Bylaws of the Faculty, Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences


Article I. Definitions:

A. The Rostered Faculty of the Department of APS shall, for these Bylaws, be defined to consist of all individuals who hold the rank of Professor, Associate Professor, Assistant Professor, and Senior Instructor in the Department.

B. The Non-Rostered Faculty of the Department of APS shall consist of those individuals holding academic appointments of any professorial level in the following categories: Attendant, Adjoint, Adjunct, Research, Visiting, and Emeritus, as well as Instructor and Lecturer.

C. The Faculty of the Department of APS shall consist of the Rostered Faculty and the Non-Rostered Faculty.

D. The Rostered and Research Faculty shall have jurisdiction over the academic program of the Department, including curriculum, examinations, advising and evaluation of students.

E. The Rostered Faculty shall have jurisdiction over matters concerning the governance of the Department, including nomination of a Chair and Associate Chairs, recommendations on appointment, reappointment, termination, promotion, tenure, and salary recommendations, except as specified in Articles III and VII.

F. The Rostered Faculty shall assume responsibility for proposing and developing the long-range plans for the Department and its new faculty appointments.


Article II. Departmental Governance:

A. Chair

1. The Chair is the executive officer of the Department, and as such shall be responsible for departmental college and university policies and for coordinating department and interdepartmental activities. The Chair shall call and preside at departmental meetings, act on specific recommendations of the Faculty, approve teaching schedules as submitted by the Department Curriculum Committee, plan the departmental budget, and carry on such financial negotiations with the responsible administration as are deemed necessary for the academic program of the Department. The Chair shall coordinate efforts at recruitment of new faculty. As outlined below in Articles III, IV, and V, the Chair shall appoint all standing committees and ad hoc committees, but not the Executive Committee or the Nominating Committee (Article IIA.5), and shall provide adequate supervision to insure that the functions herein assigned to such committees, or to the Faculty as a whole, are carried out. In all such duties, the Chair shall actively seek the advice of the Faculty.

2. The Chair shall communicate to the University administration results of faculty votes, recommendations for salary increases as presented by the Executive Committee (Article III), and his/her own recommendations on reappointments, terminations, promotions, and tenure.

3. The normal term of office of the Chair shall be three years.

4. The Chair shall be a tenured Professor or Associate Professor of the Department.

5. At the beginning of the final year of the Chair's term, the Rostered faculty shall select from its membership, excluding the Department Chair, a three-person Nominating Committee whose responsibility shall be first to canvass opinion of the Rostered Faculty and then to present a slate of candidates for Chair. A previous or current Department Chair shall be eligible for renomination.

6. The Rostered Faculty shall recommend to the Dean a nominee for Chair at a special meeting no later than the beginning of the final semester of a Chair's term. A nomination shall require a two-thirds majority vote of the Rostered Faculty. The voting privilege of each Rostered Faculty member shall not be forfeited should his/her absence from the election be required.

7. The Rostered Faculty of the Department may recommend to the Dean that a Chair be removed from that position by a two-thirds majority vote of the Rostered Faculty.

B. Associate Chairs

1. The APS department shall have two Associate Chairs, an Associate Chair of Undergraduate Education and an Associate Chair of Graduate Education.

2. The Associate Chairs shall be nominated and elected to serve two-year terms, preferably staggered, and are subject to annual approval of the Chair. The chief functions of the Associate Chairs shall be to assist the Chair in his/her duties with concurrence of the Dean (Article IIA of the Bylaws).

3. The Associate Chairs shall be members of the Rostered Faculty and in compliance with Article III.B, and shall be nominated by the Chair or Chair-designate. Election of an Associate Chair shall require a two-thirds majority of the Rostered Faculty.

4. The Associate Chair of Undergraduate Education shall oversee all aspects of the APS undergraduate program. He/she reports to the Chair. He/she is to be a member of or chair of the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee (Article IV.C.3). He/she coordinates the efforts and monitors the progress of standing and ad hoc committees that affect the APS undergraduate program including mentoring programs. He/she assigns peer review visits of all APS classes.

5. Associate Chair of Graduate Education shall oversee all aspects of the APS graduate program. He/she reports to the Chair.  He/she is to be a member of or chair of the Graduate Admissions Committee (ArticleIV.C.1) and the Curriculum Committee (Article IV.4). He/she coordinates the efforts and monitors the progress of standing and ad hoc committees that affect the APS graduate program. He/she is to annually review the progress of graduate students, approve and/or assign graduate exam and thesis committees, and enforce exam and thesis standards set by the Faculty..

6. The Chair can modify the duties of Associate Chairs without amending these bylaws after consultation with the Executive Committee (Article III).

C. Absences

1. The Chair may appoint an Associate Chair or, if and Associate Chair is not available, a member of the Rostered Faculty to serve as Acting Chair during absences of the Chair less than one month. The Acting Chair must hold the rank of Assistant, Associate, or Full Professor.

2. If the Chair is to be absent from the Department for longer than one month, the Rostered Faculty shall confirm at a business meeting that they accede to an Associate Chair assuming functions of the Chair for the period designated, subject to approval by the Dean.


Article III. Executive Committee

A. The Executive Committee provides a forum for detailed consideration and discussion on a timely basis of all matters of potential concern to the Department. The committee shall advise and assist the Chair, shall help to coordinate the interdisciplinary functions and communications within the Department, and shall assume responsibilities for initiating faculty personnel actions (Article III.E). The committee shall be sensitive to issues that may require discussion and decision by the Faculty after preliminary work is conducted by the Executive Committee.

B. In addition to the Chair and Associate Chairs, two members of the Rostered Faculty holding the rank of Professor, Associate Professor, or Assistant Professor shall serve as members on the Executive Committee for two-year terms. Preferably, the terms should be staggered so that one member is replaced each year. They shall be elected by the Rostered Faculty by ballot, with slates of candidates to be developed under the supervision of the Chair for each position to be filled. The executive committee shall have at least four members holding the rank of tenured Professor or Associate Professor.

C. The Chair or an Associate Chair shall conduct the meetings of the Executive Committee. A quorum requires at least three members to be present. The Chair may make temporary appointments to the Executive Committee by way of replacement of elected members who are away from the Department for at most an academic term, such appointments to lapse upon the return of the member. For longer absences, the Rostered Faculty shall elect a replacement.

D. The Executive Committee shall normally meet twice per month during the fall and spring semesters, with additional meetings as required. The administrative directors or chairs of the Institutes, Centers and Laboratories associated with the Department shall be invited to participate in meetings of the Executive Committee as required, in order to facilitate communication and coordinate activities between groups within the Department and to address issues of mutual concern. The Executive Committee shall inform the Faculty of its discussions and actions in a timely fashion.

E. The Executive Committee shall be responsible for initiating personnel actions, and carrying out in-depth discussions with a representative group of Faculty, including all Rostered Faculty members, on matters of new faculty appointments, renewal/non-renewal of existing appointments, promotions, tenures, post-tenure reviews, requests for sabbaticals and leaves of absence, special assignments, and salary issues. The deliberation and recommendations of this committee shall be reported to the Rostered Faculty, for votes when required (Article VII). The actions shall be transmitted by the Chair to the University administration.

F. The Executive Committee shall review the status of appointment (i.e., reappointment, promotion and/or tenure) for each Assistant Professor and Associate Professor and each untenured member of the Rostered Faculty each academic year or upon the request of the faculty member concerned.

G. The Executive Committee shall make recommendations regarding salary adjustments for all of the Rostered Faculty members, including the Chair, for transmittal to the University administration. The Chair shall also provide his/her own advice to the Dean. Any of the committee's recommendations and the basis for these shall, upon request, be made available by the Chair to the faculty member concerned. The committee shall advise the Chair on the suitability of possible replacements for Rostered Faculty members requesting sabbaticals or leaves of absence. Any member of the committee whose appointment or salary shall be discussed by the committee will depart the room for the duration of the deliberations.


Article IV. Standing Committees

A. All members of the Faculty shall be eligible for service on standing committees.

B. The normal term of service on any standing committee shall be for one year, reappointment being permissible with consent of the faculty member concerned. The Department Chair shall appoint all standing committees and name a chair for each committee.

C. The standing committees established by these Bylaws shall be:

1. Graduate Admissions and Support: This committee shall be responsible for reviewing all applications for admission for graduate study in the Department and for indicating to the Chair appropriate action on each application. The committee shall coordinate efforts to recruit graduate students and to arrange financial support in the form of scholarships, fellowships, and teaching and research assistantships for both incoming and continuing students. The committee shall arrange an entrance advising interview for each new student and, after the interview, shall make the initial assignment of an academic advisor.

2. Graduate Examinations Committee: This committee shall recommend, for the approval of the Faculty, the general form of preliminary and comprehensive examinations to be given to graduate students, solicit questions for the written examinations, assemble these questions into examinations, and submit the examinations to the Faculty for final approval. Arrangements for grading and evaluating the written examinations and scheduling of oral examinations shall be the responsibility of this committee. Final recommendations, based upon evaluation of each student's complete examination performance, shall be made by the Faculty, with the results communicated in writing to each student by the Department Chair.

3. Undergraduate Curriculum Committee: This committee shall recommend to the Chair for final approval the undergraduate courses and instructors to be offered each semester. The committee shall consult with and obtain the approval of the Faculty prior to making these recommendations. The committee shall also present recommendations to the Faculty for adding or deleting courses and shall be responsible for the preparation of all catalog and bulletin copy.

4. Graduate Curriculum Committee: This committee shall recommend to the Chair for final approval the graduate courses and instructors to be offered each semester. The committee shall consult with and obtain the approval of the Faculty prior to making these recommendations. The committee shall also present recommendations to the Faculty for adding or deleting courses and shall be responsible for the preparation of all catalog and bulletin copy.

D. These standing committees can be modified in their responsibilities or composition and new standing committees added without amending these Bylaws by action of a two-thirds majority vote of the Rostered Faculty. Any such changes effected shall be recorded in writing and kept in an official file of the Department office.


Article V. Ad Hoc Committees and Faculty Mentoring Policy

A. All Faculty members shall be eligible for service on ad hoc committees.

B. Such committees shall be appointed and given a charge by the Chair as needs arise.

C. The faculty mentoring policy shall be:

1. To each new faculty hired at the Assistant Professor or Instructor level the Chair shall assign a faculty mentor at the start of the faculty's first semester.

2. The mentee may request a different faculty mentor at any time.

3. The mentee and mentor each has the right to terminate the mentoring relationship at any time.

4. The mentor/mentee pair shall meet formally at least once per semester. They may choose to meet more often.

5. The mentoring session should cover progress towards re-appointment and tenure including papers published, graduate student advising, writing grants, teaching at the three levels (non-major, major, graduate), service.

6. The mentor should assist the mentee to keep apprised of grant and award opportunities.  The mentor should keep the Chair advised of awards/prizes for which the mentee could be nominated.

7. The mentor should read and offer feedback on the mentee's grant proposals prior to submission, if requested by the mentee.

8. The mentor should offer advice on teaching, on teaching resources such as FTEP, and on teaching opportunities such as ASSETT.


Article VI. General, Business and Special Meetings

A. General meetings of the Faculty shall be called on a schedule determined by the Chair, after consultation with the Faculty. The general meetings shall be used as forums for points of information and general discussions among the Faculty and for making decisions appropriate to the Faculty. The standing and ad hoc committees may seek the intent and advice of the faculty and present their recommendations in the general meetings. If a vote is desired on any issue, except on those issues (Article VII) for which the Rostered Faculty have sole jurisdiction, then a quorum for such a general meeting of the Faculty shall be one-half or more of the Rostered Faculty. All faculty members, duly notified, who are present may vote and motions shall carry by a simple majority of those voting.

B. Business meetings of the Rostered Faculty shall be called on a schedule determined by the Chair, after consultation with the Rostered Faculty.

C. The Chair shall call a special meeting of the Rostered Faculty whenever at least one-third of the Rostered Faculty so desire.

D. An agenda for a business or special meeting shall be compiled by the Chair and made available to the Rostered Faculty, normally one week prior to the meeting.

E. Business and special meetings shall be conducted by the Chair, an Associate Chair, or other designee of the Chair. Motions for consideration by the Rostered Faculty in a business meeting shall be voted upon, and such motions shall carry by a simple majority vote of the Rostered Faculty present, except on matters otherwise specified in Article VII. A quorum for such voting purposes shall consist of at least two-thirds of the Rostered Faculty. A member of the Rostered Faculty who is unable to attend a business meeting may provide the Chair with written instructions indicating the course of action favored on an agenda item and may request that an absentee vote be cast on his/her behalf on motions related to an agenda item that, in the Chair's opinion, is covered by the letter of instructions. At the Chair's discretion, the absentee Rostered Faculty member may be counted as a member of the quorum on agenda items for which written instructions have been provided.


Article VII. Decisions to be Made by the Rostered Faculty in a Business or Special Meeting or by Written Ballot

A. A quorum shall consist of three-quarters of the Rostered Faculty eligible to vote less those faculty who have waived their voting rights as described in VII.B.

B. A faculty member absent from campus, may waive, by means of a written request to the Chair, his/her right to cast a ballot on any or all agenda items for the duration of the absence. In the absence of such a waiver, the Chair shall make reasonable efforts to obtain a ballot from the absentee.

C. Election of a nominee for the Department Chair. (Two-thirds majority of yes and no votes cast by Rostered Faculty.)

D. Approval of course offerings and the adding or deleting of courses. (Majority of quorum.)

E. Recommendations for Promotion and Tenure

Recommendations on tenure, for promotion to Associate Professor, and reappointment. (Three-fourths majority of the yes and no votes cast by the group consisting of the Rostered Faculty holding tenure, absent the Chair.)

Recommendations on promotion to Professor. (Three-fourths majority of the yes and no votes cast by the group consisting of the Rostered Faculty holding the rank of Professor, absent the Chair.)

Recommendations on the initial appointment of any Rostered Faculty; reappointment of untenured faculty, appointment of Visiting Assistant Professors, Visiting Associate Professors, Visiting Professors; and for all other Faculty appointments of more than one year duration. (Three-fourths majority of the yes and no votes cast by the Rostered Faculty, holding the rank of Professor, Associate Professor, and Assistant Professor.)

F. Modifications of the duties or composition of any standing committee or addition of a new standing committee. (Two-thirds majority of the yes and no votes cast by the Rostered Faculty.)

G. Amendment of Bylaws. (Three-fourths majority of the yes and no votes cast by the Rostered Faculty.)

H. Any agenda item of departmental concern proposed for action by a Rostered Faculty member. (Majority of quorum of the Rostered Faculty.)


Article VIII. Status of Bylaws

These Bylaws, and any amendments thereto, shall be the operating rules of the Department of APS when submitted to the Rostered Faculty for their advice and consent, adopted by a three-fourths majority of all Rostered Faculty, and approved by the Dean.

This version approved May 3rd, 2017.