Constitution of the Faculty
School of Science and Engineering Tulane University
Adopted: September 18, 2006
Amended: May 7, 2008
Amended: May 7, 2009
Amended: December 8, 2011
Amended: May 8, 2013
Amended: August 25, 2014
The Faculty of the School of Science and Engineering (SSE) of Tulane University shall consist of voting and non-voting members. All members shall have the privilege of the floor. These membership rules shall apply to all committees and to departments, as well as to meetings of the faculty.
A. Voting Members
The full-time professors, associate professors, and assistant professors whose primary appointment is in the SSE except as stipulated in section I B constitute the full voting members of the faculty. All full voting members shall be members of the Graduate Faculty of the SSE.
An exception to the above applies to the members of the faculty identified in section IB1b (senior professors of practice and professors of practice) who shall have voting privileges on all matters except those pertaining to faculty hiring, tenure decisions, or graduate studies and who may serve on all standing committees of the School except the Promotion and Tenure Committee, the Graduate Studies Committee, and the Grievance Committee.
B. Non-Voting Members
- Special Members
- Research professors, research associate professors and research assistant professors
- Senior professors of practice and professors of practice except as stipulated above
- Holders of emeritus appointments
- Part-time professors, associate professors and assistant professors
- Visiting and adjunct professors, associate professors, and assistant professors
- Ex officio members
- The president of Tulane University
- The provost of Tulane University
- The dean of the Newcomb-Tulane College
- The dean of the School of Continuing Studies
C. Membership List
Prior to the opening of each academic year, the dean shall prepare a list of the voting members. The Nominating Committee shall review the list and present it for approval to the faculty at the first regular meeting.
II. RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE VOTING FACULTY
The voting faculty of the SSE shall have primary responsibility for:
A. Formulation and implementation of academic plans and policies
B. Its own governance
C. Election of faculty representatives to advisory and decision-making bodies at the university-wide level
D. Discharging the following responsibilities (where appropriate, through departments and committees of the faculty):
- Admission of students and establishment of academic standards to be met by students
- Setting of requirements for degrees and certifying completion of such requirements
- Establishment, abolition and modification of curricula and approval of courses of instruction
- Establishment and maintenance of educational and instructional standards and policies and the recommending of procedures and decisions governing faculty status, which include appointments, reappointments, decisions not to reappoint, promotions, the granting of tenure, discipline, dismissal and grievance
E. Receiving and acting on reports of standing and special committees
III. FACULTY OFFICERS
The faculty shall elect a secretary from its voting members to serve a term of two years, with re-election possible. With the support of the dean’s office, the secretary shall prepare minutes of the faculty proceedings and debates to be distributed to all members of the faculty.
The faculty shall elect a parliamentarian from its voting members to serve a term of three years, with re-election possible for consecutive terms.
IV. CHAIRS OF ACADEMIC DEPARTMENTS
Each department shall have a chair. Chairs shall be voting members of the faculty appointed by the dean after consultation with the faculty of the department.
Chairs shall be appointed for five-year renewable terms.
A. Regular Meetings
There shall be at least three regular meetings of the faculty during the academic year: early fall, late fall, and spring.
B. Special Meetings
Special meetings may be initiated by the dean or by written petition signed by at least ten voting members of the faculty. Upon receipt of such a petition, the dean must convene a meeting within two weeks of presentation of the petition while the school is in session, excluding summer.
One-third of the voting members of the faculty shall constitute a quorum.
D. Presiding Officer
The dean shall preside at faculty meetings. In the dean’s absence or in case of a conflict of interest, the secretary of the faculty shall preside.
A. Voting for Candidates
Whenever a slate of candidates is presented for election, there shall be an opportunity for nominations from the floor. All candidates shall be voting members, and elected candidates shall be chosen by mail ballot. Elections shall be determined by a plurality of votes cast.
B. Mail Voting
A majority of the voting members present at a faculty meeting may authorize voting by mail. When there is a need for prompt action and a meeting of the faculty is impractical, the executive committee may authorize voting by mail, and where the issue is an election, write-in votes will be permissible. Such action must be reported at the next regular or special meeting of the faculty and may be reconsidered then.
C. Electronic Voting
In extenuating circumstances the Executive Committee may authorize teleconferencing and electronic voting but must ensure the validity of the procedure while also ensuring anonymity when it is appropriate.
There shall be standing committees and special committees.
A. Standing Committees
There shall be the following standing committees of the faculty:
- The Executive Committee
- The Promotion and Tenure Committee
- The Curriculum Committee
- The Graduate Studies Committee
- The Grievance Committee
- The Nominating Committee
- The Professor of Practice Promotion Advisory Committee
B. The Executive Committee
The Executive Committee shall be composed of the chairs of the academic departments, the associate deans, and the dean of the SSE as chair. The dean may designate other members as appropriate. The committee shall meet on call of the dean.
The duties of the Executive Committee are as follows:
- To serve as an advisory committee to the dean on any matter of administration
- In emergencies, to approve extraordinary means to maintain faculty deliberation and governance
after consultation with the parliamentarian
- To supervise elections as required
C. The Promotion and Tenure Committee
The committee shall be composed of nine tenured members of the faculty elected by the voting faculty. Members shall be elected for staggered three-year terms and shall not hold consecutive terms. No more than two members shall be from the same academic department. A majority of the committee (at least five members) shall be full professors. While associate professors are eligible to serve, they shall not participate in decisions regarding promotions to full professor. At its first meeting, the dean will select a full professor to be its chair.
- Duties and Procedures
- It shall be the duty of this committee to receive recommendations for the promotion of and/or granting of tenure to members of the faculty and prospective members of the faculty. All actions pertaining to promotions and tenure shall be taken only after a meeting of the committee.
- The committee shall also receive recommendations regarding promotion to the rank of senior professor of practice from the Professor of Practice Promotion Advisory Committee and all departmental recommendations regarding third-year review of untenured faculty in regular tenure-track appointments.
- In addition to recommendations from departmental committees, the committee may accept requests for promotion for full professor from individual members of the faculty.
- The committee shall prepare explicit guidelines for action approved by the faculty. These guidelines shall be distributed to all untenured faculty members and all departmental chairs at the beginning of each academic year.
- All actions of the committee concerning third-year review, tenure, or promotion shall be forwarded to the dean along with a summary of the discussions and reasons for the vote, signed by all voting members. After receiving the review, the dean may request a meeting with the whole committee.
- Reporting Decisions
The dean shall forward the recommendations of the committee, along with his or her own recommendations, to the provost of the university. It is expected that ordinarily the provost and president will follow committee recommendations. In the extraordinary case of disagreement by the provost or president with the recommendations of the committee, the administration shall report the objections to the committee, normally within four weeks of the time when the recommendations were submitted. If after reconsideration the committee resubmits its original recommendations and they are again disapproved, the provost should offer the committee detailed reasons for the disapproval.
D. The Curriculum Committee
The Curriculum Committee shall consist of ten faculty members, one being appointed by the chair of each of the academic departments in which degrees are offered. Non-voting members of the committee shall include one undergraduate student, one graduate student, and the dean of the School of Science and Engineering or his/her representative, ex officio. The dean may designate other ex officio members as appropriate. The committee shall elect annually one of the faculty members as a voting chair, who will report to the faculty.
The functions of the committee shall be:
- To maintain the academic standards of the school as established by the faculty.
- To make recommendations to the faculty on the core requirement for the Bachelor of Science (BS) degree.
- To formulate policy regarding transfer credits and study abroad under the sponsorship of other institutions.
- To receive recommendations from and to make them to individual departments and the faculty about all matters concerning course curricula and the description of course curricula and major requirements in the university catalog.
- To advise the dean on any questions concerning undergraduate curriculum, degree programs, and registration.
- The Curriculum Committee is empowered to act for the faculty of the School of Science and Engineering with respect to approving routine curriculum changes. These include but may not be limited to: new courses; discontinuance of courses; change of course title, number, description, and academic credit; credit in fulfilling undergraduate core- and school requirements (proficiencies, capstone, laboratory science, etc.); changes to course requirements for undergraduate programs (majors, minors, and coordinate majors).
- All curriculum changes approved by the committee shall be reported annually to the SSE faculty.
- More substantive curriculum changes (e.g., new programs of study or their discontinuance, and changes to degree requirements) shall be approved by the SSE faculty after consideration by the Curriculum Committee.
- The Curriculum Committee shall establish its own procedures for receiving and considering proposed curriculum changes.
E. The Graduate Studies Committee
The Graduate Studies Committee shall consist of ten faculty members, one being appointed by the chair of each of the academic departments. A non-voting member of the committee shall be the dean of the School of Science and Engineering or his/her representative, ex officio. The dean may designate other ex officio members as appropriate. The committee shall elect annually one of the faculty members as a voting chair, who will report to the faculty.
The functions of the committee shall be:
- To make recommendations to the faculty on approval of changes in the graduate requirements of the school;
- To develop policies with regard to admissions and transfer credits; thesis/dissertation, prospectus, and final examination requirements;
- To make recommendations on the awarding of fellowships and assistantships for which students from multiple programs are eligible;
- To develop and implement strategies for recruitment of graduate students.
F. The Grievance Committee
The Grievance Committee shall consist of ten faculty members, one being elected by each of the academic departments. A faculty member may not serve simultaneously on this committee and the Promotion and Tenure Committee. The committee shall elect annually one of its members as a voting chair, who will report to the faculty.
- Duties and Procedures
- It shall be the duty of the committee to receive grievances and complaints regarding conditions of employment; due process; violations of academic freedom or academic responsibility and similar grievances which cannot be settled informally. Informal resolution should first be sought by all parties or units involved.
- Complaints may be originated by faculty members, other instructional and research personnel, or administrative officers. Complaints must be submitted in writing to the Chair of the Grievance Committee, with details of the corroborating evidence that will be furnished, testimony that will be offered, facilitation needed from the administration, and all attempts at informal resolution. The committee shall also hear cases referred to it by the Senate Committee on Faculty Tenure, Freedom, and Responsibility, but all grievances arising from within the faculty shall be submitted in first instance to the Grievance Committee.
- In case of complaints or grievances, the committee may (1) decide to hold formal hearings, (2) decide that a case does not warrant a formal hearing and provide a statement of reasons, or (3) appoint an ad hoc committee of the committee to hold a preliminary hearing in order to determine whether a formal hearing should be held. If the ad hoc committee decides that the complaint should be heard, that decision shall be binding.
- Any member of the Grievance Committee who brings a grievance or against whom a grievance is brought shall be recused from all discussions and votes concerning that grievance. If grievances involve departmental decisions, members of that department shall recuse themselves. If there are any conflicts of interest involving members of the Grievance Committee, those members shall recuse themselves from the case.
- The Chair of the Committee will provide parties complained against a copy of the complaint and a timeframe for receiving a response. The Committee will assume that the facts as alleged are not in dispute if the parties complained against do not dispute the allegations in writing to the Chair within the specified timeframe.
- The Committee has the authority to investigate charges alleged in complaints, through hearings of the complainant and parties complained against, gathering evidence, and calling for testimony from witnesses and others involved in the complaints.
- Hearings and deliberations will be held as soon as practicable. A quorum shall be five members. In cases when multiple recusals make a quorum impossible, the committee may request the Nominating Committee to provide alternates.
- Testimony at hearings shall be recorded. The complainant may produce witnesses or other forms of corroborating evidence. An advisor may accompany the complainant to the hearing. However, the advisor does not have the right of the floor, and may not address any witnesses or the committee. The advisor may not be legal counsel, nor a member of the grievance committee within the last two years.
- The deliberations of the committee are confidential.
- The committee shall explain its findings in writing to the person or persons who brought the grievance and the person(s) against whom the grievance was brought, and shall report its decision to the Dean of the SSE and/or other appropriate administrative officers as soon as practicable. In the event that the Committee’s decision is not unanimous, a minority report may be submitted.
- The person who brought the grievance and the person(s) against whom the grievance was brought shall both have the right of appeal to the Faculty Tenure, Freedom, and Responsibility (FTFR) Committee of the University Senate.
G. The Nominating Committee
The Nominating Committee shall consist of ten faculty members (one being elected by each of the academic departments), the dean, and the secretary of the faculty. The committee shall elect annually one of its members as a voting chair, who will report to the faculty.
In addition to the duties described elsewhere in the constitution, the duties of the Nominating Committee are as follows:
- To determine the size of special committees
- To appoint faculty members to special committees except as stipulated elsewhere
- To propose slates of candidates to fill vacancies on standing committees and to propose slates to fill vacancies in the University Senate, the Committee on Faculty Tenure, Freedom and Responsibility, the university-wide Judicial Pool (as specified in the Code of Student Conduct) and faculty committees for governance of Newcomb-Tulane College. A brief curriculum vitae shall be prepared after consultation with each nominee for elected committees, to be distributed with the mail ballot
- To propose representatives of the faculty to senate committees at the request of the faculty representatives to the University Senate
- To propose representatives from the faculty as needed to university-wide committees in accordance with section VIII.
H. The Professor of Practice Promotion Advisory Committee
The committee shall be composed of 3 senior professors of practice and 2 tenured members of the faculty elected by the voting faculty. Members shall be elected for staggered three-year terms and shall not hold consecutive terms. No two members shall be from the same academic department. At its first meeting, the dean will select a committee member to be its chair.
- It shall be the duty of this committee to receive recommendations for promotion of professors of practice to the rank of senior professor of practice.
- In addition to recommendations from departmental committees, the committee may accept requests for promotion to senior professor of practice from individual members of the faculty.
- The committee shall prepare explicit guidelines for action approved by the faculty. These guidelines shall be distributed to all professors of practice and all department chairs at the beginning of each academic year.
- The recommendations of the committee concerning promotion to senior professor of practice shall be forwarded to the Promotion and Tenure Committee with a summary of the discussions and reasons for the vote, signed by the voting members. After receiving the review, the Promotion and Tenure Committee may request a meeting with the advisory committee chair.
- Reporting Decisions
The Promotion and Tenure Committee shall forward the recommendations of the Professor of Practice Advisory Committee, along with its own recommendations, to the dean. The dean shall then forward the recommendations of both committees, along with his or her own recommendations, to the provost of the university.
I. Special Committees and Reports
- Special Committees
Special committees may be authorized by the Executive Committee, the dean, or the faculty. Upon their completion of their duties, special committees will report to the authorizing body.
- Committee Reports
Each standing and special committee shall issue an annual report to the faculty.
VIII. REPRESENTATION TO BODIES OUTSIDE
THE SCHOOL OF SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING
A. Terms and Elections of Representatives
All terms shall be three years unless otherwise specified by the bodies.
B. Reports by Representatives
The representatives shall issue a periodic joint report to the faculty about significant debates and votes in their respective deliberative bodies.
All representatives and members of committees shall be subject to recall. Recall procedures can be initiated by a written petition of one-quarter of the voting members of the faculty to the Executive Committee. Recall requires a majority vote. Following a recall, ordinary procedures shall be used to fill the vacancy for the unexpired term as soon as feasible.
X. THE DEAN OF THE SCHOOL OF SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING
The dean shall be appointed by the president from a list of candidates submitted by a search committee of seven elected members of the faculty of the School of Science and Engineering. This committee shall have no more than one member from any department. The committee shall, in consultation with the president and the provost, elect one of its members as chair. In addition to consulting with the faculty, provost and president concerning the search, the committee shall seek the advice of students and alumni/ae of the School of Science and Engineering. The committee may add non-voting ex officio members from the administration, students, and alumni/ae. All voting shall be by secret ballot.
B. Term of Office
The term of office of the dean shall be no more than five years.
C. Review and Reappointment
A dean may be reappointed by the president but each reappointment shall be preceded by a faculty review in the penultimate semester of his or her term. There shall be no limit to the number of times that a dean can be reappointed.
XI. PARLIAMENTARY AUTHORITY
The rules contained in the current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised shall govern the faculty in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with this constitution and any special rules of order the faculty may adopt.
This constitution may be amended by two-thirds of those members present and voting at a meeting of the faculty, provided that the amendment has been proposed in writing at a previous meeting of the faculty, held at least one week before. Amendments shall be recommended through the president to the board of administrators at its regular or Executive Committee Meeting. Amendments shall take effect after ninety days of their passing.