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SUNY-Stony Brook Humanities Institute Bylaws

I. Mission

  1. The Humanities Institute of Stony Brook University (HISB) supports the research, teaching, outreach and community engagements of Stony Brook University faculty members, graduate and undergraduate students across the humanities, arts and interpretive social sciences. HI facilitates conversations and intellectual exchange across disciplinary boundaries; promotes the humanities locally, regionally, nationally and internationally; and offers both Graduate Fellowships in Public Humanities (NYCH) and Faculty Research Fellowships (AHSSF) to promote cutting-edge humanities scholarship.

 II. Leadership

  1. Director
  2. The Director is vetted and elected by the Advisory Board. The Board consists of the Program Coordinator and up to 15 members of the faculty, selected by each Director for his or her term, who are based in Humanities, Arts and interpretive Social Science departments. Members of the Board should be chosen with strong attention to ethnic, racial and gender diversity as well as discipline.
  3. The Fall Term before the sitting Director finishes his or her term, the Advisory Board will appoint an ad hoc Nominating Committee from within its ranks, who will open nominations for names for suitable faculty from the appropriate disciplines, and will vote on the finalists. Their selection must be approved by the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), who will then appoint the new Director for an initial, renewable three year term. The Director can serve two consecutive terms if the Board approves, but then must step away for an appropriate period. The Director will ordinarily hold the rank of full professor.
  4. The Director reports to and is accountable to the Provost’s Office, which initiated the establishment of the Institute, and to the Dean of CAS.
  5. The Director executes HISB’s policies and administers its affairs, in regular consultation with the Advisory Board. This includes planning the year’s programming, preparing the annual report, and supervising and assessing the staff. The Director shall also represent HISB at national meetings of groups that promote the humanities, such as the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes (CHCI). The Director is also responsible for making budgetary decisions.
  6. The Director is responsible for calling and chairing all meetings of the Advisory Board.
  7. The Director works closely with the Program Coordinator to administer HISB’s activities.


  1. The HISB office is staffed by a Program Coordinator and auxiliary student support staff. The Program Coordinator and his or her staff are responsible for: general administrative assistance to the Director; scheduling, publicizing, and coordinating HISB events; maintaining the website; sending weekly emails to listservs; preparing budget spreadsheets; applying to funding bodies, and responding to email and phone calls.

VI. Advisory Board

  1. The Advisory Board, selected by the Director with strong attention to ethnic, racial, and gender diversity as well as disciplinary coverage, is comprised of faculty members from the Humanities Arts and interpretive Social Sciences. It also includes the Program Coordinator. Members of the Advisory Board are appointed by the Director, for three year terms. Membership is limited to two consecutive terms, after which the Board member must step away for an appropriate period.
  2. The Advisory Board is responsible for: advising the Director on programming and fundraising; spearheading and sharing ideas for new events and fund-raising; hosting events when required; attending regular Board meetings, up to three per semester. Board members should also be active in helping to build partnerships with community cultural organizations.

V. Faculty Fellowships

  1. One of HISB’s top priorities is to fund Faculty Research Fellowships, which consist of release from two courses and research funds, in order to complete a significant project.
  2. Applications for Faculty Fellowships are vetted by an ad hoc committee consisting of the Director and three tenured faculty members from across the represented disciplines, who are selected by the Director. The ad hoc Faculty Fellowships Committee strives to make awards across the broad spectrum of humanities, arts and interpretive social science disciplines. The criteria for selecting Fellows must be posted on the HI website. The Director will be a non-voting member.
  3. In addition, Selection Committees will be chosen from the Advisory Board for the other fellowships that HISB supports, such as the Public Humanities Graduate Fellowships funded by the New York Council for the Humanities, and the Cornell School for Critical Theory Summer Fellowships.

VI. Amendments

  1. Amendments to these bylaws may be proposed by any member of the Advisory Board or by the Director.
  2. The Director must circulate proposed amendments to the Board via email at least one week before a meeting.
  3. Amendments must be approved by a two-thirds majority of Advisory Board members present at a meeting. Votes are cast in person; proxy votes on amendments are not allowed. Amendments go into effect immediately upon their approval.

VII. Compatibility

  1. These bylaws are compatible with and subordinate to the College of Arts and Sciences bylaws, Stony Brook University’s Bylaws, and the authority and policies of the Trustees of the State University of New York.

VIII. Public Notice

  1. These bylaws and all amendments must be posted on the HISB website.


(Adapted from SUNY Buffalo Humanities Institute 2014)