You are here

Bylaws Template

(updated 10/07/2021)

While sections should tailor their bylaws for their particular needs, each section's bylaws must be in accord with the bylaws of the Mathematical Association of America. In particular, to preserve the tax-exempt status of MAA and its sections, it is important to follow the suggested format as closely as possible for Articles I, II, and V. In addition to the format and suggestions contained here, consideration should be given to further ideas contained in the resources listed on the MAA web site: Sections contemplating changes in bylaws should consult the Committee on Sections early in the process. This committee will provide guidance after reviewing a preliminary version of the proposed section bylaws. See the list of helpful suggestions here.

Bylaws of the ____________________ Section of the Mathematical Association of America

Name and Purpose

  1. The name of this section shall be the _________________ Section of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA).

  2. The purposes of the ______________ Section shall be to advance the mission of the MAA on a regional level (namely within the territory defined in Article II below); to offer guidance to the MAA as it forms and fulfills its mission; to provide professional development and networking activities for those with an interest in mathematics including Section members, mathematics students, and members of the larger mathematics community; to promote discussion and action on issues affecting mathematics teaching, learning, and research in the region; and to pursue initiatives that advance the core values of the MAA -- Community, Inclusivity, Communication, Teaching & Learning -- in pursuit of our vision of a society that values the power and beauty of mathematics and fully realizes its potential to promote human flourishing.


The membership of the ___________________ Section shall be members of the Mathematical Association of America whose MAA mailing addresses are in (geographic area), postal codes ____________. Exceptions may be made by the MAA Secretary upon request of the affected member.

Avoiding Implicit Bias

The ____ Section of the Mathematical Association of America shall make every effort to avoid implicit bias and to reflect the diversity of the section. The Section shall ensure its committee members, officers, invited speakers, awardees, and other leaders represent the various geographic regions, types of institutions, and diverse membership within the section. It shall strive for balanced representation with regard to gender as well as underrepresented groups, and shall seek out nominations for any positions or awards to help achieve that balance. Section committees and members may consult the most recent version of the document Guidelines for MAA Selection Committees: Avoiding Implicit Bias for guidance.


Article III describes the officers of the Section, other members of the Executive Committee, and their duties. It includes nomination and election procedures.

  1. The officers of this Section shall be...

    [Each section must have a chairperson (or president) and either a secretary-treasurer or a secretary and a treasurer. There could be one or more vice chairpersons who may serve in roles such as those outlined in Section III-2. In some sections, one of the officers is specially charged with representing the interest of members and potential members from two-year colleges and/or high schools.]

  2. The executive committee of the section shall consist of the officers of the section and the Section Representative to the MAA Congress.

    [In addition to the Section officers listed in III-1, some sections include other non-elected, non-officers such as chair-elect, immediate past chair, webmaster, newsletter editor, student activities coordinator, section liaison coordinator, section NExT coordinator, program chair, archivist, and members-at-large as voting members of their executive committees. Persons serving in these roles should not be currently serving as Section chairperson, secretary-treasurer, secretary, or treasurer.]

  3. Each section officer must be a member of the Mathematical Association of America and of this section.

  4. The officers shall be elected...

    [Many sections specify that elections be held during a designated regular scheduled business meeting, but elections by mail or email ballot are also acceptable. A method for resolving ties, such as a decision by the nominating committee, should be included. The terms of office for each officer must be specified in this paragraph. (Terms of at least three years for secretary and treasurer are encouraged.) If the section wishes to prohibit successive terms by an officer, such a restriction is included here. The case for not letting a chair serve consecutive terms is particularly persuasive but care should be taken to provide continuity on the executive committee when considering terms of office and rules against consecutive terms.]

  5. The nomination procedure for section officers shall be...

    [Typically the chair appoints a nominating committee to recommend a slate of officers. The number of persons required for the nominating committee and the time of the existence of the nominating committee should be stated. Provision should be made to permit additional nominations by members of the section prior to elections.]

  6. The duties of the section officers shall be...

    [This paragraph details the duties of all section officers named in Section III-1. For example, the chair shall preside at each meeting of the section and of the executive committee. The chair shall appoint committees of the section and shall be an ex officio member of each such committee unless specifically barred by vote of the membership at an official section meeting or unless otherwise specified in these bylaws.

    Duties that should be assigned to the secretary include keeping minutes of business meetings (including meetings of the executive committee), preservation of records of the section, maintenance of files of official correspondence of the section, notifying members of all regular and special meetings, notifying members of the executive committee of meetings of that group. The secretary is responsible for sending meeting reports after each meeting of the section and an annual section report to the Committee on Sections. (See Chapter III, "The Section Secretary or Secretary-Treasurer", for other possible duties.)

    Duties of the treasurer shall include the collection of voluntary section dues and/or registration fees, the receipt of funds provided by MAA, the arrangement for safekeeping of all section monies, the maintenance of proper and accurate books of account of such monies, responsibilities for the timely payment of all debts of the section, and filing an annual report with the MAA headquarters office. If it is desired that the treasurer disburse section funds with the concurrence of another section officer, provision for countersignatures or other forms of authorization should be spelled out in this section.

    If the chair-elect, past-chair, webmaster, newsletter editor, program chair, or other persons are identified in Section III-2 as members of the executive committee, their duties should be defined here.]

  7. The executive committee shall conduct the affairs of the section between meetings of the section membership.

    [You should specify a quorum for a meeting of the executive committee. A section may wish to specify what kinds of decisions the executive committee may make on behalf of the membership and/or those which the membership may keep to itself.]

If a vacancy on the executive committee should occur...

[Except for the position of Section Representative, the executive committee fills vacancies that occur between elections. If the first position in a sequence of positions (such as a chair-elect) is filled by appointment, provision should be made for an election of the succeeding position (such as chair) in the sequence. For the Section Representative, the MAA Board of Directors shall have authority to fill vacancies until such time as the regular appointment or election process can be employed, when a vacancy occurs between elections.]


  1. The section normally shall hold _______ program meetings each year and an annual business meeting.

  2. Program meetings shall be planned by...

    [There are two distinct tasks here; logistical arrangements (often assigned to the host institution), and program planning. Many sections identify the vice-chair (or the first vice-chair) as program chair. It is best to trust meeting arrangements and program planning solely to individuals, although the bylaws should indicate who has overall responsibility if it is anticipated that committees will do the detail work. The duties of the Program Chair should not be performed by the Section Chair.]

  3. Additional program meetings may be organized...

    [Provide a mechanism for doing so.]

  4. The annual business meeting shall be planned by...

    [The annual business meeting is usually held in conjunction with a program meeting and is planned by the executive committee. You may wish to specify parts of the agenda here, such as nominations and elections, or reports, etc.]

  5. The quorum for a business meeting shall consist of not fewer than _____ members of the section and no business may be validly transacted at business meetings where less than a quorum is present.

    [Insert a relatively small number, possibly 15, here. A specific number should be included.]

  6. A special business meeting shall be called...

    [Provision should be made to permit the executive committee to call such meetings. In addition, provision for calling such meetings upon petition by a specified number of members of the section should be included. No matter how called, arrangements for such meetings should be a responsibility of the executive committee, which may, of course, delegate specific duties to program committees, etc.]

  7. Each member of the section shall be notified at least 20 days in advance of any program or business meeting of the section.

    [The notification description should be kept general in order to accommodate changing communication technology. The goal is to communicate with the membership in a cost effective and timely manner.] 

Fees and Use of Assets

  1. Fees...

    [If the section wishes to charge registration fees for section meetings, that fact should be included here. Sections may also request voluntary dues from members of the section in addition to MAA dues in order to provide supplemental funds for section activities. Since every MAA member is a member of a section, the section dues must be voluntary dues. To avoid having to amend the bylaws unnecessarily, the bylaws should assign responsibility for setting fees and voluntary dues (most likely to the section's executive committee) rather than state dollar amounts since the amounts needed may change over time.]

  2. The assets of the section shall be used exclusively to further the purposes of the section and, in the event of the dissolution of the section; the remaining assets shall be turned over to MAA to be used for purposes consistent with the bylaws of that organization.


 [This article (which should be numbered like the others if it has separable clauses) should define each of the standing committees and detail specified duties. If the members of such committees are elected, provisions for such elections and terms of membership should be spelled out. Terms of service should also be set so as to provide continuity of membership on standing committees. The number of standing committees should be minimized.

Section committees should reflect the diversity of the Association membership and of the profession.  Therefore the charge to, and composition of, standing committees should be designed to minimize implicit bias.  For example, a nominating committee consisting of sitting officers might tend to nominate candidates similar to themselves.  Similarly, teaching award committees consisting solely of past winners may have an unintentional bias about particular teaching styles or institution type.  Section leadership should consult the MAA policy document on Avoiding Implicit Bias for guidance on how to achieve this goal in practice.]

[This article should also describe how ad-hoc committees are formed and disbanded.]

[Sections should be aware that their current distinguished teaching awardee is not automatically the section nominee for the Haimo Award.  An additional mechanism needs to be in place to select a Haimo Award nominee from among current and past distinguished teaching awardees.]

Amendments to Bylaws

  1. Amendments to the bylaws may be proposed by...

    [Normally changes in the bylaws are proposed by the section executive committee. Some sections also provide a means for amendment proposals to be brought for a vote of the membership upon petition by a specified number of members.]

  2. Subject to subsequent approval by the Board of Directors of the Mathematical Association of America, these bylaws may be amended by 2/3 of the votes cast by a quorum at a business meeting of the Section.

  3. The secretary of the section shall notify each member of the section of any proposed amendment(s) at least 20 days prior to the meeting at which voting on the proposed amendment(s) takes place.

  4. A complete revision of these bylaws shall be subject to all of the same procedures required for other amendments to these bylaws.