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Taft Bylaws

Bylaws of the Faculty Executive Board of the Charles Phelps Taft Memorial Fund (Humanities)

  • Approved May 6, 1991
  • Amended May 3, 1993
  • Amended April 7, 2003
  • Amended November 1, 2004
  • Amended March 5, 2007
  • Amended December 3, 2007
  • Amended September 20, 2009
  • Amended August 15, 2011
  • Amended October 1, 2012
  • Amended February 12, 2013
  • Amended October 30, 2017
  • Amended March 5, 2018
  • Amended March 16, 2018
  • Amended October 23, 2019
  • Amended March 4, 2020
  • Amended November 3, 2021
  • Amended November 9, 2022



The organization for which these bylaws are created is the Faculty Executive Board of the Charles Phelps Taft Memorial Fund, which oversees all programs associated with the Charles Phelps Taft Research Center.


These bylaws are for the University of Cincinnati internal administration and do not in any way relate to the responsibilities and operations of the Board of Trustees of The Charles Phelps Taft Memorial Fund. The purpose of The Charles Phelps Taft Memorial Fund appears in the May 3, 1930 letter of Annie Sinton Taft to the Board of Directors of the university and in an agreement of January 27, 1941, between Robert A. Taft, as executor of the estate of Annie Sinton Taft, and the trustees of The Charles Phelps Taft Memorial Fund, which agreement was consented and agreed to by the University of Cincinnati on May 8, 1941. Paragraph 1 of that agreement states:

The Trustees shall and hereby declare that they hold the real estate and securities so conveyed to them, and all the property held by them, in trust for the following purposes:

To assist, maintain and endow the study and teaching of "The Humanities" in the College of Liberal Arts and the Graduate School of the University of Cincinnati.

The term "The Humanities" shall include particularly literature, language, philosophy and history, together with economics and mathematics.

Taft Fund Trustees and the Faculty Executive Board

The agreement of January 27, 1941 further provides: "The Trustees shall have wide discretion in defining the term 'the Humanities' and the purposes for which the income of the trust estate shall be used, but no expenditures shall be made by the Trustees except in accordance with plans prepared in the College of Liberal Arts and the Graduate School of the University of Cincinnati and approved by the Board of Directors of the University of Cincinnati. The Trustees may select a chairman and a secretary and select new members in the case of death, resignation or incapacity of any Trustee, evidencing such selection by a written document filed with the Board of Directors of the University."

Subject to the above requirements on expenditures the Board of Directors of the university and the University President have entrusted to the Faculty Executive Board policy-making and administrative responsibilities for planning and executing activities and programs that fulfill the purpose of the fund.

Chair and Officers


The Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences will appoint a nominating committee consisting of four members of the Taft Faculty Board, the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, the Vice President for Research, the Dean of the Graduate School, and two non-committee members of the Taft departments. The A&S dean will either chair the nominating committee or appoint a chair. The nominating committee will advertise the position, solicit applications, and interview the top candidates in order to recommend an appointee to the president of the university. Typically, this process will begin early in Spring Semester with selection of the Faculty Chair made no later than the end of Spring Semester with appointment to begin July 1st.

Term of Office

The Faculty Executive Board chair will serve a five-year nonrenewable term.

If for any reason the Faculty Chair cannot complete his or her term, the Faculty Executive Board will meet and select by majority vote one of its own members to serve as Interim Faculty Chair, holding all of the responsibilities as described below. During the Interim Chair’s tenure, no substantial changes should be made to Taft programs. The Interim Faculty Chair shall serve until a new Chair can be appointed through the process described above. No Interim Faculty Chair should serve longer than twelve months.

During the term of service, the Taft Faculty Chair is not eligible to receive Taft fellowship awards (Center, Faculty Release, and Summer Research). The Taft Faculty Chair is eligible for all other appropriate Taft faculty award programs. The Chair is eligible for fellowship programs immediately following the conclusion of service, and may apply in their final year of service, as such an award would not overlap with any term of service.  

Responsibilities of the Chair

  • Solicit recommendations from Taft department faculty for individuals to be appointed to the board; in consultation with the A&S dean recommend board members for appointment by the university president.
  • Assign board members to chair all standing and ad hoc committees. Create ad hoc, steering and advisory committees as needed. In consultation with committee chairs, appoint all committee members from the board and Taft faculty departments. Serve ex-officio on all committees and actively chair specified committees.
  • Schedule, convene and preside at all board meetings. Prepare and circulate in advance to board members a meeting agenda and written committee or other recommendations for board action.
  • Appoint a parliamentarian, secretary, financial coordinator or other officers as needed.
  • Appoint, evaluate, and supervise Taft Research Center staff.
  • After consultation with committee chairs and/or the planning committee, prepare an annual budget for board review and approval.
  • Serve as liaison to the Taft trustees, meeting at least once per year to review board budget requests.
  • Approve operating expenditures from the budget fund designated for the chair and grant discretionary awards of up to $1,000 from any unspent administrative funds.
  • Prepare an annual report to the trustees, president, A&S dean, and Taft department faculty identifying in attachments recipients of Taft funds selected by different board committees.
  • Promote and publicize the Taft Research Center in the university to the general public and throughout the national and international academic world. Heighten the visibility of the Taft Research Center for strengthening the Taft disciplines at UC.
  • Coordinate all Taft events, including lectures, seminars, Center Fellows sessions and other programming opportunities.
  • Oversee Taft Research Center publicity, including annual publications and website development and maintenance.
  • Coordinate planning and conduct of the Taft Research Center Annual Symposium.


  • The board will have 18 full-time faculty members from the College of Arts and Sciences plus Economics recommended by the chair and appointed by the university president to staggered four-year terms, typically with at least four new appointees to begin in the fall semester.
  • The chair will recommend at least one faculty member from each Taft department. The largest Taft departments normally will have more than one board member. The chair will designate one board liaison from each department to announce Taft funding programs at a department faculty meeting each fall and to report on Taft grants awarded at the conclusion of each academic year.
  • Following completion of a four-year term, board members may not be reappointed for at least one full year.
  • When board members are on leave for more than one semester of their term, the chair will recommend an alternate who may serve in their absence. If an alternate serves for a full academic year, the period will not count as part of the regular member's four-year term. The chair may remove from the board any member absent without good reason from three consecutive meetings and/or more than half of the meetings in one academic year. In the event a new member is needed to fill out the unexpired term of any individual leaving the board with more than a year left to serve, the chair will recommend to the president a new board member for a four-year term.
  • No more than two department heads should serve on the board at any one time; department heads and university administrators should only chair grant review committees in exceptional cases.
  • The president, the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, the vice president for research, the dean of the Graduate School, and the provost will serve as ex-officio members of the board. They will serve in an advisory role, with no voting privileges.
  • The Taft Faculty Executive Board will meet at least five times per year. Additional meetings may be called by the Faculty chair or a majority of the board.

Taft Departments and Eligible Faculty

  • The letter of Annie Sinton Taft which served as the basis of the 1941 agreement provides in part: "My particular interest is in bringing about a concentration of interest upon that group of ideas which is generally known as 'the Humanities' hoping that others may be inspired to join in the same work or other work of the university. In referring to 'the Humanities' I include particularly literature and language, philosophy and history and with these I have also in mind economics and mathematics. Without wishing to lessen or to regard in any way lightly, the great efforts being put forth for the material and physical betterment of mankind, to which great funds are everywhere being devoted, I believe that there is some danger of a lack of emphasis on the value of thought and conduct and character, and I have therefore confined my gift to 'the Humanities' which are concerned particularly with the development of ideas and thought and of character." The Board of Trustees of the Charles Phelps Taft Memorial Fund has approved funding for eligible faculty from and students majoring in the following College of Arts and Sciences departments and schools: Africana Studies, Anthropology, School of Communication, Film and Media Studies, Economics (College of Business), English, German Studies, History, Journalism, Judaic Studies, Mathematical Sciences, Philosophy, School of Public and International Affairs , Romance and Arabic Languages and Literatures, Sociology, and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.
  • The Taft Fund's purpose is to enhance 'the Humanities' in the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Cincinnati. To that end, Taft support for faculty is intended for faculty who have a long-term research affiliation with the University, the College of Arts & Sciences, and the designated 15 Taft disciplines. As the University of Cincinnati allows a variety of faculty appointments, this policy is articulated as follows:
    • Tenure Track Faculty: Tenure-track faculty (as defined in the current UC-AAUP contract) are eligible for Taft funding if (1) their primary tenure unit is in the College of Arts & Sciences or the Department of Economics, and (2) they are members of a Taft unit or hold terminal advanced degrees in one of the areas listed above as approved by the trustees. Membership in either the College of Arts & Sciences or a Taft unit shall be determined by the faculty member's primary bargaining unit appointment.
    • Part-time Faculty: Part-time faculty are not eligible for Taft funding.
    • Emeritus Faculty: Emeritus faculty who remain active within the University community are eligible to apply but may be given a lower priority.
  • Eligibility for awards that provide release time (e.g. Research Fellowships, Faculty Course Release Awards, Taft Center Fellowships) is restricted to tenure-track faculty as defined in 2 (a). Faculty who receive awards that provide faculty salary or release time shall be subject to the following restrictions:
    • Except by permission of the Taft Faculty Board, recipients shall not accept additional remuneration during the period beyond that paid them by the University and any prizes or awards that may be given to them.
    • Except where an earlier retirement is approved by the Administration, recipients are obligated to return to the University for at least one academic year immediately following the period of leave.

Taft Faculty Committees

  • Standing grant review committees will award support to faculty:
    • Faculty Fellowship
    • Publications
    • Faculty Travel
    • Taft Center Fellows
    • Research Support
  • Students:
    • Student Awards
  • Department and Interdisciplinary Programs:
    • Research Support
    • Conferences & Lectures
    • A standing planning committee will prepare the annual budget, conduct program evaluation and review, consider proposed amendments to these bylaws, advise the chair as requested, and seek to identify appropriate new initiatives. In accord with the Taft Fund's purpose, the planning committee will seek to articulate a vision of the humanities in the college and the university. The committee will explore ways for UC faculty to promote the study of human values and achievements of ideals, theories, and concepts as distinguished from professional and technical training with more immediate market applications. Long-range planning for the future of humanities teaching and research by Taft departments and faculty may generate recommendations for additional funding.
    • Ad hoc committees created by the chair will fulfill assignments for a period that should not exceed two years.
    • Membership. Committees may include Taft faculty who are not on the board. In selecting committee members, the Faculty Executive Board Chair will seek individuals with appropriate expertise and experience. Taft grant review committees will be large enough to assure a balanced membership of different Taft departments and will not normally include more than one individual from the same Taft department. All appointees shall serve one-year renewable terms. The board chair is an ex-officio member of all committees unless otherwise specified as an active chair.
    • Committee chairs appointed by the Faculty chair will schedule meetings, arrange for the recording of minutes, and regularly submit an annual budget request and rationale (and annual reports to the board). A separate annual report to the chair will summarize the number of applications received and amounts requested from different Taft departments, the grants awarded by the committee, and a program evaluation. This report will contain the names and departmental affiliation of each committee member. Chairs will have the assistance of Taft board clerical staff for announcing Taft opportunities to eligible faculty and students, selection criteria, procedures, and deadlines.
    • Grant review committees will make awards following guidelines and application review procedures previously approved by the board and published as a supplement to these bylaws. Unless the board has expressly directed a committee to seek approval before granting awards, committees have final authority to make awards within the board approved guidelines. Faculty grants-in-aid, however, must always be approved by the Taft Board; non-competitive awards that have a rolling deadline and no committee assessment shall be approved by the director of Taft, unless the issue in the proposal requires approval from the Taft Executive Board. In exceptional cases, a committee may recommend to the board an award that falls outside the published guidelines.
    • Board and committee members are neither department representatives nor department advocates. All should make principled decisions based on professional criteria. In order to avoid any appearance of conflict of interest, Committee members that have an application before committee, for a competitive program (Travel for Research, Fellowships, Conferences, RS), upon which they serve, may not participate in the discussion, review, or vote on awards or deliberate with the committee or with the full board.
    • The Taft Professorship Committee is chaired by the Chair of the Taft Faculty Executive Board, and the committee includes at least one current or former Taft Professor, two members of the Executive Board, and one additional member. 
    • The Taft Center Research Fellows Committee will oversee the Center Fellows program. The committee will be constituted in a distinctive fashion:
      • The committee will be chaired by the Chair of the Taft Faculty Executive Board. The Chair will preside over the committee but will not vote unless required to do so to break a tie.
      • Four additional members will be selected through a vote of the Executive Board. No more than two members may repeat service on the committee in back-to-back years.
      • The committee will be drawn exclusively from a pool of previous Center Fellowship recipients.
      • Members may include both current and emeriti Taft faculty.


    The Faculty chair and Planning Committee in consultation with committee chairs will prepare for board review and approval on the annual budget each spring. The projected budget should include a report on budget expenditures for the two prior years broken down by committee. The board members must have written budget proposals in hand at least one week prior to the scheduled meeting date at which the budget is to be adopted.

    Board Meetings

    • The Taft Faculty Executive Board will meet at least five times per year. Additional meetings may be called by the Faculty chair or a majority of the board.
    • The board has plenary authority over all committees, officers, and budget matters. The board may require all committees to report all funding recommendations to the board for final approval, may create or eliminate committees, and may reallocate budgeted funds subject only to review by the trustees.
    • The rules contained in the most recent revised edition of "Robert's Rules of Order" shall govern the board in all those cases which are applicable and in which they are consistent with the bylaws. The chair may appoint a parliamentarian whose duty it shall be to ensure that these rules and the bylaws are adhered to in the conduct of meetings.
    • Policy proposals to be considered should be submitted in writing to the chair in time for distribution to board members prior to the meeting at which a decision is proposed.


Amendments to these bylaws may be requested by the chair or proposed in writing by a member of the board at a regularly scheduled meeting and shall be voted upon at the next meeting. Amendments shall be approved by a two-thirds majority of those present, either in-person or virtually, and voting.