The Medieval & Renaissance Studies Center (MRSC) is the collegium of faculty members at Texas Tech University who teach and conduct research related to the medieval, renaissance, and early modern periods in Europe and beyond. The Medieval & Renaissance Studies Center exists to help advance the work of the Affiliated Faculty members for their students, for the university, and for the advancement of knowledge in their fields.
In their corporate business, these faculty members operate through a three-tiered structure: Affiliated Faculty, a Board representing the participating departments, and a Director (or Co-Directors).
The MRSC Affiliated Faculty members are those faculty members currently employed by Texas Tech who organized the Medieval and Renaissance Study Center and are listed in its initial application for center status from the College of Arts and Sciences in 2011, supplemented by those whose applications for membership were subsequently approved by the MRSC Board. Emeriti, adjunct faculty members, and graduate-student teachers may be included in MSRC activities but are not voting members of the Affiliated Faculty. Minutes of Board meetings are distributed to all the Affiliated Faculty members. Although Affiliated Faculty members may be formally polled on occasion by the Board about major decisions, they are invited at any time to present their ideas and suggestions to the Director(s) and/or to the Board.
The MRSC Board consists of persons who broadly represent the Affiliated Faculty members and specific major areas of study (at least one member each from Art, Classical and Modern Languages and Literatures, English, History, and Music). The Board sets policies for the Center, approves applications for affiliated faculty membership, and offers advice to the Director(s). The Board members are those persons who received the highest numbers of votes cast by fellow Affiliated Faculty members at triennial elections.
The MRSC Director(s) have functions analogous to those of the chair of an academic unit. Routine program and budgetary duties are handled at this level. More recently, duties include raising additional operating funds, redesigning the MRSC website, establishing and maintaining a social media presence, and applying for a grant to establish a biennial symposium. Since the inception of the MRSC, Co-Directors have been the norm.
Ballots for the Triennial Election are sent to all MRSC Affiliated Faculty. The names on the ballots will include all Affiliated Faculty (with exceptions made for those who indicate that they cannot serve for one reason or another). The ballots will indicate which persons on the ballot are currently Board Members and/or Director(s).
As indicated in paragraph 4 above, MRSC rules require that the eight-member board include at least one representative from each of the following academic areas: Art, Classical and Modern Languages and Literatures, English, History, and Music. Philosophy and the Museum are also frequently represented on the board. In Board elections, if the top eight candidates represent the five mandatory areas of distribution, then the election stands as voted. If one or more of the required areas is not represented in the initial election results, then the recipient(s) from non-required group(s) with the lowest votes from among the top eight is dropped, and the highest-vote-receiving recipient(s) from the missing group(s) is substituted.
Once the Board has been selected by the Affiliated Faculty, the Directors are nominated and elected from amongst the Board. However, if it transpires that none of the Board Members is willing or able to take on that responsibility, a member of the Affiliated Faculty, who has previous board and/or director experience, may be nominated to serve as Director, in an ex-officio capacity (i.e., may advise the Board, but does not vote with the Board). In all of the above circumstances, the selection of the Director (Co-Directors) is subject to approval by the Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.
Current Board and Directors
Board members whose current terms end in April 2021 are Jacob Baum (History), John Beusterien (CMLL), Peter Briggs (Museum), Julie Couch (English), Francesca Di Poppa (Philosophy), Janis Elliott (Art), Angela Mariani Smith (Music), and Abigail Swingen (History). Among them, Janis Elliott and Angela Mariani have served as Co-Directors since 2018. All are eligible for re-election in 2021.