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Center By-Laws

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Adopted by CAS Advisory Council and CAS faculty, March 29, 2016


The Center for African Studies (hereafter CAS or the Center) is in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at the University of Florida. Its central mission is to promote and facilitate teaching, research, and scholarship on Africa in all the disciplines at the University of Florida, with emphasis on sub-Saharan Africa.

The Center also disseminates knowledge about Africa to the wider community through its interactions with and outreach programs to schools, colleges, other universities, academic and professional organizations, community groups, and businesses. The Center is committed to sustaining contacts and interactive linkages with individuals and institutions on the African continent and worldwide.


These by-laws establish the general principles that shall guide the governance of the Center for African Studies. The by-laws are governed by and subordinate to the University Constitution, the policies and directives of the Florida Board of Governors and the University of Florida Board of Trustees, and applicable provisions of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, hereinafter called “University Policy.”

Operating within the context and the provisions of these by-laws, governance shall be shared between the administration of the Center and the faculty as represented in the Faculty Advisory Council (FAC).


Membership of the Faculty

The faculty of the CAS consists of assistant professors, associate professors, professors, and others in tenured and tenure accruing ranks; and lecturers, senior lecturers, master lecturers, and scientists and scholars in non-tenure accruing ranks; and other members of the faculty as defined in the University Constitution, appointed in any campus unit, whose research, teaching and/or service deals with Africa and who hold affiliate status or academic appointments in the Center.

For administrative purposes, CAS faculty members are distinguished as being either affiliate faculty or Center-based faculty. Affiliate faculty members are those whose academic appointments reside entirely in other campus units. Center-based faculty members are those whose academic appointments are either fully (100%) or partially in the Center, the latter referred to as joint appointments.

The CAS faculty or the Center Director may recommend individuals for appointment as affiliate faculty members. They may also recommend individuals for appointments as affiliate, provisional, courtesy, and visiting faculty members. The rights and privileges of these latter appointments shall be specified at the time of appointment, but normally will not include participation in Center governance.

Rights and Responsibilities of the Faculty

The responsibilities of the CAS faculty shall include but are not limited to teaching, research and service as related to African studies; and ii) contributing to the mission and governance of the Center. The CAS faculty has a right to assemble to discuss matters of concern to the faculty, which shall be brought to the relevant bodies.

Meetings of the CAS Faculty

An all-faculty meeting shall be held at least once every other year. The Center based faculty will hold at least one meeting each semester. Additional meetings may be called by the Center Director and/or the Faculty Advisory Council, or by at least five of the Center-based faculty.

The Faculty Advisory Council

The Advisory Council of the Center for African Studies is an elected body representing the Africanist faculty of the University of Florida. Its main purpose is to promote the mission, programs and goals of the Center for African Studies in the university, by providing suggestions and advice to the Director and the administrative staff of the Center. It also plays an advocacy role for African Studies and African-related issues within the university as well as the greater community. The Director and Center staff will take the recommendations of the Council into account in policy decisions, but will not be bound by them.

  1. The Council shall comprise nine members from among the UF Africanist faculty.
  2. Six of the nine members shall be elected, and three shall be appointed by the director to ensure inclusive and diverse representation.
  3. Any person meeting the criteria of affiliation listed in Section IV may initiate nominations for election to the Council. Self-nominations will also be accepted.
  4. Any full time University of Florida faculty member or administrator included among the Center’s affiliated faculty is eligible for nomination and election or appointment to the Advisory Council. Affiliation is voluntary, and based on professional interests in African Studies.
  5. Elections: There shall be elections for two of the six elected members every year. The Director will
    appoint one of the three appointed members each year.

    1. The Chair shall solicit nominations and coordinate the collection and counting of the votes. Voting for Council members shall be either by print or email ballot distributed to all eligible faculty. The process shall take place at the end of the spring semester and shall take no more than ten days.
    2. Should a member need to leave the Council before the end of his or her term, the Director will appoint an interim Council member, who will serve out the term. The vacancy will be filled permanently at the time of the next regular election.
  6. Terms: Term lengths are for three years. Following a term on the Council, individuals are eligible for election or to be appointed again after a delay of two years.
  7. Chair of Council: The Council shall annually elect a chairperson from among its members, at the first meeting of the academic year. The Chairperson may be re-elected once, and thus serve for two years. A two-thirds majority will be required to remove the chair.
  8. Committees: The Council will advise the Director on the appointment of committees and their members as needed.
  9. Ex-officio Members: The Director, Associate Director, Outreach Director, Language Coordinator, Africana Bibliographer, Office Manager, and the Chair of the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures serve as ex-officio members of the Council. They are generally expected
    to attend the meetings, but they do not have voting rights.
  10. Meetings and Faculty Participation: All meetings are open to the public under the State’s Sunshine Laws. At the chairperson’s discretion, non-member faculty may participate in proceedings. Faculty members having a direct interest in a specific agenda have the right to be heard before the Council, but only Council members have the right to vote on decisions to be taken by the Council
    1. Any member who misses two consecutive meetings may be replaced unless there are justifiable reasons for the absence, as determined by the Council. Upon notice, an election shall be conducted to select a replacement (see item V concerning procedures for replacing members who leave before the end of their term).
    2. The Council shall generally meet on a monthly basis during the fall and spring semesters.
    3. The fall meeting should be scheduled as early as possible in the academic year so an adequate preview of the year’s agenda can be given.


Director’s Search
  1. The Advisory Council shall nominate faculty members from the CAS center based and affiliate faculty to serve on the search committee for the director.
  2. The chair of the advisory council shall serve on the search committee. If the advisory council chair cannot serve, voting members shall elect an advisory council member to serve on the search committee.
  3. At least one member of the search committee shall hold a center-based appointment or joint appointment with the CAS.
  4. At least one member of the search committee shall be a CAS affiliate with appointment outside CLAS.
  5. The search committee shall reflect the disciplinary diversity of the CAS.
  6. CAS affiliate and Center based faculty will have the opportunity to provide feedback on candidates and search procedures.
  7. The Center director shall be appointed by the dean following a duly constituted search and consideration of faculty feedback, according to the CAS and University policy and regulations.

Among the responsibilities of the Director are:

  1. Oversight of CAS in relation to other departments/programs and administrative offices of the University. The Director shall attend monthly CLAS chairs/directors meetings and any other meetings designated for chairs and directors. The Director shall represent the CAS to other Universities, and/or organizations that have dealing with the CAS.
  2. Management of the CAS, and shall perform the functions necessary to implement all phases of its operation, including space allocation, equipment procedures, and staff hiring and supervision.
  3. Administration of the CAS budget.
  4. Conducting Center elections as required by these By-laws.
  5. Initiating searches for Center-based faculty and staff appointments.
  6. Calling periodic meetings of the faculty.
  7. Appointing the chairs and members of the Center’s Standing Committees and other committees and Task Forces as needed.
  8. Supervising, evaluating, and assigning duties to Center-based faculty members.
  9. Coordinating with chairs of departments who have joint appointments in the CAS to ensure that percentage allocation of faculty service, teaching and research time is congruent with the faculty member’s percentage FTE appointment. The Director shall consult with relevant chairs in the cases of promotion and tenure, and is responsible for ensuring that the faculty members’ contributions to the CAS are recognized.
Other Administrative Officers

As the Dean’s appointee, the Center Director shall appoint other administrative officers of the Center, including the Associate Director, and other professional staff. The Associate Director shall manage the day-to-day activities of the Center; provide advice to the Director on Center affairs; is an ex-officio member of the FAC; and may chair or serve as liaison to other Center committees, as appointed by the Director. The Associate Director may be assigned specific tasks (such as grant management, financial aid, etc.) to assist the Director in addition to his/her regular job duties as described in the position description. The Director who is the Graduate coordinator for African courses may appoint the Associate Director to be the undergraduate coordinator.

As Undergraduate Coordinator (UC), the Associate Director shall represent the Center at relevant college meetings dealing with undergraduate affairs and curriculum. The Associate Director also plans and oversees the Center’s course offerings and carries out other job duties as described in the position description.

The Center’s Outreach Director is responsible for coordinating, organizing, and carrying out the main outreach activities of the Center, principally with respect to schools, colleges, community and other groups at local, state, and national levels. The Outreach Director shall establish priorities and organize and carry out outreach activities in consultation with the Center Director and shall report to the Director on outreach activities and appropriate evaluation of their impacts.

The Center’s Language Coordinator is responsible for coordinating the African language offerings through the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures and the Center and is also responsible for identifying, providing basic training for, and supervising the graduate teaching assistants who teach and assist in the teaching of African languages. He or she also coordinates the work of the lecturers or other non-tenure track faculty who are involved in teaching African languages. The Language Coordinator reports to the Director on all aspects of the Program in African Languages at the University.

Administrative Committees

The Director or the Associate Director shall establish administrative committees as needed to assist in the administration of the Center.


The Center-based faculty shall have primary responsibility for staffing the core courses associated with the Center’s Academic Program, serving as advisors for African studies courses, and advising the Director on appointments of Visiting Faculty. The Center-based faculty shall also advise the Center Director with respect to the Center’s activities and administration.


The standing committees shall include the Foreign Language Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships Committee (generally 5 members appointed by the Director to serve 2-year terms, with the FLAS Coordinator/Associate Director and Language Coordinator serving as ex-officio members); PreDissertation Summer Research Awards Committee (generally 3 members appointed by the Director, rotating annually, with the Associate Director as ex-officio member); Carter Fellow selection Committee; Curriculum Committee (generally 3 members, including at least one joint or full CAS faculty, appointed by the Director, plus the CAS undergraduate and graduate coordinators as appropriate); Merit evaluation committee (generally 3 members, appointed by the Director as discussed below); Fundraising Committee (the Director, and which may include a former CAS Director, at least one Center-based faculty, and at least one affiliate faculty).

Merit evaluation procedures

The Merit Evaluation Committee will consist of three faculty members appointed by the Director, and composed of two Center-based faculty members with appointments in CAS, and one other member of the Advisory Council. To the extent possible, this committee will represent a diversity of ranks and disciplinary fields. The major function of the Merit Evaluation Committee is to provide evaluations of each of the Center-based faculty with respect to the allocation of merit-based pay and salary increases when these are available.

All faculty with appointments in CAS will be required to submit their Annual Activities Report by the deadline announced by the CLAS Dean. This report should include:

  • The CLAS Annual Activities Report form;
  • A current CV;
  • Student course evaluations, along with syllabi and other course materials; and if available, a peer teaching review;
  • Faculty are invited and encouraged also to submit supplemental materials related to research: (e.g. grant applications, letters of acceptance), or to service (invitations to give talks, documentation on conference organization, etc).

These materials will be the basis for annual letters of evaluation which are generally written in collaboration by the Director and the chairs of joint departments for jointly appointed faculty, and by the Director for Center faculty.

When merit pay decisions are possible, the Merit Committee will review all files independently, and rate each faculty member on the basis of submitted materials in three areas: Research, Teaching and Service. In each category, provide rating of: 1. Excellent; 2. Good; 3. Adequate; 4. Inadequate.

The Merit Committee will then meet, along with the CAS director, to discuss and rate each faculty member, on a scale of 1-4 (1 = most meritorious, 2 = very meritorious,3 = meritorious, 4 = not meritorious). The discussion for the final rating will take into account the nature of the individual appointment (e.g. a primarily administrative appointment will be weighted as such, etc.).

These ratings and discussions will be the basis for allocating merit raises, based on the total amount of merit pay available to the Center:


The Center participates in various types of faculty searches, including for joint appointments with other campus units and for full-time (100%) Center appointments.

Searches for Joint Appointments

When a search for a tenured or tenure-accruing joint position is limited to one academic discipline, the search will be conducted by the department or school in which the faculty member will hold academic rank and tenure. Such searches will follow the procedures established by the University and the relevant department and college. The search committee shall include at least one representative of the Centerbased faculty member of appropriate rank.

The appointment for such joint positions shall be made jointly by the Center Director and the Department Chair and respective College Dean.

When a search is being conducted for a tenured or tenure-accruing joint appointment in any one of several disciplines, the search shall normally be conducted by the Center and chaired by a Center-based faculty member appointed by the Director in consultation with the respective College Dean.

Once the search committee has screened the candidates and drawn up a list of potentially suitable candidates for the position, the relevant disciplinary departments shall be consulted prior to inviting candidates to campus. After the campus visits, the departments, following their own internal procedures, will vote on the suitability of those candidates in their disciplines. The search committee shall recommend to the Center Director only candidates approved by their respective departments. The Director will report the evaluations to the Dean, who is the hiring authority for all such positions.

The Center-based faculty and members of the CAS shall normally be given the opportunity to meet with all short-listed candidates for such joint positions. Once the search committee has made its report to the Center Director, the Center-based faculty and members of the CAS shall have the opportunity to discuss this report and advise the Center Director.

Searches for Full-time Center-based Appointments

Search committees for full-time Center-based appointments in non tenure accruing faculty positions shall usually be composed of representatives of the Center-based faculty. The Director may request the Faculty Advisory Council to nominate a representative of the Affiliate faculty to serve on such committees.

The Center-based faculty and members of the FAC will be given the opportunity to meet with all shortlisted candidates for full-time Center-based appointments in tenure or tenure-accruing faculty positions. Once the search committee has made its report to the Center Director, the Center-based faculty and members of the FAC will have the opportunity to discuss this report and advise the Center Director. The Director will report the evaluations to the Dean, who is the hiring authority for all such positions.

  1. The Director of the CAS will support the appointment of a mentor for each untenured Center faculty member. The CAS’ perspective on the mentoring process is that its goal is to provide the untenured faculty member with someone with whom s/he may freely discuss all matters concerning his/her academic career. The selection of a mentor need not be based on similarities in academic work. As such, the role of the mentor is distinct from the mechanisms of evaluation described in section V of the by-laws.
  2. For tenure-track faculty members, the choice of a mentor will follow the standard procedure in the academic department in which the faculty member is to be awarded tenure, and in consultation with the untenured member, if possible and as much as possible.

The CAS-related duties and activities of each faculty member (with respect to teaching, research, and service, and other relevant activities) will be evaluated on an annual basis by the CAS Director. This evaluation will be provided in the annual letter of evaluation written by the CAS Director for each faculty member. In the case of jointly appointed faculty, the letter of evaluation will generally be written in conjunction with the Chair of the department in which a faculty member holds a joint appointment. There will be an opportunity for each faculty member to discuss the annual letter with the CAS Director.

Promotion of Lecturers

The procedures for promoting lecturers in the CAS will follow the established procedures and criteria established by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.


The By-Laws shall be approved by a majority vote of the FAC and the Center based faculty. A vote of the FAS and the CAS faculty may occur in person, on paper, and/or electronically, and shall be conducted to adopt or reject the By Laws within two weeks after its submission to the FAS and CAS faculty. The ByLaws shall become effective if approved by at least 50% of those faculty members voting.

Amending By-Laws

Amendments to the By-Laws may be proposed by the Faculty Advisory Council, Center-based faculty, or by petition of at least 25 affiliated faculty members. Amendments shall require a two-thirds majority vote of the FAC and a majority vote of the CAS-based faculty. The text of proposed amendments shall be distributed to the FAC and Center-based faculty two weeks prior to such vote. Such votes may occur in person, on paper, or electronically.

Effective Date

Adopted by the Center Faculty Advisory Council and the Center-based faculty on March 29, 2016