Institute for Social Justice Bylaws

  1. Mission
    1. In support of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse’s commitment to Inclusive Excellence, the mission of the Institute for Social Justice is to create and support a community of scholars committed to social justice research and advocacy; to engage and mentor students who are interested in pursuing social justice research, social justice advocacy, and/or careers in social justice fields; and to form partnerships with social justice organizations in the La Crosse community.
  2. Purpose
    1. The purpose of the Institute for Social Justice is to fill the gap in current Inclusive Excellence initiatives on campus that focus primarily on awareness and often curriculum, but much less on research and research-informed advocacy.  The fulfillment of the Institute’s vision will provide benefits for all stakeholders by providing a centralized structure that facilitates connections between employees, students, and the La Crosse community.  As such, support for ISJ demonstrates a commitment to:
      1. Faculty research endeavors. The presence of a social justice institute on campus has the potential to attract diverse faculty who do social justice research and research-informed advocacy, and provide such faculty with a community of scholarly support throughout their tenure at UWL.
      2. Students, especially students of color and students from other marginalized groups, who are interested in pursuing social justice research and advocacy.  To date there has not been an organized effort to incorporate Inclusive Excellence within as opposed to outside the “academic” sphere at UWL.  As a result, students may become more aware of social justice issues, but lack an understanding of social justice scholarship with which to ground their awareness and to more fully conceive how to address social inequalities.  ISJ takes up this challenge by providing students with an opportunity to move beyond awareness to action in the form of research-informed advocacy.
      3. The La Crosse Community.  Forming partnerships with the La Crosse community around social justice research and advocacy provides opportunities for faculty and student research endeavors and employment/internship opportunities for students, as well as offers the possibility of securing financial resources with which to advance the mission of the Institute.
      4. The mission and vision of UWL.  Not only does the Institute for Social Justice further the Inclusive Excellence initiative at UWL, it has the potential to increase student enrollments as there is no other institute in the surrounding area, including at UW-Madison, that shares the structure and scope of ISJ.
  3. Director 
    1. Appointment: The Director of the Institute for Social Justice is appointed by and reports to the Dean of the College of Liberal Studies (CLS).  Because ISJ is a university-wide institute, the Director is not required to be an administrator, faculty member, or staff member in the College of Liberal Studies.  
    2. Responsibilities: The Director is responsible for overseeing all day-to-day institute-related initiatives.  This includes, but is not limited to:
      1. Creating and organizing a database of all UWL faculty and staff who do social justice research;
      2. Creating and organizing a website with resources for faculty, staff, and students who are interested in social justice research and research-informed advocacy;
      3. Organizing opportunities for UWL social justice scholars to share their research and solicit feedback from colleagues;
      4. Work to provide opportunities for students to collaborate with Institute-affiliated faculty in order to gain hands-on experience conducting social justice research;
      5. Collaborate with other UWL offices and departments that are committed to social justice issues;
      6. Apply for grant monies to support Institute-related initiatives;
      7. Prepare an annual report for submission to the Provost and all UWL Deans;
      8. Work to gain the support of colleges and units throughout the university;
      9. Develop and/or revise bylaws for the Institute, including an evaluation process for the Director;
      10. Provide opportunities for faculty development on social justice issues;
      11. Identify and partner with community organizations;
      12. Manage the Institute budget;
      13. Supervise any student interns; 
      14. Identify and make available curricular resources for ISJ faculty and staff; and
      15. Organize an annual social justice week/conference for the campus and surrounding community.
    3. Term of Service: The Director’s term of office is three years and can be renewed at the discretion of the CLS Dean.  There are no limits on the number of terms the Director may be appointed.  However, the Director cannot serve more than two consecutive terms at a time unless there is not another university employee willing and qualified to serve as Director, or at the discretion of the Dean.  In this case, the Director may serve a third consecutive term.  Upon completion of the Director’s term, the Director is encouraged to serve as an ex officio member of the Advisory Committee for one term. 
    4. Evaluation: The CLS Dean and ISJ Director will work together to create an instrument to evaluate the Director’s performance annually in the spring. At the Dean’s discretion feedback may be sought from the Advisory Committee.
  4. Advisory Committee 
    1. Appointment: In collaboration with the CLS Dean, members of the Advisory Committee will be appointed by and report to the Director of ISJ.  New committee members will be solicited via e-mail by the ISJ Director.  The Advisory Committee will be comprised of a minimum of six and a maximum of eight faculty, staff, and/or administrators, one undergraduate student representative, and one graduate student representative.  Two or three alternates may also be identified in the case that one or more Advisory Committee members are not able to serve out their term.  To maintain a diversity of perspectives on the Advisory Committee, only one member from a department/office may serve at a time.  An exception may be made at the discretion of the Director and Advisory Committee if there are fewer than six faculty, staff, or administrators who are willing to serve.  The Director will strive to appoint persons to the Advisory Committee that represent important departments and offices on campus that are engaged in social justice work, and invite persons from one or more of these departments and offices to serve as a consultant(s) to the Advisory Committee in an ex officio capacity.
    2. ResponsibilitiesThe purpose of the Advisory Committee is to bring unique perspectives and skills to bear on all matters that pertain to the Institute.  While the Advisory Committee does not have formal authority to govern the Institute, its role in advising and making recommendations to the Director is a critical one.  As such, responsibilities include:
      1. Attend monthly meetings called by the Director.  If a member cannot attend regularly scheduled meetings during an academic year, an alternate will be called to serve out the member’s term.  The member will receive written notification that an alternate has been called.  If a member misses more than two regularly scheduled meetings during an academic year without prior notice, the Director may call an alternate to serve out the member’s term.  If this occurs, the member will be notified in writing that an alternate has been called;
      2. Respond to requests from the Director during formal meetings and/or via e-mail for feedback, and provide input on various Institute initiatives; 
      3. Regularly attend Institute sponsored events including the ISJ Annual Spring Meeting;
      4. Help prioritize ISJ goals both short-term and long-term;
      5. Participate in planning and organizing ISJ initiatives as needed;
      6. Help raise awareness of the work ISJ is doing both on campus and off;
      7. Other duties as agreed upon by the Director and the member or members of the Advisory Committee.
    3. Term of Service: An Advisory Committee member’s term of service is two years and can be renewed at the discretion of the Director.  While there is no limit on the number of terms an Advisory Committee member can be appointed, no Advisory Committee member may serve more than two consecutive terms.