Faculty Senate By-Laws

AUTHORITY AND GENERAL FUNCTIONS OF THE FACULTY SENATE

The Faculty Senate is an elected legislative and deliberative body whose primary purpose is to represent the UTSA faculty. The Faculty Senate reviews and formulates policy and enacts legislation on all matters pertaining to the professional concerns, duties, standards, ethics, responsibilities, prerequisites, and work conditions of the UTSA faculty, as well as matters relating to academic freedom and equity for the faculty. The Faculty Senate acts to amend or approve changes to the Handbook of Operating Procedures.

The Faculty Senate represents the faculty of UTSA to the UTSA Administration, the University of Texas System Administration, the Board of Regents of the University of Texas System, and such other parties as may be appropriate or necessary.

The Faculty Senate shall determine its own rules and procedures for meetings, votes, resolutions and other legislative matters within its purview.
  1. According to Rules and Regulations of The University of Texas System Board of Regents, the Faculty Senate shall have authority to make recommendations to the President and the Provost concerning the following:
    1. General academic policies, welfare and all matters relating to teaching, research, and faculty service.
    2. Requirements for admission and graduation.
    3. Honors and scholastic performance.
    4. Approval of candidates for degrees.
    5. Faculty rules of procedure.
  2. The Graduate Council shall be an operating unit of the Faculty Senate, reporting its recommendations to the Senate as a whole; however, it shall have separate representation and operate according to its own bylaws.
 

Approved 5/3/2018

MEMBERSHIP

  1. Members

    The Faculty Senate shall be composed only of faculty who do not hold administrative positions. Department chairs, associate deans, assistant deans, and deans are not eligible for membership. This membership is comprised of the following:

    1. One tenured or tenure-track faculty member from each academic Department (excluding the Chair of the Faculty Senate and the Secretary of the General Faculty) elected by and from the voting members of the General Faculty of each respective Department.
    2. One additional faculty member at the rank of Senior Lecturer or Lecturer III from each college, including University College, but excluding the Honors College, who is qualified to vote in the General Faculty, elected by and from the voting members of the General Faculty in each of the University's colleges.
    3. The following ex-officio members: the Chair of the Faculty Senate (voting only in the case of a tie), the Secretary of the General Faculty (voting), the immediate past chair of the Faculty Senate (voting), the chair of the Graduate Council (voting), the Chair of the Retired Faculty Association (non-voting), one full time non tenure-track representative elected from the ADTS, and the chair of the Department Chair's Council (non-voting). If a UTSA faculty member is serving on the UT System Faculty Advisory Council (FAC) Executive Committee, he or she may also serve as an ex-officio member of UTSA's Executive Committee and Senate.
    4. Identity-based Affinity Group members: each identity-based Affinity Group that allows faculty members, and is recognized by the Office of Inclusive Excellence, may opt to elect one representative (non-voting) to serve on the Faculty Senate. Sitting academic department Senators are permitted to also serve as identity-based Affinity Group members if elected by an Affinity Group.
  2. Terms of Office
    1. The term of office of elected faculty members (Senators) of the Faculty Senate shall be three years commencing September 1. One-third of the faculty members of the Faculty Senate shall be elected each year. Faculty members may serve a maximum of two consecutive three-year terms. Ex officio members shall serve by virtue of their position.
    2. In the event of a Senator not fulfilling their three-year term, replacements will be appointed by the resigning Senator, in consultation with the Chair of the Senate, when the remaining term is less than one year. In all other cases, a new election will take place. The replacement senator will carry out the remainder of the three-year term.
  3. Roles and Responsibilities of Faculty Senators
    1. Attend all Faculty Senate meetings or designate a substitute, in consultation with the department chair, to represent the department if the senator cannot attend a meeting.
    2. Regularly report Faculty Senate activity to the department faculty, including discussions and votes conducted as part of Faculty Senate monthly meetings.
    3. Inform department faculty of agenda items for monthly Faculty Senate meetings as soon as the information becomes available.
    4. Inform department faculty of the availability of current Faculty Senate minutes through the Senate web page.
    5. Initiate meetings in the department, in consultation with the department chair, as necessary, to discuss issues being considered by the Faculty Senate.
    6. Serve on at least one Faculty Senate Standing Committee.

Approved 5/3/2018

OFFICERS

The Faculty Senate shall have its own elected officers, including a Chair of the Senate, a Vice Chair, a Secretary, and a Parliamentarian. The term of office of the Chair of the Faculty Senate will be two years; the term of office of the Vice-Chair, Secretary, and Parliamentarian will be one year. The election of the Chair of the Faculty Senate will be held at the April meeting of the Faculty Senate in alternating years. The election of the other officers will be held at the May meeting of the Faculty Senate of each academic year. In the event that the Vice-Chair, Secretary, or Parliamentarian cannot complete their term of office, a call will be made for nominees to complete the current term with the elections to be held at least two weeks and no more than four weeks following the call for nominations.

1. Chair of Senate

The Chair of the Faculty Senate is elected from among the voting members of the Faculty Senate. The Chair shall preside over all meetings of the Faculty Senate. The Chair will represent UTSA at the UT System Faculty Advisory Council. The Chair's position as his/her unit's representative will be filled by an alternate who will serve the remainder of the Chair's term. The Chair will vote on actions in the Senate only in the case of a tie. The Chair may serve no more than two consecutive terms; however, multiple, non-consecutive terms are allowed. Additionally, the immediate Past Chair is not eligible for the position. The Secretary of the General Faculty is eligible to serve as Chair so long as the terms of office for the two positions will not overlap.

2. Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect

The Vice-Chair is elected from among the voting members of the Faculty Senate, and remains a voting representative of his/her academic unit. In alternating years, a Chair-Elect will be elected from the Senate at the April meeting. For the subsequent one year period, the Chair-Elect will also serve as Vice Chair, and will eventually assume the role of Chair. If the Chair is re-elected for a second term at this time, there is no Chair-Elect for an additional two years (the Vice Chair position remains intact). If the Chair is unable to complete his or her term of office, then the Vice Chair/Chair-Elect will assume the Chair's duties for either the remainder of the Vice-Chair's term of office, or the remainder of the Chair-Elect's term of office and term of the Chair. In these cases his or her academic unit will be directed to elect an alternate for the remainder of his or her term as Faculty Senator. A new Chair of the Faculty Senate will be elected, if necessary, at the next scheduled election. The Vice-Chair may serve no more than four consecutive terms; however, multiple, non-consecutive terms are allowed. Additionally, the Chair and immediate Past Chair are not eligible for the position of Vice-Chair. The Secretary of the General Faculty is eligible to serve as Vice-Chair so long as the terms of office for the two positions will not overlap. 

3. Secretary

The Secretary's duties shall include the following:

  1. Prepare and present a slate of nominees for the Executive Committee and all standing committees for election at the May Senate meeting.
  2. Conducting the election of the Secretary of the General Faculty, as well as the election of Senate Officers and Committees and other elections as needed.
  3. Monitoring of the effectiveness of Senate Bylaws and procedures.
  4. Coordinating and presenting to the Executive Committee and the Senate proposed changes to the Senate Bylaws or procedures.
  5. The solicitation, preparation, and distribution of agenda items for meetings of the Faculty Senate.
  6. Conducting elections of officers and others, as necessary, of the Faculty Senate, the preparation of forms and ballots for the nominations and elections, and the certification of election results
  7. The preparation, distribution, and maintenance of records of the Faculty Senate.
  8. The transmittal of recommendations of the Faculty Senate to the President and Provost.
  9. Any other duties assigned by the Faculty Senate.

4. Parliamentarian

The Parliamentarian shall rule on points of order with respect to the conduct of meetings.

5. Terms of Office

The term of office of the Chair of the Faculty Senate will be two years; the term of office of the Vice-Chair, Secretary, and Parliamentarian will be one year.

6. Elections

The Secretary will conduct the Elections.

  1. The election of the Chair of the Faculty Senate will be held at the April meeting of the Faculty Senate in alternating years. The election of other officers will be held yearly at the May meeting. In alternating years, nominations will be sought for Chair-Elect, and he or she will be voted in at the May meeting. The Secretary shall present to the Faculty Senate printed ballots containing slates of candidates.
  2. Elections for Secretary of the General Faculty shall be conducted in the spring of alternate years, according to the following procedures.
    1. The Secretary shall solicit nominations for the position. A description of the responsibilities of the position shall be presented with the solicitation.
    2. Those nominated shall provide the Secretary with a statement of professional accomplishments and interest in the position, not to exceed two pages.
    3. Paper or electronic ballots listing the nominees in alphabetical order shall be distributed, along with the nominees' statements, to all eligible voting members of the General Faculty. Votes shall be counted by the Secretary and certified by the Chair of the Faculty Senate. Election shall be by majority vote. If no majority is obtained in the first election, a paper or electronic ballot runoff election will be conducted between the candidates with the two highest vote counts.
    4. Voting eligibility of faculty will be determined by the definitions contained in the Handbook of Operating Procedures.
    5. Procedural questions shall be addressed in writing to, and interpreted by, the Parliamentarian of the Faculty Senate.
  3. In the case of Senate elections for the Secretary, and Parliamentarian and for Senate standing committee members, the Secretary shall present to the Faculty Senate printed ballots containing slates of candidates at the May meeting of the Senate of each academic year. In the case of the Vice Chair, the nominee will be presented along with this slate except in years when a Chair-Elect is being elected (see 6.a.).

Approved 5/3/2021

MEETINGS

  1. The Faculty Senate shall hold regular meetings on the second Thursday of each month during the academic year. However, individual meetings may be moved to another Thursday during the month if necessitated by the University calendar. All meetings for any given semester shall be posted prior to the start of the semester.
  2. Special meetings will be called at the instance of the Chair of the Faculty Senate or at the written request of one-third of the voting members of the Senate. Notice of special meetings will be sent by the Secretary to all members of the Faculty Senate, and it will specify the purpose, time, and place of the special meeting. At least seven working days must elapse between the time notice is mailed and the beginning of a special meeting.
  3. The agenda for any regular meeting, as well as all reports to be discussed at the meeting, will be distributed to all Faculty Senate members, and the meeting time and place announced at least five working days in advance of the meeting.
  4. A quorum at all meetings of the Faculty Senate shall be 50 percent of the voting membership.
  5. Meetings of the Senate are open to the public. The Senate may, by majority vote, enter into Executive Session, at which time only voting members of the Faculty Senate are present.
  6. Members of the faculty or administrative staff may be invited by the Chair of the Faculty Senate or Committee Chairpersons to attend meetings for specific agenda items. These individuals may participate in the discussion if recognized by the Chair of the Faculty Senate.
  7. Direct participation of individuals other than Senators, Ex officio members, or invited guests is limited to the Open Forum if recognized by the Chair of the Faculty Senate.
  8. The Chair of the Faculty Senate will determine the use of tape recorders, cameras, and like devices as necessary to conduct the work of the Senate.
  9. The Chair of the Faculty Senate will determine the amount of time allotted to each part of the meeting, but he or she may be overruled by a two-thirds vote of the Senate.

 

Approved 5/3/2018

RULES OF PROCEDURE

  1. Unless the Executive Committee otherwise determines, the Order of Business at all meetings of the Senate shall be as follows:
    1. Call to order and taking of attendance
    2. Approval of minutes
    3. Reports
      1. Chair of the Faculty Senate
      2. Secretary of the General Faculty
      3. Committees (in order of action needed)
      4. Other reports (Provost, etc.)
    4. Unfinished Business
    5. New Business
    6. Open Forum
    7. Adjournment
  2. Robert's Rules of Order shall be the standard for parliamentary procedure at all meetings of the Faculty Senate. Suspension of the Rules of Order requires a majority vote.
  3. Questions of interpretation of Rules and Procedure shall be determined by the Parliamentarian of the Faculty Senate.
  4. A motion to record a vote shall be granted only if seconded by one member of the Senate.
  5. Voting procedure will follow Robert's Rules of Order. Votes shall be taken viva voce or by a show of hands during meetings unless a written ballot is requested. Voting may be conducted electronically at the descretion of the Chair of the Faculty Senate. Electronic voting will follow a two-tiered process: (1) senators will be asked if they vote for or against electronic voting on the case at hand and (2) senators will be asked to vote on the case at hand. If a minimum of five senators vote against the electronic voting procedure, the vote will be tabled until the next regular or special meeting of the Senate. A quorum for an electronic vote will be established by the receipt of votes from 50 percent of the Faculty Senate membership. Voting will be conducted using an online system.
 

Approved 5/3/2018

RECORDS OF THE FACULTY SENATE

  1. 1. The Secretary is responsible for taking summary minutes of the proceedings. The Secretary is also responsible for maintaining records of the Senate.
  2. 2. Minutes should include notices of actions and pending recommendations made by the Senate.
  3. 3. Copies of the minutes shall be sent to the members of the Senate. Copies shall be sent to members of the General Faculty and staff upon request. Copies shall be posted electronically on the Faculty Senate web page.
  4. 4. Senate minutes shall be filed with the Secretary of the General Faculty, the Office of the Provost, and University archives and retained pursuant to the institutional Records Retention Schedule.
  5. 5. The Senate will maintain a web page containing the minutes of all meetings, reports, committee members, Senate records and other matters relating to Senate and relevant faculty affairs.
 

Approved 5/3/2018

SENATE ACTIONS

    1. Origination of Recommended Actions

Recommendations for Senate action may be submitted to the Faculty Senate through the Executive Committee by a College faculty member, a committee of the General Faculty, or a group of faculty members as qualified under the rules of the General Faculty. Recommended actions may also be proposed by any member of the Senate, by committees of the Senate, or by the Graduate Council.

    1. Topics for Action

Topics of action appropriate to the Faculty Senate are listed in Article I (2) of these Bylaws.

    1. Referral of Proposed Actions

Recommended actions under consideration by the Senate may be referred to any special or standing committee of the Senate. All such committees will report the results of their deliberations on referred matters directly to the Faculty Senate.

    1. Submission of Senate Recommendations to the President and Provost

All recommendations of the Faculty Senate shall be promptly prepared and transmitted by the Secretary of the Senate to the President, Provost or other appropriate person(s). The Chair of the Senate shall follow up on the status of each recommendation and report back on their progress to the Senate for further action. The President, or, by his/her direction, the Provost, must either approve the actions and forward them to the Board of Regents within a reasonable time period or return the action with his/her comments to the Senate within a reasonable time period. The Senate must consider actions returned by the President or Provost at its next meeting. The Senate may also issue a Senate Report that will go forward to the Regents.

    1. Resolutions

All resolutions shall be subject to the same procedures as set out for actions in terms of origination, topics, and referral. Resolutions may be considered by the Faculty Senate when the Senate wishes to express its sense about matters of concern within its purview, even when specific action is not proposed. All resolutions of the Faculty Senate shall be promptly prepared and transmitted by the Secretary of the Senate to the President, Provost or other appropriate person(s). The Chair of the Senate shall follow up on the status of each resolution and report back on their progress to the Senate for further action.

    1. Selection of the Graduate Council Chair

The Graduate Council shall be responsible for election of the Chair of the Graduate Council, to be selected from among its members at the April meeting of the Graduate Council. The name of the individual elected to be Chair of Graduate Council must be submitted for ratification to the Secretary of Faculty Senate prior to the Senate's May meeting. The Senate shall either ratify or veto that elected individual in May and communicate its decision prior to its next scheduled meeting.

    1. Proxy Voting

Senators may designate a proxy from their department who shall have voting rights.

 

Approved 5/3/2018

COMMITTEES

1. Appointment and Membership

  1. Except for committee members designated in these Bylaws, members of all standing and special committees of the Senate shall be elected by the Senate. Subcommittees of committees may be chosen by the membership of such committees.
  2. The Faculty Senate Secretary shall prepare and present a slate of nominees for the Executive Committee and all standing committees for election at the May Senate meeting.
  3. All Senators are required to serve on at least one Faculty Senate standing committee. No faculty member may serve on more than two Faculty Senate standing committees or serve as chair of two Faculty Senate standing committees.
  4. All voting members of the General Faculty are eligible to serve on a committee of the Senate.
  5. The chairperson and at least two members of each Senate Committee must be members of the Senate. An exception is the Executive Committee comprising Faculty Senators alone.
  6. Each committee, other than the Executive Committee, must consist of a minimum of seven members, who represent a minimum of four colleges.
  7. Each committee shall elect its chairperson for the next academic year in May.
  8. The term of office for the Executive Committee members, excluding the Chair, shall be for one year. The term of office for members of all other standing committees shall be for three years.
  9. All terms of office begin September 1.
  10. The Chair of the Faculty Senate and one additional member selected from the Executive Committee will serve as representatives to the UT System Faculty Advisory Council.

2. Types of Committees

There shall be two types of Faculty Senate committees: standing committees and special committees.

3. Special Committees

Special committees may be created by act of the Faculty Senate in order to perform certain specific actions, review proposed Senate actions, conduct studies, or other appropriate functions of a temporary nature. In no case shall the existence of a special committee continue beyond September 1 following its creation unless extended by the Senate.

4. Standing Committees

Membership of all standing committees shall consist of at least seven members, who represent at least four colleges. The following shall be the standing committees of the Faculty Senate, listed alphabetically after the Executive Committee:

  1. Executive Committee
    The Committee shall consist of the Chair of the Faculty Senate, the Vice-Chair, the Secretary, the Parliamentarian, the Secretary of the General Faculty, the Chair of the Graduate Council, the FTT faculty representative from ADTS, and the Chair of each standing committee. The immediate past Chair of the Faculty Senate will serve as an ex officio member in an advisory capacity for a year. If a UTSA faculty member is currently serving on the UT System FAC Executive Committee, he or she may also serve on the UTSA Senate Executive Committee (Ex-Officio).
    The Committee shall:
    1. Prepare the monthly meeting agenda of the Faculty Senate within the guidelines established in these bylaws
    2. Review reports
    3. Screen and coordinate Senate business
    4. Refer matters to standing committees or to the Graduate Council if necessary
    5. Recommend the creation of special committees as needed

       

  2. Academic Freedom, Evaluation and Merit Committee (members shall include at least one tenured, one tenure-track, and one lecturer)

    The Academic Freedom, Evaluation and Merit Committee shall be responsible for:

    1. Reviewing and making recommendations to the Senate on policies and procedures related to tenure, academic freedom, retention and termination of employment, evaluation, merit, and workload, including Comprehensive Periodic Evaluation and Third Year Review.

       

  3. Budget Committee 
    The Budget Committee shall be responsible for:
    1. Working with the Provost on reviewing the academic budget and making recommendations to the Provost and President regarding appropriations and expenditures.
    2. Monitoring and/or conducting exercises that lead to recommendations or new policy that might affect faculty salaries and/or benefits.

       

  4. Committee on the Handbook of Operating Procedures (the Vice-Chair of the Faculty Senate shall be a member of this committee; a representative from the Chairs' Council, who will be recommended by the Chairs' Council and approved by the Senate, shall serve as a voting ex-officio member of this committee)
    The Committee on the Handbook of Operating Procedures shall be responsible for:
    1. Monitoring and reviewing proposed changes to the Handbook of Operating Procedures that affect the rights, responsibilities, and interests of the faculty. Normally, review of proposed changes shall be undertaken in cooperation with the appropriate Senate committee, as determined by the Chair of the Faculty Senate.
    2. Formulating recommendations to the Senate concerning any revisions to the Handbook of Operating Procedures proposed by the Administration.

       

  5. Faculty Senate Research Committee (FSRC)
    The Faculty Senate Research Committee (FSRC) shall be responsible for:
    1. Reviewing and making recommendations on policies and procedures related to research activities of the faculty.
    2. Interfacing between faculty and the administration with regard to pre-award and post-award services.
    3. Reviewing and making recommendations to the Senate on HOP policies issued by the office of the Vice President for Research.

       

  6. University Curriculum Committee (members shall include at least one tenured, one tenure-track, and one lecturer)
    The University Curriculum Committee shall be responsible for:
    1. Reviewing proposals for new and modified academic programs and submitting recommendations on such programs to the Senate, except in the area of graduate education.
    2. Conducting reviews of general academic policy, monitoring the implimentation of academic policies and procedures, and making recommendations to the Senate regarding such policies and procedures.
    3. Reviewing requirements of admission, graduation, honors, and degrees and making recommendations to the Senate, except in the area of graduate education.

       

 

Approved 5/3/2018

SENATE PANELS

    1. Appointment and Membership
      1. Members of all panels by the Senate shall be elected by the Senate.
      2. The Secretary shall prepare and present a slate of nominees for all panels for election at the May Senate meeting.
      3. Eligibility for panel membership is to be specified in these Bylaws.
      4. The term of membership for each panel is to be specified in these Bylaws.
      5. Membership on a panel does not fulfill the requirement that Senators serve on at least one Faculty Senate standing committee.
    2. Panels Specified in Policies in the University Handbook of Operating Procedures
HOP 2.36 Procedures for Review of a Non-reappointment of a Non-tenured Tenure-Track Faculty Member
      1. The panel shall include two tenured faculty members from each college.
      2. Panel members may be members of the Senate, but are not required to be members of the Senate.
      3. Individuals holding administrative positions, including Associate or Assistant Deans and Department or Division Chairs, are not eligible to serve on this panel.
      4. The term of membership will be for one year beginning September 1.
HOP 10.02 Misconduct in Research or in Other Scholarly Activities
      1. The panel shall include two tenured faculty members from each college.
      2. Panel members may be members of the Senate, but are not required to be members of the Senate.
      3. Individuals holding administrative positions, including Associate or Assistant Deans and Department or Division Chairs, are not eligible to serve on this panel.
      4. Members of the panel must be available during summer term to serve on an Inquiry Committee.
      5. The term of membership will be for one year beginning May 1.
    1. Other Panels
  • Research Advisory Board
      1. The Research Advisory Board includes two Senate representatives selected by the President, with each serving two-year terms to begin in alternate years.
      2. The panel shall include five Senators.
      3. The term of membership will be for one year beginning Sept 1.
      4. Individuals selected from the panel to serve on the Research Advisory Board will serve a two year term.
    1.  

Approved 5/3/2018

AMENDMENTS

  1. Proposals to amend these Bylaws must be initiated by the Faculty Senate and approved by a majority vote of that body. The Bylaws will be reviewed with the possibility of revision every three years.
  2. Proposals to amend these Bylaws must be distributed to the Faculty Senate at least one Faculty Senate meeting (excluding Executive Committee meetings) before any vote on final adoption.
  3. The Bylaws must be amended by a two-thirds (2/3) affirmative vote of the Faculty Senate members provided a quorum is present.
 

Approved 5/3/2018