Constitution and Bylaws
As updated and approved by the Executive Council on January 5, 2023 and then ratified by the membership via electronic vote, March 10-April 11, 2023.
Article I: Name
The name of this body, as founded in 1919 and incorporated in Washington, D.C., and deemed by the Internal Revenue Service as tax exempt in 1946, shall be the American Catholic Historical Association, Incorporated (hereinafter referred to as “the Association” or “ACHA”).
Article II: Purpose
The purpose of this Association shall be to promote study and research of the history of Catholicism broadly conceived and to encourage professional and personal contacts among students of this history. The American Catholic Historical Association sponsors Spring and Winter academic meetings, encourages new scholarship through research and travel grants, recognizes yearly achievements with prizes and awards, and celebrates the ACHA’s long-standing history of scholar-teachers.
Article III: Membership
Section 1. Any person involved or interested in the study and research of the history of Catholicism may become a member.
Section 2. The Executive Council may designate various levels of membership as described in the Bylaws.
Section 3. Persons elected shall remain members in good standing so long as they shall regularly remit payment of annual dues as established by the Association.
Section 4. Members whose dues are in arrears more than twelve months shall have their names dropped from the membership rolls of the Association. Such persons may be reinstated by paying their dues.
Article IV: Officers and Executive Council
Section 1. The Officers of the Association shall be a President, a Vice-President, an Executive Director, and a Treasurer.
Section 2.1. There shall be constituted an Executive Council of this Association.
Section 2.2. The Executive Council shall consist of the Officers of the Association, six at-large members as provided for in Section 3 of Article 5, the immediate Past President (for one year only), two Graduate Students as provided for in Section IV of Article V, and the Editor of The Catholic Historical Review (ex officio). Past Presidents of the Association shall be consulting members of the Executive Council with voice but not vote. The President or Executive Director may invite the chairs of standing committees to attend meetings of the Executive Council with voice but not vote.
Section 2.3. The Executive Council shall be vested with the management of the Association. It shall be charged with pursuing the purpose of the Association, furthering its general interests by the exercise of powers granted in this Constitution and according to the duties stipulated in the accompanying Bylaws. Six members of the Council shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.
Section 2.4. The property of the Association shall be vested in the Executive Council, which will be responsible for conducting the business and legal affairs of the Association. The Executive Council may not bind the Association to an obligation in excess of its current net assets.
Section 2.5. Should the President be unable to perform his or her duties, the Vice-President shall succeed to that office. A vacancy in the office of Executive Director shall be filled by the Executive Council for the remainder of the year in which the vacancy occurs. If more than three vacancies on the Executive Council occur in any one year, the Council may fill such vacancies for the remainder of the year. The Executive Council reserves the right to remove by 3/4 vote of its members present (virtually or in-person) any officeholder of the Association who the Executive Council deems has demonstrated ethical misconduct or unprofessional behavior.
Section 2.6. The Executive Council sets the policies governing the investment portfolio of the Association, with the advice of the Finance Committee, and and receives quarterly reports on Association finances from the Treasurer.
Section 2.7. The Executive Council accepts or declines invitations from institutions offering to sponsor spring meetings.
Section 2.8. A summary of the meetings of the Executive Council will be published on the official website of the ACHA.
Article V: Elections
Section 1. Active members alone will be eligible to vote and to hold office. Election to an office shall be by a simple majority of the members choosing to vote.
Section 2. The President serves for only one year. The Vice-President shall be elected annually by the members of the Association. He or she serves a term of one year and automatically succeeds to the Presidency after that one year. One can be elected to the Presidency only once. The current Past President shall serve on the Executive Council for one year only.
Section 3. Two of the six at-large members of the Executive Council shall be elected each year for a term of three years by members of the Association. An at-large member shall be eligible to be elected an officer of the Association. An at-large member who has served a full term of three years shall be eligible for re-election only after one year has elapsed. An at-large member elected to complete an unexpired term may be re-elected to a full term immediately if serving less than a majority of the unexpired term.
Section 4. One of the two graduate student members of the Executive Council shall be elected every year for a term of two years by the Association. Only graduate students who have successfully completed their doctoral course work are eligible to stand for office.
Section 5. Elections shall be held no earlier than one hundred and twenty days before the annual meeting and no later than ninety days. Results shall be certified by the Elections Board within one week of the conclusion of balloting.
Section 6. The presidential and vice presidential terms end at the conclusion of the annual in-person Executive Council meeting in January. Members of the Executive Council take office one week after election results are announced and certified by the Elections Board and the Executive Director of the Association.
Section 7. The Executive Director of the Association shall be elected by the Executive Council for renewable terms of five years.
Article VI: Meetings
Section 1. The Association shall meet at least once annually for scholarly exchange and business at a time and place determined by the Executive Council. Normally, the annual meeting will be held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the American Historical Association.
Section 2. An electronic version of the Annual Conference Program will be posted on the ACHA website and made available to all members once the Program Committee has approved and finalized all proposals and panels.
Section 3. There shall be a business meeting of the Association during the annual meeting at which time reports of the Executive Council, Elections Board, other committees, and the Executive Director are given to the membership. During the business meeting or by electronic medium members may raise issues and concerns. At the business meeting of the Association the active members present will constitute a quorum. The membership may raise issues from the floor.
Section 4. The Executive Council (EC) normally meets in-person at the Annual Meeting (typically in January) and virtually in April, July, and October/November. Emergency meetings may also be called by the President or Executive Director. With a quorum present, the EC may conduct business of the Association. In addition, the EC may conduct business via electronic medium provided that the President or Executive Director has requested a meeting and a majority of EC members have approved.
Section 5. Any legislation approved by the Executive Council that requires General membership approval may be presented to the members via electronic medium for consideration and approval. In order to pass legislation a majority of members voting must approve.
Section 6. There shall normally be a biennial Spring Meeting of the Association at a host institution. (See Bylaws, Article III.)
Article VII: Committees
Section 1. The President shall have the power to appoint committees as the general welfare of the Association demands. These committees shall be at all times responsible to the Executive Council, and shall be supported by the Executive Director. Committee chairs are eligible for compensation.
Section 2.1 Elections Board. There shall be an Elections Board comprised of five members: a Convener and four Elections Officials (EO), who shall oversee the nomination and election process of all elected offices as prescribed in the Constitution and Bylaws.
Section 2.2. Officers of the Elections Board. The Convener of the Elections Board (EBC) is elected by the general membership for a three-year term and serves as chair at the Elections Board meetings. By virtue of office, the Vice President and the Executive Director of the ACHA are Elections Officials. The two remaining EO positions will be filled by a second-year and third-year member of the Executive Council (EC), serving a two-year and one-year term, respectively. The EC members will be appointed by the president in consultation with the voting members of the Elections Board.
Section 3. The President shall appoint a Finance Committee consisting of three members for staggered terms of three years each. The Finance Committee will be chaired by the Treasurer. The Finance Committee will also normally include a financial professional who may be compensated similarly to chairpersons of standing committees. With the assistance of the Finance Committee, the Executive Director shall present an annual report to the Executive Council and to the membership at large at the annual business meeting and publish on the official ACHA web site.
Article VIII: Publications
Section 1. The Catholic Historical Review is the official organ of the Association.
Section 2. The Association may publish books or pamphlets as determined by the Executive Council.
Section 3. The Association may publish web content as determined by the Executive Council.
Article X: Dissolution
Upon dissolution of the American Catholic Historical Association, the Executive Council shall, after paying or making provision for the payment of all of the liabilities of the corporation, dispose of all the assets of the corporation exclusively for the purposes of the corporation in such manner, or to such organization or organizations organized and operated exclusively for charitable, educational, religious, or scientific purposes as shall at the time qualify as an exempt organization or organizations under Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 (or the corresponding provision of any future United States Revenue Law), as the Executive Council shall determine. Any such assets not so disposed of shall be disposed of by the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, exclusively for such purposes or to such organization or organizations, as such court shall determine, which are organized and operated exclusively for such purposes.
Article XI: Amendments
This Constitution may be amended by a vote of two-thirds of those present and voting or of those voting by electronic medium provided that the proposed amendment has been approved by the Executive Council and distributed to the membership for a discussion period of not less than thirty days.
Article 1: Duties of Officers
1.1 President. Duties of the President shall include but not be limited to the following:a. preside at meetings of the Association and of the Executive Council
b. appoint the chair of the program committee for the annual meeting for the year following his term
c. appoint special committees as needed
d. represent the Association faithfully
e. give the Presidential Address at the annual meeting
f. serve on the Executive Council for one year after serving as President
g. work directly with the Executive Secretary in matters related to the Association
h. make a report at the annual meeting of the activities of the Executive Council.
1.2 Vice-President. Duties of the Vice-President shall include but not be limited to the following:
a. preside in the absence of the President at meetings of the Association and of the Executive Council
b. preside at the session of the annual meeting at which the Presidential Address is delivered
c. in the absence of the President, work directly with the Executive Secretary in matters related to the Association.
1.3 Executive Secretary. Duties of the Executive Secretary include but need not be limited to the following:
a. in consultation with the President prepare the agenda for the meetings of the Executive Council and the Business Meeting, and keeps the minutes
b. determine the times for sending notices and reminders of dues payments
c. maintain contact with the President and Vice-President and assist in any initiatives that the President or Executive Council may undertake
d. recommend to the President members who can be appointed to the prize committees and delegates to functions at which the Association is invited to be represented
e. receive from the chairman of the Committee on the Program the data for the annual meeting, arranges the data in proper form for submission to the convention manager of the American Historical Association, and request room space for all the functions.
f. prepare the program of the annual meeting for posting on the Association’s website; prepare other materials to be posted with the program; and oversee the posting of the slate of candidates for office, which he receives from the Convener of the Elections Board.
g. make arrangements for the social hour and presidential luncheon with the catering office of the hotel where the annual meeting will be held
h. obtain from the convention manager of the AHA the assignment of a suitable location for the registration desk at the annual meeting and oversee its functioning.
i. receive the decisions of the committees on the book, dissertation, and articles prizes, notify the winning authors and other applicants, and write and distribute news releases.
j. prepare an annual report for presentation at the annual business meeting
k. manage and oversee the Association’s website
l. keep current the Association’s listing in various directories and guides to grants and prizes
m. encourage institutions to sponsor Spring Meetings of the Association, and support the work of the organizing committee
1.4. Treasurer. Duties of the Treasurer include but need not be limited to the following:
a. keep the financial records of the Association, receiving and depositing dues and other income and disbursing funds as directed by the Executive Council
b. serve on the Finance Committee of the Association
c. maintain contact with the client advisor of the Association’s brokerage firm and authorize the purchase and sale of securities according to policies formulated by the Finance Committee and ultimately the Executive Council
d. present, with the assistance of the chairman of the Finance Committee, an annual report with a provisional budget to the Executive Council and to the membership at large in the annual business meeting.
e. make the financial records of the Association available for an annual audit or review as determined by the Executive Council.
f. under the direction of the Executive Council establish and oversee the internal financial procedures of the Association in accord with best financial practices
Article 2: Graduate Student Representation
2.1 Two Graduate Student Representatives will serve on the Executive Council as non-voting members for terms of two years.
2.2 In the first year of its institution, one graduate student will be appointed to the position.
2.3 The inaugural representative will be appointed for a two-year term, to be succeeded by a representative elected by the membership.
2.4 The second representative will be elected the year after the appointed representative takes office, thus insuring staggered terms.
2.5 The Elections Board will solicit nominations from among the ACHA membership when developing a slate of candidates for the annual elections.
2.6 Only Graduate Students who have successfully completed their doctoral course work are eligible to stand for office.
Article 3: Committees
3.1 Elections Board (see Constitutions, VII. 2). Conducting Elections. Beginning no later than April of each year, the Convener of the Elections Board and the Elections Officials will begin the process of identifying potential candidates for all elected ACHA offices. Ideally candidates should be drawn from ACHA members in good standing; active members may propose candidates to the Elections Board. Once identified, the potential nominee is to be contacted, asking if he/she is willing to run for office. At that time, the potential candidate must be informed of the duties and responsibilities of office.
By early August, the Elections Board members will approve a slate of candidates running for office. Upon acceptance, the candidates’ names are then sent to the Convener, who will contact the nominees, requesting a vision statement, c.v., and current photograph. If the statement and c.v. are not provided in a timely fashion, the EBC may, in consultation with fellow board members, replace the candidate.
In mid-August, the Convener of the Elections Board will provide the ACHA webmaster with the list of candidates for office, their vision statements, and their c.v.’s. This information should be posted on the ACHA web site the last week in August. The general membership should be informed of this development.
After Labor Day, the EBC will ensure that the general membership is contacted regarding the election process.
On-line voting will begin no later than September 15th and conclude fourteen days later.
For those requesting paper ballots, the EBC will ensure that that material is sent out by the first week in September. Return ballots must be post-marked by September 22nd.
Officers of the Elections Board will certify the returns within one week after the ballots have been tallied. A certification message should be sent to the EC immediately, and the EBC will notify the candidates of the results.
3.2 Finance Committee (see Constitutions VII, 3)
3.3 Program Committee. The Program Committee will consist of four members: the Executive Secretary and three individuals appointed by the president.
3.4 Membership Committee. There shall be a Membership Committee of at least three members responsible for increasing the membership of the Association
3.15. Electronic Media Committee. There shall be an Electronic Media Committee of at least three members responsible for the oversight of the Association’s website and its presence on the Internet. The Secretary chairs this committee.
3.16 Awards Committees. There shall be Awards Committees for the following awards. Each shall be constituted of three members appointed for staggered terms of three years.
John Gilmary Shea Prize
Howard R. Marraro Prize
John Tracy Ellis Dissertation Award
Peter Guilday Prize (consisting of the editor and associate editor of the Catholic Historical Review)
Distinguished Service Awards (consisting of Vice President, President, Past President, plus three rotating members appointed by ACHA President)
Article 4: Spring Meetings
4.1 A meeting will normally be held in March or April of each year at an institution willing to sponsor it.
4.2 The sponsoring institution chooses the chairman and other members of the organizing committee.
4.3 The sponsoring institution assumes full financial responsibility for the meeting; it sets the registration and other fees; it forwards to the Treasurer of the Association any surplus that it may realize.
Article 6: Seat of the Association.
The headquarters of the Association are located at Mount St. Mary’s University.
Article 7: Amendments
1. These Bylaws may be amended by the Executive Council at any regular meeting of the Council.