WHC Bylaws


World History Center

University of Pittsburgh


Revised May 2018

I. Definition and Mission

The World History Center (WHC) is an academic center in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh. It promotes critical research and teaching about human communities in motion and forces that have shaped our global past and present.  The Center receives core funding from the Dietrich School. It is subject to the administration and Bylaws of the University of Pittsburgh Department of History as well as the statutes and policies of the Dietrich School.

II. Officers and Staff

  1. Director and Associate Director
    1. The Director is a tenured member of the Department of History, nominated by the department and appointed by the Dean of the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences to serve for a term of four years, renewable.
    2. The Associate Director is a tenured or tenure-track member of the Department of History, nominated by the Department of History and appointed by the Dean of the Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences to serve for a term of four years, renewable.
    3. For the purposes of the bylaws, we refer to the Director and Associate Director as Center Leadership. 
    4. The Director and Associate Director generally serve staggered terms, which promotes continuity in leadership.
    5. When the Director or Associate Director is unable to serve because of leave or illness, an Interim Director or Interim Associate Director will be proposed by the Chair of the Department of History, in consultation with the Advisory Board, from among tenured or tenure-stream members of the Department, and appointed by the Dean to serve for up to two years.
    6. As members of the History faculty, the WHC Director and Associate Director work closely with the History Department on graduate and undergraduate curriculum in World History.
    7. A Director or Associate Director who plans a leave may request either to maintain the leadership role at the WHC or to suspend it. If the term is suspended, the end date may be extended so that the Director or Associate Director can serve a full four-year term. The Advisory Board (with the Director or Associate Director recused) will make these determinations in consultation with the History Department Chair and the Dean of the Dietrich School.
    8. The Director serves as chair of the Advisory Board and completes an annual report on Center activities at the end of each academic year for submission to the Dietrich School Dean, the History Department Chair, and publication on the Center website.
    9. The Director, in consultation with the Associate Director: determines and guides the Center vision and mission, establishes its annual program of activity, manages its finances and financial decisions, appoints ad hoc committees, manages space and equipment, supervises personnel, communicates with fellows and affiliates, consults with the History Graduate Student Organization (GSO), and oversees websites and communication.
    10. By mutual agreement, the Director and the Associate Director may each lead specific initiatives, represent the Center on specific committees, guide specific extra-departmental relationships, initiate and coordinate specific Center events, and launch specific publicity activities.
    11. Each time there is a leadership change, the Director and Associate Director draft a mutually agreeable division of labor and program of initiatives, which they submit to the Advisory Board for approval.
  2. Staff and Affiliates
  3. The Center Coordinator is employed under university procedures for staff to perform the duties outlined in the job description for the position as specified in Appendix 1.
  4. Postdoctoral Fellows, supported by the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences or by external funding and appointed by the Dean for terms specified in individual appointment letters, serve in the Center under supervision of the Director. Postdoctoral Fellows may perform research and teaching relating to world history.
  5. Graduate Student Assistants hold one-semester positions under the supervision of the Director and Associate Director for the purpose of conducting a public history project aligned with the Center's mission. The position may be renewed.
  6. World History Graduate Fellows are selected by a History Department committee based on a call for proposals developed in consultation between the History Department Graduate Committee and the World History Center leadership. The selection committee consists of the WHC Director or Associate Director, the History Department Director of Graduate Studies, and the elected History Department member of the WHC Advisory Board. The Fellow is expected to write a brief research report to be posted on the World History Center website.
  7. Affiliates are generally self-funded scholars whose research involves resources or collaborations at Pitt. Affiliates are appointed for one-year renewable terms by the Director in consultation with the Associate Director and interested faculty and in accordance with relevant University procedures. Affiliates are expected to write brief research reports to be posted on the World History Center website.  The WHC Director liaises with Dietrich School Dean’s Office to determine the appropriate University title for each affiliate. 

III. Governing Bodies

  1. The Advisory Board consists of the following members: the Center Director, the  Associate Director, the Director of the Global Studies Center, the Chair of the Department of  History, the directors of graduate and undergraduate studies of the Department of History, one elected member from the History Department faculty (elected each year by History Department  faculty for a term of one year), and two other Faculty Affiliates of the Center appointed by the Director with the advice of the Advisory Board for alternating terms of three years. 
  2. The Advisory Board holds regular meetings twice a year, in the spring and fall semester. The Director may call additional meetings as needed.
  3. The Advisory Board reviews Center activities and finances, including grant proposals and research projects originating within the Center.
  4. The Advisory Board may convene an external committee at their discretion to complete a specified task.  
  5. The Awards Committee, consisting of the Center leadership and two members of the Pitt faculty appointed by the Director for staggered terms of three years, selects the winning applicants for Center research and travel grants.
  6. The GSA selection committee, consisting of Center leadership, the History Department Director of Graduate Studies and the Humanities Center Assistant Director, selects the winning applicants for the Center’s Graduate Student Assistant position each semester.

IV. Amendment

These Bylaws may be amended by a vote of two-thirds of Advisory Board members at a regular spring or fall meeting, or by ballot.