"International Bylaws Template"
Bylaws: Boring But Necessary Bylaws are a set of rules. Very few people enjoy reading about rules, but rules are almost always necessary. Forming a chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) is no different in that following certain rules are necessary to receive approval to be affiliated with the organization. STTI has three sets of bylaws: International Chapter Honor society The international bylaws define the purposes of STTI, outline the requirements for membership and chapter affiliation, describe how the organization operates and state how changes to the bylaws can be made. Changes to the international bylaws are approved by the society’s House of Delegates at each biennial convention. The chapter bylaws focus on the operations of a STTI chapter. The chapter bylaws are based on information in the international bylaws and go into greater detail about how a chapter should function from a broad perspective. All chapters are required to adopt the STTI chapter bylaws as their governing document. Bylaws for honor societies, as you may have guessed, outline how an honor society should operate as it is preparing to become a STTI chapter. Changes to the chapter and honor society bylaws are approved by the international board of directors based on changes to the international bylaws approved by the House of Delegates and/or on amendments recommended by the international governance committee. Honor societies are required to adopt and operate by the STTI honor society bylaws template. Importance of Bylaws Bylaws, regardless of which set, serve several important functions for STTI: Outline the relationship between STTI as a “parent” organization and chapters and honor societies; Ensure honor societies and chapters are following standards set forth by the international organization; Fulfill legal requirements of nonprofit/nongovernmental organization; and Provide protection for its volunteers by establishing policies about operations of the group. How to Use Bylaws STTI has created bylaws templates for honor societies and chapters to use. The templates are provided so your group does not have to re-type the bylaws. You can find the templates at: Honor society template: http://www.nursingsociety.org/Chapters/StartChapter/Documents/HonorSocietyBylaws.d oc Chapter template: http://www.nursingsociety.org/Chapters/Documents/2009- 2011ChapterBylaws-Template.doc Honor societies should download a copy of the template, review it at a board of directors meeting and ask STTI headquarters for clarifications on any area where there are questions. Can We Make Changes to the Bylaws Template? There are only a few areas of the bylaws where honor societies are permitted to make changes. These areas are: Article I: Inserting the honor society’s name Article VI, Section 1: Adding directors to the honor society’s board of directors Article VI, Section 3: Adding functions to the honor society’s board of directors Article VII, Section 1a: Having a president-elect and/or multiple vice presidents Article VII, Section 3: Adding duties of the officers to correspond with the officer positions your chapter has agreed upon for Article VI. Section 1. Article IX, Section 1: Adding other standing committees In some circumstances, laws of a country or differences in how nongovernmental organizations operate require other changes to the STTI honor society bylaws template. If your honor society has additional changes to the template, please submit those to headquarters for review by the international governance committee prior to submission of your full chapter charter application. Those requests and any questions about proposed changes can be submitted to Teresa Ransdell at email@example.com. As examples, some areas where honor societies have requested permission to change the STTI bylaws template so they comply with their government’s requirements and standard practices are: Give members the right to choose to discontinue their membership Change the terminology used for a baccalaureate degree to the term used in their country (after it was determined by the international governance committee to be the equivalent to the baccalaureate degree) Increase the number of members required to request a special meeting Require that an honor society’s/chapter’s board of directors meet every two months Establish a different structure and membership for the board of directors and finance committee Updates to the Bylaws The bylaws templates are updated every two years immediately following the STTI biennial convention. Honor societies and chapters must adopt the newly revised template once it is available. Each honor society should now be using the 2009- 2011 version of the bylaws. Download this newest version at http://www.nursingsociety.org/Chapters/StartChapter/Documents/HonorSocietyBylaws.doc. Honor Society Bylaws or Chapter Bylaws – Which Do We Use? Until a group is approved to become a STTI chapter, it will use the honor society bylaws template. Each January of even-numbered years, your honor society will need to download and adopt the newest honor society bylaws version. Once a group is chartered as a chapter of STTI, you will begin using the chapter bylaws template. These two sets of bylaws are essentially the same. The biggest difference is that the chapters’ bylaws template includes some information about chapter responsibilities to STTI, chapter representation at the House of Delegates and chapter financial responsibilities. Review of an Honor Society’s Bylaws When a chapter application is reviewed for approval to become a STTI chapter, there are certain areas of an honor society’s bylaws that the reviewers look at more closely. These areas, and what the reviewers are most interested in, are: Article IV. Section 2: Qualifications for Regular Membership Reviewers are looking to make sure that the eligibility criteria established by STTI is being followed and has not been modified unless a group has received prior approval for a modification. Article VII. Section 1a: Officers Reviewers are looking at this area to make sure the honor society has a minimum of the required officer positions which are president, vice president secretary, treasurer and faculty counselor. Other positions can be added. Article IX Section 1: Standing Committees Reviewers want to ensure that each honor society has at least the two required standing committees of governance and leadership succession. Additional standing committees can be added, but these two must be a part of every honor society and chapter. A Final Word About Bylaws Establishing the honor society’s bylaws can be a challenging responsibility, especially when there are language and legal differences among countries. However, STTI has worked with several groups over the years to understand the need for changes and to approve the requested differences when possible. STTI staff is available to talk with your honor society leaders about any changes that are needed and help explain what they bylaws are even saying honor societies must do.