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Constitution

Constitution of the Institute for Humanities in Africa (HUMA), University of Cape Town

Article I: Title

This organisation shall be known as the Institute for the Humanities in Africa (HUMA), University of Cape Town.

Article II: Interpretation

In this Constitution "Institute" means the Institute for the Humanities in Africa (HUMA) established under this Constitution; "University" means the University of Cape Town; “Faculty” means the University of Cape Town Faculty of Humanities; “Dean” means Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, University of Cape Town; "Director" means the Director of the Institute; the "Board" means the Advisory Board (AB) of the Institute; the “Academic Board” means the Academic Advisory Board (AAB) of the Institute; and the “Editorial Board” means the editorial board (EB) of HUMA’s publication and dissemination programme herein referred to as “HUMA Publications and Dissemination Programme”.

Article III: Purpose and Mandate

The purpose of the Institute shall be to undertake, sponsor and disseminate humanities and interdisciplinary research within such disciplines and in such parts of the world as are deemed of relevance to the University of Cape Town and the broader African continent. Without limiting the generality of the above, research pertaining directly to the humanities in South Africa, the African continent and its Diasporas shall be of special importance.

HUMA – the Institute for Humanities in Africa, at the University of Cape Town – is intended to create a space of dynamic interdisciplinary community for scholars and students in the humanities at large. HUMA undertakes and champions interdisciplinary research and conversations/dialogue. HUMA also seeks to draw on that work to nurture critical public debate, promoting UCT’s vision of itself as a civic and African university contributing to the making of democratic citizenship. HUMA has an Afropolitan outlook with a Pan-African approach. HUMA’s intellectual agenda is structured by one central theme, On Being Human, which is described on the website, www.huma.ac.za.

This theme informs a three-fold institutional mission:

  1. To conduct and promote research that is historically grounded and theoretically engaged, with an eye to the ‘big’ humanity questions and challenges, theoretical, ethical and methodological questions that anchor African issues in the wider fields of experience and analysis. The combination of intellectual focus and breadth provided by our research theme is intended to open up spaces for dialogue, collaboration and exchange across disparate traditions of thought, and in ways that help examine and develop the project of interdisciplinary work.
  2. To nurture the expertise and enthusiasm of graduate students interested in an academic career, through a combination of intensive and supportive doctoral supervision, networking, mentoring, and a broader programme of seminars, symposia and workshops that help develop the intellectual versatility and confidence that an academic career requires.
  3. To bring scholars and students into conversation with interested publics, around issues of shared and topical concern. HUMA hopes to promote what public intellectuals in the humanities do best, which is to de-familiarise and unsettle established ways of seeing, to think creatively about pressing social and political questions, and to keep the imagination of alternative futures alive.

This mission is embedded in a particular understanding of Africans and their locatedness in Africa. Africa is a landmass with a deep and complex history of connection and disconnection among its many inhabitants, beginning with the earliest phases of human society, and more recently, forged by colonialism and the struggles against it. Being African is shaped as much by the disconnections as by the connections that this history has produced, and that inform the ways we think and act. Our scholarship and debate, then, will be positioned in Africa, even if the focus of our deliberations is not limited to the continent.

Article IV: Membership of HUMA

The membership of HUMA comprises its salaried staff, research fellows and postgraduate students associated with HUMA. All HUMA staff will ordinarily have a departmental affiliation and all HUMA students are registered in academic departments at UCT.

Article V: Structure

1. The Institute shall comprise of:
a.) an international expert Advisory Board,
b.) an international expert Academic Advisory Board,
c.) an international expert Editorial Board
d.) an international expert Policy Group,
e.) an Ethics Board, and
f.) an Operations and Administrative Staff,
as set forth within the articles of this Constitution.

2. The principal officer of the Institute shall be the Director, whose mandate and method of appointment are set forth within the articles of this Constitution. The Director is responsible for the overall running of HUMA and its activities, and also for strategic planning for the institute.

 3. The Deputy Director is responsible for assisting the Director with fundraising and the running of HUMA and its programmes. The Deputy Director must also provide input on the strategic direction of HUMA.

 4. Research Clusters: HUMA's intellectual agenda shall be informed by one central theme – On Being Human – organised around four Research Clusters described on the HUMA website:
(1) Humanity and its Limits
(2) Human/Non-human
(3) Humane/Inhumane
(4) Humanist/Anti-humanist

5. Research Clusters shall be headed by Senior Researchers who are leaders in their field, responsible for coordination, supervision, research, publishing, strategic planning and direction, fund raising, organization of other activities under their clusters, budgeting and reporting. Cluster heads report to the Director of HUMA, and shall normally be appointed for a renewable three-year term.

6. Researchers will take leadership on specific HUMA programmes, projects and activities as determined by the Director, HUMA international expert Academic and Advisory Boards. Senior Researchers are active academic leaders in their fields, while Junior Researchers are promising academics that have the ability to conduct independent research and take leadership roles on projects, conferences, workshops, publishing, training and other scientific activities. All researchers report to the Director.

7. Strategic Programmes: HUMA's work shall be supported by strategic programmes that enable and facilitate the delivery of its mission. These strategic programes include, but not limited to: Publications and Dissemination Programme, Training and Mentorship Programme, Grants and Fellowships Programme, the Lusophone Programme, and the Policy and the Public Engagement Programme.

8. Programme Managers are responsible for coordinating HUMA strategic programmes, projects and initiatives, reporting, fundraising and associated activities. All Programme Managers report to the Director.

Article VI: Director

1. Mandate: The Director shall provide leadership for the activities of the Institute, and in other ways act as to best further the purpose of the Institute. Without limiting the generality of the above, the Director:

a) The Director has a responsibility to the Dean, Funders of grants/awards and the HUMA Boards in accounting for academic activities, fellowship outputs and day to day running of HUMA.
b) sign all agreements, orders, rules and other documents on behalf of the Institute;
c) submit recommendations for the engagement of research and other staff with budgets;
d) actively search for sources of funding for research consistent with the Institute's mandate;
e) identify and encourage potential grant applicants;
f) facilitate the production and circulation of HUMA Publications and Dissemination outputs;
g) stimulate and promote publishing and dissemination by the Institute in areas that fall within its mandate.

2. Appointment: The Director, a permanent faculty member, shall be appointed by the Dean of Humanities following consultation with the international expert Advisory Board. The Director’s term shall normally be three-years and may be re-appointed. The decision to extend the Director’s appointment beyond three years shall be made by the Dean of Humanities in consultation with the international expert Advisory Board.

3. The Director shall oversee, on behalf of the international expert Advisory Board, the production of an Annual Report of the Institute's activities. That report will be addressed to the Dean of Humanities.

Article VII: Research and Programme Appointments

1. Title: All persons who pursue research on behalf of the Institute or under its aegis, and who are so designated by the Board, shall be known as Research Officers/Coordinators, Programme Managers/Coordinators, Research Fellows, Visiting Fellows, and Research Assistants of the Institute.

2. The Board shall determine the tenure, remuneration, benefits and appropriate title for each research appointment it makes in pursuit of its mandate as set forth in the Research Guidelines/Policy of the Institute.

Article VIII: Administrative Staff

1. Mandate: The Institute shall maintain an administrative staff such as is necessary for the efficient conduct of its affairs. The staff, under the supervision of the Director, will pursue such tasks as are set forth in their separate letters of appointment and such other duties as are assigned by the Director.

2. Appointments and Remuneration: The staff shall be appointed on the recommendation of the Dean of the UCT Faulty of Humanities on the advice of the Director and in conjunction with other appropriate HR and Finance officials of the University. The appropriate university procedure shall be followed with reference to re conditions of service, remuneration and benefits..

Article IX: Accounts and Audit

1. Accounts: The Director shall oversee the maintenance of accounts and records of all financial transactions of the Institute.

2. Audit: The annual audit of the financial statements of the Institute shall be conducted in accordance with the procedures which apply to the annual audit of the University of Cape Town.

Article X: The international expert Advisory Board of HUMA

a. Mandate
The international expert Advisory Board of HUMA is the governance oversight organ of HUMA. The international expert Advisory Board shall be responsible for advising the Director and/or the Dean on the strategic direction, leadership and funding of HUMA. The international expert Advisory Board will be expected to champion and promote HUMA within UCT and beyond, assisting in the achievement of its objectives. In fulfilling their advisory role, the HUMA international expert Advisory Board members will be expected to observe policies and principles of good institutional governance and to co-operate in efforts to apply these.

b. Composition
The international expert Advisory Board shall comprise of an international group of scholars. This will consist of nine voting members and seven ex-officio members. The HUMA Director, the Dean and Deputy Dean for Research in the Humanities Faculty at UCT shall be non-voting board members. The Dean, on the advice of the Director, shall appoint board members. Members will be appointed to serve three-year terms, renewable for one further consecutive term. The Dean in consultation with the HUMA Director shall appoint the Chair of the Board.

The composition of the international expert Advisory Board is as follows:

  • Dean of Humanities (ex officio)
  • Deputy Dean (Research) Faculty of Humanities (ex officio)
  • Director of Postgraduate Affairs, Faculty of Humanities (ex officio)
  • Director of HUMA (ex officio)
  • Humanities Postgraduate Council Representative (ex officio)
  • Permanent members of the HUMA research staff (ex officio) 
  • One HUMA doctoral student, selected by the doctoral students who hold fellowships in HUMA (ex officio)
  • Four members of the Faculty of Humanities Board nominated by the HUMA Advisory Board on the advice of the Director (voting members)
  • Up to five members (international) external to UCT, nominated by the Advisory Board of HUMA on the advice of the Director (voting members)
  • UCT Faculty of Humanities Research Committee Representative

c. Quorum

Five of the voting members of the HUMA international expert Advisory Board in attendance constitute a quorum

d. Meetings

The HUMA international expert Advisory Board shall meet twice a year, i.e. every six months (one mid-term review, and one annual meeting). Additional meetings will be convened on the request of the HUMA Director and the Chair of the HUMA international expert Advisory Board.

e. Terms of Office

The Student representatives hold office for one calendar year
Ex officio members remain on the international expert Advisory Board for as long as they hold the relevant office.
All other members hold office for a term of three years
Membership of the international expert Advisory Board will fall away if a member resigns, or is absent for two consecutive meetings without reasonable cause; or if the international expert Advisory Board decides to terminate membership on reasonable grounds.

f. Remuneration:

No member of the HUMA international expert Advisory Board, acting in her or his capacity as such, shall receive any payment for his/her services.

Article XI: The international expert Academic Advisory Board

1. Mandate: The international expert advisory Academic Board is the body responsible for intellectual oversight. It provides scientific and expert advice to ensure the Institute maintains the highest standards of academic integrity and rigor for fellows, staff, researchers and partners, and to deliver feedback on research, grants and fellowships, scientific innovations, projects, programmes, public engagement and other intellectual activities. The academic board shall ensure a high standard of international collaboration and quality of HUMA. The international experts on the HUMA international expert academic board shall actively advise and exchange ideas with HUMA. The international expert academic board shall evaluate fellowships and grant applications and make recommendations, through its Chair, to the HUMA Director, and the international expert Advisory Board, where applicable. These recommendations will include a ranking of applicants, the amount of financial support to be awarded, and a justification.

2. Composition: The international expert academic advisory board shall normally consist of ten international experts from at least three continents representing key aspects of HUMA’s intellectual agenda, research programmes, projects and activities. The academic board shall normally have no more than two permanent academics from the faculty/university serving on the board. Terms are normally three years although members may choose to serve a shorter term. The two permanent faculty members shall be appointed by the Dean of Humanities on the advice of the Director (normally chosen so as to represent different disciplines and research themes). The six international members, one of who can be Chair, will be selected by the Director. The UCT Faculty of Humanities Research Committee (FRC), the UCT Faculty of Humanities Deputy Dean for Research (ex officio), and the Director of HUMA (ex officio) shall be members of the HUMA international expert Academic Advisory Board. Members of the international expert Academic Advisory Board will typically serve a three-year renewable term of office. The Chair of the Board will be appointed in a similar manner and will also normally serve for three years, with the possibility for renewal. Membership on the international expert Academic Advisory Board is in a volunteer capacity and expenses for work in this capacity are not paid for by the Institute.

Article XII: HUMA Publications and Dissemination Programme

1. Mandate: The HUMA Publications and Dissemination Programme has as responsibility to publish and disseminate original works whose subject matters clearly fall within HUMA’s mandate and which are of scholarly merit, to give visibility to African knowledge and writers whose work falls within HUMA’s intellectual agenda, to create. Such works will be subject to editorial evaluation including an academic peer-review process.

2. Appointments and Recruitments to the HUMA Publications and Dissemination Programme shall be made by the international expert Academic Advisory Board of HUMA in consultation with the Director of HUMA and Dean of UCT Humanities Faculty.

3. The HUMA Publications and Dissemination Programme shall be guided by the policies and procedures established by the HUMA international expert Advisory Board, and international expert Academic Board. Decisions to publish shall be made by the HUMA international expert Editorial Board following the recommendations of HUMA Publications and Dissemination Programme.

Article XIII: The HUMA international expert Editorial Board

a.) Mandate: The HUMA international expert Editorial Board shall consist of researchers, scholars, and intellectuals with internationally recognized expertise in the humanities, social sciences, and related fields of the Institute’s research. The volunteer international expert editorial board shall provide scholarly input, oversight, contacts and moral support enhancing the Institute’s publication and dissemination programme’s reputation as a trusted source of high-quality scientific information.

b) Roles and Responsibilities
1.    The HUMA international expert editorial board shall preserve and enhance the journal's reputation as a trusted source of high-quality scientific information.
2.    The international expert editorial board shall maintain the highest standards of peer review, in line with current international guidelines from relevant bodies.
3.    The international expert editorial board shall review manuscripts from time to time at the request of the Chair of the international expert Editorial Board and Managing Editor of HUMA Publications and Dissemination.
4.    The international expert editorial board will contribute to the ongoing development of efficient procedures for the peer-review and approval processes and for the presentation of clear instructions to any author wishing to submit material to HUMA’s Publications and Dissemination Programme.
5.    The international expert editorial board shall have in place a mechanism to deal promptly with author grievances as or if they arise.

c.) Composition
1.    The international expert editorial board will consist of a minimum of ten members, including the Director of HUMA, Chair of HUMA international expert Academic Board, and the managing editor responsible for HUMA’s publications and dissemination programme.
2.    The composition of the international expert editorial board will be as follows:
3.    Two-thirds (2/3) of the membership must be humanities and social science scholars
4.    One-half (1/2) of the membership must be researchers in African institutions
5.    The Chair of the international expert Editorial Board shall normally be based in the UCT Humanities Faculty.
6.    Members will be appointed by the Director of HUMA on the recommendation of the Managing Editor for a three-year renewable term, in consultation with the Dean of Humanities, and the HUMA international expert Academic Board.
7.    Members shall normally hold a master's degree (or higher) in a relevant discipline, and must have published at least once in a peer-reviewed journal, or have accumulated valuable and internationally recognised experience in publishing and dissemination.
8.    The international expert editorial board should reflect the diversity of the profession, the geographical spread of HUMA’s work, and other disciplines with whom HUMA works closely.
9.    The managing editor, hired by HUMA, will serve as an ex officio member of the international expert editorial board.

d.) Meetings of the international expert Editorial Board
1.    The international expert editorial board shall convene at least twice a year, either by teleconference or in person.
2.    Quorum shall be two-thirds of the membership of the international expert editorial board.
3.    Members should advise the Chair of the international expert Editorial Board and the Managing Editor of HUMA’s Publications and Dissemination Programme of any significant conflict of interest.
4.    Meetings shall be chaired by the Chair of the international expert Editorial Board. In the absence of the Chair of the international expert Editorial Board at a particular meeting, those members present will elect a chair to officiate.
5.    Decisions shall be reached by consensus where possible.
6.    The agenda and supporting documentation will be distributed at least seven working days prior to the editorial board meeting.
7.    The managing editor will serve as recording secretary for all international expert editorial board meetings.

Article XIV: The HUMA Policy Group

Mandate: The international expert HUMA Policy Group shall be responsible for the Institute’s policy research, agenda and activities. It shall be HUMA’s key non-partisan policy forum for tackling global issues through independent research and open dialogue aimed at informing actionable ideas for the policy community. It shall aim to apply critical thinking and deep expertise to the most pressing policy challenges relevant to and informed by the Institute’s intellectual agenda. The HUMA Policy Group shall convene scholars and experts to create a global dialogue of ideas that government, civil society, industry and the policy community can act on. The group shall be responsible for engaging high-level decision-makers and experts, and to regularly comment on policy developments. The Policy Group shall be constituted by the Director of HUMA in consultation with the relevant Boards and the Dean of Humanities.

Article XV: The HUMA Research Ethics Board

1. Mandate: The HUMA Research Ethics Board shall be responsible for conducting ethical review and granting provisional ethical approval or otherwise for research projects conducted by researchers, staff, students and fellows of HUMA that require such consideration, pending final approval by the appropriate Faculty or University ethics board. The Board shall monitor the general accepted scientific principles and ethical standards that underlie all research, ensuring that all research is bound by generally accepted ethical principles.

2. Responsibilities
1.    To consider the ethical implications of all research involving human participants, the processing of personal data, or animal subjects carried out at HUMA, or under the auspices of HUMA, including the use of HUMA’s name and/or logo, or facilities for research purposes, and where HUMA is the data controller or processor.
2.    To set standards, propose and review policy, procedures and practice on the ethical conduct of research in HUMA, including delegation of responsibility to individuals and other entities.
3.    To receive and advise on research proposals for the use of the name of HUMA in connection with all aspects of research involving human participants, personal data or animal subjects.
4.    In carrying out its responsibilities, to seek and take account of all appropriate advice from sources within and outside of the Faculty of Humanities and University of Cape Town.
5.    To report to the HUMA international expert Advisory Board at least once annually through the Chair of the Ethics Board.
6.    To consider requests from external researchers wishing to recruit staff and students from HUMA for participation in research projects.
7.    To submit a copy of the approved minutes of each meeting to the Director of HUMA.

3. Composition
1.    Chair and Members to be appointed by the Dean of Humanities on the recommendation of the Director of HUMA.
2.    Chairs of Faculty Research Ethics Committees (ex officio)
3.    A minimum of three external independent members appointed by the Committee
4.    Other University officers as appropriate
5.    Up to two doctoral students 
6.    Up to five members with expert knowledge from the University’s academic staff
7.    Appointments to the Committee which are not ex-officio will be for up to 3 years and will be renewable for a maximum period of 6 years. The doctoral students would serve one term of up to 2 years.

4. Meetings and Operational Details
1.    Reporting line – Direct to the Director of HUMA
2.    Quorum for business items – 30% rounded up to the next whole number of the total actual membership
3.    Quorum for research ethics applications – 80% of members of the whole number of the total actual membership, including at least one external member
4.    Frequency of meetings – As required normally 4 times a year
5.    Decisions on business items can be taken by correspondence, virtual meetings and/or email provided at least 30% rounded up to the next whole number of the total actual membership.
6.    Decisions on research ethics applications can be taken by correspondence, virtual meetings and/or email provided at least 80% of members of the whole number of the total actual membership, including at least one external member take part in the decision.

Article XVI: Amendments

These arrangements and rules are subject to change by the Board of the Faculty of Humanities, following approval by the HUMA international expert Advisory Board.

a.) Decisions within the Constitution: These decisions shall require a majority vote of the HUMA international expert Advisory Board Members who are in attendance at the relevant meeting.
b.) Decisions affecting the Constitution: These decisions shall require a majority (that is, four) vote of the HUMA international expert Advisory Board members and shall be valid only with the approval of the Dean of Humanities and Faculty Board.

// END / Approved by DEAN’S CIRCULAR 06/2020_DC06-2020 09th September 2020

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