UA FACULTY HANDBOOK APPENDIX
APPENDIX F: Constitution for a Faculty Senate at The University of Alabama and Bylaws for The University of Alabama Faculty Senate
(NOTE: The following document is the Constitution of the Faculty Senate of The University of Alabama in effect at the time this handbook was published. Information about any subsequent amendments to the Constitution or By-laws can be obtained from the Secretary of the Faculty Senate or on the Senate Web Page.)
ARTICLE I. PURPOSE
The purpose of the Faculty Senate is to aid The University of Alabama in making judgments on questions of policy, development, and operations and thereby to assist the University in its continuing quest for excellence. It seeks to accomplish this goal by:
ARTICLE II. RESPONSIBILITIES AND FUNCTIONS
The responsibilities of the faculty rest with the faculty as a whole, but faculty opinion will normally be articulated through a Faculty Senate as herein constituted.
The Faculty Senate has the responsibility and authority to deliberate issues of general faculty concern and to communicate the results of these deliberations and its recommendations to the President of the University.
The Senate receives information from the administrative officers of the University regarding pending policy decisions, or it determines through independent study that certain policy decisions appear to be appropriate; in either instance its function is to aid in the formulation or re-formulation of University policy.
The function may be served in some instances by discussion in which Senate members contribute their advice for consideration by those who are responsible for formulation and implementation of policy regarding the matter in question. In particular instances, on the other hand, the Senate may choose to make formal statements by majority vote.
The Faculty Senate is entitled to be advised of the disposition of any recommendations it makes.
Some general matters appropriate for faculty deliberation include:
Repudiation by a majority vote of the faculties of 2/3 of the divisions voids any action of the Faculty Senate.
ARTICLE III. APPORTIONMENT OF SENATE REPRESENTATION
Each division of the University, including colleges, schools, and the University Libraries, is represented in the Faculty Senate by one senator for each twenty persons, or fraction thereof, serving on the date of the election under a regular appointment as an instructor, assistant professor, associate professor, or professor engaged in teaching or research at least half of a normal load during the regular year, or a librarian having corresponding rank and professional engagement.
Each division of the University shall elect alternate senators in a number equal to the number of its senators. Such alternate senators can substitute for any senator within the alternate's division of the University on request of the Senator. When serving for a senator, an alternate may perform any of the functions of a senator with the full power of the senator. No senator may be represented by other than a duly elected alternate from the same division of the University.
A person holding a joint appointment involving more than one division must choose the division through which to participate in senate representation.
The dean or corresponding administrative officer of each division will be responsible for certifying the number of persons who qualify under this section to be counted in determining the number of senators for the division.
ARTICLE IV. ELECTIONS
The divisions of the University will hold elections for Senators and alternates by secret ballot during the last two weeks of February or the first two weeks of March, for a term of two years commencing April 1. In the divisional elections nominations may be made anonymously or from the floor. Only regular faculty members as defined in Article III are eligible for election to the Senate. However, the faculty of each division may determine who is eligible to vote in its particular election and in making this determination is not governed by the factors of eligibility to be counted for apportionment purposes under Article III.
The faculty of a division either may elect its senators at large or assign them for election by any arrangement of faculty subgroups as determined by faculty vote.
The dean or corresponding administrative officer of each division will conduct the election. Except for Special elections, election as a senator is for a two-year term of office and to replace those senators whose terms are expiring. The Senate Secretary will notify the deans of the divisions by February 14 of the number of Senate vacancies which will occur that year in each division.
The term of office for a senator elected in a Special election is for the remaining portion of the term of the senator being replaced.
ARTICLE V. ORGANIZATION AND PROCEDURES
At its last regular meeting in March, the first order of business for the Senate shall be to elect a President, a Vice-President, and a Secretary of the Senate for the ensuing year, from those Senators recently re-elected to the Senate or whose Senatorial term does not expire the ensuing April 1. No person elected to the Senate for the first time shall be eligible for such offices. The new officers shall take office on April 1.
The presiding officer of the Faculty Senate will call a meeting of the faculty of the University when so requested by a petition from one-fifth of the members of the faculty as determined by the total number of persons certified by administrative officers of the divisions of the University at the time of the last General Senate election, by a vote of the majority of the Senators present at a meeting of the Senate, or by the President of the University.
The elected officers, the immediate past President of the Faculty Senate, and chairpersons of standing committees will constitute a steering committee. If the immediate past President of the Faculty Senate is no longer a senator, ex officio status in the steering committee will be automatic. The immediate past President who is no longer a senator will be privileged to attend all open and executive sessions of the Senate with right of debate but without vote. The steering committee will determine the agenda of all Senate meetings. Anyone may propose agenda topics for Senate meetings. A topic must be put on the agenda if as many as five senators, twenty faculty members, or the President of the University request it.
The Senate will meet each month during August through April, according to a schedule. The steering committee may call special meetings at any time while the University is in session during the regular academic year or a summer term (not including the interim term), and must do so when as many as ten senators, forty faculty members, or the President of the University request it.
A senator's absence from three meetings during a term of office without being represented by a duly elected alternate may vacate the office. The Senate shall be the judge of the reasonableness of the senator's absence without representation. Upon notification by the Senate, the dean of a division in which a senator's office is vacated shall hold an immediate Special election for a replacement.
The dean of a division also will hold Special elections to senate seats when these seats are vacant because of death of a senator, resignation of the senator from the Senate, resignation of the senator from the faculty of the University, or for vacancies caused by a change in the status of a senator of such nature that the senator no longer is eligible to hold the office under provisions of this constitution. Such Special elections will be held following notification by the Senate of a vacancy and as promptly as feasible after this notification.
Action to recall a Senate member from a division or faculty subgroup may be initiated by petition of not less than one-third of the voting members from that division or subgroup. Upon receiving this petition, the dean of the division shall notify the Senate member promptly and convene a special meeting of the voting members of the division to consider the petition. After opportunity for discussion of the substance of the petition, a secret vote shall be taken. If two-thirds of the voting members present vote to support the petition to recall the Senate member, the seat shall be declared vacant. The dean shall hold a Special election promptly to select a replacement and will notify the Senate President of the action. In such a meeting for recall and in all General and Special elections, a vote will be taken only after it is determined that a quorum is present as defined by the most recent edition of Robert's Rules of Order.
The most recent edition of Robert's Rules of Order will govern the proceedings of the Senate except when they contravene a rule adopted by the Senate.
ARTICLE VI. ADOPTION
Approval of this Constitution by a simple majority vote of the eligible faculty and by the President of the University will have the effect of establishing a University of Alabama Faculty Senate as herein defined.
ARTICLE VII. AMENDMENT
Amendments to this Constitution will originate in the Senate. An amendment will be proposed and debated at a meeting of the Senate, and following further debate will be voted on at the next subsequent meeting of the Senate. If the amendment receives a majority vote of the Senate, it will be presented to the faculty of the University for its action in a University-wide referendum. There will be a 30-day period between the announcement of the referendum and the date of the ballot. Amendments which receive a favorable vote of the majority of the faculty voting in the referendum will be presented to the President of the University for approval.
BYLAWS FOR THE UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA FACULTY SENATE
ARTICLE I. SENATE OFFICERS
In all elections of Senate Officers - President, Vice President, and Secretary - elections will be by the vote of majority of the senators voting, in the regular March meeting, as long as a quorum of the Senate is present. The election of the Senate President will be completed before the election for Vice President, and the election of Vice President will be made before the election for the Office of Secretary. Any senator interested in serving in one or more of these offices may submit a written statement of intention, with any supporting argument, not to exceed one page in length, to the Co-chairs of the Faculty and Senate Governance Committee by February 10th of the year in which he or she hopes to commence office. The Secretary will distribute each such statement and supporting argument with the agenda for the February meeting of the Senate. Persons may also be nominated for these offices from the floor at the February meeting, where a motion to close nominations, or the equivalent, is out of order. Each candidate will have an opportunity to speak to the Senate about his or her candidacy at the March meeting, and the Senate will have an opportunity to ask questions of each candidate.
ARTICLE II. ORGANIZATION
Section 1. Senate Orientation
There will be an orientation session for all new Senators and Alternates on the first Tuesday in April that the University is in session. This will be an occasion for discussion of the history and the place of the Senate in the governance of the University, of the role and function of the Senate's officers, of the charge and function of the Senate's standing committees, and of other aspects of the Senate Constitution and Bylaws.
Section 2. Steering Committee
The Steering Committee is authorized to make representations in its own name in regard to any matter within the scope of the Senate's responsibilities and functions (as defined in Article II of the Constitution) when, in the Committee's judgment, circumstances require action before it is possible to convene a meeting of the Senate. In such instances, the Committee will be guided by its best judgment regarding the intention of the Senate if such intention is known.
Section 3. Standing Committees
1. There shall be standing committees on:
Academic Affairs (20%)
Financial Affairs (20%)
Information Technology (IT) (10%)
Research and Service (20%)
Student Affairs (10%)
Faculty Life (10%)
Faculty and Senate Governance (10%)
2. Subject to reasonable exceptions to accommodate the needs of the Senate and the interests of Senators, each Senator ordinarily will have one Senate standing committee assignment. The number of members shall be approximately that indicated in parentheses for the respective committees.
3. After the orientation session described in Section 1, the Secretary will ask each Senator to list preferences for assignment to the Senate's standing committees. After consultation with those who served as chairs of standing committees the previous year, the Secretary will assign Senators to their first preferences, if possible, and using second or third preferences where first preferences are unavailable. Senators who have indicated no preference by the second Tuesday in April shall be assigned to committees by the Secretary. All such assignments are subject to the approval of the Senate. The Secretary will distribute the tentative assignment of Senators to committees with the agenda for the regular April meeting. The first order of business for the regular April meeting will be to debate the assignments of Senators to committees, to reassign if necessary, and to confirm them final assignments by vote of the Senate. The President of the Senate will thereupon name conveners for each of the standing committees, and following the close of the regular April meeting each convener will hold a brief meeting of each standing committee for purposes of electing co-chairs from among its membership and establishing a place for meeting, in necessary, before the next scheduled meeting of the Senate steering committee. Each co-chair of a standing committee serves as a full member of the steering committee. Each standing committee will normally meet on the first Tuesday of each month from September through November and January through March, and at other times as desirable.
4. Standing committees will inform themselves, on their own initiative or pursuant to specific instructions from the Senate or Senate officers, concerning matters of current concern within their respective jurisdictions. Standing committees, directly, through their chairs, or through their representatives are expected to seek and maintain continual dialogues with the appropriate administrators and University committees. The committees shall make such reports and recommendations to the Senate as they deem appropriate or as the Senate requires.
5. Senators are expected to attend meetings of their standing committees. The absence of a Senator from a regularly scheduled committee meeting is equivalent to an absence from a meeting of the full Senate. Senators who regularly fail to attend committee meetings and do not provide for the attendance of alternatives may be replaced.
6. Academic Affairs Committee. The Academic Affairs Committee is responsible for considering issues that relate to instruction, curriculum, academic standards, academic freedom, collegiality, tenure and promotion, and other issues that directly affect the learning environment of the University and the quality of its intellectual life. Questions relating directly to research and service, or financial or student issues will, however, normally be referred to the appropriate committee of the Faculty Senate.
7. Financial Affairs Committee. The Financial Affairs Committee reviews financial issues that are pertinent to the University community. It studies the allocation of resources within the university and works to ensure communication between faculty and administration in relation to resource policies and allocations. It advances proposals consistent with Faculty Senate initiatives and priorities, and makes recommendations to the Faculty Senate, and through the Senate to the administration, regarding issues pertaining to resource policies and allocations.
8. Information Technology (IT) Committee. The Information Technology Committee studies and makes recommendations on matters that affect the information technology component, including computer hardware, computer software, personnel, policies, and procedures.
9. Research and Service Committee. The Research and Service Committee studies and makes recommendations on matters that affect the research and service component of faculty life.
10. Student Affairs Committee. The Student Affairs Committee advises the Faculty Senate on issues related to the academic and social development of students.
11. Faculty Life Committee. The Faculty Life Committee addresses issues relevant to the general welfare and quality of life of the faculty. These issues fall outside the teaching, research, and services roles of the faculty and outside the domain of the Financial Affairs Committee. Such issues include, but are not limited to, non-pecuniary faculty benefits, faculty rights, faculty diversity, and faculty relations with surrounding community.
12. Faculty and Senate Governance Committee. The Faculty and Senate Governance Committee:
A. Is responsible for the continuous review of faculty participation in University governance, including university committee structure and Faculty Handbook compliance
B. Is responsible for continuous review of the Senate's organization and procedures and for recommending changes it deems desirable in either the Constitution or By-laws
C. Considers the reasonableness of all absences in excess of two by a Senator during the April through March term, in which a Senator is not represented by a duly elected alternate. In such cases the Committee will make a recommendation to the Senate on whether the position should be declared vacant. The Committee will also be responsible for determining if a Senate seat is vacant for reasons other than absence and will make appropriate recommendations to the Senate
D. Interprets the Constitution and By-laws and may receive requests for interpretation from the Senate or the Senate President, or may initiate action by itself. All such interpretations must be reported to the Senate and are subject to Senate concurrence
E. Determines the constitutionality of any proposed changes in Senate By-laws. Such determinations must be reported to the Senate and are subject to Senate concurrence
F. Seeks nominations and conducts elections for Senate-appointed members of the Mediation Committee, Faculty Ombudsperson positions, Senate-appointed members of the Merger and Discontinuance of Academic Units Committee, and for Faculty Senate Officers.
Section 4. Special Committees
Special committees may be created by the Senate, or by its President, as needed. Unless the Senate directs otherwise, special committee members and chairpersons shall be designated by the same methods as for standing committees. Persons eligible to vote in Senate elections who are not members of the Senate may be appointed by special committees as their consultants. Upon appointment to a special committee, a non-Senator will be designated, by the committee, as either a voting or non-voting member.
Section 5. Subcommittees
Standing and special committees may establish such standing or special subcommittees as they deem useful. Persons eligible to vote in Senate elections who are not members of the Senate may be appointed by subcommittees as their consultants.
Section 6. Parliamentarian
The Senate President will nominate a parliamentarian, subject to Senate confirmation, to serve as recommended in the most recent revision of Robert's Rules of Order except where these Rules are contravened by a rule adopted by the Senate. This person will be a member of the Faculty, as defined in the Constitution, who is not a senator; or a member of the retired faculty. It shall be the duty of the Parliamentarian to attend all meetings of the Senate and of the Steering Committee. The Parliamentarian shall have speaking privileges, but may not initiate motions or amendments, and may not vote.
Section 7. Webmaster
The Senate President will nominate a webmaster, subject to Senate confirmation, to serve as the producer and coordinator of the Senate's website. This person will be a member of the faculty, who may be but need not be a senator.
Section 8. Faculty Holding Regular Appointments
A faculty member holding a regular appointment is a tenured, tenure-earning probationary, or temporary faculty member at The University of Alabama engaged in teaching or research at least half of a normal load during the regular (academic) year, or a librarian having corresponding rank and professional engagement.
Section 9. Offices.
The Senate shall maintain offices, in a room or rooms in the University assigned by the President of the University. The Senate offices shall be the location of the files of the Senate.
Section 10. Faculty Ombudspersons.
1. Ombudspersons shall be elected by the faculty in conjunction with Faculty Senate elections every year.
2. There shall be three ombudspersons.
3. The term of office for an ombudsperson shall be three years.
4. Terms shall be staggered so that one new ombudsperson shall be elected every year.
5. Candidates shall be as representative of the entire faculty as possible; therefore one ombudsperson shall come from Arts and Sciences, one from Business or Engineering, and one from the other colleges and academic units. However, any faculty member shall be free to seek the advice and help of any ombudsperson, regardless of the academic unit of either their appointments, and may seek the help of more than one ombudsperson at any given time.
6. If willing candidates can be identified, the total of three ombudspersons shall always include at least one female and one male ombudsperson. Gender and ethnic diversity shall be a prime consideration in selecting candidates.
7. Candidates shall have the following qualifications:
b. rank of associate or full professor, with at least seven years of service at the University of Alabama as full-time faculty members with teaching and research responsibilities.
8. Candidates shall not be:
a. current members of the Faculty Senate.
b. current members of the Mediation Committee, or
c. current administrators of the University of Alabama.
9. At least two months prior to the review of nominees by the faculty senate, an announcement shall be sent to the entire faculty requesting nominations for candidates for the position of Ombudsperson. This announcement shall be accompanied by a copy of the guidelines, a list of current Ombudspersons, their term limits, and the academic units they represent (A&S, Business and Engineering, All Other). Any member of the faculty may nominate a candidate by submitting the name, with the candidate's approval, to the Faculty Senate. The names of all nominees shall be sent to the President of the Faculty Senate and to the Chairperson of the Faculty and Senate Governance Committee. These will be reviewed by the Faculty and Senate Governance Committee for candidates who meet criteria as itemized under items 5, 6, 7, and 8 in the guidelines. The slate of all qualified nominees will be distributed for election at the same time as Senate elections. Every effort shall be made to nominate multiple candidates and to rotate representation through the various departments and colleges over a period of time.
10. Ombudspersons shall not succeed themselves but may be nominated for another term after an interim period of three years or more.
11. The names of all ombudspersons shall be filed in the Office of Academic Affairs.
12. The names of all ombudspersons and their terms of office shall be posted prominently on the University website, and on the Faculty Senate website.
13. In the event that an ombudsperson is unable to fulfill his or her term of office, the existing ombudspersons shall name a successor from the same grouping of the no-longer-serving ombudsperson. The successor shall then stand for election for the remainder of the term, if any, at the next election.
14. The ombudspersons are expected to provide the following services:
ARTICLE III. PROCEDURES
Section 1. Meeting (Senate and Steering Committee)
Section 2. Agenda
Section 3. Access to Senate Meetings
Section 4. Minutes of Senate Meetings
Section 5. Committee Records
Section 6. Additional Responsibilities of the Senate Secretary
Section 7. Senate Appointments to University Committees
The following procedures apply to the appointments made under authority given to the Faculty Senate by the University's Faculty Handbook, or by the President of the University, or by other University authority:
ARTICLE IV. AMENDMENTS OF BYLAWS
The Bylaws may be amended by a majority vote of the members of the Senate at a meeting subsequent to the meeting at which the amendment was proposed. Amendments to proposed bylaw changes may be proposed from the floor, and voted on, at either of these two meetings.
As revised 18 October 2011 by vote of the Faculty Senate of the University of Alabama.