BYLAWS OF THE FACULTY COUNCIL OF

RICE UNIVERSITY

Founded October 18, 1971
Revision Adopted March 28, 1988
Revision Adopted November 1, 1995
Revision Adopted March 12, 1998
Revision Adopted October 21, 1999

I. Powers and Duties of Faculty Council

A. University Council Revised (5/4/05)

B. Faculty Council

II. Organization

A. Election Procedures for Members
1. Definition of Voting Faculty
2. Nomination of Candidates
3. Preparation of Ballots
4. Procedure for Tallying Ballots

B. Officers, Duties, and Term

1. Speaker
2. Deputy Speaker
3. Secretary
4. Editor of Proceedings of Faculty Council

C. Meetings

1. Schedule
2. Quorum for Faculty Council
3. Order of Business
4. Proceedings of Faculty Council

III. Committees

A. Appeals Committee

B. Elections Committee

C. Faculty Compensation Committee

D. Committee on University Standing Committees

IV. Amendments to the Bylaws

 

ARTICLE I. POWERS AND DUTIES OF THE FACULTY COUNCIL

The Faculty Council of Rice University shall have those powers and duties which have been, and which may be, delegated to it by the Board of Governors of Rice University and by the faculty of Rice University.

The powers and duties of Faculty Council were established by a resolution of the faculty of October 18, 1971, which founded University Council and Faculty Council. That resolution stated in part:

"This proposal is rooted in an understanding that the responsibility and authority for the operation of the University are vested in the Office of the President. The effectiveness of the President's leadership rests upon his knowledge of the needs and concerns of the University community, his ability to make the wisest decisions within the range of feasible options, and his ability to elicit the confidence and support of various elements of the University in implementing these decisions. To these ends, this proposal seeks to establish a pattern of consultation among the President, faculty, and students through a representative structure. This pattern is not exclusive and should not preclude decisions and actions by the President in some situations."

A. University Council

The responsibility and authority for the operation of the University is vested in the Office of the President, as delegated to the President by the Board of Trustees . The effectiveness of the President's leadership rests upon knowledge of the needs and concerns of the University community, an ability to make the wisest decisions within the range of feasible options, and an ability to elicit the confidence and support of various constituencies of the University in implementing these decisions. This document aims to establish a pattern of consultation among the President, faculty, staff, and students through a representative structure. The President's consultation with University Council does not preclude decision - making and action by the President in the course of executing the responsibilities of the Office of the President.

University Council serves as a representative and consultative committee of faculty, staff, and students that serve at the pleasure of the President. On policy decisions regarding matters affecting the operation of the University, the University Council will serve as a confidential advisory body to the President. Responsibilities of the University Council will include advice in the determination of general plans and goals for the University. It is assumed that the deliberation of the University Council would be aided by appropriate knowledge of financial constraints, budget distribution, admissions policy, and other relevant information.

1. Composition

The composition of the University Council will be:

Approved 5/4/2005 by University Council

B. Faculty Council

Faculty Council will serve as the primary advisory body to the President on policy decisions or matters affecting the faculty, their responsibilities, rights, or benefits. Modifications in curricula and degree requirements shall be approved by the Faculty Council before being brought before the general faculty.

1. Composition

Faculty Council shall be composed of eight faculty members, to be elected by the faculty to serve on both Faculty Council and University Council, and eight faculty elected in the same manner and from the same categories to serve only on Faculty Council. The specific composition is:

 

Term Ends

Seat

Elected to Faculty Council:

n

Any Rank - At Large

n

Prof. - Div. B

n + 1

Prof. - Div. A

n + 1

Asst. Prof. - Div. A

n + 2

Asst. Prof. - Div. B

n + 2

Prof. or Assoc. Prof. - Div. A

n + 3

Prof. - At Large

n + 3

Prof. - Div. A

Elected to University Council and Thereby Also to Faculty Council:

n

Prof. - Div. A

n

Prof. or Assoc. Prof. - Div. B

n+1

Prof. - At Large

n+1

Asst. Prof. - Div. B

n+2

Any Rank - At Large

n+2

Asst. Prof. - Div. A

n+3

Prof. - Div. B

n+3

Prof. or Assoc. Prof. - Div. A

Division A consists of the Schools of Humanities, Social Sciences, Architecture, The Shepherd School of Music, and the Jones School of Administration.

Division B consists of the Wiess School of Natural Sciences and the Brown School of Engineering.

Elections are for terms of two or four academic years depending on clasification. Vacancies in elected faculty seats on University Council or any seat on Faculty Council are filled by action of Faculty Council.

2. Responsibilities of the Faculty Council

Faculty Council may initiate studies and examine proposals submitted to it by members of the faculty. Faculty Council will assume the duties of the former University Welfare Committee. In order to carry out its functions, Faculty Council requires from the various administrative departments of the University full access to pertinent information (financial, budgetary, personnel, admissions, etc.). If Faculty Council and the President should disagree about the pertinence of information, it is understood that the President is legally empowered to override the judgment of Faculty Council and may choose to do so. When such information is of a sensitive nature, Faculty Council will take appropriate precautions to limit distribution. It is expected that most University matters will continue to be studied by University Committees and by University Council.

3. Organization

From among its members, Faculty Council shall elect a Speaker to serve as its presiding officer. The Speaker will name a Deputy Speaker, a Secretary, and an Editor of the Proceedings of Faculty Council, and may appoint Faculty Council standing or ad hoc committees as needed, with approval of Faculty Council. The Faculty Council may elect other officers as it deems necessary.

 

ARTICLE II. ORGANIZATION

A. Election Procedures for Members

1. Definition of Voting Faculty

"Voting Faculty" shall include:

a. Tenured faculty, whether full-time or part-time;

b. Untenured full-time Professors, Associate Professors, and Assistant Professors;

c. Full-time Lecturers and Instructors who have two or more years in these positions at Rice University;

d. Untenured part-time Professors, Associate Professors, and Assistant Professors designated as half-time or more with two or more years in these positions at Rice University;

e. Research faculty (Distinguished Faculty Fellows, Senior Faculty Fellows, and Faculty Fellows). Research faculty are entitled to attend faculty meetings and to vote on matters arising therein except those pertaining to tenure and exclusively to undergraduate curriculum and affairs.

An appointment as adjunct or visiting faculty does not carry voting privileges.

2. Nominations of Candidates

When a Faculty Council member's term expires, the entire voting faculty shall be notified and supplied with nominating petitions. Any eligible faculty member may be nominated by the filing (within a specified time interval) of a properly executed nominating petition. This requires the signatures of ten members of the voting faculty, plus the acceptance of the nominee. Vacancies on Faculty Council created by any other reason than expiration of a full term shall be filled by action of Faculty Council (with or without an election by the entire voting faculty).

If only one candidate is nominated for a given position, then that candidate shall be declared elected, without balloting.

3. Preparation of Ballots

Ballots shall list the names of candidates in an order determined by lot, each name to be identified by the candidate's academic department or school. The ballot shall state at the top that the order in which the names are listed has been determined by lot.

The ballot shall be accompanied by the following instructions and information.

a. Balloting Instructions: All voting members of the faculty are eligible to vote in all elections to the University Council and the Faculty Council. If you are not a voting member of the faculty, please destroy all enclosures and notify the Office of the President of the error in distribution. (Note: The definition of voting faculty as stated in II.A.1. of these Bylaws should be appended to this portion of the balloting instructions.)

Enclosed you should find (1) one or more ballots with the names of the candidates printed on them; and (2) an envelope addressed to the Office of the Faculty Council and bearing lines for your signature, your printed name, and your department.

b. Voting Procedure: Each election has its own ballot. On each ballot, rank the candidates in order of your preference by marking the boxes to the left of the candidates’ names. Write a "1" in the box by the name of your first choice (the most favored), a "2" by your second choice, and so on. If you do not rank all candidates on the ballot and the candidates whom you do rank are all eliminated during the tallying, your ballot will not count in further tallying.

c. Return of the Ballots: After marking your ballot(s), place it/them inside the envelope, seal the envelope, sign and print your name, and indicate your department in the appropriate spaces on the outside of the envelope. (Your ballot will not be counted without the signature.) Then send your ballot (or take it personally) to the Office of the Faculty Council . The deadline for returning ballots is specified on the covering letter from the Election Committee. Ballots must be received in the Faculty Council Office by the specified deadline in order to be valid.

4. Procedure for Tallying Ballots

Tallying of ballots will proceed by rounds until one candidate emerges with an absolute majority over all other remaining candidates. Tallying will be conducted as follows:

a. First Round: All ballots are separated according to their first (#1) preference. If no candidate has an absolute majority, proceed to Round Two.

b. Second Round: The candidate with the least number of first place votes is eliminated, and that candidate's ballots are redistributed according to each of these ballots' second (#2) preference. If no candidate has an absolute majority, proceed to Round Three.

c. Third Round: Proceed as in Round Two. If, on any ballot, both the first place (#1) candidate and the second place (#2) candidate has already been eliminated, that ballot is distributed according to its third place (#3) vote. If no candidate has an absolute majority, proceed with further elimination rounds until one candidate achieves an absolute majority. That candidate shall be declared the winner.

d. If a tie for the lowest number of votes occurs in any round, the candidate to be eliminated shall be determined by lot.

B. Officers, Duties, and Terms

1. Speaker

The first fall meeting will be convened by the most senior, at which meeting the first item of business will be the election of a Speaker. All members serving on Faculty Council are automatically nominated for the position of Speaker of Faculty Council. Following election, the Speaker will assume the chair, and as presiding officer will conduct all meetings during the year in accordance with these Bylaws and Robert's Rules of Order. The Speaker will represent Faculty Council and act as its chief spokesperson. No person shall serve as Speaker more than twice in a single four-year term on Council.

2. Deputy Speaker

The Speaker will annually appoint a Deputy Speaker to act in the Speaker's stead when necessary.

3. Secretary

The Speaker will annually appoint a Secretary. The Secretary of Faculty Council shall keep minutes of all meetings of Council and distribute them to Council members in a timely manner. There will be no verbatim reporting of remarks and discussions, except when Council deems this advisable, nor will professional titles be recorded. The Secretary will deposit a complete set of minutes to the University Archives at the end of each academic year. The Secretary shall supply the Editor of Proceedings of Faculty Council with minutes and other appropriate information for inclusion in Proceedings.

4. Editor of Proceedings of Faculty Council

The Editor shall produce issues of Proceedings of Faculty Council when instructed by Council, and distribute these to the entire faculty.

C. Meetings

1. Schedule

In the fall semester the Speaker shall announce meeting dates for the year. They will be held approximately every four weeks. Advance notice of each meeting will be mailed to all members either by the Speaker or the Secretary.

2. Quorum for Faculty Council

A majority of the members shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business at a regularly scheduled meeting. The affirmative vote of the majority of those members present shall be necessary for the passage of any resolution of motion, unless otherwise stated in these Bylaws.

3. Order of Business

The order of business at meetings of Faculty Council shall be as follows:

a. The meeting shall be called to order by the Speaker;

b. Previously distributed minutes of the last meeting shall be approved or amended;

c. Unfinished business;

d. Report of Special Committees;

e. Reporting of Standing Committees;

f. New business;

g. Adjournment.

4. Proceedings of Faculty Council

a. Minutes: The minutes of the meetings of Faculty Council will be distributed to the faculty in the Proceedings of Faculty Council. Reports by committees, including the Annual Faculty Compensation Survey, will also be printed in the Proceedings.

b. Letters from Faculty: Letters for publication in the Proceedings by faculty members on any subject of interest or concern to the faculty are welcome. Letters are to be sent to the Secretary of Faculty Council. Faculty Council will exercise editorial authority if necessary, but letters will be printed as submitted or not at all. Authors should headline their letters in centered capitals and should identify themselves in capitals on the last line of the letter, unless they request that their names be withheld, in which case NAME WITHHELD should appear in place of the name. All letters must be signed and dated in the space outside the typescript.

c. Meetings Announcement: The Proceedings will announce the time and place of the next meeting of Faculty Council. All faculty are welcome to attend Faculty Council meetings as guests. Any faculty member who wishes to address Council or bring an issue before Council is invited to contact the Speaker or any member of Council in advance.

 

ARTICLE III. COMMITTEES

A. Appeals and Grievances Committee

The membership of the Appeals and Grievances Committee will consist of those members of Faculty Council who do not also serve on the Promotion and Tenure Committee. The Committee is called to action by its Convener who is appointed annually by the Speaker. Faculty appeals or grievances should be addressed to the Convener. The Convener of the Committee may assign members of the Committee to subcommittees to consider individual cases. This Committee will receive two types of cases:

1. Appeals.

Faculty may appeal to the Committee concerning whether proper university procedures have been followed in decisions on promotion and tenure and in any other matter where the concern is whether proper university procedures have been followed.

2. Grievances.

Faculty may file a grievance with the Committee regarding any matter of concern except decisions on promotion and tenure, which are subject to review only in regard to procedure.

In the case of accusations which might warrant severe sanctions, including dismissal, consideration of a case by this Committee will constitute the second stage of review described in paragraph 3 of the Faculty Council’s "Procedures For Investigating Accusations Warranting Severe Sanctions, Including Dismissal, Against Faculty Members." (See also Faculty Policy 201-97: Faculty Appointment, Promotions and Tenure)

The final action of the Committee in any case shall be a report and/or recommendation to the President with a copy to the Speaker of the Faculty Council and to the Appellant or Grievant.

B. Elections Committee

The Elections Committee will be appointed annually by the Speaker to conduct elections of members of Faculty Council, and any general faculty special committees. It may recommend changes in election procedures and handle other business as Council may request.

C. Faculty Compensation Committee

The Faculty Compensation Committee will be appointed annually by the Speaker. It will annually prepare a survey of faculty compensation and benefits. Its report will be distributed in the Proceedings of Faculty Council. The Faculty Council liaison with the University Fringe Benefits Committee will be a member of this committee.

D. Committee on University Standing Committees

The function of this committee will be to present to the full Faculty Council recommendations for faculty membership on the various university standing committees for the coming year. In considering candidates, the committee will make use of names submitted by department chairs and current committee chairs, gathered and forwarded to the Council by the office of the Secretary to the University Council. After review by the full Faculty Council at a regularly scheduled meeting with the insertion of any changes, these recommendations will be forwarded to the President via the Secretary of the University Council. Normally, this procedure takes place in the spring semester.

Recommendations for staff membership on standing committees will be handled administratively.

 

ARTICLE IV. AMENDMENTS TO THE BYLAWS

A. All amendments to the Bylaws relating to procedures within Faculty Council shall be submitted to the membership of Council at a regular meeting after circulation of any proposed amendment with the advance notice of the meeting. Any revisions or changes arising from discussion or action at the meeting shall be incorporated into the wording of the proposed amendment by the Secretary. Final action shall be by mail vote to all members of Council or by vote at the next regularly scheduled meeting of Council.

B. Substantive amendments which refer to the election of members to Faculty Council, changes in the role of responsibilities of Council, or other matters in which the general faculty may have an interest will be submitted to the faculty for action at a regularly scheduled meeting on recommendation by the Speaker of the Council. Determination of whether the proposed amendment requires one or two faculty votes shall follow normal procedure for all agenda at faculty meetings.