Section I: Mission and Purposes
A. Name: SLAC-WPA, Inc. as an acronym for Small Liberal Arts Colleges-Writing Program Administrators, Inc.
B. Mission: The central mission of SLAC-WPA is to support the teaching of writing at small liberal arts colleges where curricular histories, size, residentiality, and faculty structure present unique opportunities for teaching writing that accords with the intellectual, academic, and civic values often associated with liberal education. Because liberal arts curricula often aim to shape the whole intellectual person by inviting students to experience the traditions of knowledge-making across the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and arts and because many liberal arts colleges aim to prepare their students for lives of leadership, these colleges value writers who can adapt their discourses to various deliberative, persuasive, and innovational occasions. SLAC-WPA welcomes information and discussion about administrative and scholarly practices, and supports research on the theories, histories, and cultures associated with writing in the liberal arts. In addition, SLAC-WPA meets annually to address issues that emerge in administering writing programs and writing centers, to share research on teaching writing in the liberal arts, and to foster a nationally-inflected collective identity.
- To promote awareness and understanding of the distinct opportunities for and challenges of writing instruction and writing program administration in the small liberal arts college, which has traditionally valued effective writing and communication as core values of the liberal arts mission
- To identify and articulate the best theories, practices, and pedagogies associated with the teaching of writing and administration of writing programs in the context of the small liberal arts college.
- To encourage scholarship and research, both individual and collaborative, that inform the teaching and tutoring of writing in the setting of the small liberal arts college.
- To support practitioners in identifying shared interests, initiating collaborative projects, and carrying out cross-college initiatives.
- To represent the interests of small liberal arts college writing programs to relevant national organizations and to the wider public.
Section II: Membership
A. Membership in SLAC-WPA is offered to persons associated with those colleges and universities who meet the following criteria: 1) have a student body of no more than 3500 students; 2) are independently supported as a private entity; 3) have a primarily residential arrangement for students; and 4) are dedicated to a liberal arts mission.
B. Membership offers the opportunity to participate in the organization’s on-line listserv, to attend the annual conference fee (which has a registration fee), and to serve on the Executive Board.
Section III: Governance | Executive Board Members’ General Duties
A. Maintain an affiliation with a college or university meeting the criteria set forth in Section IIA above.
B. Oversee and set policies for the general operation of the organization.Approve the annual budget and authorize expenses.
C. Set dues for membership.
D. Lead committees and fulfill their charges as directed by the President.
E. Amend by-laws. (See Section IX).
F. At the end of their term of office, hand over all relevant materials in their possession to that position’s incoming office-holder.
G. Regularly attend SLAC-WPA-sponsored meetings and events.
H. Identify likely candidates for and choose future conference hosts.
I. Attend monthly Executive Board business meetings.
J. Hold a business meeting for all SLAC-WPA members at the annual conference.
Section IV: Governance | Executive Board Members’ Terms and Duties
- Except for the Vice President, the President, the Immediate Past President, and Conference Host all Executive Board members serve three-year terms.
- The person elected to be the Vice President will serve one year in that position, two years as the President, and one year as the Immediate Past President, for a total of four Therefore:
- In Year One, the newly-elected Vice President works with the President.
- In Year Two, the Vice President becomes the President and the President becomes the Immediate Past President.
- In Year Three, a newly-elected Vice President works with the President and the Immediate Past President cycles off the Board.
- In Year Four, the Vice President becomes the President and the President becomes the Immediate Past President.
- President: Serves for two years
a. Assumes ultimate responsibility for all organizational functions.
b. Calls, plans agendas, and presides over regular board and member meetings.
c. Represents the organization in making public its organizational policies and decisions.
d. Authorizes, charges, and appoints all committees, subcommittees, and task forces consistent with specifications in Section V of the by-laws.
e. In consultation with the other Executive Board members, appoints ex-officio Executive Board members.
f. Coordinates with conference host in first year of term. (VP coordinates in second year.)
g. Serves a two-year term (following one year as Vice President); assumes the office of Immediate Past President subsequently.
- Vice President
a. Coordinates with and advises President as requested.
b. Coordinates with conference host.
c. In the temporary absence of the President, presides at meetings of the board and membership.
d. Circulates reports from other Board members of the organization at SLAC-WPA meetings in their absence.
e. Serves a one-year term; assumes the office of President subsequently.
- Immediate Past President: Serves for one year
a. In the temporary absence of the President and Vice President, presides at board meetings.
b. Assumes the duties of President if the office of President becomes vacant during the current President’s term.
c. Consults and advises President as requested.
d. Office can be held on its own or in conjunction with the offices of Secretary or Treasurer.
e. Serves a one-year term (following one year as Vice President and two years as President).
- Secretary: Serves for three years
a. Takes and prepares minutes of meetings; delivers minutes to the board within 14 days for distribution, review, and approval.
b. Organizes, maintains, and archives all organizational records and makes them available as requested.
c. Maintains membership roster.
d. Presides over board member elections.
e. Coordinates SLAC-WPA website design with paid designer and regularly updates the website.
f. Maintains membership email listserv.
g. Serves a three-year term.
- Treasurer: Serves for three years
a. Handles all financial transactions on behalf of SLAC-WPA.
b. Pays bills and signs contracts as authorized by the Executive Board.
c. Submits a yearly financial report to the Executive Board.
d. Ensures that SLAC-WPA complies with all IRS regulations for maintaining 501(C)(3) tax-exempt status, including annual tax filing.
e. Serves a three-year term.
- Current Conference Host: Serves for one year; second year is optional
a. Organizes annual conference.
b. Follows and revises, if need be, the Conference Host Handbook.
c. Serves a one-year term preceding the hosting of the conference, with the option to serve a second year as advisor to incoming host.
- Two At-Large Representatives: Serve for three years
a. Provides guidance and advice to other Executive Board members.
b. Participates in Executive Board meetings and other general work of the Executive
c. Temporarily take on the duties of absent members.
d. Constitutes, leads, and/or liaises with ad-hoc working groups.
e. Helps plan and implement the annual conference.
f. Each serves a three-year term.
Section V: Governance | Standing Committees and Working Groups
A. Standing Committees: Standing committees comprise but are not limited to those named and are charged with but not limited to the following purposes:
- Awards and Grants: Award the Martinson Award for Writing Program Administration Excellence, SLAC-WPA grants, and other special recognitions.
- Events: With the assistance of the Immediate Past Conference Host, and/or the President or Vice President, recruits, selects, and negotiates memoranda of understanding with annual conference hosts; updates Event Hosting Handbook.
- Publications: Develops ideas for SLAC-WPA-sponsored publications, coordinates consortium-involved publication in national journals, monographs, and edited collections.
B. Working Groups: These will be established by the Executive Board on an as-needed basis.
Amendment, approved January 6, 2023: Members are not eligible to apply for the Martinson Award while they or representatives of their institution are serving on the Executive Board or on the Awards and Grants Subcommittee.
Section VI: Annual Meetings and Events
A. The Annual Meeting of the membership shall take place at the annual SLAC-WPA conference.
B. The Executive Board typically shall meet on a monthly basis throughout the academic year.
Section VII: Voting and Elections
A. All Executive Board positions are elected.
B. Elections are decided by a simple majority.
C. Voting for all elections are held online using a confidential voting mechanism.
D. Insofar as possible, elections follow this timeline; beginnings and endings of terms are staggered so that only one person at a time is rotating off:
- four months prior to transfer of office at the annual meeting, nominations open;
- three months prior to transfer of office at the annual meeting, balloting opens for two weeks;
- two months prior to transfer of office at the annual meeting, results are announced.
E. If an Executive Board position is vacated before the end of a board member’s term, the Executive Board will appoint an interim board member to serve in that position until the position can be filled through the election process (Section VII) during the next annual election. Interim board member appointments will be decided by a majority vote of current board members during a board meeting.
Section VIII: Finances and Financial Relationships
Should SLAC-WPA, Inc. disband, its assets shall be dispersed at the will of the Executive Board
in compliance with IRS regulations for tax exempt organizations.
Section IX: Amendments to the By-laws
A. The by-laws must be re-adopted every five years.
B. In the interim years, during the Annual Meeting, the Executive Board will solicit feedback from the membership about the by-laws (and other matters).
C. Should the need arise to amend the by-laws, a suggested amendment must be submitted in writing to the Executive Board seven weeks before the Annual M
D. Suggested amendments will be published on the SLAC-WPA website and voted on at the Annual Meeting by the membership.
Section X: Petition Process
Any member may petition to have a matter brought before SLAC-WPA by addressing a letter of request to the Executive Board. This letter must be received at least one month before the beginning of the annual conference when the Annual Meeting takes place. At that meeting, the member will be given time in a general public forum to discuss the matter in the letter, unless the Executive Board already has taken action regarding the matter. Votes on petitions shall be by a ballot sent to all members of the organization within two months after the Annual Meeting. Any vote on a petition shall be determined by a simple majority of all votes cast. The Executive Board may also, at its discretion, submit petitions to the members for adoption by a vote.
Section XI: Indemnification
The corporation shall, to the extent that law permits, indemnify each person who may serve or who has served at any time as a board or committee member of the corporation against all expenses and liabilities, including, without limitation, counsel fees, judgments, fines, excise taxes, penalties, and settlement payments, reasonably incurred by or imposed upon such person in connection with any threatened, pending, or completed action, suit, or proceeding in which such person may become involved by reason of service to the corporation.
Section XII: Termination of Membership
The Executive Board reserves the right to terminate membership of any person whose activities within the SLAC-WPA are antithetical to or in conflict with the organization’s mission statement.