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National Women's Studies Association Policies

Prizes and Awards Policy
NWSA receives occasional requests regarding new prizes and and awards.  The Association's Governing Council adopted the following policy at its June, 2014 meeting.

NWSA Constituency Groups may propose prizes for things such as essays or papers to be awarded to the constituencies they represent within the National Women’s Studies Association. Such prizes may be established subject to consideration of the Governing Council at its June meeting.   Constituency groups must be in good standing in order to propose an award.  Only current members of the association can be considered for awards.  The association will coordinate the application process and deadlines; the sponsoring constituency group will be responsible for selecting recipients.  The Association may not fund these prizes.  Constituency prizes may not be approved if they place an undue burden on the national office.

Research Policy
NWSA receives frequent requests to support or participate in individuals’ scholarly research. Its limited staff size prompted the Association’s Governing Council to adopt the following research policy in June 2013:
  • Individuals who wish to survey NWSA members must provide evidence of IRB approval.
  • Individuals must conduct surveys through member-to-member communication channels
  • Survey communications and research results must not identify that National Women's Studies Association in order to avoid the appearance that the Association sponsored or authorized the research.
  • Individuals can access publicly available organizational materials on the NWSA website or in the NWSA archive
Note that the guidelines above do not apply to research the Association itself may conduct as part of field-building projects and priorities established by the NWSA Governing Council.

Conference Site Selection Policy
Adopted by the NWSA Governing Council, June 2012
The National Women's Studies Association seeks to select conference sites that provide sufficient space to accommodate our meeting requirements while simultaneously reflecting our feminist values and commitments. At the same time, Association leaders recognize that such values are rarely realized in our culture, and consequently our conference sites will necessarily reflect cultural realities as well as our feminist ideals.

We believe that oppressive laws and systems can be addressed through feminist education and action, and that our annual meeting serves as an important space to gather, reflect, and take action.

The Association takes the following criteria into account when soliciting contracts and conducting site visits in accordance with our organizational commitments to diversity, accessibility, and social justice. Prospective sites must:

Baseline Site Selection Requirements
  • Meet NWSA meeting and sleeping rooms needs in terms of space
  • Offer sleeping room rates below $200/night

Organizational Values Requirements
  • Demonstrate their commitment to workers’ rights with preference given to unionized properties
  • Meet ADA requirements
  • Create a welcoming atmosphere for NWSA attendees: Are the city and property staff diverse? Can attendees safely walk to area eateries and attractions? Would we be sharing conference space with other groups, and if so which groups?
  • Include dining options to accommodate various dietary preferences and restrictions
  • Offer airport accessibility including the possibility of public transportation to and from conference site

The Governing Council votes to determine the final site selection among the contracts that meet the above criteria. NWSA considers prospective conference sites approximately two years—and sometimes more—in advance of the actual event.

In the event of a problem or conflict with a conference site property after the contract has been signed, the Executive Committee will appoint an ad hoc committee to review the conflict, consult with NWSA staff, and decide on a course of action. According to NWSA’s Bylaws, the Executive Committee operates on behalf of the Governing Council when the GC is not in session.

Public Statement Policy
The National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA) is frequently asked to advocate specific public policies, issue a response to an academic/institutional concern, or make a statement about the field of women’s and gender studies. At its June 2011 meeting, NWSA’s Governing Council decided that while a priori limits should not be placed on NWSA’s ability to speak on important matters related to the field of women’s and gender studies, some guidelines should govern the decision of when to make public statements. These guidelines are grounded in NWSA’s mission as a professional organization “dedicated to leading the field of women's studies, as well as its teaching, learning, research, and service wherever they be found.” Issues related to the academic field of women’s and gender studies should receive the Association’s highest attention. Such issues might include: the educational and social value of women’s and gender studies, particularly when the field is attacked or maligned; cuts to and elimination of specific women’s and gender studies academic programs and women’s centers; and academic freedom. The Association is not required to make public statements about any or all issues which meet these criteria, however, and should only do so when deemed necessary by the EC or GC.

Membership Assembly recommendations and Delegate Assembly resolutions must be submitted 30 days in advance of the Association’s annual conference. Recommendations and resolutions should be focused on advancing the NWSA mission. Recommendations and resolutions are subsequently forwarded to the Governing Council for consideration.