POLICY AND PROCEDURES MANUAL
American Academy Of Religion, Midwest Region
NOTE: GIVEN RECENT CHANGES TO THE OPERATING AGREEMENTS OF ALL REGIONS, THIS POLICY AND PROCEDURES MANUAL WILL SOON BE UPDATED TO CONFORM TO THE NEW OPERATING AGREEMENT. ONE CHANGE WILL BE THAT THE REGIONAL BOARD OF DIRECTORS WILL CONSIST OF THE REGIONAL OFFICERS, BUT NOT THE SECTION CHAIRS--A DIFFERENCE THAT IS SIGNIFICANT PRIMARILY FOR ELECTIONS OF SECTION CHAIRS (WHICH ARE CARRIED OUT BY THE BOARD).
Revised: April 27, 2014
Approved by the Board of Directors: PENDING
ARTICLE I. Purposes of this Manual
The purpose of this Manual is to provide policies and procedures for regular administration of the American Academy of Religion, Midwest Region (MAAR). This manual has been adopted from, and supersedes, the “By-Laws” (enacted 9-9-08). This is a working document that will be updated by the MAAR President, as necessary, to reflect decisions made by the Officers or the Regional Board of Directors. The most up to date version of this document should be housed on the MAAR website for easy reference by all interested parties. Nothing in this manual shall contradict the Operating Agreement of the American Academy of Religion, LLC, approved by a vote of the Regional Membership on April 1, 2012.
ARTICLE II. Purposes of MAAR
The purposes of the MAAR shall be to carry out the purposes of the American Academy of Religions (AAR) at the regional level: to encourage scholarship and research, stimulate effective instruction, and promote publication in the field of religious studies and to encourage, develop, and support the scholarly study of religion at all levels of education primarily in, but not limited to, the Midwest Region (AAR Bylaws Article II and Article VIII).
ARTICLE III. Membership
All dues-paying members of the AAR who reside within the Midwest Region shall be members of the MAAR by virtue of their membership in the AAR. In addition, AAR members residing outside of the Midwest Region may select MAAR as their official region for membership and thereby become full members of the MAAR with the full privileges to participate in the Annual Meeting, nominate, vote for, and serve as Officers or Board Members. The MAAR shall not levy additional membership dues (as per, AAR Bylaws Article VIII).
ARTICLE IV. Regional Board of Directors
This Article of the Manual is governed in part by Article IV of the Operating Agreement.
The Regional Board of Directors shall be constituted by:
Officers – elected by vote of the entire MAAR membership (serve a 2 year term, except as noted).
1. Vice President
3. Past President
4. Student Director
5. Regional Coordinator (3 year term)
Section Chairs –whose number may vary over time according to the needs of the conference, and are elected by vote of the Regional Board of Directors. Currently:
6. Anthropology and Sociology of Religion
7. Ecology and Science in the Study of Religion
8. Ethics and Philosophy of Religion
9. Gender and Religion
10. History of Christianity
12. Literature and Sacred Texts in the Study of Religion
13. Material and Sensory Cultures of Religion
14. Religion and American Culture
15. Religions of Asia
16. Special Topics
17. Study of Judaism
18. Teaching Religion
20. Undergraduate Students
The Board’s duties shall include:
1. Overseeing the Annual Meeting, including reviewing and improving the process by which the Annual Meeting is planned and conducted.
2. Determining Annual Meeting dates, locations, themes, and plenary speakers.
3. Annually reviewing the MAAR budget and overseeing the Regional Coordinator’s management of funds.
4. Soliciting and reviewing Section Chair candidates and electing new Section Chairs as required.
5. Soliciting nominees for Vice President, Student Director, and Regional Coordinator as required.
6. Creating and formulating charges to Standing or Ad Hoc Working Groups, determining how members of such working groups shall be appointed, and receiving and acting upon reports from such working groups, as required.
7. Regularly reviewing the Board Policy and Procedures Manual of the MAAR and revising as required.
8. Reviewing and reformulating as necessary the MAAR’s purposes and guiding the MAAR in the fulfillment of such purposes.
The Regional Board of Directors shall meet regularly at the time of the MAAR Annual Meeting. Ten members of the Board shall constitute a quorum to conduct business. The President, in consultation with the other Officers, shall develop the agenda, which he or she shall distribute at the meeting. Proposals to add items to the agenda shall be submitted in writing to the President at least 72 hours before the meeting.
Article V. Regional Board of Directors – Officers
The Officers shall consist of: Vice President, President, Past President, Student Director, and Regionally Elected Director. All Officers shall be elected by vote of the entire MAAR membership. All Officers attend the MAAR Annual Meeting, including the Regional Board of Directors Meeting and the Business Meeting.
Section 1 Terms and Duties of The Vice President. The Vice President shall be elected to a term of two years, which begins at the conclusion of the MAAR Annual Meeting at which his or her election is announced and ends at the conclusion of the MAAR Annual Meeting at which his or her successor’s election is announced. The Vice President then shall succeed to President. The Vice President shall serve as Program Chair of the Annual Meeting of the MAAR, which shall include creating the annual meeting schedule and program. In unusual circumstances, the Vice President shall preside at meetings at which the President is absent. If the Regional Coordinator’s term ends the same year the Vice President’s term ends, the Board may vote to extend the Vice President’s term one additional year in order to avoid excessive turnover on the Regional Board of Directors.
Section 2. Terms and Duties of The President,, The President shall succeed to that office after having been elected as Vice President and completing two years in that office. The President shall serve a two year term and then succeed to the position of Past President. Together with the Regional Coordinator, the President is the chief conduit to the national administrative offices of the AAR. The President shall maintain and update the website as necessary, maintain and update the Policy and Procedures manual, the list of Board members and schedule of elections, organize and administer all necessary elections, and preside at the Regional Board of Directors Meeting and the Business Meeting (both of which shall be held during the MAAR Annual Meeting). If the Regional Coordinator’s term ends the same year the President’s term ends, the Board may vote to extend the President’s term one additional year in order to avoid excessive turnover on the Executive Board.
Section 3. Terms and Duties of The Past President. The Past President shall succeed to that office after having been elected as Vice President, serving two years in that office, and then succeeded to the position of President, serving two years in that office. The Past President shall serve a term of two years in an advisory capacity to the Regional Board of Directors.
Section 4. Terms and Duties of The Student Director. The Student Director shall be a graduate student and reside in the region. He or she shall be elected to a term of two years, which begins at the conclusion of the MAAR Annual meeting at which his or her election is announced and ends at the conclusion of the MAAR Annual Meeting at which his or her successor’s election is announced. The Student Director shall be a full voting member of the Regional Board of Directors. The Student Director shall also serve on the Graduate Student Working Group of the national AAR and attend that regularly scheduled meeting annually at the AAR national conference. In addition, one member of the AAR’s Graduate Student Working Group shall serve on the AAR’s Board of Directors. The AAR may define additional duties for the Student Director on the national level.
Section 5. Terms and Duties of The Regional Coordinator The Regional Coordinator shall be elected to a term of three years, which shall begin and end on June 1, and shall be eligible to be elected to one additional three-year term. By January 1 of the third year of his or her term, the Coordinator shall inform the President in writing regarding whether he or she desires to be elected to another three-year term or intends this to be his or her final year as Coordinator. The Coordinator’s primary duty shall be organizing the planning for the annual regional meeting each spring. This shall include: booking the conference space; arranging for the conference catering; dealing with book vendors; printing the conference program; negotiating group rates with the conference hotel; booking the keynote speaker and arranging the speaker’s hotel and travel; negotiating special rates for transportation to the conference; booking shuttle services if needed; planning the Board of Director’s annual dinner; updating the conference web site; providing directions, housing resources and other conference logistical information to members; providing welcoming materials and nametags; issuing and publicizing the conference call for papers to the membership; overseeing both online and on-site conference registration; signing all contracts; and arranging for conference liability insurance. The Coordinator also shall manage all the finances for the region, including budgeting for the conference, cutting all checks to vendors, speakers, caterers and conference center providers, and paying out conference awards. In accordance with AAR Bylaws Article XI, Section 5, the Coordinator shall maintain a record of the MAAR’s meetings and shall file minutes, an official written report, and complete financial statements annually with the AAR national board and office. The Coordinator shall work closely with the head of the Regions Working Group and the AAR Regions Staff Liaison to implement national guidelines at the regional level and shall attend two national Board Meetings per year.
Section 6.. Election of Officers. Eligibility to nominate, elect, and serve as an Officer shall be determined according to Article III (Membership) above. Otherwise, in the nominating and electing of Officers there shall be no discrimination on account of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, ideology, political affiliation, age, physical disability, or marital status.
The process for electing a new Vice President or Regionally Elected Director shall be as follows:
Section 7. Vacating of Offices and Appointment of Interim Officers. If an office is vacated by death, wrongdoing or neglect of duty (certified by a two-thirds vote of the Regional Board of Directors), or resignation then the Officers, in consultation with the Board of Directors, shall appoint an Interim Officer. The Interim Officer shall serve through the next Annual Meeting, at which time the vacated office shall be filled either by succession or election according to Article III above.. Appointment as an Interim Officer shall not prejudice that person’s eligibility to be a candidate for that office at the next election.
Section 8. Officers Meetings. Officers primarily shall conduct their business by email and telephone, but by mutual agreement they may meet as they determine doing so to be in the MAAR’s interests, such as during the AAR Annual Meeting or the MAAR Annual Meeting. At these meetings, three Officers shall constitute a quorum to conduct business.
ARTICLE VI. Regional Board of Directors – Section Chairs
Section 1. Definition and Organization of Sections. Sections of the MAAR shall be defined by those fields, areas, or topics within the study of religion that are represented by the scholarship and teaching of the majority of MAAR members. This majority shall be determined by the number and types of paper proposals submitted for presentation at the Annual Meeting. The Board of Directors shall review Sections annually and determine whether the creation of a new Section, deletion of a current Section, or reorganization of Sections is appropriate, based on membership needs. Any member of the MAAR may submit to the President a request with justification for the creation of a new Section, which shall be considered by the Board of Directors.
Section 2. Duties of Section Chairs. Each Section Chair shall review the proposals submitted to his or her Section and create panels and paper sessions from those proposals for the Annual Meeting. He or she shall submit the panels and sessions to the Vice President/Program Chair by the deadline agreed upon by the Regional Board of Directors. Section Chairs shall be encouraged to cultivate participation in the MAAR by, for example, soliciting presiders and respondents for their sessions at the Annual Meeting. If a Section Chair does not arrange for presiders or respondents, he or she shall preside over his or her Section’s sessions.
Section 3. Terms of Section Chairs. Each Section Chair shall be elected to a term of three years and shall be eligible to be elected to one additional three-year term. Section Chair terms shall begin at the conclusion of the previous Section Chair’s term, which typically shall be immediately following the MAAR Annual Meeting of the final year of the previous Chair’s term or by the deadline for submission of proposals for the following year’s meeting. Before the end of his or her three-year term, the Section Chair shall inform the President in writing regarding whether he or she desires to be elected to another three-year term or intends this to be his or her final year as Section Chair.
Section 4. Election of Section Chairs. Eligibility to nominate, elect, and serve as a Section Chair shall be determined according to Article III above. Otherwise, in the nominating and electing of Section Chairs there shall be no discrimination on account of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, ideology, political affiliation, age, physical disability, or marital status. When a Section Chair nears completion of one three-year term and wishes to serve a second three-year term, the Board of Directors shall determine by majority vote whether the Chair shall serve another term.
The process for electing a new Section Chair shall be as follows:
Section 6. Vacating of Section Chairs and Appointment of Interim Chairs. If a Section Chair is vacated by death, wrongdoing or neglect of duty (certified by a two-thirds vote of the Regional Board of Directors), or resignation then the Officers, in consultation with the Regional Board of Directors, shall appoint an Interim Section Chair. The Interim Chair shall serve through the next Annual Meeting, at which time the vacated Chair shall be filled by an election according to Article VI. Appointment as Interim Chair shall not prejudice that person’s eligibility to be a candidate for that Section Chair at the next election.
ARTICLE VII. Working Groups
The Regional Board of Directors shall establish, provide charges to, review, and eliminate Standing Working Groups, including determining how positions on working groups shall be filled, as the Board deems necessary to manage the activities and fulfill the purposes of the MAAR. The Executive Working Group shall authorize Ad Hoc Working Groups and appoint members as it deems necessary. Each working group shall respond to the charges given to it by the Board of Directors or Executive Working Group and shall initiate proposals and recommendations to the Board of Directors to further the achievement of the purposes of the MAAR. Each working group shall maintain a record of its meetings, actions, and recommendations and provide reports to the Board of Directors.
ARTICLE VIII. Annual Meeting
An Annual Meeting of the MAAR shall be held in each calendar year at a time and place within the Midwest Region determined by the Regional Board of Directors, typically in late March or early April.
Attendance and participation in the MAAR Annual Meeting shall be open to all members of the AAR and non-members, regardless of their residence.
All who attend the Annual Meeting shall pay a registration fee to cover the costs of the meeting, to be determined by the Officers. The Officers may waive a participant’s registration fee in exceptional circumstances and on a case-by-case basis, such as for the plenary speaker or other significant invitees. Section Chairs who wish to have the registration fee for one of their sessions’ participants waived shall submit their requests to the Regional Coordinator at least six weeks before the Annual Meeting.
The procedure for planning the Annual Meeting shall be as follows:
1. At their Annual Meeting, the Regional Board of Directors shall:
a. Determine the theme, plenary speaker, dates, and location of the following year’s Annual Meeting;
b. Appoint one or more members of the Board to write the Call for Papers, which later shall be approved by the Officers;
c. Determine the deadline for submission of proposals, which typically shall be in mid-December, and the deadline for Section Chairs to submit their panels and sessions to the Vice President/Program Chair, which typically shall be in early January.
2. Following the Annual Meeting, as required, the Regional Coordinator and the President shall begin planning the following year’s Annual Meeting with the site coordinator, including making arrangements for the plenary speaker.
3. By July 1 the Coordinator shall distribute the Call for Proposals to the MAAR membership, and the President will post it on the MAAR Web site, and submit it for publication in Religious Studies News.
4. After the submission deadline, each Section Chair shall review the proposals submitted to his or her Section; organize panels and paper sessions; solicit the participation of scholars, such as panelists to fill out sessions, presiders, and respondents, as required; confirm with participants their audio-visual and other requests; submit his or her panels and sessions to the Program Chair by the deadline; and inform those who submitted proposals of their acceptance or rejection.
5. By early February the Program Chair shall create the Annual Meeting schedule and program booklet, which shall be reviewed by the Officers.
6. By mid-February the President shall post the program booklet and other Annual Meeting information, such as accommodations, on the MAAR Web site and shall make online registration available to the membership.
7. During the Annual Meeting, the Coordinator shall be responsible for distributing name tags and program booklets to registered participants and managing on-site registration.
8. Following the Meeting, the Coordinator shall distribute an electronic survey requesting feedback from those who attended.
Article VIII. Business Meeting
An annual Business Meeting of the MAAR shall be held during each Annual Meeting and shall be open to all who are attending the MAAR Annual Meeting, although only members of the MAAR shall be able to vote on regional matters, if required. The purpose of the Business Meeting is to inform members of actions taken by the Regional Board of Directors, announce the results of the election of Officers, and present paper awards and for any other business that may properly arise. If the election of Officers does not occur via electronic (online) voting before the Annual Meeting, then the election of Officers shall occur by paper ballot during the Business Meeting.