The North American Victorian Studies Association was established on July 5, 2002, at Indiana University in Bloomington. This most recent version of the Constitution was ratified by the Executive Council and Advisory Board on August 21, 2013. Future amendments to the Constitution can be proposed by any NAVSA member through the Chair of the NAVSA Council or through any individual member of the Executive Council or Advisory Board. Following discussion, an amendment will be implemented if it receives approval from a two-thirds majority of the Executive Council and Advisory Board.
The Association aims to provide a forum for the discussion of the Victorian period and to encourage a wide variety of theoretical and disciplinary approaches to the field. Its members work in a number of diciplines as well as a range of regions and countries. To further its goals, the Association will organize one full-scale conference every year, usually to be held in either the United States or Canada. It will distribute information regarding members' activities, news of conferences and other information of interest to members. It will also provide other informational services to members (for example, a Members' Directory). The Society is a non-profit organization affiliated with the journal, Victorian Studies. It collects membership fees to cover the cost of distributing the journal to its members and to cover its own administrative costs, including Society publications and graduate subsidies to the annual conference. It aims at reaching a broad membership and to that end will make every attempt to offer reduced membership fees to graduate students, independent scholars, and retired members.
The work of the Society will be conducted by the following individuals and organizational bodies:
- An Executive Council.
The Council is made up of five members elected by the membership at large for five-year terms. The Council may also have additional members who serve ex officio and who are determined by the Executive Council and Advisory Board. Each year will see one of the five elected slots on the Executive Council determined by the NAVSA membership. There is no limit to the number of terms that can be served by a NAVSA member on the Executive Council; however, incumbents must be re-elected by the general NAVSA membership after every five-year term. Note that, in the event of a tie in the general elections, a run-off election will be conducted to determine the winner.There will always be at least one Canadian member on the Executive Council; if the only Canadian on the Executive Council either steps down or runs for re-election, we will consider only Canadian nominees for that year. Usually, one of the editors of Victorian Studies will serve as an ex-officio member of the Executive Council; up to two editors from Victorian Studies may serve in this capacity. At least one member of each forthcoming conference committee will serve as an ex officio member of NAVSA's Executive Council, if there is not already a member serving on the Advisory Board or Executive Council. The Advisory Board and Executive Council can also choose to create additional ex officio or non-elected positions if they see fit. The creation of such positions requires a two-thirds majority of the Advisory Board and Executive Council. In voting for the elimination of an ex officio or non-elected position, the vote of the ex officio or non-elected member who is under discussion will not be considered; in all other decisions, ex officio and non-elected members receive full voting privileges.The Council, in conjunction with a graduate-student Executive Assistant (when funds are available), will conduct the day-to-day business of the Association, including correspondence, maintenance of membership records and of the web site, administration of elections to the Advisory Board and Executive Council (e-mailing ballots, etc.), and production of the newsletter and other informational services for members. One member of the Executive Council will serve as Secretary-Treasurer, two or more others will serve as Executive Secretaries, and one member will serve as Webmaster.The executive secretaries and the President (see below) may draw on NAVSA funds for the purpose of executing NAVSA business. Any exceptional, single expense of more than $500 must have the approval of the NAVSA Executive Council and Advisory Board.
- An Advisory Board.
The Board is made up of nine members elected by the membership at large for terms of three years. As with the Executive Council, there is no limit to the number of terms that can be served by a NAVSA member on the Advisory Board; however, incumbents must be re-elected by the general NAVSA membership after every three-year term. In order to reflect the organization, diversity and goals of the Society, Advisory Board members will be elected from the following groupings:
3 Open-Category Canadians
3 Open-Category Americans
3 Disciplinary Categories:
- 1 Art History
- 1 Foreign or Comparative Literature
- 1 History
Note that "Canadian" and "American" will be understood to mean institutional affiliation rather than citizenship. Every year will see three positions up for election: one Canadian, one American, and one disciplinary category. A call for nominations will go out to NAVSA members in advance of the annual conference; ballots with a slate of nominees will go out to NAVSA members within a few months of the annual conference.
At the annual conference, the Advisory Board and Executive Council together elect who will run, choosing candidates from the nominations received. In making their decisions, the Advisory Board and Executive Council will consider six criteria: 1) demonstrated commitment to NAVSA; 2) contribution to the profession; 3) number of nominations received; 4) regional diversity; 5) disciplinary diversity; and 6) gender balance.
In addition, the Advisory Board will include one or two graduate-student representatives, who will be elected according to the following stipulations and mechanism: 1) Any current NAVSA grad student is allowed to nominate him/herself or to be nominated by means of the NAVSA graduate-student listserv; 2) The nomination cycle should take place prior to the NAVSA general election, and preferably before MLA as well. Candidates will have a predetermined amount of time to be nominated (between 2 and 4 weeks); 3) Nominations can either be posted publically to the grad listserv or be sent privately to firstname.lastname@example.org; 4) All nominees must present a short professional/academic bio indicating stage of education, field, place of study, and proximity to NAVSA annual conference the year they would serve as representative; 5) If there are between 1 and 3 nominees, all nominees names and bios will be sent to the AB/EC and the general election to be voted on and graduate students will be represented by one AB representative; 6) If there are between 4 and 6 nominees, candidates will be divided into two groups based on similarity of field or demographic information (Canadian, U.S., etc.) and NAVSA graduate students will send those two lists to both be voted on, thus resulting in two AB representatives; 7) If there are more than six nominees, the grad listserv will vote on which of the six to put forward as candidates and then divide those candidates into two groups based on field; 8) The bios of the nominees will be sent to the EC/AB and should be made public for the NAVSA general election.
The Board will offer advice on various ways in which the Society might serve the academic interests of the profession, on the goals and procedures of the Association, and on such specific issues as conference sites and ways in which the annual conference can best be made to reflect the concerns of the Association. Members of the Advisory Board will remain in communication with the Executive Council throughout the year as necessary, and will meet at the annual conference with members of the Executive Council.
Note that, in the event of a tie in the general elections, a run-off election will be conducted to determine the winner of the given contest.
- A President and Vice-President.
The Advisory Board and Executive Council will be led by a Vice-President and a President. The first President will be Dino Franco Felluga (2013-14), who will continue his previous role as “Chair of the Executive Council” (2003-13) under the new title. A Vice-President will be chosen by the Advisory Board and Executive Council to take over from the President after a three-year term. Once the Vice-President assumes the presidency, a new Vice-President is elected. Vice-Presidents will be chosen by the members of the current Advisory Board and Executive Council after a request for self-nominations from all current and past members of the Advisory Board and Executive Council, including current and past ex officio members. If there is more than one viable candidate for Vice-President agreed upon by the current Advisory Board and Executive Council, the choice of which candidate will become Vice-President will be made by NAVSA’s general membership during the annual elections. If there is only one viable candidate for Vice-President, that candidate will be elected without contest. The President will be reviewed each year at the annual meeting of the Advisory Board and Executive Council, followed by a vote of confidence or of no confidence. In the event of a vote of no confidence, the Vice-President will become President, followed by the election of a new Vice-President. The President will be responsible for making sure that NAVSA activities run smoothly and will usually be the first contact for members and conference committees. The Vice-President should be copied in any important correspondence conducted by the President.
- A Conference Committee.
The Conference Committee is associated with the university or universities in charge of running a given year's NAVSA conference. The conference committee will be established by the conference host institution and can be flexible in the number and status of committee members, with the one requirement that all members also be official members of NAVSA. The conference committee is in charge of running that year's conference: advertising the conference, setting up speaking locations, booking hotels, and coordinating additional activities (lunches, excursions, etc.), including one banquet open to attendees. The conference committee should remain in close contact with the Executive Council/Advisory Board and should consult the Council and Board about that year's plenary speakers. The Conference Committee is also in charge of setting up two meetings for NAVSA at the annual conference: 1) a meeting of the Advisory Board and Executive Council; and 2) a meeting of future conference committees, which can also be attended by the Advisory Board, Executive Council, and current year's Conference Committee. When possible, the Executive Council will provide the Conference Committee with $1000 towards the implementation of the annual conference and will also provide funds, when available, to help graduate students attend the conference. The Executive Council will also seek to provide money for two awards each year, each to be accompanied by a free one-year subscription to Victorian Studies:
- a $500 award for the best essay written in the field of Victorian studies in a given year; and
- a $250 award for the best graduate-student paper at each annual conference. Both awards will be presented at the annual conference banquet.