Appendix 1 Constitution of the Faculty Senate
The following version of the Constitution of the Faculty Senate
incorporates changes approved by the Faculty during the 2008 Spring Ballot and that are understood to have been approved by the Board of Trustees during their May, 2008 meeting.
The Faculty Senate shall represent the tenured, tenure track and contingent faculty on issues affecting the common purposes of
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The Faculty’s role in the creation,
understanding, and dissemination of knowledge is held in the highest esteem, and will not be abridged. The Senate shall implement the
Faculty’s participation in academic governance by administering the
elections to the Promotion and Tenure, Curriculum and Planning and Resource committees, as well as other ad hoc committees as required. It will provide a forum for policy deliberations on matters of importance to Faculty, shall coordinate the handling of faculty grievances and appeals, and shall advise the Provost as to the Faculty views in all matters relating to the principal missions of the Institute. Resolutions passed by the Senate shall help guide Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in scholarly activities and instruction, and important issues affecting the Faculty in general will be presented with recommendations for faculty consideration and action at a general faculty meeting each semester.
Persons holding an administrative position at or above the level of department chair or department head, or in direct report to a Provost or President, including but not limited to those having the title Dean, Associate Dean, Assistant Dean, Provost, Associate Provost, Vice Provost, Vice President or President are not eligible to hold a Senate office except as listed below. If a person is appointed to a position having this title while holding a Senate office, he or she shall resign from the Senate office or delay accepting the administrative appointment. Any faculty member involved in a grievance or legal proceeding against the institute is not eligible to hold senate office while the matter is pending.
ii. The Faculty Senate shall consist of seventeen tenured and tenure track members who have voting privileges( These members will include one member from each School and six members at large), a President of the Senate, a Vice President of the Senate, a Secretary of the Senate, a Recording Secretary, a Chair of the Faculty, a Secretary of the Faculty, and the Chairs of the Curriculum, Promotion & Tenure, and Planning & Resources Committees. The Faculty Senate will also include five additional members: one from Rensselaer at Hartford, one from the Library, one from the research faculty, one from the clinical faculty, and one from the retired emeritus faculty. The Provost shall serve as an ex officio non-voting member.
The tenured and tenure-track Faculty shall elect from its ranks the Secretary of the Senate, who will succeed to the position of Vice President in the second year, and in the third year shall serve as the President of the Faculty Senate. All members of the Senate with the exception of the officers and committee chairs, will serve two year terms, and school representatives and at large representatives will be elected in alternate years. the regular members of the Senate to serve two-year terms. The tenured and tenure -track Faculty shall also elect from its ranks the Vice President of the Senate and the Recording Secretary of the Senate. The Vice President of the Senate shall succeed to the position of President of the Senate in the second year, and in the third year shall serve as the Chair of the Faculty. The Recording Secretary of the Faculty shall succeed to the position of Secretary in the second year, and in the third year shall serve as the Secretary of the Faculty. The clinical and research faculty, the librarians and the emeriti will elect their own representatives to the Faculty Senate.
In the event that any officer is unable to complete their term of office, the next officer in line shall immediately assume their responsibilities, and a new election for Secretary will take place.
In the event that a Senator is unable to complete their term, a special election for a Senator to complete that term will be held.
The Faculty Senate shall maintain an Executive Committee, a Curriculum Committee, a Promotion and Tenure Committee, a Planning and Resources Committee, an Election Committee, a Faculty Committee on Honors, and standing committees.
A. The Executive Committee
i. Composition. The Executive Committee shall consist of the President of the Senate, the Vice President, and the Secretary of the Senate, the Recording Secretary of the Senate, the Chair of the Faculty, and the Secretary of the Faculty.
recommending changes to the Senate.
B. The Curriculum Committee
The educational offerings of the Faculty shall be of the highest quality, to inspire students, colleagues, and society in general toward the goals of lifetime learning and contributions to the common good. To assure this quality, the Curriculum Committee shall take responsibility for the educational offerings of the Faculty.
i. Composition. The Faculty Committee on Curriculum shall consist of seven members of the tenured and tenure track Faculty, elected for three-year terms. There shall be one representative from each School and two members at large. There shall also be one representative from the Dean's office for each School, one undergraduate student member, and one graduate student member selected by the Student Senate. The Chair shall be selected by the elected members of the Committee by the Executive Committeefrom its elected members. Also, with the consent of the President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the Dean of Undergraduate Education, the Dean Graduate Education, and the Registrar shall serve as ex officio non-voting members. The Registrar shall act as permanent Recording Secretary of the Curriculum Committee.
ii. Duties. The Curriculum Committee shall consider proposals for changes in courses of instruction, requirements for majors in each subject, for new curriculums, and changes or discontinuations in existing curriculums. It shall determine that adequate provisions are made to inform faculty and students of any curriculum changes and their consequences. The Committee shall consider proposals for changes in the Core Curriculum and make suitable recommendations to the Faculty for action at a general Faculty meeting. The Committee shall encourage innovations in instruction and in pedagogical materials and media.
Following appropriate review and approval by the Senate or and the Faculty, decisions of the Committee to approve or terminate programs shall be reported to the Provost for review and recommendation to the President of the Institute. The President of the Institute shall act with all deliberate speed either to approve the decision (and, as necessary, to request the approval of the Board of Trustees), or to convey a notice of rejection to the President of the Senate, giving cause for the rejection.
The Chair of the Committee shall serve as a Senator for that
C. The Promotion and Tenure Committee
Attracting, developing, and maintaining high-quality Faculty is essential to the common purposes of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
i. Composition. The Faculty Committee on Promotion and Tenure shall consist of eight Full Professors with Tenure serving three-year terms. There shall be one member from each School and two members at large to be elected by the Faculty. The two at-large members cannot be from the same School. In addition, there shall be one member, a Full Professor with Tenure, who is elected annually by the Students during Grand Marshal Week. The Chair of the Promotion and Tenure Committee shall be selected by the Committee.
ii. Duties. Duties of the Promotion and Tenure Committee and criteria for promotion are specified in the Faculty Handbook.
The Chair of the Committee shall serve as a Senator for that
D. The Planning and Resources Committee
In order to assure faculty involvement in the planning of the educational and research missions of RPI, the Planning and Resources committee shall participate in strategic planning and recommend academic programs to achieve long term goals. The committee Chair will present Senate recommendations for inclusion in the Provost’s performance plan and actively participate in the Provost’s performance planning process. In order to facilitate the educational and research missions of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the Planning and Resources Committee shall participate in strategic planning and identifying recommend necessary resources and facilities to achieve long-term goals and ensure the fair and proper distribution thereof
i. Composition. The Planning and Resources Committee shall consist of eight five members of the tenured and tenure track Faculty, elected to three-year terms. There shall be one faculty member from each School and three members at large. The Chair shall be selected from the elected members by the members of the Committee.
ii. Duties. The Committee shall participate in strategic planning, shall review all faculty proposals to approve new academic programs or to terminate existing academic programs that bear substantial impact on the Institute, and solicit new proposals from the faculty. Following timely review and approval by the Senate or the Faculty, decisions of the Committee shall be recommended to the Provost and the President of the Institute by the President of the Senate. The Committee shall review all proposals to approve new academic programs or to terminate existing academic programs that, due to their scale or uniqueness, bear substantial impact on the Institute community at large. Following timely review and approval by the Senate or the Faculty, decisions of the Committee to endorse the creation of new academic programs or the termination of existing academic programs shall be recommended to the Provost and the President of the Institute. come binding with the approval of the President of the Institute.
The Committee shall participate in the formation of the Institute budget and shall recommend Senate action concerning the endorsement of the final budget. During this process, any member of the Faculty shall have the opportunity to examine the budget and to raise questions about it.
The Chair of the Committee shall serve as a Senator for that
E. The Election Committee
i. Composition. The Election Committee shall consist of the Vice President of the Senate, who shall act as the Chair of the Election Committee, six elected members of the Faculty Senate (one from each School, and one at large) from the Library), and the Dean of Undergraduate and Continuing Education.
Awards/Grants for which FCH are responsible include the following:
The Early Career Award, the Jerome Fischbach ’38 Faculty Travel
Grant, and the William H. Wiley 1866 Distinguished Faculty Award.
b. The Faculty Committee on Honors (FCH), through the offices of the Provost , shall also evaluate, rank, and recommend the candidates for the following year’s Commencement Speaker and Honorary Doctor’s Degrees candidates. The Provost will recommend candidates to the President.
The FCH Chair shall communicate these rankings and recommendations to the Chair of the President’s Committee on Honors. The FCH Chair will serve as a member of the PCH.
G. Standing Committees
Faculty governance is a complex issue, and it is important to maintain flexibility in the actions of the governing body. The Faculty Senate shall maintain standing committees from its membership as it sees fit. These committees shall investigate issues involving education, research, the role of the faculty, and other issues as they arise.
Committees offer an efficient means of gathering information and conducting business on many issues. However, Faculty time is valuable. Committees having insufficient power or reason for existence should not be formed, and committees having accomplished their business should cease to exist. The Executive Committee shall facilitate and coordinate the appointment of Faculty to Institute-wide committees. The Executive Committee shall also conduct an annual review of the Institute-wide committees. Upon the recommendation of the Executive Committee, the Senate shall renew the charge for each Institute-wide committee, or direct that it be disbanded.
Election to the Senate of voting members and Faculty Senate standingand its special committees members shall be by ballot of the tenured and tenure-track Faculty, as defined in Section II.A.i, during the Grand Marshal Week in the spring semester, if possible. For the purpose of voting, an eligible voter must maintain a campus email address. Each non-voting member shall be elected by the group that member will represent (i.e.: tenured/tenure track faculty, Hartford faculty, clinical faculty at Troy, research faculty, librarians, and emeriti). At the time of retirement or no later than 30 days prior to an election, a retired emeritus faculty member may register with the Secretary of the Faculty to vote using a campus email address. The roll of eligible voters shall be maintained by the Secretary of the Senate.
The Election Committee shall conduct the election and report on it to the Senate at the first Senate meeting after the polls are closed. The Senate shall, by a majority vote of the members present and voting, accept the results of the election. In case two or more candidates receive the same number of votes in the election, the Senate shall vote by secret ballot to break the tie. If the result of any contest in the election is not accepted by the Senate, the election to that contest shall be declared invalid, and the Election Committee shall, at the earliest possible opportunity, conduct a supplementary election to fill the positions for which the election was invalidated.
If possible two or more candidates should contest each Senate position. If there are fewer than two candidates for the position of Secretary of the Senate, the new Secretary of the Senate shall be elected from Senate ranks by secret ballot of the newly elected Senate. The resulting empty Senate seat will be filled using the rules for selecting replacements given below in this section. No more than two candidates for at-large positions Senators may be from the same school.
When an elected member or officer is unable to assume office or to complete a term, the Senate shall either elect a replacement by majority vote, schedule a special election to elect a replacement, or allow the position to remain vacant until the next general Faculty Senate election; and a replacement for the duration of the term, if any, will be selected by ballot as part of the regular election process.
All duly elected members of the Faculty Senate and its Committees assume office at the end of the last regular Senate meeting during the semester in which the election is ratified, with the exception of the members of the Promotion and Tenure Committee, who shall take office at the beginning of the fall semester.
The Faculty Senate shall not act as a grievance body. If general policy issues arise out of individual Faculty grievances, however, the Faculty Senate shall act in a constructive manner to assist Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to develop policies that minimize future grievances.
The Faculty Senate shall initiate, study, and make recommendations for the benefit of the Faculty and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Matters will be debated and refined by the Senate. Authority over all Senate business rests in the Faculty, and major actions affecting the Faculty shall be considered by the entire Faculty at General Faculty meetings. The Senate shall communicate its deliberations to the Faculty through its Minutes. Resolutions of the Senate shall reflect the wishes of the Faculty, and are intended to be implemented.
A. The Faculty Senate shall conduct its business according to The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure (Sturgis. 1988).
B. The President of the Senate shall call an open meeting of the Senate at least once each month during the academic year. All formal action taken by the Senate shall take place at open meetings previously announced to the Faculty.
C. Two thirds of the members of the Senate shall constitute a quorum.
D. Any member of the tenured, tenure-track and contingent Faculty has the right to appear before the Senate at her or his request. The Faculty member requesting the appearance may also request that it take place in closed session.
E. A Senator or an Officer of the Senate can be recalled by a 2/3 vote of the tenured and tenure-track Faculty. In order to initiate such a vote, a petition with signatures of at least 1/10 of the Faculty should be presented to the Senate. The recall election shall be conducted by the Election Committee within three weeks of the submission of the petition.
F. This Constitution may be amended by the following procedure: A Proposal for amendment must be circulated to the Faculty over the signatures of at least 1/210 of the tenured and tenure-track Faculty at least thirty days before a general meeting of the Faculty at which the proposal will be discussed. Voting shall be by mail ballot, conducted by the Secretary of the Senate. Adoption of amendments requires a two-thirds majority of the tenured and tenure-track faculty and subsequent endorsement by the President and the Board of Trustees. No amendment to this Constitution shall be in disagreement with the Institute's Acts of Incorporation or the Institute Bylaws.
G. The Faculty Handbook shall be the Rules and Regulations of the Faculty. The Handbook shall be reviewed annually. Handbook revisions require a majority vote of the Faculty Senate, approval of the Provost, and approval by the President and the Board of Trustees.
Issues of importance to the general Faculty should be brought before the Faculty at a general meeting. The Executive Committee shall call a regular meeting of the general Faculty each fall and spring. An agenda for a regular meeting shall be prepared by the Executive Committee, with the advice of the Senate, and distributed to the Faculty one week before the meeting. Each meeting shall include a report from the President of the Senate on Senate business and a report from the Chair of the Faculty on past and future issues affecting Faculty. A quorum for the meetings shall consist of 2/10 of the tenured and tenure-track Faculty. The fall meeting shall include a report from the President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and the spring meeting shall include a report from the Provost. Dean of Faculty. Minutes of the general Faculty meetings will be approved by the Faculty Senate for accuracy and distributed with Faculty Senate minutes.
Issues of pressing importance can be brought before a special meeting of the general Faculty. Special meetings of the Faculty can be called by the President, the Provost, the Executive Committee, or by a majority vote of the Senate, or by petition from the general Faculty with the signatures of 1/105 of the Faculty.