Center for Gender and Intercultural Studies (CGIS) BYLAWS

Updated: May 2011

I. Mission

The mission of the Center for Gender and Intercultural Studies (CGIS) is to foster and develop equity and respect for social, racial, ethnic, cultural, economic, sexual orientation, and environmental justice and diversity within the campus and larger community. The Center educates about systems of oppression and discrimination, and strives to enable mutual respect and understanding of cultures and underrepresented groups. The Center focuses on the development of diversity across the curriculum; the promotion of research; the facilitation of student, staff and faculty development; and the recommendation of policy.

II. The goals and objectives of the Center are to:

  1. Support and invigorate interdisciplinary minors in Asian/Middle Eastern Studies, Disability Studies, Jewish Studies, Latino and Latin American Studies, Native American Studies, and Women’s Studies.
  2. Support Africana Studies, an autonomous multidisciplinary department that has a functional relationship to the Center, by promoting intercultural and gender studies through its curriculum, majors, minor and co-curricular activities.
  3. Support the development of disability studies, lesbian, gay, and transgender studies, anarchist studies, and gerontology/aging studies.
  4. Foster support for scholarship and research:
    1. Publications including, but not limited to Social Advocacy and Systems Change and Wagadu: A Journal of Transnational Women’s and Gender Studies.
    2. Foster and support scholarship on teaching and learning on topics consistent with the mission.
    3. Work with academic departments and units such as the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs and the Faculty Development Center to promote cultural competence, scholarship and research.
    4. Organize scholarly programming (conferences, lectures, symposia, and forums) on issues of social and environmental justice.
    5. Serve as a clearing house to provide resources and support for faculty working on issues which address the mission of CGIS.
  5. Make recommendations to address systemic and institutional bias.
  6. Promote and support policies and practices (SUNY Cortland, 2008-2010 College Handbook, Part Nine, Chapter 950) that are fair to women, persons with disabilities, and other protected classes, as well as underrepresented groups: African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, Native Americans, and other groups that may experience oppression, e.g. Arab Americans and Jewish Americans.
  7. Provide consultation and mentoring when needed in concert with the Faculty Development Center and Faculty Affairs Committee.
  8. Work in tandem with the Multicultural Council, the Affirmative Action Committee, Faculty Development Committee and the Office of Multicultural Life & Diversity to build a multicultural campus and improve the climate for diverse populations.
  9. Provide support for the Summer Institute for Infusing Diversity into the Curriculum.
  10. Support projects of a global nature that connect with the mission of the Center and work in tandem with the James M. Clark Center for Global Engagement.

III. Governance of the Center

  1. The Center Board sets the policy for the Center and meets at least once a semester. One half of the total number of members of the Board will constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.
  2. Administrative coordination of the Center is the responsibility of the Director, who reports to the Provost. The Director and the Associate Director are appointed by the Provost upon recommendation by the Center Board. The Director and the Associate Director are elected by a simple majority of Center Board members for a 3-year term (renewable). The Director will:
    1. Convene and facilitate meetings of the Center Board.
    2. Act as spokesperson for the Center.
    3. Prepare a final report each year to the Center Board and to the Provost.
    4. Facilitate the work of the standing committees.
    5. Represent (or designate a representative for) the Center on college committees, including the Institute for Disabilities Studies; Committee on the Status and Education of Women; Affirmative Action Committee; Academic Affairs Council; Multicultural Council; and the Africana Studies Department.

IV. Membership

The Board will consist of the Director, Associate Director, six faculty members at-large; faculty members who represent self-governing academic programs/groups; and professional staff or faculty representatives from functionally related campus offices or programs. The Director makes recommendations regarding Center Board member appointments to the Provost, who is responsible for approving and formally appointing members. Each Center Board member shall have one vote. The Board will also include ex-officio members who serve in a consultative role.

  1. At-large members will include at least one representative from each School. All at-large members should have demonstrated interest and/or expertise in the mission and goals of the Center. At-large members will serve staggered, 3 year terms. At the completion of the term, at-large members may be reappointed if nominated and recommended by the Bylaws & Nominating Committee and the Director.
  2. Self-governing academic programs/groups include Africana Studies; Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; Latinx Studies; Native American Studies; Asian and Middle Eastern Studies; Jewish Studies; the Sexual Orientation Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) Committee, and the Anarchist Studies Initiative. Self-governing committees are autonomous, with their own established operating structures and/or budgets. The director shall be ex-officio of the self-governing committees and shall facilitate the work of these committees.
    1. Asian/Middle Eastern Studies serves students who want to study Asian, Middle Eastern and/or Asian American cultures and issues.
    2. Jewish Studies seeks to enhance the student’s understanding of Jewish people, their religion, history, and cultural experiences while also furthering the College’s mission to study and combat prejudice, discrimination, and persecution.
    3. Latinx Studies enables students to analyze the history and cultural production of Latin Americans and US Latinos, from the perspective of several disciplines.
    4. Native American Studies offers students broad perspectives about the cultures, heritage, traditions, and politics of Native American people as provided by several academic disciplines.
    5. Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies gives students exposure to scholarship focusing on the social construction of gender and sexuality in both historical and contemporary contexts.
    6. SOGIE will foster a safe and positive environment for the LGBTQ communities at the college, and it will provide advocacy and social, educational as well as co-curricular support designed to cultivate positive attitudes towards LGBTQ individuals and issues.
    7. Anarchist Studies Initiative Project will study the role of theory/practice of anarchism in history and contemporary social/political movements such as anarchofeminism, anti-racist politics, queer theories, disability studies, as well as environmental justice and animal liberationism.
    8. Africana Studies prepares students to comprehend, generate and disseminate constructive knowledge about Africa, the African Diaspora, and the United States through multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches for inclusive excellence, cultural competence, social justice, and transformative service.
    9. Cortland’s Urban Recruitment of Educators (CURE) recruits, retains, and prepares effective urban educators through curriculum, co-curricular programming, research and advocacy. 
    10. Institute for Disability Studies promotes and sustains research and scholarship in the area of disability.
  3. Office of Multicultural Life & Diversity supports inclusive academic excellence in order to promote a diverse and equitable campus community of engaged scholars and global citizens. 
  4. Ex-officio members will include representatives as deemed appropriate by the Director. Ex-officio members are non-voting members.

VI. Standing committees:

The Director shall calls for meetings of the standing committees and shall appoint members to the standing committees.
  1. Bylaws & Nominating Committee reviews and makes recommendations for changes to the bylaws and considers nominations for Center Board members in consultation with the Director.
  2. Budget Committee prepares and presents a budget consistent with the mission of the Center.
  3. Environmental Justice Committee promotes environmental sustainability education, research, and advocacy.
  4. Faculty & Staff Development Committee promotes programs for faculty and staff development with respect to curriculum, pedagogy, scholarship, creative activity and service.
  5. Research & Grants Committee targets sources of grant monies, work with the Office of Institutional Advancement and the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs as well as with Quality Circle reviewers and the Faculty Development Center.

VII. Ad-hoc committees:

The director shall call for the creation of ad-hoc committees and shall appoint members to the ad-hoc committees (e.g., curriculum committee, conference organizing committee) as needed.


  1. The Bylaws of the Center must be ratified by a two-thirds vote of the Board, approved by the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and by the President.
  2. Amendments to the Bylaws must be proposed by the By-Laws & Nominating Committee, ratified by a two-thirds vote of the Board, approved by the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and by the President.
Bylaws approved by Center Board, December 2008; revisions by representatives of Provost/President & HR, CGIS, 3/13/09; further revisions by CGIS 3/18/09; CGIS board revisions 4/6/09; final revisions upon consultation with the Provost 9/28/09; CGIS NOV. 09; consultation with Provost Dec.09; revised 2/10 in consultation with the Provost and CGIS board 3/1/10. Consultation with the President 3/23/10. CGIS board revisions 5/17/11.