Constitution

(Revised March 2017)

Article 1: Name

1.1 The name of this conference and its governing body is Vagantes Conference on Medieval Studies. Vagantes was established in 2002 jointly by a group of graduate students from Harvard University and University of Toronto.

1.2 Vagantes was chosen as the name for the proposed itinerant conference because the vagantes were medieval clergy, students, and minstrels who adopted the nomadic life.

 

Article 2: Purpose

2.1 The foremost purpose of the Vagantes conference and its governing body is to provide junior medievalists with a framework for presenting their work in a national, scholarly venue that is not affiliated with one particular institution.

2.2 The conference and its governing body is also committed to building the scholarly community of junior medievalists by fostering conversation across and among all disciplines of medieval studies, including, but not limited to, Anthropology, Art and Architectural History, Classics, History, Languages and Literatures, Manuscript Studies, Musicology, Philosophy, and Religious Studies.

2.3 The conference and its governing body is further committed to providing an equitable and affordable experience for junior medievalists from universities and colleges across the United States.

 

Article 3: Board of Directors

3.1 The Vagantes Conference shall be maintained and overseen by its Board of Directors.

3.2 The Board of Directors shall consist of seven (7) board members, including four (4) elected officers and three (3) host school representatives. These persons must be graduate students from an accredited college or university.

3.3 Elected Officers shall be elected for two year terms annually at the Vagantes Conference.

3.4 Host School Representatives will be comprised of individuals selected from the three institutions who are involved with the process of hosting the Vagantes Conference representing, respectively, the host institutions of the previous, the present, and the following year. Host School Representatives shall be selected by the students of their institution.

 

Article 4: Officers’ Roles & Duties

4.1 The Board will be comprised of three types of roles: Senior Offices, Junior Offices, and Host Institution Positions

4.2 Senior Offices

4.2.1 Chair of the Board of Directors–shall be the representative from the previous year’s host institution, who has served at least one full year on the board prior to their chairship. The Chairmanship term shall begin at the ICMS meeting and will last until the beginning of the following year’s meeting. The Chair shall preside at meetings of the Vagantes officers, and the general membership, and will represent the conference and its purposes to other organizations and the general public. The Chair shall also maintain the Vagantes Board Listserv. The Chair shall supervise the operations of the Vagantes Conference and its governing body in a judicious and diligent manner.

4.2.2 GSC Liaison & Outreach Coordinator–shall be a senior member of the Board of Directors, who has served at least one full year on the board. The GSC Liaison & Outreach Coordinator’s term shall begin at the ICMS meeting and will last until the beginning of the following year’s meeting. The GSC Liaison and Outreach Coordinator shall be responsible for promoting the conference among scholarly circles and for developing potential relationships between Vagantes and other organizations and committees. The GSC Liaison and Outreach Coordinator shall be responsible for coordinating the application for MAA funding each year following the 2015 conference. The GSC Liaison and Outreach Coordinator shall be responsible for providing information about the most recent Vagantes conference to the GSC for their biannual newsletter. The GSC Liaison and Outreach Coordinator shall act as Chair pro tem whenever the President is absent, has resigned, or is otherwise unable to perform the duties of that office.

4.2.3 Webmaster–shall be a senior member of the Board of Directors, who has served at least one full year on the board. The Webmaster’s term shall begin at the ICMS meeting and will last until the beginning of the following year’s meeting. The Webmaster shall be responsible for maintaining and updating the Vagantes Conference Website. The Webmaster shall work closely with the Social Media Coordinator and the Historian to supply an updated and accurate record of the conference and conference programs on the Vagantes Conference Website. The Webmaster shall work closely with the Host School Representative on maintaining updated information on the most current conference. The Webmaster shall also be responsible for renewing the website’s domain annually. The Webmaster shall act as GSC Liaison and Outreach Coordinator pro tem whenever the GSC Liaison and Outreach Coordinator is absent, has resigned, or is otherwise unable to perform the duties of that office.

4.3 Junior Offices

4.3.1 Social Media Coordinator–shall be responsible for maintaining and promoting a social media presence for the Vagantes Conference both before and throughout the conference. The Social Media Coordinator’s term shall begin at the ICMS meeting and will last until the beginning of the following year’s meeting. The Social Media Coordinator shall be the primary administrator of the Vagantes Facebook Page.

4.3.2 Historian–shall be responsible for maintaining and documenting the rich history of the Vagantes Conference. The Historian’s term shall begin at the ICMS meeting and will last until the beginning of the following year’s meeting. The Historian shall be present to take notes at all meetings, both general meetings and the annual board meeting. The Historian shall work closely with the Webmaster to supply an updated and accurate record of the conference and conference programs for the Vagantes Conference Website.

4.4 Host Institution Positions

4.4.1 Previous Year’s Host Representative–usually this will be the most experienced board member, in his or her third year of service. The Previous Host Representative should act as the primary contact for the Current Host Representative and answered any questions that may come up, since this member has already successfully organized and hosted the conference. They will also fill the role of “Chair of the Board of Directors” from the ICMS after their conference until the ICMS the following year.

4.4.2 Current Host Representative–The Current Host Representative is responsible for acting as a liaison between the board and the host institution’s organizing committee. The Current Host Rep usually should provide the rest of the board with updates on the progress of the current year’s conference. The Current Host Representative should email the board information on the CFP, deadlines, and funding updates. Since one of the primary features of Vagantes is a keynote presentation by faculty from both the current host institution and the future host institution, the representatives of these two institutions are also responsible for coordinating the keynote lecture from the faculty at the future host institution.

4.4.3 Future Host Representative–the Future Host Representative is asked to provide the rest of the board with an update on the progress at the Vagantes Conference Board meeting, and should be willing and able to either attend the conference or send a representative from the future host institution in their stead. Usually, the Future Rep should be able to give an update on the funding situation, and should have chosen the dates for the next year’s conference. Since venue is one of the more important things associated with planning the conference, it is best to have this settled as early as possible (ie. about 1 year in advance). Since one of the primary features of Vagantes is a keynote presentation by faculty from both the current host institution and the future host institution, the representatives of these two institutions are responsible for coordinating the keynote lecture from the faculty at the future host institution.

 

Article 5: Board Members Terms of Service

5.1 Elected Board Members will serve two year terms.

5.2 Elected Board Members will begin their terms immediately following the election at the Vagantes Conference, in so far as they will be added to the listserv and be included in board matters. However they will not assume their major duties until ICMS.

5.3 Elected Board Members will end their terms immediately following the annual business meeting at the International Congress on Medieval Studies. However, board Members may be asked to stay on by the remaining board for a limited period following their term to provide for a smooth transition in leadership.

5.4 Host School Representatives shall agree to serve beginning in the fall of the year before they host the conference, and to serve until the annual business meeting at the International Congress on Medieval Studies that takes place one year after they have hosted, for a total of three (3) years of service on the Board.

 

Article 6: Procedures for the Election of Officers

6.1 Election of Board Members will be held annually at the Vagantes General Meeting during the Vagantes Conference.

6.2 Traditionally, announcements about joining the board are made on Thursday and Friday at the end of the day to encourage people to think about becoming a board member and to introduce all the board members so that they are available to answer any questions.

6.3 In the past, voting has taken place on Saturday during lunch, however the exact timing is up to the host institution to plan.

6.4 Officer Candidates must be:

(a.) Graduate students at an accredited institution

(b.) Willing to serve a two-year term

(c.) Willing to attend all Vagantes Conferences and board meetings, including the annual meeting at ICMS, throughout the duration of their term. If candidate is unable to attend ICMS, they must be willing to join the board meeting electronically through Skype or other means.

6.5 Officer Candidates need not be present to be elected.

6.6 Eligible voters are:

(a.) Graduate Students

(b.) Registered Conference Attendees

6.7 All elected officers shall be elected by a plurality vote by all students attending the General Meeting.

6.8 The Chair of the Board of Directors shall officiate the voting process.

6.9 All nominated parties are allowed to vote.

6.10 The voting shall take place through secret ballot, or by reasonable method determined at the meeting itself.

6.11 Eligible voters may vote for up to two nominees.

6.12 In the event of a tie, a run-off election will ensue between the tied candidates. Therefore, the voting population shall not be dismissed until the votes have been tallied by current board members.

6.13 Newly elected officers will assume office immediately in the capacities outlined above in 5.2.

6.14 If an elected officer receives her or his degree while in office and has less than one year remaining in her or his term, she or he may complete the term. Should said member have more than one year remaining, her or his office will be up for election at the next General meeting for the period of time remaining in the original term.

 

Article 7: Removal or Resignation from Office

7.1 Should any member of the Board of Directors become unable to continue her or his duties, she or he must inform the Board immediately.

7.2 If the said officer is a Host Institution Representative, she or he must be replaced by that institution immediately.

7.3 If the said officer is an elected representative, her or his position shall remain vacant until the next election, at which point a new officer shall be elected. A replacement may be appointed by the Board of Directors until the next election.

7.4 Should it occur that, due to direct violation of the purpose of the Board of Directors, or through continuous and inexcusable negligence of the duties described therein, an officer is determined to be unfit to continue in her or his capacity as officer, she or he will be notified by written statement signed by five (5) of the remaining members of the Board, requesting her/his immediate resignation. An officer may be removed from office by a unanimous vote of the other officers.

 

Article 8: Host School Duties

8.1 The host school is in charge of organizing the conference and raising the appropriate amount of funds to hold the event. The Vagantes Board of Directors serves as a resource to offer advice or share past experience but the task of organizing the conference is the responsibility of the organizational committee convened by the host school. During the first year, the Future Host Institution Representative or his/her designee should plan to attend the Board of Directors meeting at the current host school. In addition to submitting proposals to present papers, students from the future host institution will also be invited and strongly encouraged to chair sessions at the conference at the current host school. This will help future hosts gain valuable experience.

8.2 In order to ensure consistency from year to year, host schools must agree to the following conditions:

(a.) The conference will be free and registration will be open to the general public.

(b.) The conference will run from a Thursday-Saturday in or around March.

(c.) The conference will include a keynote by a faculty member from your school on the opening day and a final keynote by a faculty member from the future host school.

(d.) The conference will conclude with a final banquet.

(e.) Your school will send a faculty member to serve as a keynote at the current host school. You will provide the current host school organizers with the speaker’s name and contact information no later than August 15.

(f.) Three graduate students from your school must agree to serve as abstract submission readers in November in the year the conference is hosted and in the following year. The abstract submission review committee is comprised of members from the past host institution, current host, and future host institution.

(g.) The host institution representative from your school must agree to serve a three-year term on the Vagantes Board of Directors.

  • Year 1: the position of Future Host Institution Representative on the Vagantes Board of Directors begins as soon as the new host institution is named (c. June). Conference preparations begin.
  • Year 2: the position becomes Current Host Institution Representative in May and continues for one year. Conference preparations continue; hosting the event occurs in or around March.
  • Year 3: in May the Current Host Institution Representative becomes the new Chair of the Vagantes Board of Directors and serves in that capacity until the following May. The Chair is primarily an advisory role. The Chair ensures a smooth transition to the new host institution and supervises the operations of the Vagantes Conference on Medieval Studies and its governing body.

(h.) The host school will feature the Vagantes Conference on Medieval Studies seal logo on the conference program and other print and electronic marketing materials.

8.3 Planning Guide

The Vagantes Board of Directors has assembled the following guide to serve as a reference for host schools. Some deadlines are firm as noted but the host school has flexibility in determining their individual schedules.

 

Article 9: Abstract Review Guidelines

9.1 The abstract peer review committee is always made up of graduate students from the three host schools – past, present, and future. Each host school supplies three readers to facilitate the double-blind peer review process.

9.2 The quality of the Vagantes Conference on Medieval Studies is highly dependent upon the quality of papers presented each year. Indeed, the abstract review process is vitally important to ensuring the long-term success of the Vagantes Conference. With the importance of this work in mind, proposals should be evaluated according to the criteria below:

(a.) the originality of the paper proposal and its likelihood to contribute significantly to medieval studies;

(b.) the cogency of the writing and organization of the paper proposal;

(c.) the clarity of its methodology and argumentation;

(d.) the feasibility of the proposal (i.e., is the proposed paper topic suitable for the 20 minute presentation format?).

 

Article 10: Board of Directors Timetable

  January
February

 

 

 

·Discuss agenda for Board meeting

·Draft call for future hosts and share with current host

·Feb. 15th MAA/GSC grant due (applicants must be MAA members by Jan. 15th)

 

March

 

 

 

·Attend Vagantes Conference

·Attend Vagantes Board meeting

·Vote in new Board members and add them to listserv

·Advertise call for future hosts

·Ensure current host school renews domain name and hosting with Blue Host

 

April

 

 

 

·Write summary of last month’s conference and update website archive

·Advertise call for future hosts

 

May

 

 

 

·Host applications due first week of May

·Review host applications individually

·ICMS Kalamazoo Board meeting

Board transition and update website

Discuss and vote on new host school

Add new host representatives to listserv

 

June ·Ensure new host representatives have access to planning documents and files
July
August ·Help current host disseminate Call for Papers

·Board members can submit proposals to give papers

 

September ·Help current host disseminate Call for Papers

·Submit request for meeting space at ICMS

October
November
December ·Remind future hosts about MAA GSC Grant for Innovation in Community Building and Professionalization

 

Article 11: Amendments

11.1 Amendments to the constitution may be proposed to the Board of Directors in writing by any graduate student involved with the Vagantes Conference at least thirty (30) days before the General Meeting.

11.2 Proposed amendments to the constitution will be voted on at the General Meeting before which it was proposed, and must be approved by a two-thirds (⅔) majority of those present, including half of the Board of Directors in order to take effect.

11.3 Alternatively, the Board of Directors may, through unanimous vote, amend the constitution during their annual board meeting at the ICMS.