Faculty and Academic Staff Handbook

23rd Edition, 2013 Version


Chapter 3: Organization of the Faculty and Academic Staff

3.2 Constitution of the UW-River Falls Faculty

Article I - General Authority of the Faculty

It is the responsibility of the faculty, as a community devoted to scholarship, to engage in the formulation, implementation, and maintenance of programs and policies designed to effectively encourage the pursuit of knowledge. Within the limits prescribed by law and by the policies of the Board of Regents and in keeping with the tradition of the academic community, the general faculty serves as the organization through which policies are formulated and recommended to the Chancellor. The faculty is properly concerned with academic policies and programs, with how such policies are administered, and with any other matters that affect the general welfare of the University and the achievement of its goals.

Article II - Definition of the Faculty

Faculty shall be defined to include the Chancellor, all professors, associate professors, assistant professors, and instructors. Academic staff were granted "faculty status" by action of the Faculty Senate and the Chancellor on July 29, 1975 and Sept. 16, 1975, respectively.

Article III - Powers and Responsibilities of the Faculty

Faculty responsibility includes, but is not limited to, the areas of curriculum, subject matter, methods of instruction, standards for scholarship, research, academic program development for the student, academic advising, those aspects of student life which relate to the educational process, professional and welfare matters that relate to the faculty working environment, and the general areas of professional standards and overall faculty responsibility for the educational process within the University community.

Based on the historical principles of the right of those governed to participate in the decisionmaking that affects how they are to be governed, the following Constitution is intended to identify and delineate, within the University structure, the roles and responsibilities of the faculty within the University community.

Section A

The faculty shall have full academic freedom in the classroom, in research, and elsewhere as outlined in the AAUP statements on academic freedom.* Faculty members shall be free from institutional censorship or discipline when acting as citizens or in matters of academic freedom. In turn, members of the faculty shall acknowledge and accept their responsibilities as professional people, and any public statement shall make clear whether they speak as individuals or as representatives of the University.

*1940 AAUP Statement of Academic Freedom and 1968 Recommended Institutional Regulations.

http://www.higher-ed.org/resources/AAUP_1940stat.htmlink

http://www.aaup.org/AAUP/pubsres/policydocs/contents/RIR.htmlink

Section B

In the performance of its academic and legislative functions, the following shall be among the concerns and responsibilities exercised by the faculty, normally handled through the college, departmental, and committee structure:

  1. to determine all curricula of the institution, graduate and undergraduate
  2. to determine academic standards and requirements for graduation
  3. to advise and consult, at the request of the Chancellor, on the appointment of administrative officials
  4. to participate in planning the physical facilities of the campus
  5. to participate in formulating policies with respect to the annual budget
  6. to participate in the development of criteria for and the awarding of promotions and salary adjustments
  7. to participate in investigating cases and determining policies with respect to academic freedom, tenure, appointments, retention, non-retention, leaves, dismissals, and teaching loads
  8. to participate in the development of extra-curricular and personnel programs of the University (e.g., intercollegiate athletics, health programs, student organizations)
  9. to study and make recommendations concerning any subject relative to the welfare of the University

Section C

Whenever it becomes necessary to appoint a new chancellor, the faculty shall elect a committee which, at the pleasure of the Board of Regents, shall be consulted in the selection process.

Section D

For the purposes of planning the total academic program, the entire faculty is responsible for institutional policy without respect to lines established for administrative convenience as described in Chapter II.

Article IV - Faculty Organization

Section A

The faculty delegates to the elected members of the Faculty Senate its powers and responsibilities as affect the academic policies and programs and general welfare of the University, in accordance with the provisions of Article IV.

Section B

The faculty may at any time review the selection of the Faculty Senate. The faculty reserves the right to overrule any Senate action, such a veto requiring a majority vote of the quorum of the faculty.

Section C – Meetings of the Faculty

  1. Meetings of the faculty shall be scheduled when necessary.
  2. Faculty meetings may be called by the Chancellor (or a designated representative), or upon recommendation of the Faculty Senate to the Chancellor, or by a petition submitted to the Secretary of the Faculty Senate with signatures of 10% of the total faculty (the number as of September 15 of each academic year). At these meetings, the Chancellor, the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, or the Chair of the Faculty Senate will preside.
  3. The Faculty Senate may call “open hearings” of the faculty to discuss issues, to receive information, and to ascertain opinions and positions of the faculty.
  4. The faculty will be given one week’s advance notice in writing of the time, place, and agenda of the faculty meetings. All materials necessary for the business of the meeting will be circulated to the faculty not later than five days preceding the meeting. Items may be placed on the agenda by:
    1. The Chancellor of the University
    2. The Faculty Senate
    3. Petition of 10% of the total faculty submitted to the Secretary of the Faculty Senate
  5. Robert’s Rules of Order (Revised) shall determine procedure.
  6. A quorum shall consist of 40% of the faculty during the academic year. If there is no quorum, the faculty members present, provided they number not less than 30% of the total faculty, may constitute themselves as a “committee of the whole” to discuss business on the agenda and prepare legislation for the faculty vote.
  7. During the summer, the Faculty Senate shall conduct the business of the faculty and will delay action on that business requiring faculty approval until the academic year. In emergency situations, 50% of the summer faculty returning for their next academic year shall constitute a quorum.
  8. The Chancellor shall appoint a faculty parliamentarian whose duties shall be to interpret parliamentary procedure at faculty meetings.
  9. Action by the faculty shall be taken at a faculty meeting except:
    1. In amending the Constitution, the balloting shall be by mail with a majority determining the result
    2. When a quorum of the faculty is not present at a faculty meeting, vote upon an issue will be taken by a mail ballot, the validity of such a vote depending upon the participation of at least a quorum of the faculty. A majority vote would be binding as a faculty position and as a recommendation to the Chancellor.

Article V - Chancellor’s Response

Section A – Chancellor’s Response to the Faculty Senate

In all appropriate matters of University policy, all decisions of the Faculty Senate shall be forwarded to the Chancellor of the University for his or her implementation or veto. In the event the Chancellor chooses to veto action of the Faculty Senate, he or she shall so inform the Chair of the Faculty Senate within a reasonable period of time.

If agreement on the issue cannot be reached, the Faculty Senate, by a two-thirds vote, may refer the matter to a general faculty meeting for discussion to be followed by a mail vote. If at least two-thirds of the faculty concur with the Faculty Senate action, the Chair of the Senate will request the Chancellor to reconsider the veto and to take such further steps toward reconciliation of differences as the Chancellor and the Faculty Senate may agree to be appropriate.

Section B

In the event that the Chancellor chooses to veto action taken by the faculty at a faculty meeting, that matter will be placed on the agenda for the next faculty meeting for discussion to be followed by a mail vote. If at least two-thirds of the voting faculty concur with the original faculty action on the issue, the Chair of the Senate will request the Chancellor to reconsider the veto and to take such steps toward a reconciliation of differences as the Chancellor and the Faculty Senate may agree to be appropriate.

Article VI - The Faculty Senate

The Faculty Senate is the legislative arm of the faculty. As such, the faculty delegates to the Senate its powers and responsibilities as affect the academic policies and programs, faculty affairs, and the general welfare of the University in accordance with the provisions of Article III.

Section A – Powers, Duties, and Responsibilities of the Faculty Senate:

  1. to receive and consider suggestions, proposals, and recommendations brought before the Senate by the faculty, student body, and the administrative staff
  2. to prepare resolutions, proposals, recommendations, and specific legislation for faculty action
  3. to participate with the Chancellor in the establishment and termination of the functions and membership of all standing committees. There shall be provision for the establishment of faculty committees within the By-laws of the Constitution. Specific provisions governing the powers, responsibilities, and procedures of faculty committees and the procedure of their appointment are to be found in the By-laws of the Constitution.
  4. to serve as coordinating and expediting agency for the work of standing committees and assign responsibility along with the Chancellor for the execution of studies and activities of these committees. All recommendations for policy changes in the orientation and direction of all committees must be submitted for approval to both the Faculty Senate and the Chancellor.
  5. to study and recommend policies designed to improve faculty welfare
  6. to establish general interpretations of academic policy and regulations
  7. to conduct nominations and elections of members of the Senate, as defined in Article VI, Section C
  8. to inform the general faculty, the administration, and the student body of all Senate actions affecting the areas of their respective concerns
  9. to recommend to the Chancellor the University calendar, subject to the regulations of the Board of Regents
  10. to provide for and regulate such funds as may be raised and expended by the general faculty
  11. to study and make recommendations concerning any other subjects relative to the general welfare of the University

Section B - Organizational Structure of the Faculty Senate

  1. The faculty, for purposes of organization, shall be partitioned as follows: the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences; the College of Arts and Sciences; the College of Business and Economics; the College of Education and Professional Studies; and the remaining division (Fourth Division), composed of faculty within Student Personnel, University Services, and the Library.  The Elections Chair will conduct a census of the faculty each spring semester and will include all faculty members under contract at the time of the census.  The results will be used to apportion seats as follows: Each of the five divisions shall elect one (1) senator for each thirty (30) staff members or major portion thereof (i.e. majority). An additional seven (7) senators shall be elected from and by the faculty-at-large. [FS 12/13-121document]
  2. The seven senators-at-large shall be distributed as follows: Four (4) professors and/or associate professors, hereafter referred to as the senior ranks; three (3) assistant professors, lecturers, and/or academic staff personnel, hereafter referred to as the junior ranks.
  3. The term of office of a senator shall be three years, approximately one-third to be elected each year. The term of office will end when employment at UW-River Falls ends and a new senator will be elected to complete the term.
  4. All faculty members under contract at the time of the election shall be eligible to nominate and vote for members of the Senate as provided for in Article VI, Section C of the Constitution.
  5. To be eligible for election to the Faculty Senate, the faculty member must be an eligible voter and must have completed a minimum of one (1) semester, excluding summer sessions, on the faculty.
  6. Election of Senate members will take place in spring semester and will be completed by the end of the tenth week of that semester. Newly elected senators will take office at the last regular meeting of spring semester.
  7. Vacancies that occur will be filled for the term by a special election to be conducted in the same manner as the regular nominations and elections. Said special elections shall be completed within four weeks of the occurrence of the vacancy, except that any permanent vacancy occurring in the summer shall be filled by the fourth week of the fall semester.
  8. The Faculty Senate shall be free to function during the full calendar year. In the absence of a senator for more than three consecutive semesters (including a summer session as the equivalent of a semester), the seat of that senator shall be declared vacant and a special election held to fill the vacancy. Should a senator be absent for a lesser period of time, the absent senator may nominate in writing a temporary replacement to act in his or her behalf, and said nominee shall be confirmed only by a majority vote of the Faculty Senate. The substitute will be a member of the same divisional constituency as the senator being replaced. [FS 11/12-50document]
  9. A change in the nature of a senator’s position such as change of college/division or rank shall have no effect upon a faculty member’s tenure on the Faculty Senate.
  10. One additional senator will be appointed from the Chancellor’s Cabinet by the Chancellor. This Senate seat will be a yearly appointment. The Chancellor will appoint the senator in the fall of each year by September 15. This Senate seat is intended to improve communication between the faculty and the administration.

Section C - Election Procedures for the Faculty Senate

[FS 06/07-122document]

The Election Chair [FS 11/12-52document], here and everywhere else "Vice Chair" formerly appeared in Section C], as the agent of the Faculty Senate, shall conduct and validate elections. The procedure for electing senators shall be initiated by March 1 in the spring semester.

1. Division Elections – Senate Seats

  1. During spring semester, the Elections Chair shall inform the faculty members of the number of Senators to be elected from their respective divisions. A list of those eligible shall also be provided. Any faculty member may be placed on the ballot by written petition signed by no fewer than five eligible voters from within the division within seven business days of the announcement of the call for candidates.
  2. The Elections Chair shall see that all voters receive ballots in good time and shall do whatever else is necessary for an effective election process. Upon completion of the slate of candidates for the Faculty Senate seat(s) within each voting division, an election by secret ballot shall be conducted. Faculty may cast one vote per vacancy on the ballot.
  3. Candidates receiving the most votes will be elected. Ties in the division elections shall be broken by lot supervised by the Elections Chair. The names of the individuals elected to the Senate shall be reported in the Faculty Senate minutes. Upon request, the vote totals shall be available from the Elections Chair of the Senate.

2. At-large Election – Senate Seats

  1. During spring semester and following the election of division senators, the Elections Chair shall furnish each faculty voter a list of those eligible for nomination and election to the Senate from the senior ranks and a similar list of those eligible from the junior ranks. The Elections Chair shall identify the number of vacancies at the senior and junior levels.
  2. Any faculty member may be placed on the ballot by written petition signed by no fewer than ten eligible voters of the same rank of the petitioner within seven business days of the announcement of the call for candidates. The Elections Chair shall see that all voters receive ballots in good time and shall do whatever else is necessary for an effective election process.
  3. Upon completion of the slate of candidates, the Elections Chair shall conduct a University-wide election by secret ballot, Associate and Full Professors voting in the Senior At-Large election, and Assistant Professors and Academic Staff with faculty status voting in the Junior At-Large election. The winners of the election shall be those receiving the most votes. Ties shall be broken by lot supervised by the Elections Chair. [FS 12/13-122document].
  4. The names of the individuals elected to the Senate shall be reported in the Faculty Senate minutes. Upon request, the vote totals shall be available from the Elections Chair of the Senate.

Section D - Internal Organization of the Faculty Senate

  1. The officers of the Senate shall consist of a Chair, a Vice Chair, an Elections Chair, a Secretary, and Faculty Senate Liaison, all to be chosen from and by the elected members of the Senate. The Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate shall be the elected officers of the Senate.  The Executive Committee should include representation from each of the faculty voting divisions.
  2. The officers and other members of the Executive Committee of the Senate shall be elected by secret ballot at an organizational meeting of the new Senate at the last regular meeting during spring semester and shall hold office for one calendar year. The organizational meeting shall be called by the Chair of the retiring Senate. A majority of all votes cast shall be necessary for election.
  3. Vacancies in the Executive Committee of the Senate shall be filled by special election.
  4. One of the functions of the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate is to act as the Committee on Committees.
  5. The Faculty Senate Executive Committee has the power to declare an emergency that requires a University response prior to the next meeting of the Faculty Senate. In such emergencies, the Faculty Senate Executive Committee shall represent the Faculty and act emergently for the Senate for the purposes of shared governance. Any action of the Faculty Senate Executive Committee implemented during a time of emergency will be brought to the Faculty Senate for deliberation and action at the next scheduled meeting of the Faculty Senate. [07/08 Amendment]
  6. The Faculty Senate shall enact, amend, or repeal By-laws by a two-thirds vote of all members of the Senate. Any Senate action upon By-laws must be proposed at one meeting and taken up at the following meeting. However, in any case, a period of at least seven (7) days should elapse between the proposal of By-laws and their adoption. As an exception to this process, and for technical corrections only (e.g. the redefinition of a position), the Vice Chair shall provide a recommendation to the Senate. This recommendation will be included in the Senate agenda. If no senator objects at the meeting, the change shall be incorporated. If any senator objects, the regular by-law amendment process shall be used. A copy of the By-laws shall be distributed to all Faculty members. Print copies of the Handbook are available in all department and division offices.[FS 12/13-120document]
  7. The Senate shall have regularly scheduled meetings during the academic year and summer session and shall be subject to call at other times.
  8. Special meetings may be called by the Chair, the Chancellor of the University, or at the written request of at least six members of the Senate.
  9. All Senate sessions shall be open to all faculty members except for good and sufficient reasons which shall be made known to the faculty. Any member of the faculty may address the Senate after securing recognition from the Chair. The Senate may call "open hearings" of the faculty to discuss issues, receive information, and ascertain opinion and positions.
  10. Minutes of the Senate meetings [shall be distributed to all faculty members] are available online and will be kept on file in the Chancellor’s office.
  11. Robert’s Rules of Order (revised) shall determine procedure.
  12. The agenda shall be prepared by the Executive Committee of the Senate. It should be made available online and it should be circulated to the senators electronically at least two full days (i.e., 48 hours), prior to a regular Senate meeting. [FS 11/12-51document] Any issues or recommendations shall be placed on the agenda by:
    1. The Faculty Senate Executive Committee
    2. The Chancellor of the University
    3. Faculty committees
    4. A majority vote of the senators present and voting at a meeting (Motion to place on agenda is not debatable)
    5. A petition signed by no fewer than twelve (12) faculty members.
  13. Regular meetings of the Faculty Senate shall be scheduled in alternate weeks starting with the first week of fall semester, at such time and place as designated by the Faculty Senate Chair.
  14. Duties of Faculty Senate Officers:

a. Chair of the Faculty Senate:

  • to preside over all meetings of the Faculty Senate
  • to appoint all ad hoc Committees as authorized by the Faculty Senate
  • to serve as liaison between the Chancellor and the Faculty Senate
  • to call and conduct meetings of the Executive Committee
  • to serve as the Senate's representative to the body known as "Faculty Representatives"

b. Vice Chair of the Faculty Senate:

  • to preside over meetings in the absence of the Chair
  • to keep a record of on-going changes for the Faculty and Academic Staff Handbook [FS 01/02-1document]
  • to serve the Faculty Senate as a resource person on the content of the Faculty and Academic Staff Handbook
  • to update the on-line Faculty and Academic Staff Handbook annually and in accordance with the August 1 deadline for changes and to make print copies of the Handbook as needed. [FS 01/02-1document]

c. Elections Chair of the Faculty Senate [FS 11/12-52document]

  • to validate, supervise, and conduct elections under jurisdiction of the Faculty Senate

d. Secretary of the Faculty Senate:

  • to act as Secretary of the Faculty and be the recipient of items to be placed on the agenda
  • to keep minutes of the Faculty Senate and Faculty meetings and effect the appropriate distribution of these minutes
  • to transmit Faculty Senate actions in writing to the Chancellor for his or her information and/or approval
  • to provide for notification of Faculty and Faculty Senate meetings as specified in the Constitution
  • to transmit pertinent Faculty Senate actions in writing to the Faculty Senate Chair
  • to receive and present to the Senate all appropriate correspondence
  • to keep duplicate copies of all written records for annual disposition in the University Archives

e. Faculty Senate Liaison [FS 11/12-52document]

  • Represent the Faculty Senate on the Academic Staff Council
  • Report to and confer regularly with the Faculty Senate regarding Academic Staff Council Activities
  1. The Chair of the Faculty Senate shall appoint a parliamentarian whose duties shall be to interpret parliamentary procedure at all regular and special Senate meetings.  The appointment will be submitted to the Faculty Senate for approval. [FS 11/12-49document]

Article VII Amendment and Ratification

Section A

Ratification of this Constitution will be by a majority of faculty voting in a mail ballot and acceptance by the Chancellor of the University.

Section B

Amendment of this Constitution will be by a majority of faculty voting in a mail ballot, provided notice of the proposed amendment has been given to the faculty at least two weeks prior to the vote. Amendments may be proposed by a majority vote of the Faculty Senate or by petition submitted to the Faculty Senate bearing signatures of at least 10 percent of the faculty. In addition, all amendments to this Constitution must be approved by the Chancellor.