Revised October 6, 1998
Revised October 20, 2005
Revised February 5, 2006
The Faculty Senate represents the faculty and professional librarians of Texas A&M University-Commerce by studying and investigating matters of concern and recommending constructive changes to the president of the university.
a. The Faculty Senate is the organizational vehicle through which the opinion of the faculty at Texas A&M University-Commerce is expressed. It shall propose, investigate, study, discuss and recommend to the president of the university all such matters as it feels involve the true function of education at Texas A&M University-Commerce. It shall also express the opinion of the faculty on questions laid before it by the president of the university, or upon order of the Board of Regents, or raised for its consideration by faculty members.
b. The decisions and recommendations of the Faculty Senate should be considered as the opinion of the faculty unless challenged. The president of the university may, upon the president's initiative, at the suggestion of the Board of Regents, or upon petition from the faculty members in a manner to be determined by the president of the university, bring any decision or recommendation of the Faculty Senate before the general faculty assembled, for confirmation, discussion, or rejection as the opinion of the faculty at Texas A&M University-Commerce.
c. The Faculty Senate shall recommend the initiation, change or modification, or discontinuance of goals, policies, programs, methods, and practices which effect the education of students, the intellectual life, the role and relationships of the faculty, and the conditions under which learning and teaching are conducted at Texas A&M University-Commerce.
a. Composition: The Faculty Senate shall be composed of one member elected by each academic department of the university and one professional librarian.
b. Eligibility: Any member of the faculty who shall have completed one academic year of full-time service to the university at the time the member takes office, who does not hold a full-time administrative appointment, and who holds the rank of instructor or higher, or who has been granted parallel rank with the intent of extending faculty privileges shall be eligible for election to the Faculty Senate. If these requirements, along with other provisions of this constitution shall leave no member of a department eligible for election at the time vacancy occurs, the requirement of one year’s service shall be waived. The president of the university, all vice presidents, and all deans shall be excluded from membership.
c. Election: In those years when the library and departments have an expiring term of office, the election for the replacement shall be held at a departmental meeting prior to the second Tuesday in March.
d. Term of office: Elected members of the Faculty Senate shall hold office for three calendar years. The term of office shall begin on the first day following the close of the summer semester following election. The following circumstances shall be exceptions:
(1) Membership on the Faculty Senate shall be vacated on the date that any member terminates his/her faculty appointment to--and assumes duties in--a position in the university which terminates membership in the department the member is elected to represent.
(2) Membership on the Faculty Senate shall be vacated at the time which a member's resignation from his/her position at the university becomes effective.
(3) Membership on the Faculty Senate shall be vacated when a member begins a leave of absence of more than one semester but shall not be vacated when a leave of absence is granted for one semester or shorter period. When a senator is granted a leave of absence for one semester, or is absent for the summer, the department may, at its own discretion, elect a substitute to hold office for that period of time only.
(4) Membership on the Faculty Senate shall be vacated from the date a member submits to the president of the Senate his/her resignation from the Senate.
(5) Membership on the Faculty Senate shall be vacated from the date the department head notifies in writing the president of the Senate that a representative of that department has been removed from office by a departmental meeting and vote of the department.
(6) If for any reason membership is terminated, a department election is to be held to complete the unexpired term and the new member shall take office immediately.
(7) As new seats are created by the addition of academic departments, the Executive Committee shall assign each new member to a one, two, or three year term in such a manner as to maintain as closely as possible a mathematical balance.
In either case, a term of one or two years drawn by a member shall be considered one full term in the meaning of this constitution.
e. An elected member of the Faculty Senate, having created a vacancy in any of the manners enumerated above, shall not be elected to the Senate again until one full academic year shall have elapsed.
a. The Faculty Senate shall meet monthly with the exception of January and June. The agenda for each stated meeting shall be prepared and distributed to each member of the faculty, and the date of each meeting publicly announced, no less than one full week prior to each meeting.
b. Additional meetings of the Faculty Senate shall be called by the president of the Senate, provided that members of the Faculty Senate receive prior written notice and agenda, under the following conditions.
(1) Upon call of the president of the Senate.
(2) Upon call of the Executive Committee of the Senate.
(3) Upon petition of fifteen members of the Senate.
(4) Upon request of the president of the university.
c. Quorum: The presence of a majority of the total number of members of the Faculty Senate shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of all business of the Senate.
d. Roberts Rules Of Order, Newly Revised, shall govern the Faculty Senate in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with the Constitution or Bylaws of this Senate.
a. Officers of the Faculty Senate shall be the president, the president-elect, the secretary, the parliamentarian, and any other officers which the Senate shall create.
b. Officers to fill newly created offices shall be appointed by the president of the Senate or elected by the Senate. If a new office is to be continued beyond one year, the Constitution shall be amended to include the office and to specify the qualifications and method of election or appointment.
c. The president, the president-elect, the secretary, and the parliamentarian shall be members of the Senate and, with the exception of the president, shall be elected by the Senate at the April meeting. Offices shall take office on the first day following the end of the second summer semester and shall serve in that capacity for one calendar year.
d. The president-elect shall become president after one year’s service as president-elect or upon a vacancy in the Office of President. A vacancy in the Office of President-elect shall be filled by the Senate at its next meeting.
a. The president of the Faculty Senate shall: call meetings of the Senate; preside at all Senate meetings; in emergencies, appoint members to ad hoc committees; report to the Senate all communications from the university president; and transmit to the president of the university the written minutes of each meeting of the Senate and any other such written communications as the Senate shall direct. The president shall have voice in the meetings of the Senate at any time that he/she desires by calling to the chair the president-elect of the Senate. The president shall vote in the case of a tie.
b. The president-elect of the Faculty Senate shall call and preside at all meetings of the Senate in the absence of the president and shall preside over all meetings when the president vacates the chair and calls the president-elect to preside.
c. The president-elect shall assume the presidency upon a vacancy in that office. A new president-elect of the Senate shall be elected by the Senate at its next regular meeting.
In the absence of the president and the president-elect, the Executive Committee shall designate a temporary chairman.
d. The secretary shall: keep full and faithful minutes of the proceedings of each meeting of the Senate and present a written transcript of such to each member of the Senate and faculty; transmit to each member of the Senate and faculty promptly, and in writing, the call agenda of each meeting as presented by the president of the Senate; keep in good order from the inception of the Senate, all minutes, transactions, communications to or from the Senate, and all other records directed to be kept by the Senate; and make Senate documents readily available to any member of the Senate, faculty, the president of the university, The Texas A&M University System, or member of the A&M System Board of Regents.
e. The parliamentarian shall be knowledgeable in parliamentarian procedure and shall advise, when requested, the president upon matters concerning parliamentarian procedure. In the absence of the parliamentarian, the president shall ask another instructed member to act in this position.
7. Executive Committee
a. The Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate shall be composed of the president, the president-elect, the secretary, and the chairs of the standing committees of the Senate. The president shall serve as chair of the Executive Committee.
b. The Executive Committee shall meet in sufficient time, in advance of each stated meeting of the Senate, to provide the members of the Senate and faculty with a written agenda at least one week before each stated meeting.
The Executive Committee shall meet upon call of the chairman, upon request of the president of the university, or upon request of two members of the committee.
c. The Executive Committee shall be charged with the preparation of an agenda for each stated meeting of the Senate; serve as a committee on committees; call meetings of the Senate when it sees need; and consider such matters as the president of the Senate or the Senate shall lay before it.
d. Any member of the university may lay before the Executive Committee proposals for consideration by the Senate or a request to appear before the Senate to speak on a specific subject. If the Executive Committee declines to include the request on the agenda, the faculty member making the request may require the president of the Senate to lay the question before the Senate as the first item of business at the next meeting of the Senate. Should a majority of the Senate agree, the item may be assigned a place on the agenda of the meeting, or the person making the request may be allowed to speak, or the mater may be referred to an appropriate committee, as the Senate shall direct.
a. The Faculty Senate shall create such standing and ad hoc committees as it shall find necessary. The presence of the Senate committees shall in no sense prejudice the appointment of the other university committees.
b. The standing committees of the Senate shall include the following, unless changed by constitutional amendment:
(1) Academic Life
(2) Academic Practice
(3) Admission and Retention of Students
(6) Faculty Awards
(7) Organization of the Senate
(8) University Facilities and Scheduling
c. All members of the university faculty, administration, staff and student body shall be eligible to serve on Senate committees, which shall be chaired by a senator, shall have a minimum of seven members, shall have at least one representative (either senator or faculty) from each college, and shall have continuity in annual membership.
Standing committees of the Senate shall have the power of originating proposals in their area of competence and of holding open meetings to explore campus opinion, in addition to considering proposals referred to them by the Senate. The chairman of a standing committee may request that the Senate replace members for non-performance of committee duties.
d. In addition to the committees created by the Faculty Senate, ad hoc committees shall be created upon the request of the president of the university.
(1) Standing committees shall be elected at the first meeting of the Senate each year, unless created by Senate action at a later date, and shall serve until the last day of the second summer semester following.
(2) Ad hoc committees shall serve until their final report is presented to the Senate or until dismissed by the Senate. Ad hoc committees shall hold at least one open hearing prior to presenting reports or recommendations.
(1) All committee meetings shall be open unless otherwise ordered by the Senate or as provided in the Senate Bylaws. The time and place of an open meeting of a committee shall be adequately published at least three days before the meeting is held.
(2) An ad hoc or standing committee shall call an open hearing upon written request to the president of the Senate signed by twenty members of the faculty or upon request of the president of the university.
(3) Upon order of the Senate or the president of the Senate, or upon request of the president of the university, or upon written request to the president of the Senate singed by twenty members of the faculty, any topic or any aspect of any topic pertinent to the work of the committee shall be considered by the committee and include in its report to the Senate.
A quorum for any Senate committee shall be a majority of the members of the committee.
i. Sub-Committees and Minority
The committees may appoint subcommittees without restriction, but all reports submitted to the Senate shall be adopted by a majority of the parent committee. The minority of a committee shall have the right to present to the Senate a minority report at the time the majority report is presented.
The Senate shall adopt such bylaws, regulations, rules, orders, or other procedures for the conduct of its business as it shall please, provided that they do not conflict with the terms of this Constitution.
a. The Constitution of the Faculty Senate shall be amended by a two-thirds vote of the total number of members of the Senate or by a majority vote of the faculty members attending a general meeting of the faculty of the university assembled for that purpose by the president of the university, provided that at least one week’s public notice of the meeting shall be given, and that a majority of the entire faculty shall attend and vote at that meetings.
b. An amendment adopted shall become effective one month after its adoption unless challenged under any of the methods stated in Article 1 (Purpose) for challenge of a decision of the Senate.
c. The president of the university shall notify the president of the Senate of the disposition of a contested amendment. The same procedure shall apply to an amendment proposed in a general faculty meeting.
Faculty Senate Bylaws
Texas A&M University-Commerce
1. By laws of the Senate shall be made or amended by a two-thirds vote of the members present and voted on at the meeting following the meeting at which the amendment is introduced.
2. Rules of the Senate shall be made or amended by a two-thirds vote of the members present and voting at the meeting in which the amendment is introduced.
3. The Senate shall convene at 2:00 p.m. on the first Tuesday of the months designated by the constitution for all regular meetings, unless otherwise designated by vote of the Senate.
4. The Faculty Senate shall be the sole judge of its own rules and bylaws.
5. Faculty Senate meetings shall be open unless specifically voted otherwise for a particular meeting or any portion thereof.
6. Senators shall be expected to attend meetings of the Senate. Three absences in a year shall constitute grounds for removal by the Senate and request shall be made that the department in question replace the delinquent senator.
7 Alternate senators shall be elected. At the departmental meeting called in March for the election of senators, a department shall also elect one or two alternates following the same procedures as those specified for the election of senators. The alternates shall serve for one year and shall be eligible for re-election. The names of the elected alternates shall be submitted to the secretary of the Senate by the department, and the secretary shall keep a list of accredited alternates. An alternate may replace one of the department’s senators at a meeting at which the senator is unavoidably absent. The alternate must be informed of matters to come before the Senate at the meeting to be attended and must inform the secretary of the Senate of alternate status prior to the meeting. A duly-elected alternate has all rights and privileges of a senator which replacing a senator at a meeting.
8. In the event of a merger of two or more departments, an election for the Senate positions shall be held within two weeks of the official date of such a merger. Senators in office prior to the merger shall be eligible for re-election, but only to the extent of their unexpired term.
9. The time and place of the meeting of the Executive Committee at which the agenda is prepared shall be announced to the faculty at last one week prior to the meeting.
10. The chairs of the standing committees of the Senate shall be nominated by the Senate president with whom they will serve. Normally, these nominations shall be made by the president-elect after the membership of the Senate for the coming academic year has been determined. Remaining members of the standing committees shall be nominated by the incoming Executive Committee (that is, by the current president-elect, the incoming president-elect, the secretary-elect and the persons the president has nominated to be the chairs of the standing committees). The chairs and remaining members of the standing committees shall be elected by the Senate at the first meeting of the Senate in the fall semester.
11. Ad hoc committees normally shall be composed of senators only, and no senator shall serve on more than one ad hoc committee at a time. Ad hoc committees shall hold at least one open hearing prior to presenting reports or recommendations to the Senate.
12. The membership of ad hoc committees may be specified by motion at the time they are created or by the Executive Committee (or in an emergency by the president of the Senate).
13. The Senate may refer proposals to faculty bodies external to it with the request that the proposal be studied and a report made to the Senate or that the bodies takes any action within its designated power.
14. If an emergency meeting of a committee must be held without proper notice having been given as provided in Article 3 (Meetings) of the Constitution, the chairman of the committee shall notify the president of the Senate in writing of the reasons for doing so, and those reasons shall be included in the final report of the committee to the Senate.
Faculty Senate Rules
Texas A&M University-Commerce
1. Recess. A motion to recess or a motion to declare a recess at a specific time may be proposed at any time. The Senate may not recess without specifying the time and place of reassembly.
2. Suspension of Rules. The rules of the Senate shall not be suspended except for a definite purpose and by a two-thirds vote of the members present and voting.
3. Temporary Rules. Temporary rules may be adopted or suspended at any meeting in the same manner as any other motion and when adopted continue in force until rescinded or modified. All temporary rules shall be reviewed by the Executive Committee at the beginning of each academic year, and any changes shall be proposed in the first meeting of the Senate in any academic year.
4. Membership Roster and Constitution. The secretary of the Senate shall furnish to each senator a copy of the current membership roster of the Senate at the beginning of each academic year and to each new senator a copy of the Constitution, Bylaws, Rules and Temporary Rules. Revisions shall be furnished to each senator.
5. Referral. The normal procedure for introducing business before the Senate is through the submission of proposals by a senator or faculty member to the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee may place such a proposal on the agenda of the Senate for immediate consideration, or refer it to an appropriate standing committee or to an ad hoc committee, or refuse to consider it. The Executive Committee shall then inform the senator or faculty member making the proposal forthwith of its disposition.
6. Communications. All communications addressed to the Senate shall be presented to the Senate at the time specified for communications in the agenda. Any communication requesting action by the Senate must be read to the Senate when it is convened. All written communications from the president of the university shall be submitted immediately upon receipt to the Executive Committee if the communication requests action by the Senate.
7. Committee Reports. Reports of all committees when carrying recommendations for Senate action shall be circulated among the senators at least three days prior to the meeting of the Senate at which action is requested. Distribution of such reports, if not included with the agenda materials, is the responsibility of the reporting committee.
8. Participation of Non-Members. Non-members shall address the Senate only upon request of the Senate or at the invitation of any committee of the Senate.
9. Agenda. Unless otherwise directed by the Senate, the order of the agenda shall be:
The term “Old Business” shall include those matters listed by Robert’s Rules of Order under the heading, “Unfinished Business and General Orders.” Motions to reconsider decisions taken at a previous meeting or to discharge a committee from consideration of a proposal shall be in order at this time.
The term “New Business” shall refer to proposals and announcements which have not been placed on the agenda by the Executive Committee. Non-substantial matters, such as votes of thanks or condolences, requests for information, or proposals to refer to committee may be introduced from the floor and discussed by the Senate. Proposals requiring substantial action by the Senate, if not included with the agenda materials, shall be referred to committee or placed on the agenda of the next meeting.
10. Address. Members of the Senate shall be addressed as “senator” in all formal and informal proceedings of the Senate.
11. Debate. Discussions and debate in the Senate shall be governed by the following rules:
a. Senators shall speak only when recognized by the chair and shall stand when addressing the Senate.
b. Discussion or explanation of motions cannot proceed unless (a) the motion is seconded or (b) given permission by the Senate.
c. The first speech regarding any motion shall be the prerogative of the initiator of the motion.
d. Individual speeches on any motion are limited to five minutes per member. A second speech on the same motion is permissible only after every senator has had an opportunity to speak to the motion and if the time limit for the debate of the motion has not expired. Second and succeeding speeches are also limited to five minutes.
e. Time limits for debate may be set by a two-thirds vote of the assembled senators voting. Time limits may be extended in the same manner.
f. Debate may be closed by calling for the question with a two-thirds vote of the assembled senators concurring.
g. Open discussion on the floor may be accomplished by a motion, with a majority concurring, to consider the question informally.
12. Voting. Voting in the Senate shall be governed by the following rules:
a. The normal method of voting shall be voice vote.
b. Standing votes or show of hands may be asked for by a senator and cannot be refused by the chair or Senate.
c. Roll call votes and secret ballots may be demanded by majority vote of the assembled senators voting and shall take precedence over (2) of Rule 12.
d. The president of the Senate shall appoint four official tellers at the first meeting of each academic year to serve for that year. Temporary tellers may be appointed for any single meeting attended by less than two official tellers.
e. A majority shall be defined as more than half of the votes cast by persons legally entitled to vote, excluding blanks or abstentions, at a regular or properly called meeting at which a quorum is present.
f. A two-thirds vote must be used under the following actions:
(a) Suspend rules
(b) Close or limit debate
(c) Close or limit nominations and voting
(d) Take away membership
(e) Change the order of business
13. Election of Senate Officers. Election of Senate officers shall be governed by the following rules:
a. After the members of the Senate for the coming academic year have been elected, the secretary of the Senate shall distribute to each person who will be serving I the Senate during the coming year a ballot on which shall be printed the names of all senators who will be serving for the next year.
b. Incoming senators shall select one nominee for the office of president-elect and return the ballot to the secretary of the Senate.
c. The ballots will be opened and tabulated by the president of the Senate, the secretary and one representative from each of the colleges. The result of this balloting will be announced and communicated to each person who will be serving in the Senate during the coming year. Elections will be held at a special meeting of persons who will be serving in the Senate during the next year.
d. At the meeting, the names of the three persons (and ties) receiving the highest number of votes will be placed in nomination for the office of president-elect of the Faculty Senate.
e. The person receiving a majority of votes cast shall be elected president-elect. If no nominee receives a majority vote on the first ballot, the two nominees receiving the highest number of votes will be placed on the second ballot.
f. If the person elected president-elect is about to enter the final year of his/her term, then that person shall be awarded another term in the Senate at the conclusion of his/her current term. The additional term shall count toward the total number of seats apportioned to the president’s academic unit.
g. Printed ballots containing the names in nominations shall be distributed, marked, returned and counted during the meeting.
h. The secretary shall be elected by nomination from the floor.
i. The parliamentarian shall be appointed by the president-elect prior to the first meeting of the Senate for the new academic year.
j. In the event of a vacancy in the office of president, the president-elect shall succeed to the office, and the Senate will elect a president-elect at its next regular meeting. The Executive Committee will fill the vacant office of secretary by a temporary appointment until the next Senate meeting, at which time the Senate will elect a replacement to fill the position for the remainder of the term.
k. The Senate may by resolution adopt procedures to implement the provisions of this rule.
14. Election of Senators. Election of Senate members shall be governed by the following rules?
a. Election of library and departmental representatives shall take place in department meetings of qualified faculty members prior to the second Tuesday of March of each year. All full-time faculty members in the departments will be eligible to vote.
b. Two copies of a list of department members qualified to serve in the Faculty Senate shall be passed to each full-time member present at the beginning of the meeting. The Constitutional statement of eligibility for election to the Senate (Article 2 Membership) shall apply to all elections.
c. On the first of these lists, the department member shall check the name of the person desired to represent the department in the Faculty Senate. These nomination lists shall be collected and tabulated by the two members present with the lowest seniority in time of service. The names of two qualified persons who receive the largest number of nominations shall be announced.
d. Once this has been done, the department members present should be asked to check on their second list the name of the person from the two nominees for whom they wish to vote. These ballots should also be folded and then collected and counted by the two members present with lowest seniority. The nominee who receives the largest number of votes shall be declared elected.
e. Immediately after the election, the department shall inform the president of the Senate by letter of the name of the departmental representative.
f. One or two alternates may be elected following the same procedure.
15. Function of Standing Committees. The functions of the standing committees are as follows.
a. Academic Life. This committee shall study matters relating to the well-being of the faculty, including tenure, promotion, compensation and raises, fringe benefits, and interdepartmental/intercollegiate relationships.
b. Academic Practice. This committee shall evaluate matters relating to academic practice, instruction, testing and grading, faculty and administrative performance, research and grants, graduation requirements and recognition of students for scholastic performance.
c. Admission and Retention of Students. This committee shall review proposals relating to the recruitment, admission, retention and dismissal of students.
d. Budget. This committee shall monitor the implementation and participate in the evaluation of the current year’s university budget and shall inform the faculty on budgetary matters. It shall survey the faculty through questionnaires, open hearings, and/or other means to learn the faculty’s goals and priorities for the coming year(s) and shall use the information gathered in this process to develop recommendations for university priorities consistent with those goals. Its recommendations shall be forwarded to the Advisory Committee on Planning for its use in developing university goals. The Senate shall be represented on the Advisory Committee on Planning by the chair of the Budget Committee and by one other senator elected by the Senate at the meeting during which Senate officers for the coming year are elected. The committee shall participate in each state of the university budget process, either through its chair or through the chair’s designee(s) from the Budget Committee.
e. Curriculum. This committee shall evaluate course offerings and general requirements for graduation, recommending, additions, deletions and modifications where deemed appropriate.
f. Faculty Awards. This committee shall develop guidelines, establish and implement the selection process and provide for recognition of recipients referred to the committee.
g. Organization of the Senate. This committee shall consider proposals relating to changes in the Constitution, Bylaws, or Rules of the Senate, or proposals for measures which will improve the operations and procedures of the Senate.
h. University Facilities and Scheduling. This committee shall consider all issues which relate to facilities and scheduling, including such matters as registration (on-campus, off-campus, pre-registration), scheduling of classes, scheduling of various regular events and the use and scheduling of facilities.
References: Prior ETSU Policies II H and B-1 approved June 3, 1983; revised September 6, 1983, November 5, 1985; February 7, 1986; March 6, 1990; October 2, 1990; April 5, 1994; October 6, 1994; October 20, 2005; February 5, 2006; former number A12.03.
Contact for Interpretation: Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs