results of votes taken by the Cultural Studies Student Organization Committee shall be made public to the larger Cultural Studies community.

Article IX: Ad-Hoc Committees

IX.1 Appointment

IX.1.1 The director, in consultation with the Executive Committee, may establish ad hoc committees from time to time as needed.

IX.2 Membership

IX.2.1 The director and the Executive Committee shall decide how such committees should be constituted, based on their tasks.

Article X: Procedures for Accepting and Amending By-Laws

X.1 By-laws must be approved and amended by a 3/5 majority of all participating voting members of Committee of the Whole, who will vote by mail or electronic ballot.

X.2 Amendments to the by-laws may be proposed either by the Executive Committee or by petition of 25% of the voting members of the Committee of the Whole. (Faculty or students may informally request amendments to the bylaws.) Proposed amendments to the by-laws must be debated at a meeting of the Committee of the Whole before being submitted to a vote.

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