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History Department By-Laws


Adopted January 26, 2018

Amended March 14, 2022



1. All full-time tenure-line and career-line faculty (including individuals holding joint appointments with other academic units whose effort is at least fifty percent in History) are considered department members for purposes of attending department meetings, performing service assignments, and participating in votes that are conducted during meetings that require a simple majority. Faculty who do not hold graduate appointments may not vote on matters pertaining to the graduate program.


1. Department Administrators: A Chair, appointed by the Dean of the College of Humanities for a three-year term, is responsible for the overall administration of the department. The other administrative officers, appointed by the Chair, are an Associate Chair, and Director of Graduate Studies.

2. Duties of Chair: Responsibilities of the Chair include: the preparation and administration of the departmental budget; fiduciary responsibility for all department operations; the preparation of faculty evaluations; the initiation of recommendations for appointments, advancement in rank, tenure; the hiring, supervision, and dismissal of staff members; the preparation of required reports; chairing the departmental executive committee; and general supervision, coordination, and direction of the conduct of the department and the fulfillment of its assigned functions.

3. Duties of Associate Chair: Responsibilities of the Associate Chair include: acting as Chair if the Chair is away from campus or unable to fulfill the duties of the position for any reason, chairing the undergraduate studies committee, supervision of undergraduate curriculum (including new and revised course proposals and degree requirements), course scheduling, coordination of departmental advising of all majors and minors, ex-officio membership on departmental executive committee.

4. Duties of Director of Graduate Studies: Responsibilities of the DGS include: chairing the graduate studies committee, overall supervision of the master's and 2 doctoral programs, management of the graduate curriculum (including new and revised course proposals, and degree requirements), working with staff to schedule graduate course offerings; oversight of admissions and financial aid including the appointment and general supervision of teaching and research assistants; ex-officio membership on departmental executive committee.


1. General procedures for regular and special department meetings:

A. Scheduling: Regular department meetings shall normally be held once each month between August and May. The chair shall distribute a schedule of all regular department meetings at the beginning of each semester. Meetings may be convened for special purposes by the Department Chair or by the request of five (5) regular faculty members.

B. Meeting Agendas: The Meeting shall follow an agenda prepared and circulated, in general, three days in advance. Any member of the Department may place items on this agenda. Such agenda items are due to the Department Chair seven (7) days before the scheduled meeting. Such agenda items shall be considered old business and may be brought to a vote in the meeting in which they are introduced. The Meeting may discuss any new business introduced from the floor, which shall be referred for inclusion on the next agenda, unless by a vote of two-thirds of those present and voting, it is agreed to vote immediately.

C. Conduct of meetings: Meetings shall be conducted using Robert’s Rules of Order. Meetings shall be chaired by the Department Chair, or a faculty member chosen by the Chair.

D. The Department Meeting shall make binding decisions on all matters except those reserved to other persons or groups by virtue of University or College regulations and those which the Department Meeting and the Department Chair agree will be decided by the Department Chair.

E. Meeting Minutes. At department meetings, each faculty member will take a turn recording department meeting minutes. Faculty on leave or unable to attend meetings will record the minutes at the next meeting, or when they return from leave. The order will be alphabetical by last name. The department Chair will notify faculty at least two weeks in advance of when they are expected to record department minutes. A draft of the minutes will be due to the department Chair within one week of the meeting’s conclusion. The Associate Chair and Director of Graduate Studies are exempt from this responsibility. Minutes of Department Meetings shall be circulated to members of the Department for approval by an e-vote within three (3) days after a meeting, or as the first item of business at the next scheduled Department Meeting; copies of these minutes shall be available from the Administrative Assistant.

2. Voting Procedures for regular and special Department Meetings. 

A. Voting by ballot is restricted to full-time faculty members as defined in Article I. In tenure and promotion cases voting by ballot is further restricted by rules established by Department Tenure and Promotion regulations as well as College and University regulations.

B. A quorum shall consist of one-half of the voting membership of the Department less those voting members on leave.

C. Any vote, at the request of one member, may be by secret ballot. Ballots are anonymous and must be tallied by the Department Chair and Associate Chair unless there is a conflict of interest, in which case another faculty member shall substitute.

D. In most cases the meeting shall make decisions by a simple majority vote of those present and voting. In order to amend the by-laws, however, a two-third majority is required.

E. The meeting may, by a one-third vote of those present and voting, request a (e-)mail ballot, except in cases of personnel matters and amendments. A majority of the voting members of the department shall be required to pass any question submitted by e-mail ballot.

F. Ranked-choice Voting: The Department Chair prepares a ballot that allows all eligible voters to rank the options in order of preference. Voters can choose not to rank an option at all. Voters cast only a single ballot. If an option wins an outright majority of first-choice votes (i.e. 50 percent plus one), that option will be declared the winner. If no option wins an outright majority of first-choice votes, the option with the fewest first-choice votes is eliminated. Those who voted for the eliminated option have their votes redistributed to their second-choice option. The process is repeated until an option wins a majority of votes cast. In cases where the department is choosing two options, the option with the second largest number of votes after all other options are eliminated is put forward as well, with the proviso that it remain clear that this is the department’s second choice. If the second-choice option fails to garner votes amounting to at least one-third of eligible voters within the department as a whole, the Chair will advance the first-choice option and issue a new ballot allowing all present to participate in another round of voting.


1. Standing Committees: The following standing committees shall be constituted, by appointment or election, during the spring semester and assume duties with the beginning of the academic year on July 1.

A. The Executive Committee shall consist of six persons including an assistant professor, an associate professor, and professor elected by rank as voting members, and the Department Chair, Associate Chair, and Director of Graduate Studies as ex officio members. The Executive Committee shall serve in an advisory capacity to the chair on matters of departmental administration. The three members elected by rank shall constitute a Budget Committee to make annual salary recommendations to the chair. The Executive Committee will also recommend department hiring priorities, pursue and encourage programmatic grant-writing initiatives, and consider opportunities for collaborations across fields and among disciplines, especially where they support University programs, centers, and initiatives.

B. The Graduate Studies Committee is appointed by the Director of Graduate Studies to assist with the supervision of the graduate program. In selecting members, the director shall take into account field and rank representation. The Graduate Studies Committee is charged with general oversight of curriculum and instruction of graduate students, including cultivating best practices.

C. The Undergraduate Committee is appointed by the Associate Chair to assist with monitoring the undergraduate curriculum and degree requirements. In selecting members, the director shall take into account field and rank representation. The Undergraduate Advisor also sits on the Undergraduate Committee ex officio. The Undergraduate Committee is charged with general oversight of the curriculum and instruction of undergraduate students, including cultivating best practices.

D. The Retention, Promotion, and Tenure Advisory Committee is chaired by a faculty member, normally a tenured full professor, who is elected to supervise RPT deliberations in accordance with departmental policies and procedures and University Policy 6-303.

E. The Tenured Faculty Review Committee is chaired by a faculty member, normally a tenured full professor, who is elected to supervise the Tenured Faculty Review process in accordance with department policies and procedures and University Policy 6-321.

F. The Intellectual Life Committee consists of three members drawn from each rank of the faculty and elected annually by the department. The committee will plan Wilson events for the following academic year and oversee works-in-progress presentations by faculty and graduate students in the current academic year as well as other forms of intellectual life they choose to promote.

G. The Vern and Bonnie Bullough Lecture Committee:

1. The Vern and Bonnie Bullough Lecture in the History of Sex and Gender is a bi-annual event organized by the History Department. The Bullough Lecture Committee consists of faculty who have self-identified with, and participate in, the Comparative Gender and Sexuality graduate field. Participation in the field includes teaching 5 HIST 7910: Seminar in Gender History; advising MA/MS students in the major field and/or PhD students in the minor field; and/or teaching graduate courses, including Directed Readings, that contribute to the field. The Chair of the Committee will rotate among committee members by mutual agreement.

2. In the year during which no lecture is offered, the Committee will meet Fall semester to select a Chair for a two-year term. The Chair will solicit suggested speakers from the department and convene a committee meeting to recommend one or more lecturers. As per the bequest, the lecture will rotate among scholars who specialize in a variety of time periods and world areas. When appropriate, the Committee may choose to partner with another unit or units on campus or in the community. The Committee Chair will notify the Department Chair of the Committee’s recommendations for final approval by the department faculty.

3. The Committee will coordinate with the Department Chair to organize the lecture. It will share responsibility for logistics, publicity, additional fundraising, and working with other stakeholders on campus or in the community when appropriate.

H. Department of History EDI Committee:

Objective: The Department of History recognizes the value of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI). The EDI committee’s goal is to 1) assess, research, take action on, and report on matters related to EDI in the Department of History and 2) to provide guidance and support to faculty, staff, and students of the Department of History to more effectively address EDI issues both identified and those not readily perceived or easily understood.
The committee will be responsible for, but not limited to, the Department of History’s strategic plan and its execution regarding EDI and other work related to EDI as so needed by the department or required by the university.
Composition: The EDI Committee shall be comprised of: the Executive Committee and; one staff member (chosen by the staff); the department representative on the College of Humanities Diversity Taskforce; the President of History Graduate Student Association; and the President of the History Student Association.
Meetings: The Department Chair will organize the EDI committee meeting by the second week of September. The EDI Committee will determine its own schedule of meetings. The department chair will act as the EDI Committee chair serving in an ex officio capacity.

2. Ad-Hoc Committees: As necessary to address the immediate needs of the department, ad-hoc committees shall be formed as needed by July 1 preceding the academic year.


1. Tenure Line Faculty: All searches and appointments of tenure line faculty will take place in accordance with University Policies 6-301 and 6-302.

A. Search Committee Composition: When a search for a new faculty position is approved, the Department Chair shall appoint a search committee composed of at least three members of the tenure-line faculty, the majority of whom should hold tenure. The committee should reflect the composition of the department and include one member from outside the field (geographic, methodological, etc.) of the search.

B. Duties of the Search Committee: Members of the search committee will have access to all applicant files. Committee members will read files, rank candidates, report their procedure for ranking candidates to the department, and, subject to department approval, arrange and conduct preliminary interviews and recommend short lists to the department.

C. On-Campus Interviews: The department as a whole will discuss the search committee’s recommendations and approve the finalists who will be invited to campus. The Department Chair will extend invitations to the finalists and work with department staff to schedule on-campus visits that include adequate opportunities for the candidates to meet with department faculty as well as graduate (and undergraduate students).

D. Ranking of Candidates: Following campus interviews the search committee will rank the candidates and submit its recommendation to the department at least seven days before the full department meets to discuss and rank the finalists. At that meeting, the tenure line faculty will vote by secret ballot to determine the final ranking of candidates as well as any candidates deemed unacceptable.

E. After receiving all necessary approvals, the Department Chair shall offer the position to the first-ranked candidate. If that candidate declines the offer the Department Chair shall offer the position to additional ranked candidates as available.

2. Career Line Faculty: All searches and appointments of career line faculty will take place in accordance with University Policy 6-302.

3. Selection of Department Chair: Department Chairs are appointed by the Dean of the College of Humanities, generally with input from History Department faculty. To facilitate open and well-informed decision-making, faculty members who seek appointment as chair shall, when circumstances permit, provide a statement to the faculty to outline their goals, priorities, and values.


To enhance the professional development of individual faculty as well as the national reputation and visibility of the department, the department will provide funds (for airfare, registration, hotel and/or per diem) for participation in professional meetings for faculty according to the following guidelines.

1. All department support for travel is contingent on the availability of funds. The following guidelines represent a general philosophy of department decision-making concerning travel. While actual amounts may be adjusted in years of limited funding, these principles shall guide the executive committee in allocating funding for travel as fairly as possible. 

A. Because of their importance in promoting publication of articles, book chapters, and monographs, the department will prioritize funding for presenting papers over chairing sessions, commenting on panels and administrative responsibilities. For chairing, commenting, serving on a roundtable, and administrative responsibilities, the department will provide airfare in full. For presenting papers, the department will provide a minimum of 750 dollars per conference that can be used at the faculty member's discretion for registration, travel, hotel and per diem.

B. Because junior scholars must develop their profiles in preparation for tenure, the department will prioritize the allocation of full funding for junior faculty paper presentations when there are sufficient funds to disburse.

C. Travel funds may be provided to officers of major professional organizations at the discretion of the Executive Committee. This money will not exceed $500 and will depend on the travel budget for that year.

D. Except in special circumstances, travel will not be provided for non-participants to attend a professional meeting.

E. Career-line faculty may apply for one domestic round-trip airfare per year to present a paper at a history conference, up to $500.

2. To receive funding, faculty must provide an itemized budget that includes accurate estimated costs of travel, hotel, registration and per diem. Transportation estimates must be based on an identified date and flight. The department will not pay more than $50 beyond the estimated price submitted for approval.

3. All departmental travel must be arranged in accordance with approved departmental and college policies. Once tickets have been purchased, faculty members are responsible for financial penalties or additional charges incurred by delayed booking changes or cancellations for reasons other than illness.

4. To be reimbursed for travel, faculty must provide a copy of the program page listing their participation with their other paperwork.

5. In conjunction with the support for international travel offered by the Career Development Committee in the College of Humanities, the following policy governs international travel.

A. Every faculty member who plans to undertake international travel is required to apply for funds from the Career Development Committee. 

B. A faculty member who receives full funding from the CDC to present a formal research paper may apply to the History department for additional funding.

C. A faculty member who applies for CDC funding for international travel but does not receive it may still receive department funding.



The following rules constitute the salary recommendation policy in effect within the Department of History.

A. Because the History Department faculty is expected to be active and competent in a tripartite commitment to scholarship, teaching, and service, the fact of publication, teaching, or professional service per se shall not be considered meritorious in making salary recommendations.

B. By the second Friday of the Spring semester, the Department Chair will issue a call for faculty to submit within two weeks time a current curriculum vita and a merit statement identifying and evaluating the past year's activities in the areas of scholarship, teaching, and service. Faculty may make a claim to a specific merit category. Failure to submit a current vita and statement by the given deadline will automatically result in no merit award being given.

C. For the purpose of ranking faculty for salary recommendations, the elected members of the Executive Committee shall constitute a Budget Committee, with the Department Chair serving ex-officio as the chair of the Budget Committee.

1. The Budget Committee shall use the curriculum vita and merit statement to evaluate performance and assign a merit category. Where appropriate colleagues shall have the option to submit evidence and explanation of scholarship, teaching, and service. Faculty should demonstrate, at a minimum, sustained effectiveness in the areas of scholarship, teaching, and service. Only published scholarship and completed teaching and service will be considered. Criteria for evaluation may include but are not limited to the following:

a) Scholarship:

i. Published works, including books, textbooks, articles in journals, chapters in edited collections and book reviews (in either paper or electronic formats); 

ii. Other completed scholarly activity including, but not limited to, digitized sources and websites, videos/films, museum exhibits and/or public history programs; 

iii. Editorial work on scholarly journals, anthologies and conference proceedings; 

iv. Presentations at professional meetings and conferences; 

v. Research grants: Although research grants are not essential to scholarly productivity in history, an individual's application for and success in obtaining grants, thereby increasing the probability of scholarly achievement, may be a consideration; 

vi. Awards, honors and other recognition of contributions in the area of scholarship; 

vii. Refereeing scholarly articles and books. 

b) Teaching:

i. Teaching of undergraduate or graduate service courses;

ii. Advising undergraduate or graduate students;

iii. Teaching in other department/programs in which the faculty member is not a joint or shared appointment (for example, the Honors Program, International Studies, or the Business School);

iv. Grants related to teaching. For example, a Dee Council Grant;

v. Developing and teaching new courses at the undergraduate or graduate level;

vi. Awards, honors and other recognition of contributions in the area of teaching.

c) Service:

i. In the Department of History on committees;

ii. In the Department of History as Associate Chair or Director of Graduate Studies;

iii. At the level of the College of Humanities and/or at the University level;

iv. In a community;

v. Service at the national or international level;

vi. Awards, honors and other recognition of contributions in the area of service.

2. The merit statement should highlight faculty contributions in research, teaching, and service during the previous year. 

In describing their work faculty will follow lexicon recommended by the American Historical Association as follows:

““In Press”: the manuscript is fully copyedited and out of the author’s hands. It is in the final stages of the production process. “Forthcoming”: a completed manuscript has been accepted by a press or journal. “Under contract to . . .”: a press and an author have signed a contract for a book in progress, but the final manuscript has not yet been submitted. “Submitted” or “under consideration”: the book or article has been submitted to a press or journal, but there is as yet no contract or agreement to publish.” (Statement on Standards of Professional Conduct (Updated 2019) (

3. Faculty merit categories are: high merit, standard merit, and low merit.

a) High Merit: A dollar amount to be awarded in addition to any other salary increase to faculty who in the past calendar year have demonstrated excellence in one or more of the following ways:

i. Published a single or co-authored scholarly book, or the equivalent (maximum $2,000).

ii. Published a single-author research article in an academic journal (maximum $500) or a multiple-author research article in an academic journal (maximum $250). Articles must be subject to a blind peer-reviewed process. Historiographical essays and/or state of the field essays count. Book reviews do not count.

iii. Completed a Public History project equivalent in impact, labor and reach to either a scholarly article (maximum $500) or monograph (maximum $2000), the completed project having been appropriately peer reviewed.

iv. Received a University or national teaching, advising, or service award, or the Ramona Cannon Award (maximum, $2,000).

b) Standard Merit: A percentage increase, determined annually, for faculty who during the past three years engaged productively in research, teaching and service activities as outlined above in section 1a, b, and c.

c) Low Merit: Faculty who have not engaged productively in research, teaching, or service activities as outlined in the requirements for Standard Merit will be given some percent increase from zero to an amount lower than that of standard merit.

D. In consultation with the Department Chair, the Budget Committee shall recommend to the Department Chair an evaluation of faculty according to the aforementioned three categories along with explanations for the designations.

E. When authorized by the Dean of the College of Humanities, the Department Chair shall advise each faculty member in writing as to the amount of their adjusted salary.



1. For faculty members who do not hold a department administrative office or have special arrangements associated with the terms of their appointment, the normal teaching load is 4 courses per year.

A. Normally, at least one course per faculty member per year will be a course that serves the current needs of the department curriculum.

B. Courses with low enrollment may be cancelled, at the discretion of the chair, associate chair, and graduate director and in consultation with affected faculty members. It is expected that cancelled courses will be made up by additional course offerings in future semesters.


1. These by-laws shall go into effect upon a two-thirds vote of the faculty.

2. Amendments to the by-laws will require a two-thirds vote of the faculty


To download a pdf version of the History Department By-Laws click HERE

Last Updated: 8/31/22