Faculty Senate

Faculty Senate

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Bylaw articles

The rules that govern the actions of our members.

Article I: Elections and Appointments

Sec. 1. All elections of Senate members, Senate officers and Senate council members shall be conducted by the Senate Nominations and Elections Committee by secret, written ballot. The committee shall count the votes, resolve tie votes by lot and certify the names of those elected. If an election is held to replace Senate council member and there is only one nominee, the Senate may declare the single nominee elected by acclamation, rather than hold a vote by secret, written ballot.

Sec. 2. At a general election, the faculty shall elect the president and the vice president of the Senate, the representatives-at-large and all departmental representatives not elected in the preliminary departmental election. The general election shall be held at a time which will permit the results to be announced no later than seven days before the March meeting of the Senate.

Sec. 3. Representatives-at-large shall be nominated by petition. In order to qualify for placement on the election ballot, a candidate must have submitted a petition containing the signatures of at least twenty faculty members equally representing at least four colleges (five from each college). This petition must be submitted to the chairperson of the Nominations and Elections Committee no later than twelve days before the general election date. One-third of the representatives-at-large shall be elected annually.

  • The election ballot for representatives-at-large shall contain the names of all qualified candidates, listed in alphabetical order,from which the voters shall be instructed to vote for three. After tabulating the vote, the Nominations and Elections Committee shall certify the three candidates receiving the highest number of votes as representatives with three-year terms.
  • In the event that the number of nominations received equals the number of vacancies, the nominees shall be declared elected by acclamation of the Faculty Senate Executive Board.

Sec. 4. Departmental representatives shall be elected in the preliminary departmental election conducted by the Nominations and Elections Committee and completed no later than twelve days before the general election date. Approximately one-third of the departmental representatives shall be elected annually. The committee shall distribute to voters, by departments, ballots on which shall appear the number of representatives to be elected by the voter's department in accordance with Article IV, Sec. 3, of the constitution. The voter shall vote for as many qualified members of his/her department as there are representatives to be elected by his/her department. Any candidate who receives a majority of the votes cast shall be declared elected. If the voters do not elect as many candidates as there are positions to be filled, the Nominations and Elections Committee shall prepare for that department a second ballot, containing the names of twice as many candidates as there are offices yet to be filled, and listing those candidates not already elected who received the highest number of votes in the preliminary departmental election. On this second ballot, which shall be distributed at the time of the general election, the names shall be listed in alphabetical order. The winner or winners shall be determined by the highest number of votes received, not necessarily a majority.

Sec. 5. If a faculty member is elected simultaneously as a representative-at-large and as a departmental representative, he/she shall be declared elected as a representative-at-large, and the departmental position shall be declared vacant. The vacancy shall then be filled in accordance with the provisions of Article II, Sec. 3, of the bylaws.

Sec. 6. Within one week following the general election, the president of the University shall send to the Faculty Senate administrator the names of the four officers of the administration whom she/he has appointed to the Senate in accordance with Article IV, Sec. 1, of the constitution.

Article II: Vacancies in Senate Membership

Sec. 1. A vacancy among the appointed members of the Senate shall be filled by appointment by the president of the University within two weeks after the Faculty Senate administrator has notified him/her in writing of such vacancy.

Sec. 2. A vacancy among representatives-at-large shall be filled at the next general election, at which time a representative-at-large shall be elected by the faculty to serve the remainder of the unexpired term. Nominations shall be in accordance with the provisions of Article I, Sec. 3, of the bylaws.

Sec. 3. A vacancy among departmental representatives shall be filled by a special departmental election held within two weeks after the declaration of such vacancy by the Faculty Senate administrator. This special election shall be conducted by the Nominations and Elections Committee in the manner prescribed in Article I, Sec. 4, of the bylaws. A representative so elected shall hold office for the remainder of the unexpired term.

Sec. 4. If an elected departmental representative is unable to attend any meeting or series of meetings of the Senate, he/she may appoint a temporary substitute from among the eligible members of his/her department. If a representative-at-large is unable to attend any meeting or series of meetings of the Senate, he/she may appoint a board appointed faculty member as a temporary substitute. Any substitute so appointed shall have the full rights and privileges of an elected representative during the period of this appointment. Substitution shall be permitted for extended absences resulting from teaching conflicts, academic leaves or sabbaticals. Absences without substitution for more than two consecutive regular meetings or more than four meetings of the Senate without substitution during the Senate year may cause that office to be declared vacant and an election held in accordance with the provisions of the appropriate section of this article of the bylaws.

Article III: Election of Officers

Sec. 1. During its February meeting, the Senate shall select nominees for president and vice president. Two candidates who have submitted petitions containing the signatures of ten members of the present or two immediate past Senates shall be selected for each position. These petitions must be submitted no later than seven days before the February Senate meeting. In the event that fewer than two petitions are received for either office, candidates may be nominated, with the consent of the candidates, from the floor of the Senate during its February meeting. If there are more than two candidates for either position, the two receiving the highest number of votes by secret ballot shall be the nominees for president. After the nominees for president have been selected, nominees for vice president shall be chosen from the remaining candidates for president who are willing to run and from the candidate(s) who submitted petitions for vice president. The two candidates receiving the highest number of votes by secret ballot shall be the nominees for vice president.

Sec. 2. At the next general election after the February Senate meeting, the faculty shall elect from these nominees a president and vice president, who shall take office at the May meeting at which the newly elected Senate is convened and shall continue in office until the installation of their successors.

Sec. 3. At its annual meeting in May, the newly constituted Senate shall elect its officers other than the president and the vice president. At least five candidates shall be nominated for the position of director -- the members of the Executive Board shall represent at least four different colleges or unaffiliated units.

Sec. 4. The newly elected directors shall take office immediately and shall continue in office until the installation of their successors.

Article IV: Vacancies in Office

Sec. 1. In the event that the president of the Senate becomes unable to serve out her/his term, the vice president shall succeed to the presidency and serve in this office for the remainder of the unexpired term of her/his predecessor.

Sec. 2. A vacancy in the vice presidency shall be filled by a special faculty election held in the manner prescribed for a general election in Article V, Sec. 5, of the constitution.

Sec. 3. In the event that the president of the Senate and the vice president of the Senate are simultaneously unable to serve, the preceding past president of the Senate shall serve as president pro tem until either the president or the vice president is able to resume office. If none of these three persons is able to serve, the order of succession to the office of the president pro tem shall be one of the directors chosen by lot.

Sec. 4. In the event of a vacancy of a director, the vacancy shall be filled by appointment by the president of the Senate, with the approval of the Executive Board.

Article V: Special Sessions

Sec. 1. A special session of the Senate may be called by the Executive Board, provided the Board sends to each member of the Senate a written notice of the meeting, together with the agenda for that meeting at least forty-eight hours before the scheduled time of the special session. The agenda of a special session shall not be subject to review or modification at the session.

Sec. 2. The last meeting of the old Senate and the first meeting of the new Senate, usually held in May, shall function as special sessions.

Article VI: Councils

Sec. 1. The councils shall be composed as follows:

The Academic and Information Technology Council shall be composed of at least seventeen members, including the chief information officer, the associate provost for Extended University Programs, the vice president for business and finance, the dean of the Libraries, ten faculty members elected by the Senate (three from Arts and Sciences - with representation from each division suggested, one from each of the other colleges and one from unaffiliated units), the Faculty Senate president or executive board designee as an ex officio member, one undergraduate student selected by the Western Student Association and one graduate student selected by the Graduate Student Advisory Committee.

The Campus Planning and Finance Council shall be composed of at least sixteen members, including the vice president for business and finance, the associate vice president for budget and planning, the director of campus facilities, ten faculty members elected by the Senate (three from Arts and Sciences - with representation from each division suggested, one from each of the other colleges and one from unaffiliated units), the Faculty Senate president or executive board designee as an ex officio member, one undergraduate student selected by the Western Student Association and one graduate student selected by the Graduate Student Advisory Committee.

The Graduate Studies Council shall be composed of at least sixteen members, including the provost, the dean of the Graduate College, eleven graduate faculty members elected by the Senate (three from Arts and Sciences - with representation from each division suggested, one from each of the other colleges, one from unaffiliated units, and one at large), the Faculty Senate president or executive board designee as an ex officio member, and two graduate students selected by the Graduate Student Advisory Committee.

The International Education Council shall be composed of at least sixteen members, including the dean of the Diether H. Haenicke Institute for Global Education, one administrator from HIGE appointed by the dean, eleven faculty members elected by the Senate (three from Arts and Sciences - with representation from each division suggested, one from each of the other colleges, one from the Center for English Language and Culture for International Students, and one from unaffiliated units), the Faculty Senate president or executive board designee as an ex officio member, one graduate student selected by the Graduate Student Advisory Committee, and one undergraduate student selected by the Western Student Association.

The Research Policies Council shall be composed of at least nineteen members including the vice president for research, the dean of the Graduate College, the provost, the vice president for business and finance, eleven faculty members elected by the Senate (three from Arts and Sciences - with representation from each division suggested, one from each of the other colleges, one from unaffiliated units, and one at large), the Faculty Senate president or executive board designee as an ex officio member, the chair of the Faculty Research and Creative Activities Award Committee as an ex officio member, and two graduate students selected by the Graduate Student Advisory Committee.

The Undergraduate Studies Council shall be composed of at least seventeen members including the provost, the vice provost for strategic enrollment management, the dean of the Lee Honors College, eleven faculty members elected by the Senate (three from Arts and Sciences - with representation from each division suggested, one from each of the other colleges, one from unaffiliated units, and one at large), the Faculty Senate president or executive board designee as an ex officio member, and two undergraduate students selected by the Western Student Association.

Each council shall elect from its membership a chairperson and a vice chairperson yearly.

Sec. 2. In electing members of the councils, in accordance with Article VIII, Sec. 5 and 6, of the constitution, the Senate shall proceed in the following manner:

  • The Nominations and Elections Committee shall nominate one or more candidates for each position to be filled in each council, taking care that each college, except the Graduate College, shall be represented by at least one elected member on the Undergraduate Studies Council. Also, each college with graduate programs, except the Graduate College, shall be represented by at least one elected member on the Graduate Studies Council and the Research Policies Council. None of the persons nominated shall be primarily a member of the administration of the University. Chairpersons and directors of academic units, however, are eligible for nomination.
  • These nominations shall be submitted to the Senate at the May meeting at which the newly constituted Senate is convened, and at the same session the Senate shall elect the members of respective councils by majority of the votes cast for each position.

Sec. 3. The chairperson of each council shall notify the Executive Board of any vacancy which occurs among the elected faculty members on the council. The Executive Board shall verify the vacancy and, at the next Faculty Senate meeting subsequent to declaration of the vacancy by the Board, the Senate shall elect one from a slate submitted by the Nominations and Elections Committee. A council member so elected shall serve for the remainder of the unexpired term.

Sec. 4. A vacancy among the undergraduate student members on a council shall be filled by the Western Student Association following the declaration of the vacancy by the Executive Board of the Faculty Senate. The Graduate Student Advisory Committee shall fill vacancies among the graduate student members. The new student member shall serve for the remainder of the unexpired term.

Sec. 5. All newly elected council members shall take office at the first meeting of their respective council following the date of their election.

Sec. 6. Any faculty member may attend the meetings of any council, and may participate in its deliberations, subject to the same rules which apply to members of that council. Only council members, however, shall be eligible to propose motions or to vote.

Sec. 7. The chairperson of each council shall designate, when necessary, another member of the council to serve as temporary chairperson.

Sec. 8. A quorum for any meeting of a council shall consist of a majority of the members.

Sec. 9. Council and council standing committee chairpersons may be elected for a maximum of three consecutive one-year terms. After serving three consecutive terms, the person relinquishing the chair may not be elected again as chair of the council for an interval of two years.

Sec. 10. Administrators of the unit to which a council's purview pertains shall not be eligible to serve as that council's chairperson.

Sec. 11. All members of councils and of standing committees of councils shall have the right to propose motions and vote.

Sec. 12. Chairpersons of council standing committees shall either be elected by the standing committee or elected or selected by the council.

Sec. 13. Council standing committees may have ex officio members and ex officio members may be elected or selected as chairperson, but council standing committees may not have chairs appointed by virtue of office.

Article VII: Committees

Sec. 1. In addition to those committees named in Article VII, Sec. 5, of the constitution, the following shall be standing committees of the Senate: Committee on Extended University Programs, Committee on University Strategic Planning, Faculty Retirement Recognition, Professional Concerns, Library, and Transfer of Credit.

Sec. 2. The Nominations and Elections Committee shall nominate members and chairpersons for all standing committees and, when requested by the Senate Executive Board, any ad hoc or special committees. The final determination and official appointment of committee memberships shall be made by the Executive Board.

Sec. 3. A vacancy on a standing committee shall be filled by the Nominations and Elections Committee when notified of such vacancy by the chairperson of the standing committee. The action of the Nominations and Elections Committee shall be reported immediately to the Executive Board.

Sec. 4. All members of all standing committees of the Faculty Senate shall have the right to propose motions and vote.

Article VIII: Faculty Fees

Sec. 1. At the first regular meeting of the Senate, in the fall semester of each year, the Executive Board shall submit a budget for the fiscal year ending on June 30, next. Faculty fee increases shall be indexed to the across-the-board salary increases which faculty receive under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement. The Senate, at the same meeting, shall adopt a budget.

  • Faculty fees shall be assessed on all faculty members and shall be collected by whatever method the Senate shall determine.

Sec. 2. The Senate may levy special assessments on members of the faculty, but only after determination of need and for specified purposes. The manner of collection shall be determined by the Senate.

Article IX: Quorum

Sec. 1. A quorum for any meeting of the Senate shall consist of a majority of the members. In the absence of an elected representative, his/her official substitute shall count towards a quorum.

Article X: Agenda Procedure

Sec. 1. No new agenda item may be brought to the floor of the Senate after 7:30 p.m. This allows new motions or continuing discussion of motions and amendments already underway concerning the agenda item on the floor.

Sec. 2. After 7:30 p.m. and before 8 p.m., professional concerns ordinarily will be brought to the floor of the Senate. This period is intended as a time for senators and other faculty to voice concerns or ask questions of the Executive Board and administrative members of the Senate. Concerns and questions should not touch upon those areas which are within the province of the collective bargaining agent for the faculty, the WMU AAUP Chapter.

Sec. 3. Unless otherwise determined by a two-thirds vote of the Senate in session, Senate meetings will adjourn no later than 8 p.m.

Article XI: Parliamentary Authority

Sec. 1. The rules of parliamentary practice contained in the current edition of Sturgis Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure shall govern the proceedings of the Senate, subject to such special rules as may be adopted by the Senate.

Article XII: Amendments to the Bylaws

Sec. 1. These bylaws may be amended, provided a written copy of the proposed amendment is submitted and read at a regular session of the Senate and approved at the next regular session by a majority vote of the total membership of the Senate.

Article XIII: Admission and Participation of Non-faculty at Faculty Senate Meetings

Sec. 1. All meetings of the Faculty Senate will be open to the public to the seating capacity of the hall, provided that a distinct set of seats be reserved solely for senators, and that at its discretion, the Senate may withdraw in camera to conduct business necessarily kept confidential. The chief officer (or his/her representative) of organizations representative of the student body (e.g., Graduate Student Advisory Committee, Western Student Association) may speak on matters of concern to their respective councils or committees. Other persons or organizations may request the privilege of addressing the Senate by way of the Executive Board. The Senate or its Executive Board may be expected to invite other persons or organizations to address the Senate on such occasions as their voices would be of benefit to the Senate or to the wider academic community.


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The Faculty Senate
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