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Commission for Women Bylaws

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I. Mission Statement

Penn State Commission for Women was established March 2011, initially under the name The Organization for the Advancement of Women, transitioning to the Penn State Hershey Commission for Women in July 2015 and Penn State Commission for Women (CFW) in August 2019. The mission of CFW is to promote the efforts of trainees, faculty and staff affiliated with Penn State College of Medicine and/or Penn State Health, to allow for the full and equitable participation, advancement and promotion of women. This document outlines the structure of CFW, which has been tailored to meet the needs and interests of faculty, staff and trainees.

II. Membership

General membership in CFW will be voluntary. Membership is open to interested people of any gender at Penn State Health and Penn State College of Medicine in all ranks and across all positions for faculty (tenure-track and fixed-term appointments), staff and trainees, including postdoctoral scholars, residents and fellows and students. Members are responsible for attending membership meetings. Membership will be ongoing so long as faculty, staff and trainees are enrolled in, employed by, or affiliated with the Penn State graduate programs, College of Nursing, College of Medicine and/or Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.

Ex-Officio Members. Ex-officio positions in CFW are designated for the Associate Dean for Administration, the Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs, the Associate Dean for Faculty Development, the Associate Dean for Diversity and the president of the Faculty Organization. Ex-Officio members are welcome to attend monthly meetings of the CFW Executive Committee.

Other ex-officio members may be appointed annually, as needed, upon recommendation by the Executive Committee. Ex-officio members do not have voting privileges.

III. Officers

Executive Committee. The Executive committee chair(s) shall be the presiding officer(s) of CFW. The duties of the chair(s) shall be to preside over all meetings of the Chapter; and to respond to and initiate communication with the Faculty Organization, the Dean of the College of Medicine and the CEO of Penn State Health. The chair(s) also will serve, ex-officio, on all committees of Penn State Commission for Women.

The chair(s)-elect shall automatically succeed to the position of chair(s) during their second year in office. During their first year, they shall assume the duties of chair(s) when that officer is absent and shall perform the duties appropriate to that office. At the end of their term, the chair(s) shall automatically succeed to the position of past-chair(s). Following their service to the Executive Committee, the chair will serve as the representative from the Hershey campus for the Liaison Committee for the Commission for Women at the University level for a two-year term.

All Committees. The chair will preside over all meetings of the committee. The chair(s)-elect shall automatically succeed to the position of chair(s) during their second year in office. During their first year, they shall assume the duties of chair(s) when that officer is absent and shall perform the duties appropriate to that office. At the end of their term, the chair(s) shall automatically succeed to the position of past-chair(s).

All elected officers and members of the Executive Committee or other Standing Committees (except the Treasurer positions) shall hold office for one year beginning Sept. 1 or until their successors are determined. The treasurer and treasurer-elect shall hold office for two years beginning Sept. 1 or until their successors are determined.

IV. Committees

CFW will comprise an Executive Committee and a number of standing committees as detailed herein. See current committee details here.

Executive Committee Expand answer

Executive Committee. The Executive Committee shall coordinate the activities of CFW and its committees; it shall act for CFW during and between meetings and shall exercise budgetary responsibility for CFW; it shall serve as an advisory council to elected officers.

Purpose: To prioritize the issues forwarded by the Assessment and Issues Committee, make decisions based on the priorities, and serve as the rapid-response team for salient issues as they arise.

Members: Chair(s), chair(s)-elect, past-chair(s), Assessment and Issues Committee chair(s), Nomination and Awards Committee chair(s), Programs and Events Committee chair(s) and Marketing and Communications Committee chair(s). The chair of CFW, elected by the membership of CFW, will chair the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee will include at least one representative from each standing committee, a recorder and recorder-elect and a treasurer and treasurer-elect. The makeup of the Executive Committee shall not exceed 20 members. These include the Executive Chair and Chair-elect, Chairs and Chair-elects from each standing committee, two Liaisons, recorder and recorder-elect and treasurer and treasurer-elect.

Standing Committee Overview Expand answer

Standing Committees. Standing committees accomplish CFW’s substantive work. CFW shall determine its committee structure and composition with the following stipulations:

  • Any Penn State College of Medicine or Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center faculty, postdoctoral scholar, resident, fellow, staff or student member may be appointed to a committee
  • The chair or co-chairs of a standing committee will be elected by the membership of CFW and will serve in said capacity for one year (two years for treasurer)
  • Committee chairs or co-chairs are members of the Executive Committee

With the approval of the Executive Committee, all committees may add to their memberships any member of CFW on the basis of their interest or expertise. All committees are encouraged to seek advice or consultation on particular questions as circumstances might indicate. The makeup of the standing committees shall not exceed 12 members.

1. Assessment and Issues Committee Expand answer

Purpose: To review current information/data or collect new data to assist in identifying issues; report general findings to the Executive Committee; recommend possible responses and design recommended response plans (i.e., new policy, new programs, letters, etc.); maintain current programs, recommend deleting programs or the development of new programs. Ad hoc subcommittees can be created to initiate incubator/pilot programs.

Members: Representatives from all constituent groups. The chair(s) shall be elected by the membership of CFW.

2. Nominations and Awards Committee Expand answer

Purpose: To solicit nominations for the chair of the Executive Committee, chair(s)-elect of the standing committees, treasurer-elect and recorder-elect positions and to replenish the appointed membership. The Nomination and Awards Committee also will recommend women on the Hershey campus for various awards (e.g., 3C Award) and leadership positions.

Members: Representatives from all constituent groups. The chair(s) shall be elected by the membership of CFW.

3. Programs and Events Committee Expand answer

Purpose: To organize programs and events for the purpose of networking, mentoring, education, collaboration and collegiality.

Members: Representatives from all constituent groups. The chair(s) shall be elected by the membership of CFW. In this role, they are responsible for establishing and managing the committee for the development of Programs and Events.

4. Marketing and Communications Committee Expand answer

Purpose:

To increase the visibility of CFW, promote the mission and the accomplishments of CFW, manage the membership list and email list, develop and recommend updates to the website and publicize its special programs and events. Identify fundraising opportunities.

Members: Representatives from all constituent groups. The chair(s) shall be elected by the membership of CFW.

Ad-Hoc Committees Expand answer

Ad-Hoc Committees. Ad hoc committees are appointed by the Chair of the Chapter as needed. Ad hoc committees may be short or long term, depending on the nature of the issues to be addressed. All policies and procedures that apply to standing committees also apply to ad hoc committees.

Reporting Structure Expand answer

Committees report to Executive Committee. Standing committees serve as advisory bodies to the Executive Committee and, by extension, to CFW. Committee chairs are responsible for reporting the status of their committees’ programs and initiatives to the Executive Committee. They are not authorized to make decisions without Executive Committee approval unless they receive specific, issue-related authority from the Executive Committee. Any actions or initiatives requiring financial support from the commission or involving the selection of speakers at commission-sponsored public events need the advanced approval of the Executive Committee.

Officer Responsibilities Expand answer

The chair(s) or chair-elects of each committee are responsible for scheduling regular meetings of the committee, preparing meeting agendas, and taking and distributing meeting minutes, with a copy to be filed with the Executive Committee. The chair(s) or chair-elects of each committee are responsible for providing a year-end report with recommendations to the Executive Committee.

In addition, chair(s) or chair-elects are responsible for storing all CFW-related materials for the committee in the CFW Penn State Box folder.

Recorder and Treasurer Positions. The recorder and treasurer positions are elected positions. The treasurer position is a four-year commitment, serving first as treasurer-elect for a term of two years, then moving into the active role the following two years. The recorder position is a two-year commitment, serving first as recorder-elect for one year, then moving into the active role following one year. The recorder–elect and treasurer-elect positions will fill in for the active position on an as need basis.

The treasurer will be responsible for developing annual budgets for CFW’s use, including an annual request for funds from the Dean of the College of Medicine and the CEO of Penn State Health. They will also be responsible for disbursing them as needed for approved expenses. The treasurer will report on expenses and balances monthly to the Executive Committee.

The recorder will be responsible for taking minutes for each of the monthly Executive Committee and General Assembly meetings and providing these minutes to the Executive Chair for review and distribution to the Executive Committee. The recorder will be responsible for maintaining the approved minutes in an archive for future reference.

Resignations Expand answer

Resignations, temporarily inactive committee members. Persons serving in chair or chair-elect positions and liaisons will be asked to sign an agreement of duties and responsibilities for the each term in office. Chairs and chair-elects missing more than half of the regular meetings and not participating in any committee work during any year (September to August) shall be declared inactive and shall be asked to resign from the committee. Committee members should not miss more than a third (i.e., four) of the committee meetings. Attendance for executive and committee meetings will be tracked. If the member is chair or chair-elect of a committee, the following procedures will be implemented as needed to fill the position:

  • Chair resignation. If the chair finds it necessary to resign from their position, the chair-elect will be asked to step into the role. The incoming chair will serve in the chair role for the remainder of their chair-elect term and for the full year of their original chair term.
  • Chair-elect resignation. If the chair-elect finds it necessary to resign from their position, the executive committee will vote on a replacement. The Nominations and Awards committee will be responsible for seeking potential chair-elect replacements. First, in the case where there were multiple candidates for the position during the election, the non-selected candidates will be asked if they are still interested in accepting the position. All non-selected candidates interested in position will be presented to the executive board for a vote. In the case where there were not multiple candidates or the non-selected candidates are no longer interested in the position, an email seeking a candidate for the open position will be sent to all current CFW standing or ad hoc committee members. All interested candidates who respond to the email will be presented to the executive committee for a vote.

If the above procedures are unable to be followed, the Executive Committee will vote at that time on the best way to replace the chair or chair-elect position.

V. Elections

The members of Penn State Commission for Women shall elect annually an Executive Committee; it shall include executive committee chair(s), chair(s)-elect, recorder and treasurer and members for the standing committees. In addition, the immediate past-chair(s) shall serve on the Executive Committee as a Campus Liaison for two years (voting member) and can attend Executive Committee meetings as an ex-officio after their term as Liaison.

All elections shall be conducted by confidential balloting. The Nominations and Awards Committee shall conduct all elections.

The process for electing the chair(s)-elect for the executive committee and standing committees shall be as follows:

Nominations. The Chair of the Nominations and Awards Committee will announce a call for nominations at the General Assembly meeting of CFW. Nominations from the entire CFW will be accepted at that time in response to the call for nominations. Call for nominations will be open for a two-week period in June and/or July. All members of CFW are welcome to nominate another member or themselves for any of the open positions. A minimum of 10 total candidates on the ballot is recommended, with a minimum of one in each of the following categories: faculty (fixed-term and standing faculty from Penn State College of Medicine and Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center), staff (including a representative from nursing, research technicians, postdoctoral scholars, residents) and students (graduate, medical and physician assistant). Once nominations are received, the Chair of the Nomination and Awards committee will contact each nominee to ascertain their acceptance of the nomination and to obtain their statement of interest. Nominees should respond to the nomination acceptance email by the deadline to be included on the ballot. The ballot will be drafted to include the names of all nominees and their job title, campus location and short biography. In any instance where there is not a nominee for an open position, the current Chair of the committee will be asked to make a nomination.

Election. The election ballot shall be distributed to every member of CFW following the nomination period. Ten days will be allowed for return of the ballots. All ballots will be returned to the chair of the Nominations and Awards Committee. The nominee with the greatest number of votes for the position will be elected. The chair of Nominations and Awards will not vote unless the election ends in a tie. In the event of a tie, the chair’s vote will be counted. All new Chairs, Chair-elects, Recorder, Recorder-elect, Treasurer and Treasurer-elect will be announced via email following the election period.

Persons nominated to serve on the Executive Committee may only be nominated for one executive position at one time (i.e., one Chair-Elect for one of the four committees and/or Executive Chair-Elect, Treasurer-Elect or Recorder-Elect positions). Individuals may be re-elected to serve on the Executive Board in the same position following a two-year period after the completion of their term. Individuals may not serve more than two terms in any one Executive position (i.e., Executive and/or Committee Chair, Treasurer and Recorder).

VI. Meetings

Executive Committee meetings are held each month, and committees are expected to meet once a month.

The rules of procedure in the meetings of CFW shall be those of Robert’s Rules of Order, most recent edition.

All meetings of CFW are open to members of the University community, unless matters of a confidential nature are being discussed. The definition of “confidential nature” will be determined by the Executive Committee. Any member of the University community not a member of CFW may request the privilege of speaking on any relevant item of business before the commission. Such a request must be made to the chair(s) at least four days before the meeting.

The chair(s) shall have the authority to place a time limit on the remarks of any participant in a CFW meeting.

CFW shall publish minutes of its proceedings in a timely manner.

VII. Sponsorship

CFW may provide sponsorship (financial backing and/or attaching CFW) to an event and/or program. Decisions will be determined on an individual basis by need, appropriateness to CFW goals and available funds. Decisions are made by the Executive Committee with input when possible/appropriate by the full membership.

VIII. Revisions and Amendments

Amendments to the bylaws may be adopted by simple majority vote from the CFW Executive Committee, either electronically or by paper ballot, as preferred by the Executive Committee chair(s). All revisions and amendments made will be considered historical documentation; documentation will be stored in Box and in the office of the current chair of CFW.

IX. Graphic Representation

The Penn State Commission for Women logo includes a stylized cursive W with swirls around it on a pastel watercolor background.The graphic representation for Penn State Commission for Women was established and voted on by the Executive Committee and will be used exclusively for any business or event for CFW.

Revised and approved: Jan. 13, 2020