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By-Laws of the Center for Jewish Studies at University of Florida

Preamble: The academic unit governed by these by-laws is the University of Florida Center for Jewish Studies (JST). The Program is housed in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences but may include faculty, academic professionals, staff and students from a variety of UF colleges.

I. Mission

The purpose of the Center for Jewish Studies is to promote, at the University of Florida and in the broader community, an awareness of the richness and diversity of Jewish cultures, languages, history, religion, and creative expression. Central means of accomplishing this goal include the following: original scholarship; the development and expansion of the Jewish Studies curriculum including JST courses and JST cross-listed courses in other programs; the development of the JST major and the furthering of certificate programs; recruitment of and working with graduate students; offering periodic post-doctoral fellowships; development of Jewish Studies related library collections, most notably the Isser and Rae Price Library of Judaica; campus and community programming; working with other JST faculty to develop the national and international status of the Center.

The Center is also committed to furthering the University’s mission to provide a worldclass education within a public institution. Doing so requires an intellectually engaged, productive, and collegial faculty.

II. Relation to College, University, and Board of Trustees

If any policy or procedure in these Bylaws conflicts with policies or procedures of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Academic Policies and Procedures Manual, the University’s collective bargaining agreement, or the University of Florida Board of Trustees, the policy or procedure of the latter three shall take precedence. All policies or procedures not in conflict shall remain in force.

III. Membership

Unit Membership: There are two categories of faculty participants in the Center for Jewish Studies:

A. JST Faculty: a tenure-track/tenured faculty member at UF with primary research focus and university teaching interests in Jewish Studies. JST faculty are expected to engage in the Center’s mission as described in Section I. JST faculty are eligible to vote on questions corresponding to those in Section IV. E.

B. JST Associates: An associate is i.) a tenure-track/tenured faculty member with a secondary research and university teaching interest in Jewish Studies; ii.) a lecturer or adjunct faculty member with significant research and significant university teaching interests in Jewish Studies. Associate faculty are expected to cooperate in the Center’s mission as described in Section I. Associate faculty do not vote, but they may apply for JST funding for travel to conferences to present JST-related papers and to support projects and for course development of direct relevance to JST.

C. Faculty members hired in Jewish Studies searches are automatically JST Faculty as described in Section III A.

D. Prospective JST faculty in other academic units who believe their interests correspond to category III A may petition the Director to join the unit at the beginning of the fall or spring semester. The Director will notify JST faculty, who will vote no later than one year after the petition on whether the prospective member may join the unit. An affirmative vote for a new voting member must be by majority of two thirds of the Center’s faculty. In the interim, the prospective member should attend meetings and JST-sponsored events but will not vote.

E. Potential JST associates may petition the Director for consideration at the beginning of each semester. The vote will take place at the faculty meeting following the petition.

IV. Organization

A. Organization: The organizational structure of the Center for Jewish Studies consists of JST Faculty and associate JST members, a Director, a Grass Chair in Jewish Studies, a Braman Chair in Holocaust Studies, a Shorstein Professor/Chair (future Chairs in Jewish Studies will be added to this list as necessary), an Advisory Committee, standing committees, ad hoc committees, and staff.

B. Searches: Searches for budgeted Jewish Studies positions will be carried out under the auspices of the Center for Jewish Studies. At least three fourths of the search committee for Jewish Studies positions shall be Jewish Studies faculty.

C. Responsibility and Authority of the Members: Responsibilities of JST Faculty include furthering the mission of the Center as described in Section I.

D. Unit Meetings: The Center for Jewish Studies members will meet at least twice per semester. Additional meetings can be called by the Director or by a majority of JST Faculty. Regular attendance at and participation in unit meetings is expected of all active faculty members. Those unable to attend should notify the director in advance.

Whenever possible a preliminary agenda will be distributed a forty-eight hours in advance of each meeting.

E. Governance: Issues requiring formal votes such as personnel matters.

1. A quorum will consist of one-half of the active (not on leave) core faculty.

2. A faculty member will be appointed by the Director to record minutes for all meetings. The Director will arrange for distribution of the minutes JST and associate faculty members five (5) working days before the next meeting for final approval whenever possible.

V: Election, Responsibilities, and Authority of the Director

A. The Director shall be appointed by the Dean of CLAS with the concurrence of the Provost.

B. The Dean shall charge a search committee composed of JST Faculty and associates to make a recommendation for the Director. At least three-quarters of the search committee must be elected by the core membership.

C. Among the qualifications to be considered in the selection of the Director will be

  • i.) potential effectiveness in building and administering the Center for Jewish Studies in terms of its objectives;
  • ii.) distinguished scholarly record;
  • iii.) ability and willingness to represent the Center for Jewish Studies effectively both within and outside the institution; and
  • iv.) administrative experience or apparent potential;
  • v.) experience in successful grant writing and/or fund raising;
  • vi.) upon assuming the position, the Director must be a tenured faculty member at UF.

D. The Director will normally serve a term up to five years with annual reappointments being made by the Dean. The Director’s term may be extended, however, at the discretion of the Dean in consultation with JST Faculty and associates. The Dean may appoint a review committee to assist in considering reappointment.

E. In addition to the state mandated annual evaluation, the Dean of CLAS will undertake periodic evaluations of the Director, the results of which will be shared with the Director.

F. The Director shall assume the primary responsibility for administering the Center for Jewish Studies, curriculum, budget, personnel, conferences, and community programming subject to the limitations specified elsewhere in the bylaws and in College and University rules and regulations. The Director reports directly to the Dean.

VI. Endowments

A. The Center’s endowments, including those connected to professorships and chairs are expected to be used in accordance with the Center’s mission as described in Section I and must be used in accordance with the scholarly and intellectual fields described in the endowment itself.

B. Specifically, such endowments are to be used for professional development such as scholarly research, teaching, and public programming that raises the profile of the Center. The latter includes guest speakers, symposia, conferences, and sponsorship of special items such as films and other cultural events.

C. Holders of Center endowments are stewards of the endowments charged to them, as is the Director, who must ensure that funds are spent either as intended by the endowment itself and in the best interests of the Center. Endowed chairs should submit to the Director of the Center for Jewish Studies an annual written report (by April 20) outlining the use of the funds in the preceding academic year.

VII. Promotion

For assessing and voting on the suitability of joint-appointed JST faculty for tenure and promotion JST abides by the stated tenure and promotion requirements of the candidate’s tenure home.

VIII. Committees

Standing Committees will consist of at least three members of the faculty, two of which will be elected and the third appointed by the Director. Standing Committees are elected at the first faculty meeting of the academic year and serve for a full calendar year. There shall be an Advisory Committee, standing committees, and ad hoc committees. Ordinarily, ad hoc committees will be appointed by the Director as needs warrant and shall consist of at least three members. Each committee shall advise the Director with respect to its charge.

A. The Advisory Committee will consist of a minimum of two JST faculty members to be elected each year plus a third who may be appointed by the Director. Ordinarily, a quorum shall be constituted by a simple majority of the Advisory Committee. The Director of the Center for Jewish Studies will be the Chair of the Advisory Committee. The Advisory Committee shall be responsible for periodically reviewing all matters relating to the Program. The Advisory Committee will meet as needed. The Advisory Committee’s specific duties include the following:

  • 1. To review and evaluate the activities of the Director in terms of the objectives of the Program, College, and University and to provide counsel for the Director on matters relating to curriculum, personnel, budget, and conferences.
  • 2. To review and evaluate plans for, and outcomes of, Jewish Studies conferences and programs. Conferences and publications should be evaluated by their ability to provide: a) original perspectives on topics of national and international intellectual significance; b) opportunities for publications that foster the reputation of the Center and its members; and c) opportunities for wide participation by UF faculty, especially JST and associate faculty of the Center for Jewish Studies, and students. Ordinarily, conferences, workshops, and lecture series should be open to the UF community and the general public.

B. The Resource Committee will review applications for course development, discretionary research and special travel expenditures from the Center’s funds to faculty and students.

C. The Bylaws Committee is tasked with keeping track of proposed amendments.

D. Ad hoc Committees will consist of at least three members of the faculty appointed by the Director and assembled as needed

IX. Procedure for Amending the Bylaws

Proposals for altering, amending, or repealing these bylaws shall be endorsed by no less than two Advisory Committee members and shall be sent to all faculty and associates at least two weeks prior to the meeting date on which a vote will take place. These bylaws may be altered, amended, or repealed by a 2/3 majority of the Faculty provided that the 2/3 majority is not less than 50% of all eligible voting members.