UT Dallas Policy Navigator

Bylaws of the Academic Senate of The University of Texas at Dallas - UTDPP1007

Policy Statement

I. Preamble

The Academic Senate is a representative body, formed from the General Faculty of The University of Texas at Dallas, in which faculty develop their concerns and proposals in exercising their major roles in faculty governance. The Academic Senate is aided in its work by the Academic Council, a smaller body formed from the Academic Senate which meets regularly with the President and Executive Vice President and Provost (Provost) and by the Faculty Committees. As the regular primary faculty governance body, the Academic Senate is expected to coordinate faculty exercise of faculty governance responsibilities in the interests of academic excellence at The University of Texas at Dallas.

II. Authority

These Bylaws supplement UTDPP1088 - Faculty Governance of the Handbook of Operating Procedures of The University of Texas at Dallas. Nothing in these Bylaws shall be construed to conflict with the Handbook of Operating Procedures, the Rules and Regulations of the Board of Regents of The University of Texas System, or state law.

III. Organization

  1. Election, Vacancies, and Appointment of Academic Senate
    1. The election procedures, including an election calendar, shall be distributed no later than February 1. Election procedures may be online or may utilize paper petitions and ballots. The election procedures, beginning with the nomination of members of the Senate and ending with election of a Speaker of the Faculty-Elect and Secretary of the Faculty-Elect, shall begin no later than March 15 and end no later than the last day of final examinations in the Spring semester. At least two weeks will be allowed for completion of Academic Senate nominating petitions, and one week for ballots in the Academic Senate election.
    2. The Secretary of the Faculty shall be in charge of the election, although he or she may designate other faculty and staff members to assist.
    3. Any two voting members of the General Faculty, as defined in UTDPP 1088, Section I.B.1, may nominate by petition to membership in the Senate any one voting member of the General Faculty, except that no one may sign more than two petitions
    4. Nominating petitions are collected by the Office of Academic Governance. The Secretary of the Faculty will ascertain the willingness of each nominee to serve if elected. The names of those who do not wish to serve will not be placed on the ballot.
    5. Ballots, including all those nominated who are willing to serve, are to be distributed to the voting members of the General Faculty by the Secretary of the Faculty by the date designated in the election calendar. Ballots cast by voting members of different Schools will be colored differently or otherwise kept separate.
    6. Each eligible voter will indicate with a "1" his or her first choice for a representative, with a "2" as second choice, with a "3" as third choice, and up to a maximum of 5 people. Ballots are to be returned in accordance with the election procedures. Ballots shall be secret.
    7. Ballots from each of the Schools in the University shall first be counted separately by the Plurality System (as defined in III.A.17 below), ignoring all choices for any candidates from other Schools, to determine the candidate from the School, if any, most favored by the voting members of the General Faculty of that School.
    8. All ballots will be combined and counted by the Plurality System ignoring choices for the candidate already elected from each School, to select the remaining candidates to be elected.
    9. The Secretary of the Faculty and an ad hoc election committee appointed by the Academic Senate shall implement procedures that will ensure the identity of the voter casting a specific ballot is secret and the counting of the ballots is accurate.
    10. The Secretary of the Faculty shall notify successful candidates of their election and of the date of the Senate-Elect Caucus.
    11. If, by the date designated for the closing of nominations, the number of valid nominations does not exceed the minimum membership of the Academic Senate, as computed per Sec. II.B.1 of UTDPP1088 - Faculty Governance of the Handbook of Operating Procedures, all candidates shall be declared to be elected.
    12. If a member of the Academic Senate resigns his or her seat or leaves The University of Texas at Dallas for a period expected to exceed four months, that seat shall be filled by the most favored unelected candidate in the last election.
    13. Once the original nomination list is exhausted, the Academic Senate shall fill vacancies by majority vote of all members of the Academic Senate.
    14. In the event a sitting member of the Academic Senate is appointed to the position of Dean, the member shall offer to resign from the Senate. If the resignation is accepted, the Academic Senate shall fill the vacancy in accordance with Sections 12 and 13 above.
    15. If a member of the Academic Senate misses two consecutive Senate meetings, the Senator will be contacted by the Secretary of the Faculty to ascertain whether he or she still wishes to serve. If not, the Senator will be immediately replaced by the procedures of Sections 12 and 13 above. If a member of the Academic Senate misses three meetings during September-May, at the third meeting the Academic Senate may, by a majority vote of those present, declare the seat vacant. The seat will then be filled by the procedures of Section 12 and 13 above.
    16. All members elected or appointed to the Academic Senate under Section III.A.1.-18. of these Bylaws, and only those members, shall be voting members of the Academic Senate.
    17. Except as specified in III.A.18, for the purpose of elections held under these Bylaws, a Plurality System as described below will be used: The results are tallied for each candidate by indicating the number of first-place votes received by the candidate, the number of second-place votes received by the candidate, etc. The candidates are then ranked by first-place votes with the most preferred candidate having the most first-place votes, etc. In the case of two or more candidates receiving the same number of first-place votes, the second-place votes of these candidates will determine their rank order. If necessary, third-, fourth-, etc. place votes will be used to determine the rank order of candidates having the same number of first-place votes. In the unlikely event that the rank order of two or more candidates with the same number of first-place votes cannot be determined by the use of second-, and subsequent-place votes, the rank order will be determined by the use of a randomization device which gives each of the tied candidates the same chances of having any rank as any other of the tied candidates (i.e., a random permutation). If M is the number of offices to be filled, the first M-ranked candidates shall be declared elected. Vacancies that may occur during the course of the year will be filled as provided in Sections 12 and 13 above.
    18. A minimum of 50% of Senate positions shall be held by tenure-system faculty and a minimum of 10% of Senate positions shall be held by nontenure-system faculty, implemented as follows. The number of Senate positions will be multiplied by 50%, rounded upward if necessary. That number of positions will be allocated to the top tenure-system vote recipients as described in III.A.17. The number of Senate positions will be multiplied by 10%, rounded upward if necessary. That number of positions will be allocated to the top nontenure-system vote recipients as described in III.A.17. All remaining nominees, both tenure-system and non-tenure system, will then be pooled and ranked as described in III.A.17 to fill the remaining positions. If there are fewer nominees in one of the respective faculty categories than the number calculated by the 50% or 10% factor, respectively, all nominees in that category will be deemed elected and the minimum percentages will not apply.
    19. From a list of five students submitted to the President by the President of the Student Government Association, the President and the Academic Senate annually shall agree on two non-voting participants who may attend meetings of the Academic Senate, except when the Academic Senate is in executive session.
    20. The Chair of the Staff Council shall be invited to attend the Academic Senate meetings as a non-voting participant.
  2. Officers
    1. Roster and Duties
      1. Speaker of the Faculty: The Speaker of the Faculty is the principal elected officer of the General Faculty, of the Academic Senate, and the Academic Council. The Speaker shall:
        1. preside as described in the Handbook of Operating Procedures, Title III, Chapter 21;
        2. chair the Executive Committee, if any, of the Academic Senate in its coordination of the work of the General Faculty, Academic Senate, Academic Council, and Concurrent Committees in order to improve the academic welfare and standing of The University of Texas at Dallas;
        3. assist in formulating faculty views as motions to be placed before the Academic Council or Senate for discussion and resolution; and
        4. together with the Secretary of the Faculty, review drafts of the minutes and authorize their circulation for formal approval.
      2. Secretary of the Faculty: The Secretary of the Faculty shall:
        1. serve as Secretary for meetings of the General Faculty, the Academic Senate, and the Academic Council;
        2. see that minutes are kept, made available to any faculty member, and filed in the Office of the President and, through that office, with the Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs of The University of Texas System, and with the Library of The University of Texas at Dallas;
        3. together with the Speaker of the Faculty, review drafts of the minutes and authorize their circulation for formal approval;
        4. provide a report on Academic Senate and Academic Council activities to the General Faculty each semester of the long term;
        5. sign the official copy of the approved minutes of the Academic Council and Academic Senate for transmittal to the Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs of The University of Texas System; and
        6. maintain a list of all recommendations that the Academic Senate and/or Academic Council has made to the administration so that the President may be requested to comment on these items at the beginning of each meeting.
      3. Vice Speaker: The Speaker may appoint one or two members of the Senate to serve as Vice Speaker(s) and assist in carrying out the Speaker’s official and unofficial duties. Vice Speaker(s) will serve for a term of one year, and will become ex officio voting members of the Academic Council if not already elected to the Council by the Senate.
      4. Other Offices: The Academic Senate may, through its Resolution of Operating Procedures, create, provide for election or appointment, and provide duties for other offices of the Academic Senate and the Academic Council.
    2. Election of Officers
      1. The Academic Senate-Elect shall, in a caucus announced to and open to the voting members of the General Faculty and presided over by the Speaker of the Faculty, and under Robert's Rules of Order (current edition) elect its Speaker by a majority vote. The individual elected shall be known as the Speaker-Elect of the Faculty until June 1. The term of the Speaker of the Faculty shall be for two years.
      2. The Academic Senate-Elect shall, in a caucus announced to and open to the voting members of the General Faculty and presided over by the Speaker-Elect of the Faculty, and under Robert's Rules of Order (current edition) elect its Secretary of the Faculty, who shall be known as the Secretary-Elect of the Faculty until June 1.
      3. Until the election of the Secretary-Elect of the Faculty, the Secretary of the Faculty shall perform the routine functions of Secretary for the Academic Senate-Elect.
  3. Academic Council
    1. Relation to Academic Senate: The Academic Senate should, through its Resolution of Operating Procedures, specify at least the following:
      1. the powers delegated to the Academic Council;
      2. the extent to which the Academic Council is to function as an executive committee for the Academic Senate;
      3. the extent to which the Academic Council is to function as an agenda committee for the Academic Senate; and
      4. the communications required between the Academic Council and the Academic Senate, and between the Academic Council, Academic Senate and the Voting Faculty, including the appropriate form for the Minutes of the Academic Council and the Academic Senate.
    2. Election, Removal, and Vacancies
      1. After the election of the Speaker-Elect and Secretary-Elect of the Faculty, the Academic Senate-Elect shall, in a caucus announced to and open to the voting members of the General Faculty and presided over by the Speaker-Elect of the Faculty, and under Robert's Rules of Order(current edition), elect the remaining members of the Academic Council using the plurality system as described in III.A.17. Members in addition to six may be appointed by the Speaker with approval of the Council. Election shall be by simple plurality vote, with each member of the Senate voting for a number of candidates up to the number of positions to be filled.
      2. These members, along with the Speaker-Elect of the Faculty and the Secretary-Elect of the Faculty, shall be known as the Academic Council-Elect until June 1.
      3. The Academic Senate, in a caucus session, may accept resignations of members of the Academic Council, remove any members of the Academic Council except the Speaker of the Faculty or the Secretary of the Faculty, and vote on replacements to the Academic Council.
      4. When a member of the Academic Council must be absent from a meeting, the member may designate, through the Secretary of the Faculty, a Senator to represent him or her at that meeting as a member of the Academic Council.
      5. The President of the Student Government Association shall be a non-voting participant in the Academic Council during the Council's non-executive sessions.
      6. If appointed by the Speaker to serve as Vice Speaker, Senators will serve as ex officio voting members of the Academic Council for the duration of their term.

Procedures

  1. The Academic Senate shall be governed by Robert's Rules of Order (current edition) unless procedures described in the Handbook of Operating Procedures, UTDPP1088 - Faculty Governance or these Bylaws make exception to Robert's Rules of Order.
  2. Actions of the Academic Senate
    1. Actions During the Summer
      1. At the first meeting of the Academic Senate, which shall be called by the Speaker-Elect of the Faculty to take place as soon after June 1 as practical, the Academic Senate shall prepare a calendar of regular meetings for the Academic Council and for the Academic Senate and shall set the date of the annual General Faculty meeting. The calendar shall be published as early in the academic year as possible.
      2. As soon as possible after June 1, the Academic Senate shall appoint the Committee on Committees so that it may begin composing slates of nominees for the University, Concurrent, and Academic Senate committees for which it is charged. The membership of the Committee on Committees shall be approved by a majority vote.
    2. Submissions of Items for Debate
      1. The Agenda Packet for the Academic Senate will normally be sent to the Senate one week prior to a meeting of the Academic Senate.
      2. The Agenda Committee for the Academic Senate will normally meet five days prior to the submission of the Agenda Packet to the Academic Senate.
      3. Items for debate that are not on the Academic Senate Agenda will normally be deferred to a later Academic Senate meeting, unless two-thirds of the members present vote to consider the items.
      4. The Agenda Committee for the Academic Senate will attempt to bring all items submitted to it to the Academic Senate, although it may recommend that particular items be sent to committee and/or to the Academic Council prior to Academic Senate debate. Any memorandum submitted by any General Faculty member of the University to the Academic Senate or to the Speaker of the Faculty that requests action by the Academic Senate or Academic Council must be reported to the Academic Senate by the Agenda Committee of the Academic Senate.
    3. Debate and Passage
      1. If the President and Provost are not available to chair meetings of the Senate at which legislation is enacted, the Speaker shall chair. In the absence of the Speaker, the Secretary shall chair. In the absence of the Secretary, the meeting may be chaired by any member of the Senate designated by the Speaker.
      2. The chair of a meeting of the Academic Senate may participate in the debate but shall exercise particular care to preside in a manner which is fair to all points of view in the debate
      3. The President and/or the Speaker of the Faculty may invite to meetings of the Academic Senate those persons believed to be necessary to assist the Academic Senate in the conduct of its business.
      4. Except when the Academic Senate is in executive session, meetings of the Academic Senate are open to the General Faculty, who may request the privilege of participation in the debate.
      5. A simple majority of the voting membership of the Senate constitutes a quorum. If a quorum is not present, business that would otherwise have been conducted may be discussed, but votes shall not be taken.
      6. Members of the Academic Senate who anticipate making lengthy or complicated amendments to legislation should bring sufficient written copies to distribute to the entire Academic Senate.
      7. Passage of legislation or resolutions shall require a simple majority of those voting members present. Votes shall be recorded by hand count: ayes, nays, abstain. Role call votes shall be taken if three or more members request.
      8. The Secretary of the Faculty is responsible for sending copies of motions passed to the parties addressed.
  3. Actions of the Academic Council
    1. Submission of Items for Debate
      1. The Agenda Committee for the Academic Council meets at least five days before each Academic Council meeting. Items to be included on an agenda must be submitted prior to that time.
      2. Items for the Agenda of the Academic Council will normally originate with the President and with the Academic Senate, its Executive Committee, or the Speaker of the Faculty.
    2. Transmissions from Academic Council to Academic Senate The Academic Council shall formulate its recommendations to the Academic Senate and transmit them to the Agenda Committee of the Academic Senate. It shall generally transmit all items submitted to it to the Agenda Committee of the Academic Senate.
  4. Records and Communications
    1. Actions required by motions of the Academic Senate or Academic Council, as described in the minutes, will be conveyed to those concerned, or will be taken by the Academic Governance Secretary only after approval of the minutes for circulation, but without waiting for the formal approval of the minutes at the subsequent meeting of the Academic Senate or Academic Council.
    2. The general policy on composition and contents of records including minutes is the same for both the Academic Council and Academic Senate, and is as follows:
      1. Consistent with Robert's Rules of Order, the approved minutes constitute the only official record of the actions of the Academic Council and Academic Senate;
      2. The minutes are intended to allow members of the General Faculty to follow the debates and actions within their representative bodies, the Academic Senate, and within the Academic Council;
      3. The Secretary of the Faculty or the Academic Governance Secretary may make recordings of the Academic Council and Academic Senate meetings. Tapes of meetings shall not, however, be considered official documents, and will be kept only until the minutes of the meeting recorded are officially approved;
      4. Unapproved minutes of Academic Council and Academic Senate meetings shall be distributed to the Academic Senate expeditiously, if possible within one week after the meeting;
      5. Minutes are numbered serially each year, including special meetings;
      6. Attendance for minutes includes both those present and absent of the voting membership, ex officio members, and student observers. Invited guests are also listed;
      7. Minutes of the Academic Council and Academic Senate are distributed to all members of the Academic Senate, and made available at the authorized locations for Regents' Rules and Regulations, and are also sent to the Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs of The University of Texas System; and
      8. The minutes of the last meetings of the Academic Senate and Academic Council will be approved by the incoming Academic Senate or Academic Council, respectively.
    3. The Academic Senate shall establish procedures, in its Resolution of Operating Procedures, to disseminate information about its debates and actions to the General Faculty effectively and expeditiously.
  5. Resolution of Operating Procedures: The Academic Senate may, by adoption or revision of its Resolution of Operating Procedures, modify the following portions of its procedures without having to amend these Bylaws:
    1. delegation of duties and powers to the Academic Council;
    2. designation and powers of the Agenda Committee;
    3. designation and powers of the Executive Committee, if any; and
    4. instructions to the Secretary of the Faculty regarding the character of action or discussion minutes to be taken.
  6. Amendment of Bylaws
    1. These Bylaws may be amended by a majority vote of the Senate members, provided that the proposed amendment passes, without an intervening negative vote, at two meetings of the Academic Senate separated by at least two weeks.
    2. The Secretary of the Faculty shall transmit a copy of the amended Bylaws to the President for review and approval and submission to the Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and approval for inclusion in the U. T. Dallas Handbook of Operating Procedures.
    3. The amended Bylaws shall become effective immediately on approval for inclusion in the Handbook of Operating Procedures.

Policy History

  • Issued: September 10, 1979
  • Revised: February 28, 1980
  • Revised: December 14, 1982
  • Revised: April 21, 1983
  • Revised: February 1, 1992
  • Revised: May 30, 1996
  • Revised: April 18, 1997
  • Editorial Amendments: February 2, 1998
  • Revised: October 5, 2000
  • Revised: December 15, 2000
  • Revised: July 22, 2004
  • Revised: June 30, 2008
  • Editorial Amendments: April 18, 2011
  • Revised: April 27, 2011
  • Revised: March 21, 2014