CRA-WP Bylaws

Section 1: Name and Purpose

The name of this organization is Computing Research Association’s Committee on Widening Participation in Computing Research, abbreviated as CRA-WP.

CRA-WP is a committee of the Computing Research Association (CRA) and, as such, is subject to the bylaws of CRA as they pertain to committees.  These bylaws include interpretations and mechanisms for complying with CRA bylaws in the structure and operation of CRA-WP.  Specifically, CRA-WP is considered a long-term programmatic committee of CRA, although not identified explicitly as such in the CRA bylaws (as of February 2013), with conventions described herein.

CRA-WP focuses on community building, career mentoring, information sharing, and effecting systemic change for undergraduate and graduate students, post-doctoral researchers, faculty, and industry and government researchers.

CRA-WP’s mission is to widen the participation and improve the access, opportunities, and positive experiences of individuals from populations underrepresented in computing research and education.

The expressed identities of the individuals we serve include: 

  • Women
  • Black/African American
  • Native American/ Alaskan Native/ Pacific Islander
  • Hispanic/Latinx
  • Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Trans, Queer, Asexual, Intersex
  • Persons with disabilities 
  • Veterans

CRA-WP is committed to supporting all communities in computing research. We understand that these identities are non-exhaustive and will continue to evolve over time.

Section 2: Membership of the CRA-WP Board

CRA-WP is an action-oriented organization such that each Board Member is responsible for directing (or co-directing) at least one of CRA-WP’s projects.

As per CRA bylaws (Section XIV, as of Feb. 2013):

  • The CRA Board ratifies committee membership changes and ratifies any operating procedures, rules, committee bylaws, and changes thereof. In practice, the CRA Board delegates CRA-WP Board membership authority to the CRA-WP Steering Committee (see Section 5). 

As per CRA bylaws (Section II, as of Feb. 2013):

  • The CRA Board may choose, by majority vote, to establish that the Chair of any of its committees henceforth serves as a full member of the CRA Board during any period that no Chair of the committee is otherwise a CRA Board member. The CRA Board may also choose, by majority vote, to reverse that decision.

The CRA-WP Board consists of members who are nominated and approved by the CRA-WP Steering Committee and who remain actively involved in directing at least one of its projects.  Members are appointed for a fixed, but renewable term of three years.  Renewal of membership at the end of three years proceeds as follows:

  • The member, together with the CRA-WP Co-Chairs, evaluates whether they have the energy and prior record of commitment to serve for another term.
  • Renewal is determined by a majority vote of the Steering Committee.

The mechanism for appointment to the Board is as follows: The CRA-WP Co-Chairs (see Section 4) solicit nominations for new Board Members from the CRA-WP Board and prepare a roster of candidates.  The Steering Committee Members rank the candidates.  This process may take place by email.  For the number of projects that need staffing, the Co-Chairs invite the top candidates to join the Board.  Each new member must agree to (co-)lead an existing or new project and attend the Board meetings.  The new member’s name is forwarded to the CRA Board for ratification. 

The rules for continuation of membership on the Board for the three year period are as follows:

  • Attendance at Board meetings: Effective participation on the CRA-WP Board requires regular attendance at meetings; thus, active members must not have unexcused absences for more than two consecutive meetings.  
  • Performance of duties: Each Board Member must have an assigned project and be actively leading it.  Failure to perform at an acceptable level is determined by majority vote of the Steering Committee. 

There shall be a status of Emeritus Member for retired Board Members who, as determined by majority vote of the Steering Committee, have made significant contributions to CRA-WP during their period of active membership.

There shall be an Associate Member category for individuals who work closely with CRA-WP but are not CRA-WP board members and, thus, do not have project director responsibilities. The objective is to facilitate collaboration and synergies with CRA-WP.  Associate Members are invited to attend the open part of the annual spring Board meetings, but are not eligible for travel support from CRA-WP to attend.  Associate Members are non-voting participants and are appointed for fixed, but renewable, one year terms aligned with the CRA fiscal year of July 1 – June 30.  The mechanism for appointment as an Associate Member is as follows: potential members are nominated by the CRA-WP Co-Chairs, Steering Committee, or Board, and must be approved by a majority of the Steering Committee, usually at the spring meeting, but approval could be done electronically; after approval by the Steering Committee, the CRA-WP Co-Chairs will invite approved candidates to join as Associate Members.  Annual renewal of membership proceeds as follows: at the spring meeting each year, the Steering Committee reviews the existing Associate Members and renewal of the appointment is determined by majority vote of the Steering Committee; if approved by the Steering Committee, the CRA-WP Co-Chairs notify the Associate Member of the desire to continue the relationship, and otherwise the Associate Member is thanked for their past service.

Section 3: Board Member Responsibilities 

All Board Members will be assigned as Project Director for at least one project.  The Co-Chairs make the assignments with advice from the Steering Committee.  To provide rotation, terms as Project Director will typically be for three years, but may be renewed with approval of the Steering Committee and at the request of the Project Director. Major projects of CRA-WP shall be assigned co-directors to share responsibility.  Whenever possible, terms of co-directors shall be staggered to provide continuity. 

Project Directors will have broad responsibility to implement projects in accordance with the available resources, project objectives, and operating rules. Project Directors will maintain operating rules, to be approved by the Steering Committee, defining how the project is implemented. In particular, these rules will include how the project will avoid conflict-of-interest issues. Problems, questions, and proposed changes in project scope or design, however, are to be brought to the Co-Chairs and, through them, to the Steering Committee for discussion and a decision. 

Project Director administrative duties include submitting biannual reports to the Co-Chairs (which are then collated and disseminated to the CRA Board and CRA-WP Board), administering or delegating program evaluation surveys, publicizing projects and deadlines, maintaining webpages, and record keeping of applicants and attendees.

Section 4: Co-Chairs and Responsibilities

As per CRA bylaws (Section XIV, as of Feb. 2013), the CRA-WP Co-Chairs are approved by the CRA Board. In practice, the CRA Board delegates the selection of new CRA-WP Co-Chairs to the CRA-WP Steering Committee (see Section 5).  The CRA Board formally approves each new Co-Chair for a term of three years. 

Appointment and term: Co-Chairs are appointed for three-year terms. The starting dates of new Co-Chairs are staggered by one year to allow for incoming Co-Chairs to work with an experienced Co-Chair and still have two years in which they will work with each other. Each Co-Chair Elect will be chosen by the Steering Committee no later than the Fall Steering Committee meeting a year before the term of the  Co-Chair they will be replacing ends, by majority vote. The term of a CRA-WP Co-Chair is three years beginning at the end of the following Fall Steering Committee meeting.  Incoming Co-Chairs participate in the current Co-Chairs regular conference calls in the six months prior to their tenure to provide continuity in leadership.

Duties: The Co-Chairs oversee all CRA-WP projects, prepare reports to CRA and other agencies, plan and run the meetings, assign Board Members to projects, allocate funds and CRA staff time to projects, monitor the budget of CRA-WP, and consult with the Steering Committee on significant problems and decisions.

Replacement of Co-Chairs: The Steering Committee shall recommend appointment of a new Co-Chair to complete the current term in case a Co-Chair is unable or unwilling to perform the duties of the office or finish her term.  Removal of a Co-Chair requires a two-thirds vote of the Steering Committee.

Section 5: Steering Committee and Responsibilities

The Steering Committee is the decision-making body of CRA-WP, selecting new Board Members, recommending approval of new Co-Chair Elects, determining three-year term renewals of Board Members, doing strategic planning for the organization, approving new projects, and balancing the overall project portfolio of the organization.

The Steering Committee will be a minimum size of 5 and a maximum size of 13 members.  

Membership on Steering Committee: Eligible Steering Committee Members are current Co-Chairs, Co-Chairs Elect, and all past Co-Chairs.  If the maximum size is exceeded, the longest-serving Steering Committee Members will retire from the Steering Committee. The Steering Committee may, by majority vote, appoint one Board Member to serve a term of three years on the Steering Committee. If the Steering Committee size falls below the minimum, the Steering Committee will appoint Board Members to reach the minimum size. Every three years at the Spring Board meeting, the Board may elect one Board Member to serve on the Steering Committee for a three-year term starting at the next Fall Steering Committee meeting. This election will be by written ballot.

To remain on the Steering Committee, Steering Committee Members must remain on the Board, participate in the activities of the Steering Committee, and not have more than two unexcused absences at consecutive Steering Committee meetings.

Section 6: Meetings

Frequency and scheduling of meetings: There is one annual Board meeting in the Spring and two Steering Committee meetings, one in Fall and one in Spring.  A quorum for meetings is over half of the membership of the Board or Steering Committee and is required for any binding vote.

Meetings do not need to be held at a geographic location if the meeting is held by means of internet or other electronic communications technology in a fashion pursuant to which the members have the opportunity to read or hear the proceedings substantially concurrent with their occurrence, vote on matters submitted to the members, pose questions, and make comments. Additionally, with approval of both Co-Chairs, a member may be permitted to participate remotely in a meeting by means of internet or other electronic communications technology. Any member who, after having received approval from the Co-Chairs, participates remotely shall be included in computing the quorum count and retain all meeting and voting rights as members participating in-person.

Section 7: Fiscal and Legal Matters

As per CRA bylaws (Section XIII, as of Feb. 2013): The CRA Board of Directors is responsible for granting authority by vote for any fundraising.  In practice, the CRA Board delegates to the Steering Committee of CRA-WP the standing authority to raise or accept money for programs of CRA-WP.

As per CRA bylaws (Section XV, as of Feb. 2013): CRA-WP Board Members shall be indemnified by CRA against claims for liability arising in connection with their activities on behalf of CRA-WP.

The funds of CRA-WP are legally managed as part of the overall budget of CRA.  CRA is the awardee organization for grants from government funding agencies.  Funds from industry, foundations, or individuals that are raised by CRA-WP for its programs are earmarked within the CRA budget for CRA-WP programs and purposes.  

Proposals, including their budgets, shall be reviewed by the Co-Chairs and CRA staff before submission. 

Writing proposals and fund-raising for projects are not necessarily linked to leading the projects covered by the proposal or fund-raising activities. However, the PI of a grant supporting a project will normally be assigned as a Project Director to implement that project.  Whenever the PI is not a Project Director, then the PI, the Co-Chairs, and the assigned Project Directors will work cooperatively to ensure that the terms of the award and reporting functions are satisfied.  This convention precludes the need to reassign the PI as committee roles change, assuming the PI remains an active CRA-WP Board Member.

Section 8: Bylaw Changes

Changes to these bylaws must be proposed and circulated to the Steering Committee two weeks prior to a Steering Committee meeting. At least two thirds of the Steering Committee members participating and then a majority of the CRA-WP Board Members participating must vote to approve any change in these bylaws. Votes to adopt or amend bylaws must be by written ballot. Amendments may be offered by any Board Member of CRA-WP. If any change requires CRA consent, then those changes will be sent to the CRA Board for approval.  The bylaws will be reviewed at least every 5 years by the CRA-WP Board.