Governance and Administration of the Middle East Studies Faculty

Bylaws (May 20, 2020)

These by-laws pertain to the community of Middle East studies faculty at the University of Pennsylvania. 

1. Middle East Studies Faculty Committee

The Middle East Studies Faculty Committee (MESFC) is organized to promote the study of the Middle East, North Africa, the region and its diasporas at the University of Pennsylvania and seeks to enrich teaching and research about the cultures, languages, communities, and populations in all relevant disciplines.

1.1. The membership of the MESFC consists of core, affiliated and associated faculty:

  1. Core faculty are University of Pennsylvania full-time faculty of all ranks whose research and teaching include a major focus on the Middle East and on North Africa; teaching and supervising the Middle East major,  and collectively creating regulating its criteria;
  2. Affiliated faculty are University of Pennsylvania faculty whose research and teaching significantly focus in part on the Middle East and on North Africa. Visiting faculty and Postdoctoral Fellows are welcome to apply to the MESFC as affiliated faculty.
  3. With the approval of the MEFSC Executive Committee, faculty at nearby universities and colleges who wish to become involved with the Middle East Studies at the University of Pennsylvania may apply to the MEFSC or be invited by members of the MEFSC to become associated faculty. 

1.2. At the beginning of each academic year the Chair of the Executive Committee, assisted by the Director of the Middle East Center, will review the composition of the core and affiliated faculty lists to ensure they are up-to-date. 

1.3. Voting rights are confined to Core members of the Penn faculty.  Eligibility to vote on nominees to serve on the MESFC Executive Committee will be established by attendance at one MESFC meeting during the previous twelve months as established by the minutes of previous meetings.

2. The Executive Committee

Section A. Compostion of the Executive Committee

 2.1. The Executive Committee of Middle East Studies Faculty Committee at Penn works on behalf of Middle East related studies at Penn and reports to the ME faculty at least twice a year.

 2.2. The Executive Committee is made up of seven members, each serving a term of three years, with the Director of the Middle East Center, (or the acting or interim Director) also serving as an ex officio voting member: only members of the Penn faculty will have voting rights on the Executive Committee. 

2.3 The Chair of the Executive Committee is elected on an annual basis by the members of the Committee from among its members. The Director of the Middle East Center may not also serve as the Chair of the Executive Committee. 

2.4 Each member of the Executive Committee, apart from the Director of the Middle East Center, serves for a term of three years.  To preserve both continuity and diversity of perspectives terms will be staggered so that each year two members of the committee will be replaced.  With this provision in mind, the terms of existing members of the Executive Committee can be reduced, with their agreement. 

2.5 Every academic year the Middle East Faculty is presented, at its last meeting in the Spring, with a slate of nominees drawn up by the Executive Committee to fill positions vacated by committee members whose terms are completed. Nominations can also be made from the floor.

2.5.1. A majority vote at the faculty meeting will be sufficient to approve the slate or to make substitutions. 

2.5.2. Core MEFSC members, whether tenured or non-tenured, are entitled to serve on the Executive Committee if they do research-level scholarship in one of the languages of the Middle East and North Africa, past or present, ordo research-level scholarship  on part of the region or diasporic communities.  

2.5.3. Core and affiliated members are eligible to vote in the election of Executive Committee members if they have attended at least one general meeting of the MEFSC in the previous 12 months.

2.6. In its nomination of new members, the Executive Committee will seek to ensure that the breadth of disciplinary and sub-regional perspectives among the Middle East Faculty is represented.

2.7. One month before the final meeting of the year the Executive Committee will circulate the names on the slate and notify MESFC members of their right to make other nominations, either from the floor or by prior notification of the Executive Committee.

2.8. When necessary, mid-year changes in the composition of the Executive Committee can be made by the Chair with the approval of a majority of the Executive Committee.

Section B. Duties of the Executive Committee

2.9. Executive Committee members play an active role in furthering the academic and programmatic initiatives of the Middle East Center, as stipulated by the University of Pennsylvania, and by the MEC’s principal grant donor(s).

2.10.  The Executive Committee works to develop and advise University faculty, staff, students, and administrators on grant programs, conferences, public events, publication plans, faculty recruitment, and other issues of importance for Middle East studies at the University.

2.11. The Executive Committee shall meet at least once a year. Notice and an agenda should be given. The presence of a majority of members of the committee will constitute a quorum.

C. Resolutions within the Executive Committee

2.12. Matters appropriately resolved by a vote of the Executive Committee, shall be decided by a simple majority-vote among all those present and entitled to vote, including the Chair.  In case of a tie the matter will be brought to a meeting of the full Core faculty invited for that purpose.

3. Modern Middle East Studies (MMES) Academic Advisory Board

3.1. The Executive Committee shall appoint members of the Academic Advisory Board.

3.2. The purpose of the Academic Advisory Board, assisted by the Middle East Center, is to supervise the Modern Middle East Studies major, and to review the MMES curriculum and design, as necessary, including the MMES honors program.

4. The Middle East Center

4.1. The policies, operation, and governance of the Middle East Center are not within the purview of these by-laws, nor are they the responsibility of the MESFC.  It is expected that the MEFSC and the Middle East Center will work closely together in a mutually supportive fashion.

4.2. The following matters are not governed by these by-laws, but are set forth here as an aid to their interpretation and as documentation of our understanding of the relationships among SAS Deans, the MESFC, and the Middle East Center.                         

  1. The Director of the Middle East Center is appointed by the Dean(s), normally from MEFSC faculty appointed with tenure at the University of Pennsylvania.
  2. The Director's general duties and term of office shall be determined at appointment, and subject to such additional regulations as may be required by the University, SAS, the Dean(s), and external or grant-giving bodies.
  3. The Director's term may be renewed by the Dean(s), but the Director shall normally serve no more than two full terms after appointment.
  4. The Executive Committee shall normally be consulted by the Dean(s) during the appointment of a Director.

5. Amendments to these By-laws

5.1. The core and associated members of the MEFSC may amend these bylaws by a simple majority vote provided that notice has been given in a formal agenda paper issued at least one week before a vote takes place, and provided that the relevant amendment(s) have been supported by a majority of the Executive Committee.

5.2. Any such proposed amendment must be proposed and seconded in the Executive Committee and at a general meeting.

5.3. The quorum for a valid general meeting considering the passage of amendments shall be forty per cent of the core faculty members plus one. Affiliate members have the right to vote.

The Current members of the Executive Committee are:

John Ghazvinian (ex officio, as Executive Director of the Middle East Center)

Paul M. Cobb (NELC),

Jamal Elias (RELS),

Feride Hatiboglu (TURK/NELC),

Ian S. Lustick (PSCI),

Brendan O’Leary (PSCI),

Heather Sharkey (NELC), &

Eve Troutt Powell (HIST).