The North American Victorian Studies Association was established on July 5, 2002, at Indiana University in Bloomington. This most recent version of the Constitution was ratified by the Executive Council and Advisory Board on May 2, 2018. Future amendments to the Constitution can be proposed by any NAVSA member through the President or through any individual member of the Executive Council or Advisory Board. Following discussion, an amendment will be implemented if it receives approval from a two-thirds majority of the Executive Council and Advisory Board.
The Association aims to provide a forum for the discussion of the Victorian period and to encourage a wide variety of theoretical and disciplinary approaches to the field. Its members work in a number of disciplines as well as a range of regions and countries. To further its goals, the Association will organize one full-scale conference every year, usually to be held in either the United States or Canada. It will distribute information regarding members' activities, news of conferences and other information of interest to members. It will also provide other informational services to members (for example, a Members' Directory). NAVSA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization affiliated with the journal Victorian Studies. It collects membership fees to cover the cost of distributing the journal to its members and to cover its own administrative costs, including NAVSA publications and graduate subsidies to the annual conference. It aims at reaching a broad membership and to that end makes every attempt to offer reduced membership fees to graduate students, independent scholars, and retired members.
The work of the Society will be conducted by a set of individuals and organizational bodies. No one can serve simultaneously in two roles from this set. The positions and organizational bodies are:
- NAVSA president, past president, and vice-president (3-year terms)
The vice-president is elected by the membership at large, and then becomes the president, then later the past-president. There is no limit to the number of terms that can be served by a NAVSA member in these roles; however, incumbents must be re-elected by the general NAVSA membership after every term. If there is only one viable candidate for vice-president, that candidate will be elected without contest.
The president will be reviewed each year at the annual meeting of the Advisory Board and Executive Council, followed by a vote of confidence or of no confidence. In the event of a vote of no confidence, the vice-president will become president, followed by the election of a new vice-president. The president will be responsible for making sure that NAVSA activities run smoothly and will usually be the first contact for members and conference committees. The vice-president should be copied in any important correspondence conducted by the president.
- An Executive Council, consisting of
• a secretary-treasurer (5-year term),
• 2 or more prize and membership executive secretaries (5-year terms),
• a Canadian representative (5-year term), and
• the following ex officio members, all with voting privileges:
- webmaster (3-year renewable term)
- 1 editor of Victorian Studies (3-year renewable term),
- the current annual conference organizer, and a conference organizer for each of the 3 next annual conferences (thus, at most a 4-year term in total) (Note: other conference organizers may choose to participate as non-voting members.), and
- others members, as needed (3-year renewable terms)
The Executive Council is elected by the membership at large, except in the case of ex officio positions. There is no limit to the number of terms that can be served by a NAVSA member on a fixed-term position on the Executive Council; however, incumbents must be re-elected by the general membership after every term. In the event of a tie in the general elections, a run-off election will be conducted to determine the winner.
The Advisory Board and Executive Council can also choose to create additional ex officio or non-elected positions if they see fit. The creation of such positions requires a two-thirds majority of the Advisory Board and Executive Council. In voting for the elimination of an ex officio or non-elected position, the vote of the ex officio or non-elected member who is under discussion will not be considered; in all other decisions, ex officio and non-elected members receive full voting privileges.
The Council, in conjunction with a graduate-student Executive Assistant (when funds are available), will conduct the day-to-day business of the Association, including correspondence, maintenance of membership records and of the web site, administration of elections to the Advisory Board and Executive Council (e-mailing ballots, etc.), and production of informational services for members. Members of the Executive Council may draw on NAVSA funds for the purpose of executing NAVSA business, with approval from the President. Any single expense of more than $500 must have the approval of the Executive Council and Advisory Board.
- An Advisory Board, consisting of
• 3 open-category members from institutions or main employers in Canada (3-year terms)
• 3 open-category members from institutions or main employers in the U.S. (3-year terms)
• 1 non-traditionally employed representative (3-year term)
• 1 early-to-mid career representative (3-year term)
• 2 graduate-student representatives (2-year terms)
Any current NAVSA graduate student is allowed to nominate themselves or other graduate students, in response to a call for nominations for the current graduate-student representatives (GSRs). Each year, one GSR will rotate off the Board. Each year, there will be one GSR with an institutional affiliation in Canada and one with an institutional affiliation in the U.S.; thus, each year nominations are limited by the country requiring representation. The GSR-nomination cycle takes place prior to the general election. Nominees will be asked to supply short academic bios for the election process. While only graduate students can nominate individuals for these GSR positions, all NAVSA members will be allowed to vote for these positions.
• 3 disciplinary categories (3-year terms):
- 1 Art History
- 1 Foreign or Comparative Literature
- 1 History
The Advisory Board is elected by the membership at large. There is no limit to the number of terms that can be served by a NAVSA member on the Advisory Board; however, incumbents must be re-elected by the general NAVSA membership after every term. Each fall, a call for nominations will go out to NAVSA members, followed by ballots with a slate of nominees. Members are encouraged to consider, among other factors, candidates’ demonstrated contribution to NAVSA and the profession in general, as well as the regional, disciplinary, and gender diversity of the Board members. In the event of a tie in the general elections, a run-off election will be conducted to determine the winner of the given contest.
The Board will offer advice on various ways in which NAVSA might serve the academic interests of the profession, on the goals and procedures of NAVSA, and on such specific issues as conference sites and ways in which the annual conference can best be made to reflect the concerns of NAVSA members. Members of the Advisory Board will remain in communication with the Executive Council throughout the year as necessary, and will meet at the annual conference with members of the Executive Council.
- A Conference Committee
The Conference Committee is associated with the university or universities in charge of running a given year's NAVSA conference. As noted above, one member of the host conference committee will serve as an ex officio member of the Executive Council. The conference committee will be established by the conference host institution and can be flexible in the number and status of committee members, with the one requirement that all members also be official members of NAVSA. The conference committee is in charge of running that year's conference: advertising the conference, setting up speaking locations, booking hotels, and coordinating additional activities (lunches, excursions, etc.), including one banquet open to attendees. The conference committee should remain in close contact with the Executive Council/Advisory Board and should consult the Council and Board about that year's plenary speakers. The Conference Committee is also in charge of setting up two meetings for NAVSA at the annual conference: 1) a meeting of the Advisory Board and Executive Council; and 2) a meeting of future conference committees, which can also be attended by the Advisory Board, Executive Council, and current year's Conference Committee. When possible, the Executive Council will provide the Conference Committee with $1000 towards the implementation of the annual conference and will also provide funds, when available, to help graduate students attend the conference.