Article I: Name
The name of this organization, a faculty organization at Texas A&M University (TAMU), shall be the Women's Faculty Network (WFN).
Article II: Purpose
The goal of this organization is to facilitate the professional development of its members through the creation and strengthening of opportunities for networking, mentoring, education and communication. The objectives are as follows:
To sponsor and support educational, social and mentoring activities;
To support departmental, college and university efforts to recruit and retain women faculty;
To create opportunities for contact and communication between WFN;
To develop policy positions and recommendations that express the sentiment of its membership on issues relevant to its mission.
Article III: Membership
Members of the WFN are women employed by Texas A&M University whose appointments were approved by the Provost of Texas A&M University and who (a) are tenured or on the tenure track, (b) hold the rank of Professor, Associate Professor, or Assistant Professor, or c) hold the title of Distinguished Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Lecturer, or Librarian I-IV and teach on the College Station or a branch campus. Other women with academic appointments who receive half or full-time salaries from funds appropriated as research, teaching, or library salaries, and retired women faculty shall also be considered as members. Gender shall not be a deterrent to inclusion of additional individuals who indicate a desire to become members. In the case of questioned status under these provisions, the decision of the Steering Committee of the Women's Faculty Network shall be final.
Except as restricted in Articles IV and VII below, members shall have the right to vote in elections and on issues brought before the WFN.
Article IV: Steering Committee
A. Composition of the Steering Committee
The Steering Committee shall include an elected representative of each academic college or equivalent unit at TAMU or on the branch campuses, plus three "at-large" representatives. The representative from each unit must be a WFN member who is employed at least fifty percent time in the unit she is representing. The at-large positions may be filled by any WFN member. At present there are eleven such units: Agriculture and Life Sciences, Architecture, Mays Business School, Education and Human Development, College of Engineering, George Bush School of Government and Public Service, Geosciences, Liberal Arts, School of Science, University Libraries, and Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. The Steering Committee shall have final authority to augment or otherwise modify this list, by majority vote at a regular meeting, in response to changes in the TAMU administrative structure.
The Director of Women’s Studies, the Director of the WFN Mentoring Program, the Director of the Women’s & Gender Equity Resource Center shall be ex-officio members of the WFN Steering Committee. A representative from the Dean of Faculties of TAMU, the System Health Science Center, and the Organization of Professional Academic Lecturers (OPAL+) shall be non-voting ex-officio members of the WFN Steering Committee.
A quorum shall be defined as a simple majority of the members of the Steering Committee.
Members of the Steering Committee shall serve for a term of three years, starting on Sept. 1 following their election. The term of one at-large member, and the terms of one set of unit representatives (as identified in groups A, B, or C, below) will expire each year. The terms of members will expire as follows: Group A, 2007; Group B, 2008; Group C, 2009 and proceed in a similar rotation after 2009. No member of the Steering Committee shall serve for more than two consecutive three-year terms. The President of the Steering Committee shall temporarily fill any unexpected vacancy by appointment until the next annual election, when a replacement shall be elected to serve for the remainder of the unexpired term. Members appointed or elected to fill vacant positions must meet the same qualifications of membership and employment that applied to the originally elected representative.
The terms of service and year of election of the unit and the at large representatives shall be grouped as follows:
- Agriculture and Life Sciences
- Mays Business School
- Education and Human Development
- At large (Place 1)
- Liberal Arts
- George Bush School of Government and Public Service
- At large (Place 2)
- University Libraries
- Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
- At large (Place 3)
B. Election of the Steering Committee
A Nominating and Election Committee shall be appointed yearly by the Steering Committee. None of the members of the Nominating and Election Committee shall be a member of the Steering Committee. The Nominating and Election Committee shall canvas the WFN membership and recommend at least one candidate for each position to be filled.
The President of the Steering Committee shall present the recommended slate of candidates and solicit additional nominations at a meeting of the general membership held in April or May of each year. Self-nominations shall be acceptable.
The Nominating and Election Committee shall conduct elections by mail or electronic ballot following the April or May meeting of the Women's Faculty Network. The Nominating and Election Committee has the responsibility to confirm that each nominee consents to the placement of her name on the ballot. Space for a write-in candidate shall also be allotted for all positions on the ballot. Eligible members shall vote for one candidate in each position. Only members from the same unit are eligible to vote for the unit representatives; all members shall vote for at-large representatives.
A majority vote is required for election. Run-off elections will be carried out, as necessary, between the leading two nominees for any position for which no one candidate receives a majority of the votes cast in the regular election. In the event that a write-in candidate is elected, the Nominating and Election Committee has the responsibility to confirm that the candidate is willing to serve as a Steering Committee member. Votes for any write-in candidate who is not willing to serve will be discounted and will not contribute to the number of majority votes required for election of a candidate to that position. The Nomination and Election Committee shall report the outcome of all elections to the President of the Steering Committee.
C. Functions of the Steering Committee
The duties of the Steering Committee are to coordinate the development and implementation of the year's program of meetings and activities, taking into account the purposes of the organization, past years' activities, and the expressed interests and priorities of its membership. The Steering Committee shall call no fewer than three meetings of the general membership during each nine-month academic year.
The Steering Committee shall meet as necessary in the judgment of the president, but no less often than every other month, during the nine-month academic year. The newly elected representative will be invited to the WFN Steering Committee last meeting of the academic year. The previous year's president will conduct the election of officers by the incoming committee for the next year.
Article V: Support Staff
The president will work with the Steering Committee to determine the support staff needs for WFN and the hiring of a WFN assistant. The Steering Committee may elect to hire (for wages) a support staff member to assist with WFN duties. The support staff member may be any full- or part-time employee of Texas A&M University, or graduate or undergraduate student at Texas A&M University, who is not eligible as a member (as defined in Article III), but who supports the mission of the Women's Faculty Network. Although the support staff member may not be a member of the Women's Faculty Network, he/she may attend the Steering Committee meetings in order to assist the president.
The support staff member may be hired after a two-thirds vote of the elected members of the Steering Committee at any meeting in which there is a quorum. The president will work with the Dean of Faculties to receive financial support for hiring the WFN assistant.
Article VI: Officers
The officers of the WFN shall consist of a president, vice-president, treasurer, and secretary. These officers shall be elected by the Steering Committee from among its members at the last committee meeting of the academic year each spring.
The president shall convene and preside over all Steering Committee meetings. The vice-president shall assist the president and serve in her stead in her absence and shall complete the term of a president who resigns from office or dies prior to the term's expiration. The treasurer shall be responsible for receipt and disbursal of all funds collected or spent on behalf of the WFN. The secretary shall take notes of all Steering Committee meetings and distribute copies to all committee members.
The president shall have the authority to appoint additional committee chairs and committee members as necessary and appropriate to carry out the mission and activities of the WFN. Both chairs and members can be appointed from the general membership of the WFN; such persons need not be Steering Committee members.
Article VII: Development of Policy Recommendations
Any voting member of the WFN may propose that a policy issue recommendation be placed before the membership for its consideration for adoption. Such a proposal must be presented in writing to the president, who will place it on the agenda for the next scheduled Steering Committee meeting.
Proposals shall be evaluated by the Steering Committee with regard to their relevance to the mission of the WFN. The WFN Steering Committee can recommend a proposal to the entire membership with a majority vote of the Steering Committee members present at a meeting. Proposals deemed relevant shall be placed on the agenda of the next regular meeting of the entire membership or presented to members electronically or through a mail notification. Proposals may be modified during an open meeting in accordance with normal parliamentary procedure. Those passed by a majority of the voting members in a mail or electronic ballot shall become the official policy of the WFN.
In the event that a proposal is not deemed relevant by the Steering Committee, any ten (10) voting members of the WFN can override this decision and petition directly to the president to place the proposal on the agenda of the next general membership meeting or solicit input through electronic notification. The president shall have the responsibility of forwarding recommendations to the appropriate administrative office of Texas A&M University or another appropriate body as the expressed sentiment of the WFN.
Article VIII: Dues
The Steering Committee shall be authorized to levy a reasonable charge for dues from the general membership as necessary, not to exceed $25 per year, should the costs of WFN activities be projected to be greater than revenues available from other sources. Dues paid during a given year shall cover the period from September 1 to August 31.
Only dues-paying members shall be accorded voting privileges during years in which dues are levied. The Steering Committee at any of its regularly scheduled meetings shall have the authority to determine how such funds shall be spent. However, membership dues shall not be used to support faculty recruitment or other activities that are properly the financial responsibility of the TAMU administration.
Article IX: Amendment of Constitution
This Constitution may be amended by a two-thirds majority of the WFN member who vote electronically for the proposed changes, provided that no less than two weeks' written notice has been given to all WFN members of the proposed changes.
The individual(s) proposing such changes shall be responsible for notifying the president far enough in advance that she can reasonably be expected to coordinate the notification of membership. Changes outside the general scope announced cannot be considered in voting on the amendments, but can of course be proposed for consideration at a future meeting provided that the same requirements for prior written notification are met.
Approved December 18, 2006