On February 16, 2021 the CIRTL 2.0 Working Group proposed that the CIRTL Network adopt the following Constitution & Bylaws describing the organization and governance of the Network. Using a sociocratic process in accordance with CIRTL’s decision-making policy, this proposal was discussed and voted on during the Spring 2021 Virtual In-Person Meeting. The proposal passed with a count of 58 Yes, 0 No, and 0 Abstain votes on March 4, 2021. Implementation of the Constitution & Bylaws began on July 1, 2021.
Article I: Name
Article II: Mission
Article III: Membership
Article IV: Organization and Governance
Article V: Meetings and Decision Making
Article VI: Amendments
Article VII: Dissolution of Assets
Article I: Leadership
Article II: Membership
Article III: Committees
Article IV: Meetings
Article V: Nominations and Elections
Article VI: Decision Making
Article VII. Host Institution
Article VIII: Notice
Article IX: Parliamentary Protocol
Article X: Fiscal Year
Article XI: Amendments
Article XII: Dissolution of Assets
Article XIII: Term
The name of the organization shall be the Center for Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning, hereinafter referred to as “CIRTL”. CIRTL was established in 2003 as a National Science Foundation Center for Teaching and Learning and is now a network of collaborating universities with an administrative home at a member institution (“host institution”), known as the CIRTL Network (“Network”).
The CIRTL mission is to enhance excellence in undergraduate education through the development of a national faculty committed to implementing and advancing effective teaching practices for diverse learners as part of successful and varied professional careers.
To fulfill this mission, CIRTL has developed, implemented, and evaluated successful strategies for preparing future faculty for careers that integrate research, teaching, and learning. Three core ideas provide the conceptual framework for all that CIRTL does:
- Learning-through-Diversity Learning-through-diversity capitalizes on the rich array of experiences, backgrounds, and skills among STEM undergraduates and graduates-through-faculty to enhance the learning of all. It recognizes that excellence and diversity are necessarily intertwined.
- Teaching-as-Research Teaching-as-research is the deliberate, systematic, and reflective use of research methods by science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) instructors to develop and implement teaching practices that advance the learning experiences and outcomes of both students and teachers.
- Learning Communities Learning communities bring together groups of people for shared learning, discovery, and generation of knowledge. To achieve common learning goals, a learning community nurtures functional relationship among its members.
Section 1. Members
Membership is by institution (known as “Member”). Eligible institutions for membership are graduate-degree-granting universities that prepare graduate students and postdoctoral scholars who will teach in undergraduate education. Each institution will appoint an Institutional Leader and an Administrative Co-Leader to lead their CIRTL learning community.
Section 2. Participants
Graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, faculty, and staff who are either employed by Members or enrolled at Members are defined for the purposes of the Constitution and Bylaws as “Participants” and have full access to CIRTL resources, activities, courses, and discussions.
Section 1. Institutional Leaders and Administrative Co-Leaders represent the Members in governance.
Section 3. CIRTL may have Standing Committees, convened as described in the Bylaws.
Section 4. CIRTL may have ad hoc committees, convened as described in the Bylaws.
Section 5. CIRTL may have an alumni community, convened as described in policies.
Section 1. CIRTL shall conduct its business activities through in-person and on-line meetings, as described in the Bylaws or other documents.
Section 2. Voting privileges shall be exercised by the Member Institutional Leader and Administrative Co-Leader for matters requiring an institutional vote, as described in the Bylaws and policy documents.
Section 1. Proposals
Proposals for amendments to the Constitution are presented to the Leadership Team for review and consideration for Network decision.
Section 2. Notice
The Constitution may be amended by Network decision as defined in the Bylaws at a meeting of the Network in which the membership received notice of the proposed change at least 60 days in advance.
Section 3. Quorum
A Quorum for the purposes of amending the Constitution consists of 90% of institutions being represented by at least one eligible voter or proxy, in-person or virtually, at the time of the vote.
In the event of dissolution, the assets of CIRTL, after payment of debts and obligations, shall be returned to current Members, as outlined in the Bylaws.
The Leadership Team (LT) is the decision-making authority as regards policies, using sociocratic processes as described in the decision-making policy, except for issues that fall under the decision-making purview of the Network as a whole or are specifically delegated to a Standing Committee. The LT shall determine when a policy needs to be decided by the Network. The LT shall advise the Director on operational decisions such as revenue planning, program expenditures, initiatives, network procedures and practices, and implementation of CIRTL policies.
The LT shall consist of eight people including the Director, Associate Director, four people elected from the CIRTL Leaders and Administrative Co-Leaders of Members, an elected graduate student or post-doctoral scholar to represent people who participate in CIRTL learning communities, and an elected at-large person from the Participants, except individuals from constituencies represented by the dedicated slots listed above. Elected people shall serve two year terms; terms shall be staggered such that half of the elected positions are open in any given year. The Director shall serve as the Chair of the Leadership Team.
In addition to roles described under Authority above, the Leadership Team shall fulfill regular duties, including:
- Planning and attendance at monthly Administrative and Network meetings.
- Providing substantive input to the planning of the twice yearly General meetings.
- Reviewing of Member contributions once per year.
- Implementing other procedures and practices as needed.
- Providing regular reports on LT activities.
The Director is elected by the Members. The Director is responsible for execution of policies and procedures, implementation of CIRTL Network initiatives, and addressing issues that arise within the Network with respect to programming, committees, budget, and strategic considerations, with advice of the Leadership Team. The Director serves as the Chair of the Leadership Team and serves as the leader of CIRTL.
The Director shall:
- Carry out all provisions of the Constitution and Bylaws.
- Preside at all General, Administrative, Network and Leadership Team meetings, or designate an alternate.
- Hire (upon the recommendation of a hiring committee) and co-supervise (in conjunction with the host institution) the Associate Director.
- Have authority to commit CIRTL resources and CIRTL’s participation in aligned initiatives.
- Present an annual budget and financial statement to the Network.
- Make operational decisions that guide the Network, such as actions related to finances, staffing and Network operations and initiatives.
- Work to secure the sustainability of the CIRTL Network, by maintaining relationships with Network Members and Participants, other organizations, and public and private funders.
- Lead and/or facilitate efforts to secure outside funds to support Network operations, development or research.
- Engage in membership development, in conjunction with the Membership Operations Group. This may include recruiting new institutional members, understanding member departures, and managing leadership changes within the Network.
- Represent the CIRTL Network at international and national, disciplinary or other meetings, as appropriate.
- Respond to internal and external inquiries regarding external funding proposals, working groups, and partnerships.
The Associate Director (AD) is appointed by the Director. The AD is responsible for the operations of the CIRTL Network. The AD oversees a staff (“CIRTL Central”) assisting in operations of the Network and in coordination of the Cross-Network Learning Community. The AD is typically a staff person employed by the host institution, but under some circumstances might be employed through an external contract (e.g., a subcontract to another institution or directly with the AD). The AD is a member of the LT.
The Associate Director shall:
- Make day-to-day operational decisions in collaboration with the Director and with advice from the LT, as needed.
- Ensure performance reviews of CIRTL staff are completed.
- Hire, supervise and (as necessary) terminate the employment of CIRTL staff, within the rules of the host institution.
- Serve as facilitator for the LT in sociocratic decision-making.
- Manage finances of CIRTL.
- Oversee contracts with individuals and vendors.
- Serve on committees and working groups, as needed.
- Coordinate data collection, prepare annual reports, and archive documents.
- Implement Network policies.
- Collaborate with Membership Operations Group to build and maintain Network membership.
- Liaise with host institution administrative services, business services, IRB, purchasing.
- Oversee and coordinate communications — website, correspondence, etc.
- Coordinate with staff so that records are prepared and archived after the monthly Administrative and Network meetings.
Each Member institution will have an Institutional Leader and an Administrative Co-Leader. These two positions bear primary responsibility for the success of the CIRTL learning community of the institution. The Leader and Administrative Co-Leader are voting representatives for the Member institution. Broad guidance on these roles can be found in policy and guidance documents. The specific duties of the Institutional Leader and Administrative Co-Leader are determined locally.
Each institution determines who will serve in the roles. General practice is that the Institutional Leader is a senior member of the institution’s faculty, but it is not a requirement. The Administrative Co-Leader may be either faculty or staff.
The Institutional Leader and Administrative Co-Leader shall:
- Actively engage in developing and leading their CIRTL learning community, including integrating Cross-Network offerings into the local programming. The specific duties and procedures are defined by the Member.
- Ensure fulfillment of institution dues and in-kind contributions, and any other obligations.
- Provide to CIRTL Central an annual Institutional Profile report.
- Attend and participate in the Administrative on-line meeting and the two general meetings; participate in online Network meetings as much as possible.
- Actively participate in the discussion on proposals which require network approval and to participate in the voting processes.
- Act as institutional liaisons between CIRTL Central and the Member institution.
Section 5. CIRTL Central
CIRTL Central staff assist with the operations of the Network and coordination of the Cross-Network Learning Community.
- Implement the day-to-day operations of the Network and the Cross-Network Learning Community.
Section 6. Terms
- The Director serves a three-year term. No limit is prescribed on the number of terms that can be served, but a goal is that leadership will change regularly in order to enhance diversity and breadth of experience.
- The elected people on the Leadership Team serve two-year terms. No limit is prescribed on the number of terms, but again, a goal is that leadership will change regularly.
- The durations of Institutional Leader and Administrative Co-Leader are set by the Member.
- The Associate Director serves at-will. Continuation is determined by the Director, with advice of the Leadership Team, within human resources policies of the host institution.
Section 7. Vacancies
- If the position of Director becomes vacant, the LT selects an Interim Director until an election can be held. The newly elected Director would begin a new three-year term.
- If a position on the Leadership Team becomes vacant, the LT may choose to fill it, either by appointment or election, taking into account the length of the remaining term.
- If a position on a Standing Committee becomes vacant, the Director, in consultation with the LT, may choose to fill it, either by appointment or election, taking into account the length of the remaining term.
Section 1. Membership Process
Membership is by institution. Eligible institutions are required to submit an application for membership. Criteria for membership shall be determined by the Membership Operations Group.
Section 2. Dues and Obligations
Members contribute annual dues and in-kind contributions to the Network, the latter in support of Cross-Network activities and Network leadership and development. The level of dues and in-kind contributions is proposed by the LT and approved by the Members.
Section 3. Membership year
The membership year shall coincide with the fiscal year.
Section 1. Process for Creating Committees
The Director, with advice from the Leadership Team, may create committees and working groups.
Proposals for committees or working groups also may be submitted to the Leadership Team, which reviews them and advises the Director on how to proceed.
New Standing Committees are incorporated into the Bylaws by amendment.
Section 2. Committee structure
- Types of committees
- Standing Committee
- Ad-hoc committee and working group
- Those serving on committees shall be from the Member institutions.
- Each committee shall have a chair.
- Committee decision-making is based on the Sociocracy method of consent.
Section 3. Committee leadership
- The committee chair shall:
- Be an active member of the Network.
- Assist in recruitment of members, especially for committees and working groups which do not have elected members.
- Be responsible for submitting periodic updates to the Director and Leadership Team, including a final update before transitioning out of the Chair role.
- Cross-Network Operations Group (CNOG)
Charged with overseeing the Cross-Network curriculum offerings to ensure that they reflect the CIRTL Core Ideas and Learning Outcomes, are responsive to Network needs, and embody a diverse and evolving set of formats to provide for future faculty development in teaching and learning across the network.
The CNOG shall consist of seven people including the Cross-Network Learning Community Manager (or designee) and six elected people from Member institutions who have had prior or current leadership positions or other involvement in CIRTL programming. Elected people serve a three-year term; terms shall be staggered such that one-third of the elected positions are open in any given year. If a vacancy occurs the LT may choose to fill an open term, either by appointment or election, depending on the length of the remaining term.
The CNOG works closely with the Cross-Network Learning Community Manager to:
- Plan Cross-Network curriculum
- Solicit and evaluate programming proposals
- Work with instructors to improve proposed offerings
- Read evaluations and incorporate feedback into future proposal decisions
- Develop relevant policies related to participation in and institutional responsibility for the Cross-Network offerings
- Make recommendations to the Leadership Team when necessary
The Chair is selected annually by the committee
- Membership Operations Group (MOG)
The charge to the MOG is to guide the evolving membership of the CIRTL Network, in concert with the strategic directions of the Network. As part of their charge, at regular intervals according to the guidance of the Network, the MOG presents a slate of new Members to the Leadership Team.
The MOG shall consist of seven people including the Associate Director (or designee) and six elected people from Member institutions with prior or current leadership or other involvement in CIRTL programming. Elected people serve a three-year term; terms shall be staggered such that one-third of the elected positions are open in any given year. If a vacancy occurs the LT may choose to fill an open term, either by appointment or election, depending on the length of the remaining term.
- Liaising with the Leadership Team and the Network regarding new-membership needs, processes, and plans.
- Updating and executing the outreach to potential new members.
- Updating and executing the membership application and review process (including the application and review timeline)
- Updating and executing the onboarding process for new members.
- Providing annual updates to the Network at in-person and/or virtual meetings.
The Chair is selected annually by the committee.
The Leadership Team shall create a charge for the ad-hoc committee or working group detailing the scope of the work.
The size of the committee membership will be determined by the Leadership Team. Membership on the committee is voluntary. Terms of membership are determined by the Leadership Team.
The Chair is appointed by the Director.
The length of term of an ad-hoc committee or working group shall be determined in accordance with the group charge.
Section 1. The three types of standard meetings are:
- General Meeting
A semi-annual meeting for strategic planning, sharing of knowledge, community building and, when needed, decision-making. They are semi-annual, held in the Spring, usually in March, and Fall, usually in October, of each year. As possible and desired, General Meetings are in-person and typically hosted by a Member institution. The LT approves the date and venue. General meetings are attended by Institutional Leaders, Administrative Co-Leaders, Participants, CIRTL staff, and guests.
- Administrative Meeting
A monthly meeting of all Member Institutional Leaders and Administrative Co-Leaders which is held on-line. The agenda is related to the administration and operations of the CIRTL Network.
- Network Meeting
A monthly meeting of Institutional Leaders, Administrative Co-Leaders and Participants which is held on-line. The meeting advances the CIRTL learning community, for example in the sharing of best practices and ideas from across the Network.
Section 2. Special meetings
Special meetings may be called by the Director. At least 30 days notice of a special meeting shall be given to the membership. Business not included in the notice shall not be transacted.
Section 3. Decisions requiring consent of the Members can only be discussed and decided at a General Meeting, a Network Meeting, or at a special meeting (Section 2).
The Director shall announce the number of open positions on the Leadership Team and invite nominations; either self-nomination or nomination of an Institutional Leader or Co-Leader with that person’s permission. The Director shall specify the time period for submission.
For the four CIRTL Network leaders positions, having been an CIRTL Institutional Leader or Administrative Co-Leader for at least one year, and preferably but not necessarily, having served the CIRTL Network in another leadership capacity, such as being a member of a CIRTL committee or working group.For the graduate student or postdoctoral scholar position, having achieved the Practitioner level, and verification of their status and endorsement by their institutional CIRTL leaders.For the at-large position, anyone at a Network institution who is active in a local CIRTL learning community or active in cross-Network activities. People from constituencies represented by dedicated slots on LT are not eligible.
- Conduct of election
The election will be conducted using online voting software during a specified time period announced by the Director.Each institution will have two votes, the Institutional Leader and the Administrative Co-Leader will each cast a vote for each open position.
A call for Director applicants is issued approximately one year prior to the beginning of the next Director term. Applicants can self-nominate or be nominated by another person with permission from the nominee. The Leadership Team works with each applicant to develop a “package” of arrangements that would allow the candidate to devote the appropriate time and energy to serving in this role. A slate of candidates is developed.
Candidates for the Director position will have been a CIRTL Institutional Leader or Administrative Co-Leader for at least 1 year. In addition, candidates should have served the CIRTL Network in a leadership capacity, preferably, but not necessarily, by serving on the LT. Candidates having served in other CIRTL leadership roles, such as chairing standing committees, are also eligible.
- Conduct of election
The election will be conducted using online voting software during a specified time period announced by the Director. Each institution will have two votes, the Institutional Leader and the Administrative Co-Leader will each cast a vote.
The Director shall announce the number of open positions on the Standing Committees and invite nominations; either self-nomination or nomination of another candidate with that person’s permission. The Director shall specify the time period for submission.
Anyone at a Network institution who is active in a local CIRTL learning community or active in cross-Network activities.
- Conduct of election
The election will be conducted using online voting software during a time period specified by the Director. Each institution will have two votes, the Institutional Leader and the Administrative Co-Leader will each cast a vote for each open position.
Decision-making for all matters of the Network, the LT, and Committees that do not require a formal vote shall be done by consent using the principles and processes of the Sociocracy Method, as described in policy documents.
Section 1. Committee Decision Making
Committee-level policy decision-making is done by consent through the Sociocratic method.
Section 2. Network Decision Making
Proposals can be brought forth by the Network, as described in the decision-making policy.
All proposals are submitted to the Leadership Team, which reviews them and advises the Director on how to proceed. The Leadership Team may advise that the proposal is best decided by an existing committee, operations group, or working group; that a new working group should be formed to discuss and decide on the proposal; or that the Network as a whole should discuss and decide on the proposal.
Network-level decision-making is done through a modified Sociocratic process, as defined in policy documents. The Sociocratic method is first used to guide discussions of the whole Network. Thereafter, the final decision on adoption is done by a vote.
- Voting process
An item must receive a super-majority of 90% of votes cast to pass.The Institutional Leader and Administrative Co-Leader are eligible to vote. The Institutional Leader and Administrative Co-Leader can designate proxies to cast votes on their behalf. When designating a proxy, an eligible voter must alert the AD ahead of the vote, according to the proxy process.Leaders (or their proxies) can cast yes votes, no votes, or abstentions. Institutions without eligible voters present forfeit their right to vote and will be recorded as absent.If an Institutional Leader or Administrative Co-Leader position is empty at the time of the vote, that position will forfeit their right to vote.
Section 3. Quorum
A Quorum for the purposes of conducting a vote, the final step in the CIRTL sociocratic Network-level decision-making process, consists of 90% of institutions being represented by at least one eligible voter or proxy, in-person or virtually, at the time of the vote.
Section 1. Definition
The operational administration of CIRTL will be within a Member, known as the host institution.
Section 2. Memorandum of Agreement
The relationship between CIRTL and the host institution will be governed by a Memorandum of Agreement (“MOA”). This MOA will conform to the CIRTL Bylaws and address financial and administrative responsibilities, including but not limited to:
- Fiduciary and human resource responsibilities;
- Financial agreement for provision of services;
- Services provided (e.g., human resources, purchasing, accounting, legal counsel, office space, library, internet and technical support, conferencing services, other standard university services);
- Process for hiring, supervision and termination of Associate Director and CIRTL staff;
- Processes and conditions for external funding applications, including IRB;
- Intellectual property rights;
- Term of MOA and opt-out options.
Section 3. Signature
The MOA will be signed by the Director, after approval by Network decision.
Notice of official business shall be given 30 days in advance by electronic mail to Institutional Leaders and Administrative Co-Leaders of all current Members.
In matters not specifically provided for in the Constitution and Bylaws, Robert’s Rules of Order, latest edition, shall guide protocol.
The fiscal year shall be July 1 to June 30.
Section 1. Proposals
Proposals for amendments to the Bylaws are presented to the Leadership Team for review and consideration for Network decision as defined in the decision-making policy.
Section 2. Notice
The Bylaws may be amended by Network decision at a meeting of the Network for which Members received notice of the proposed change at least 30 days in advance.
Section 3. Voting
An amendment must receive a super-majority of 90% of votes cast, with voters as described in Article VI.
In the event of dissolution, the assets of CIRTL, after payment of debts and obligations, shall be returned to current Members, as outlined in the Memorandum of Agreement and Member Memoranda of Understanding with the host institution.
Section 1. Implementation
These bylaws go into effect on July 1st following their adoption.
Section 2. Review
- The effectiveness of the Bylaws will be reviewed by the Network three years after their initial implementation.
- Subsequent reviews, either of the entire Bylaws or of sections, may be initiated by the Leadership Team.