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Amended 22 October 2016

Please click here for a printable PDF version of the WHA Constitution and Bylaws


The name of this organization shall be the Western History Association.


The WHA strives to be a congenial home for the study and teaching of all aspects of North American Wests, frontiers, homelands, and borderlands. Our mission is to cultivate the broadest appreciation of this diverse history.

ARTICLE III: Membership

Section 1. Membership in the Association is open to anyone interested in the North American West.

Section 2. Categories of membership and dues for each shall be established by Council.

Section 3. Institutions other than sponsoring members may subscribe to the Association’s publications. They are not eligible for membership.

Section 4. Only individual members of the Association may vote or hold office.

ARTICLE IV: Officers and Terms of Office

Section 1. The executive officers of the Association shall be a President, a President- elect, and an Executive Director.

Section 2. The President and President-elect shall serve for one year immediately following the annual meeting, and the Executive Director shall serve for five years. The Executive Director, who is selected by Council, may serve for more than one term.

Section 3. In the case of death, disability, or resignation of the President, the President- elect shall succeed to the Presidency and continue to serve to the end of the term for which originally elected to be President. In the case of death, disability, or resignation of the President- elect, the Nominating Committee shall nominate both a President and President-elect for the next succeeding election. In the event of death, disability, or resignation of both the President and President-elect, the most recent past-President who is able to serve shall serve as President Pro Tempore until the next scheduled election.

Section 4. Council shall fill vacancies in all elected Association offices under circumstances not provided for in this constitution.

ARTICLE V: Council

Section 1. Council shall consist of the President, President-elect, Executive Director, and seven elected members. Elected members shall serve for terms of three years. Every third year three Council members shall be elected, with two Council members elected in other years, beginning with the first election after the approval of this change to the Constitution. An exception shall be in the case of members elected to fill unexpired terms. In addition, the immediate past Executive Director and two immediate past Presidents shall serve as non-voting members for two years after their regular terms of office. The editor of the Western Historical Quarterly and a graduate student elected by the Graduate Student Caucus, shall serve as non- voting members of the Council.

Section 2. The president, the Immediate Past President, and the President Elect shall conduct an annual review of the Executive Director’s performance. This review shall be conducted before the Council meeting and reported to the Council. Prior to the review, the President shall solicit comments from the Council, the Program Committee Chair, and the Local Arrangements Committee Chair via email or teleconference.

Section 3. During the final year of term of office of the Executive Director, Council shall review and evaluate the stewardship of the Executive Director to determine whether the incumbent could be a candidate for a succeeding term.

Section 4. A Financial Advisory Committee shall consist of the President and three appointed members. Each year, the President shall appoint one member of the committee, for whom the term of office shall be for three years. The longest-serving member on the committee shall serve as chair. The Financial Advisory Committee shall review the Association's financial records and serve the Council and the Executive Director in a consultative and advisory capacity on Association budget and financial matters. The chair or the chair's designee on the committee shall attend each Council meeting and report on the Association's financial records.

ARTICLE VI: Nominations and Elections

Section 1. The Nominating Committee shall consist of five members, each serving two years. In even-numbered years, three new members shall be elected; in odd-numbered years, two. Council shall fill vacancies on the committee by interim appointments.

Section 2. Following the annual Association’s election of the new members of the committee, the Executive Director will conduct the committee’s election of its new chair. Election shall be by a simple majority of the incumbent and incoming members.

Section 3. The Nominating Committee shall consider suggestions by members of the Association for the office of President-elect, members of Council, and members of the Nominating Committee that are received no later than February 15. Through the Executive Director, the Nominating Committee shall submit nominees for President-elect to Association members no later than May 1. Members may nominate additional candidates by petition containing no fewer than fifty signatures to the Executive Director before July 1. At least ten weeks prior to the annual meeting, the Executive Director shall post the final slate of candidates to the WHA website and send an electronic message identifying the slate and providing instructions for electronic voting. For those who lack electronic access, an alternative method of voting will be provided. The Executive Director shall send at least two reminders to the members during online voting. Members will be able to vote from the time that the final slate is posted on the website until two weeks prior to the annual meeting. The Executive Director and the Chair or designated member of the Nominating Committee will confirm the results of the elections. The results shall be announced at the annual business meeting. The Executive Director shall save the electronic election results for one year.

Section 4. A tied vote for any office shall be resolved by special electronic ballot to be held at least four weeks prior to the annual conference. The results shall be announced at the annual business meeting.

ARTICLE VII:  Conducting Association Business

Section 1. A quorum for the annual business meeting shall consist of fifty members. A quorum of Council shall consist of seven members.

Section 2. The President, President-elect, and Executive Director shall constitute the Executive Committee to conduct business of the Association when Council is not in session. The committee shall report all its decisions and actions to the next meeting of the Council. The committee may convene special meetings of Council.

Section 3. Amendments to the Constitution may be proposed by Council, by a simple majority vote at the annual business meeting, or by petitions signed by fifty members. Proposed amendments with clarifying information and arguments must be submitted to the membership no later than one month prior to the next annual meeting of the Association. Proposed amendments shall require two-thirds vote at the next annual business meeting for approval.

Section 4. Changes or additions to Bylaws may be proposed by Council or by motion at an annual meeting. They must be approved by a majority vote at an annual business meeting. Bylaws shall not contravene the provision of this Constitution.

Section 5. The business of the Association shall be conducted according to Robert’s Rules of Order Revised. The presiding officer may appoint a parliamentarian.

Section 6. This Constitution shall supersede the previous Constitution and Bylaws. It shall be effective upon review and acceptance by Council and upon review by members of the Association, and upon its adoption by a two-thirds vote at an annual meeting.


Individual membership categories shall include: Student, Emeritus, Regular, Sustaining, Patron, and Honorary Life. Institutions and other groups promoting the study of the North American West may become sponsoring members upon approval by Council and payment of dues. Council, with concurrence of a majority vote at an annual meeting, shall determine dues for each class of membership.
Council shall set the date and place of annual meetings at least two years in advance.

The Association shall publish the Western Historical Quarterly and such other publications as approved by Council and a majority vote at an annual business meeting. These may be  arrangement  by cooperative agreement with other existing publications as Council and members may approve. The financial, procedural, legal, and other appropriate stipulations for publishing or cooperative arrangements shall be set forth by contract.

The editor of the Western Historical Quarterly shall be responsible for the production of the Quarterly as the official publication on the Association. The editor shall grant permission for reprinting of materials published therein. The editor shall be advised by an editorial board of twelve members, each member serving a three-year term. The editorial board shall be chosen by the editor from a slate approved by the Council. The editor shall sit as an ex officio, nonvoting member of the Council and report annually on the operation of the Western Historical Quarterly.
A. The President shall preside at all meetings of the Association and Council. Unless otherwise stipulated, the President shall make appointments to all committees and shall designate their chairs. The President shall encourage the establishment of affiliated organization status between other appropriate organizations and the Association.

B. The Executive Director shall conduct the routine affairs of the Association, maintain Association records and accounts, make annual financial reports to Council, report to membership on the actions of Council, arrange for meetings of the Association, and conduct such other duties as assigned by Council and the annual business meeting. Council shall set the annual honorarium for the Executive Director.

C. The Executive Committee shall exercise financial oversight of the Association, in consultation with the Financial Advisory Committee.

D. Only the President, the Executive Director, and the Executive Committee, in consultation with the Council, may officially represent the Association.

A. The accounts of the Association shall be maintained by the Executive Director according to the standard accounting procedures of the institution at which the Executive Director is located.

B. All payments of funds of the Association shall be made by serially numbered vouchers

C. The President (or in the absence of the President, the President-elect) shall approve all sales from the securities account. Such actions shall be reported to the Council.

A. Except as otherwise provided, Council shall establish such standing committees as are needed to assist in conducting the affairs of the Association. The President shall appoint committee members for one term of three years, which can be repeated, as appropriate.

B. Standing Committees of the Association Executive Committee,  Nominating Committee, Membership Committee, Program Committee,  Local Arrangements Committee,  Committee on Teaching and Public Education,  Committee on Technology, Committee on Race in the American West (CRAW),  Public History Committee, Financial Advisory Committee

C. Standing Committees for Association Awards, Prizes, Scholarships, and Fellowships: Arrington-Prucha Prize, Robert G. Athearn Award,  Autry Public History Prize,  Gordon Bakken Award of Merit,  Ray Allen Billington Award, Bolton-Cutter Award in Borderlands History,  Caughey Western History Prize, John C. Ewers Award Arrell M. Gibson Prize, Huntington-WHA Martin Ridge Fellowship,  Indian Student Conference Scholarship,  W. Turrentine Jackson Award Sara Jackson Award,  Joan Jensen-Darlis Miller Prize,  Joan Paterson Kerr Book Award , Michael P. Malone Award, Sally and Ken Owens Award,  Hal K. Rothman Book Award, Walter Rundell Graduate Student Award,  Dwight Smith Prize, Trennert-Iverson Scholarship,  Robert M. Utley Award, David J. Weber-Clements Center Prize

Amended by vote of the membership 22 October 2016

Western History Association

University of Kansas | History Department

1445 Jayhawk Blvd. | 3650 Wescoe Hall

Lawrence, KS 66045 | 785-864-0860 

The WHA is located in the Department of History at the University of Kansas. The WHA is grateful to KU's History Department and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences for their generous support!