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These bylaws govern The Fern and Manfred Steinfeld Program in Judaic Studies, which is an interdisciplinary program of the College of Arts and Sciences of the University of Tennessee.  The Program's activities are also governed by policies of the College and of the University and applicable state and Federal regulations. Any provision within these bylaws that conflicts with College or University policies or with state or Federal regulations shall have no effect.

I.  Mission statement

It is the mission of the Fern and Manfred Steinfeld Program in Judaic Studies to pursue excellence in the teaching, scholarship, and outreach to our students, the scholarly community and the community at large. The academic study of Judaism is an interdisciplinary enterprise that encourages engagement with Judaism in all of its cultural, historical, and linguistic diversity, on campus and off. We aim to

  • provide a high-quality program for the academic and non-confessional study of Judaism in the state of Tennessee
  • attract some of UT's most talented students and equip them for the best graduate programs or for professional careers that require knowledge of the requisite languages and a nuanced understanding of how Judaism relates to history and culture, both at home and abroad
  • prepare students to be knowledgeable and critically engaged citizens of the global community
  • support faculty research, instruction, and professional activities that achieve national and international distinction
  • engage in innovative collaborative research and teaching, both at the University of Tennessee and beyond
  • promote intercultural and international learning through research, teaching, and service, both on and off campus
  • play an exemplary role in promoting the University's mission to encourage civility, respect diversity, and foster civic responsibility
  • sustain a working environment of intellectual freedom, equal opportunity and affirmative action for faculty, staff, and students.

II.  Program membership

  • Membership criteria consist of the faculty's interest in and their academic relevance to Judaic Studies. The membership of The Fern and Manfred Steinfeld Program in Judaic Studies shall be composed of faculty without appointments in Judaic Studies. Affiliated faculty are tenured or tenure-track faculty in a number of departments at the University of Tennessee for whom Judaic Studies is a secondary area of research and/or teaching. Members have rights and responsibilities only in their home department, their affiliation with Judaic Studies is voluntary and informal. Faculty consider participation in Judaic Studies as enhancement of their interdisciplinarity.
  • All members shall be eligible to participate in all activities and functions of the Program.  Activities and functions include, but are not limited to serving on the Advisory Committee, proposing themes for programming, teaching Judaic Studies courses, participating in faculty meetings.
  • All affiliated faculty shall be eligible to vote and participate in decisions on programming and curriculum.
  • Requests from faculty interested in joining the Advisory Committee shall be reviewed each semester at a meeting of participating faculty. Interested faculty are invited to participate in the program. Members may propose faculty for membership at any time.
  • Faculty end their association with Judaic Studies by resigning. 

The Program's Chair shall inform the Dean of the College (or an Associate Dean designated by the Dean) of any changes in the Program's membership.

III.  Program governance

  1. Program Chair

    The tenured or tenure-track faculty member in the Department of Religious Studies who holds the Chair of Judaic Studies shall serve as the Chair of the program and is a member of the College's Interdisciplinary Studies Committee. There is no limit. The Chair oversees the day-to-day functioning of the Program, manages the Program's designated funds and endowments which are administered through the Department of Religious Studies, insures that program activities are conducted in accordance with these bylaws, and produces an annual newsletter that also serves as an annual report to the Dean and is distributed to various constituencies within and outside the university.
  2. In the absence of a program chair, any member of the Advisory Committee can serve as the Interim Chair for a renewable one-year term.
  3. Standing committees
    1. Advisory Committee
      • The Advisory Committee shall consist of the Chair of the Program and affiliated faculty.
      • The Advisory Committee shall provide guidance to the Chair in matters regarding programming events, including fundraising and expenditure of existing programming funds. The Advisory Committee shall also advise the Chair concerning the Program's curriculum, including any proposed changes; proposals shall be transmitted to the appropriate divisional Curriculum Committee(s) of the College for further review and approval at the same time as the proposal from the department that is home to the course. The faculty serving on the Advisory Committee shall contribute information about their accomplishments to the annual newsletter of Program activities that the Chair produces.
      • Faculty member serving on the Advisory Committee may serve indefinitely. 
      • The Advisory Committee shall meet once during each semester. The Chair shall prepare an agenda for each Advisory Committee meeting and shall distribute it by electronic mail to members of the Advisory Committee at least 2 days before the date of the Advisory Committee meeting. Advisory Committee meetings shall be open to all Program members.
      • Faculty serving on the JS Advisory Committee may request a meeting at any time by contacting the Chair.  Members of the Advisory Committee shall take part in organizing the JS Program's programming, an educational outreach effort also beyond the university.  The Chair shall also confer with the Advisory Committee concerning curricular matters.
      • The Chair shall insure that minutes of all Steering Committee meetings are sent to the Program's members and to the Dean of the College (or to an Associate Dean designated by the Dean) in a timely fashion.
    2. Curriculum

      Judaic Studies owns no faculty or courses.  All courses that contribute towards the Judaic Studies Major and Minor are cross-listed in conjunction with the home departments.  Changes most frequently occur in conjunction with changes in the home department and when new faculty are hired.
  4. Ad hoc committees

    Ad hoc committees, such as the Scholarship Committee, shall consist of the Chair and two faculty members.  Faculty members may volunteer or be invited to serve by the Chair.  The committees confer as needed.
  5. Definition of quorum and majority; voting procedures

    Unless otherwise specified in these bylaws, decisions of ad hoc committees require a simple majority of the votes cast at a committee meeting.

    A quorum consists of 50% of the faculty members on the Advisory Committee.  Votes are by affirmation, proxy votes are permitted, email votes in programmatic matters are permitted.

IV.  Amendments

These bylaws shall be reviewed by the Advisory Committee at least once every three years.

Amendments to these bylaws can only be considered at a meeting of the Advisory Committee and require the approval of a simplemajority of the Committee.  The text of the proposed amendments must be distributed by electronic mail to members of the Program and members of the Advisory Committee at least 5 days before the date of the Advisory Committee meeting at which the amendments are considered.

The Chair shall inform the Dean of the College (or an Associate Dean designated by the Dean) of any changes in these bylaws which shall go into effect in the subsequent academic year.


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