Mindful that there was a need for an international organisation to facilitate scholarly exchange on the subject of teaching academic writing in Europe, an informal association known as the European Association for the Teaching of Academic Writing held its first international conference in Groningen, the Netherlands in June 2001. This informal association has existed since then by agreement of its members, without a constitution. As of July 2007 the European Association for the Teaching of Academic Writing (hereafter EATAW) is formally founded as a non-governmental organisation (Verein) by decision of those persons attending the foundation assembly at the 2007 EATAW conference in Bochum, Germany. All aspects of its functioning not specified in this constitution are governed by the relevant sections of Swiss law.
EATAW is a scholarly forum which seeks to bring together those involved or interested in the teaching, tutoring, research, administration and development of academic writing in higher education in Europe. Its aims include:
- Connecting teachers and scholars of academic writing through conferences, publications, newsletters, forums and other means
- Raising awareness, both among university administrators and lecturers in other disciplines, as well as among the general public, of the importance of teaching academic writing
- Developing European scholarship in the field of academic writing by initiating research and bringing researchers together for joint projects
- Initiating projects to exchange experience and know-how on the teaching of writing, on writing programs and writing centres
- Organising continuing education for writing teachers
- Defining and securing quality standards in teaching, tutoring and researching writing and persuading institutions and administrators of the value of these standards
- Connecting the teaching of academic writing with adjacent fields such as foreign languages, argumentation and rhetoric, professional writing, science communication, pedagogy, university teaching and other fields.
- While the language of communication of the organisation is English, EATAW strives to promote and support good scholarship and practice for the teaching of academic writing in any European language.
For the purposes of achieving these goals in part, EATAW will hold a biennial conference at a European location, to which all its members are invited. Members may propose other initiatives for the further achievement of the goals, which will be considered by the Board and supported by EATAW wherever appropriate and feasible.
For the further achievement of these purposes, national sections of EATAW may be formed that support the goals of the organisation but work independently in keeping with the national regulations, laws and educational needs of their own local contexts. National sections may hold local events and organise research and publications in their local language(s) so as to achieve the above goals.
Membership of EATAW is open to individuals from all over the world whose principal function is as teachers, tutors, researchers, or administrators of academic writing, or who are otherwise interested in learning about, discussing and sharing in the development of academic writing in a European context. EATAW charges no membership fees, and treats all members equally. To become a member, interested individuals are required to register their membership in writing with EATAW, either via the institution's website or by e-mail to the Membership Secretary, and to renew this membership biennially.
The EATAW Board
The members of EATAW will elect an executive Board from among themselves at the EATAW conference. All those who have been registered as members of EATAW for at least one year are eligible to vote in this election. For those whose membership has lapsed since attending the previous conference, registering for the current conference will be deemed as membership renewal without interruption.
Nominations for election will be accepted up to four weeks in advance of the date of the elections. Candidates standing for election must have a demonstrated interest and experience in the teaching of academic writing, must have been associated with EATAW for two years, and must have presented at least one earlier EATAW conference. Non-European members of EATAW may stand for election.
The Board will have nine members, who will be the nine candidates for election who have received the largest number of votes. Board members will serve a two-year term and may subsequently stand for re-election. Up to two places on the Board may be granted to non-European members, if these are among the nine candidates receiving the largest number of votes.
By agreement of the Board, EATAW members with special duties, such as organisers of the next conference, as well as ex-officio members representing other organisations with similar goals may be invited to share in Board discussions, but do not have the right to vote.
Duties of the Board
The duties of the Board comprise:
- Ensuring the successful occurrence of the biennial EATAW conference at a European location
- Inviting bids for the hosting of the conference no later than three months after the previous conference and selecting an institution to act as host no later than five months after the previous conference
- Providing support for the host institution, both prior to and during the conference
- Discussing any issues related to academic writing that may arise or be presented by the members
- Supporting any EATAW-endorsed local initiatives on academic writing teaching such as conferences, workshops or similar events
- Communicating with and supporting as necessary the organisers of any EATAW-endorsed publications or research ventures
- Reviewing and proposing amendments to the constitution should need arise. Amendments to the constitution must be supported by a two-thirds majority of the Board.
- Liaison with other organisations concerned with writing issues
- Any other steps which are essential to the running of the organisation.
Immediately following its election, the Board will choose a Chair from its members by majority vote. The Board will subsequently decide on and appoint from among its members a Deputy Chair, Membership Secretary, Web Secretary, and any positions it agrees necessary for the smooth functioning of its affairs. Positions agreed on by the Board may be filled by a person nominated by the Chair and approved by the other Board members, or in the event of more than one person seeking to occupy the position, by a majority vote of the Board members.
Duties of the Chair
The duties of the Chair comprise:
- Delegating the above duties to members of the Board as appropriate, and ensuring these are effectively carried out
- Convening and chairing virtual (or where possible, face to face) meetings of the Board and ensuring that these are conducted in an effective and collegial manner
- Supervising electronic communication and decision-making between Board members
- Chairing the EATAW general assembly at the biennial conference
- Reporting to the general assembly regarding the Board's activities at its biennial meetings.
- Communicating general information from the Board to the membership via the EATAW listserv
- Soliciting the opinion of the membership on issues being discussed or to be discussed by the Board, as necessary.
Duties of the Deputy-Chair
The duties of the Deputy-chair comprise:
- Standing in for the Chair in the latter's absence or indisposition
- Taking over as Acting Chair if the Chair is obliged to retire
Duties of the Membership Secretary
The duties of the Membership Secretary comprise:
- Maintaining an up-to-date record of the current EATAW membership by processing membership requests received via the EATAW website or by e-mail
- Adding new members to the EATAW listserv
- Reminding existing members to renew their membership at two year intervals and removing from the listserv and website names of those individuals whose membership has lapsed
- Reporting to the Board and to the General Assembly on the state of the membership as requested.
Duties of the Web Secretary
The duties of the Web Secretary comprise:
- Managing, maintaining and updating all aspects of the EATAW website, including ensuring the creation of new pages as agreed by the Board
- Coordinating with the Membership Secretary regarding current members and updating the list of members on the EATAW website at regular intervals
The General Assembly
The EATAW General Assembly will be held during the biennial conference. All EATAW members are entitled to attend this assembly. Those members present at the Assembly who have been registered with the organisation for one year (hereafter 'voting members') have the right to vote on issues presented to them by the EATAW Board.
Individuals may present issues for discussion at the General Assembly to the Board up to four weeks in advance of the date of the General Assembly. Given the limited time available for the General Assembly, the Board will decide on the priority of items on the agenda, starting with the most important. A final agenda of issues to be discussed at the Assembly will be presented to the membership via the listserv no later than two weeks before the date of the meeting.
Issues brought to the agenda of the Assembly for discussion may include amendments to the constitution. These may only be approved by a two-thirds majority of the voting members present at the Assembly. Proposals on other issues may be accepted by simple majority of voting members present.
Communication with and among Members
All members will be subscribed to the EATAW listserv by the Membership Secretary. Between conferences, the Board and any individual members wishing to do so will communicate with the EATAW membership on any subjects directly relevant to the goals of EATAW, or on administrative or informational matters, using the EATAW listserv. The Board may solicit the opinion of the membership on important matters via this same channel.
In urgent circumstances, the Board may propose issues requiring action or amendments to the Constitution via the listserv. Such amendments may be passed if they are not opposed by the membership within 21 days of posting. No other channel, group or mailing list will be used for official communications with and among the membership.
Disbanding the Organisation
EATAW as an organisation can be disbanded if two-thirds of its members agree on this. In this case, an organisation with similar aims to EATAW shall be identified to which the assets of EATAW will be handed over, and which agrees to accept those assets. The Board will decide as to which organisation this should be in the event of a decision to disband EATAW.
Approved 1 July 2007