Faculty Senate Charter

Policy Statement.
A university is a community of scholars engaged in the free discussion, research and dissemination of ideas and knowledge. To the end that the governing of this university shall embody the  full freedom of  discussion, participation and examination of ideas by faculty, students and administrators in the search for truth, the administration and the faculty of the University of North Texas hereby establish and promulgate this Charter of the Faculty Senate of the University of North Texas.
 
Application of Policy.
All Faculty
 
Definitions.
 
1. Reapportion. “Reapportion” means re-allocate, distribute senators on the basis of population within the colleges/schools/departments
 
2. Shared governance. “Shared governance” means involvement of faculty in decisions concerning academic matters
 
Procedures and Responsibilities.
 
A.   Faculty Senate Charter

 
Preamble: A university is a community of scholars engaged in the free discussion, research and dissemination of ideas and knowledge. To the end that the governing of this university shall embody the full freedom of discussion, participation and examination of ideas by faculty, students and administrators in the search for truth, the administration and the faculty of the University of North Texas hereby establish and promulgate this Charter of the Faculty Senate of the University of North Texas.
 
Article I.  Role and Competence of the Faculty Senate
The Faculty Senate advocates for shared governance and in doing so encourages faculty to participate and discuss academic matters to ensure that academic quality remains a priority at UNT.  The membership acts on matters of academic affairs for the university (amended
05-2010), with due regard to the requests and needs of the specific departments, divisions, schools and colleges, to the advice of the president and vice-president for academic affairs (amended 05-1998) of the university, and to the regulations of the Board of Regents of the University of North Texas and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Policies developed by the Faculty Senate become official when published by the president in the official university policy publication. The Senate represents the view of the faculty to the UNT Administration.
 
The Faculty Senate may consider all matters of general welfare to the university including matters raised by senators, by senate committees and by the president of the university, and, through petition, by any other administrative official or body, and by any full-time faculty member who shall then have the right to speak to the petition. Final authority for decisions, however, is vested in the Board of Regents, Chancellor, and the President. The President may delegate authority to other members of the University administration as allowed by state law and Regents Rules. (amended 05-2010)
 
Article II.  Composition of the Faculty Senate
Section 1. The Faculty Senate shall be composed of a maximum of 50 (amended 11-2009) voting senators.
 
Section 2. There shall be a maximum of 40 senators elected by and from groupings of the instructional units. These groupings shall consist of schools, divisions and similar large units.
 
Section 3. There shall be eight senators elected by and from the faculty at large, apportioned by academic rank.
 
Section 3.5. (amended 11-2009) There shall be two full-time lecturers elected by and from the ranks of full-time lecturers. Lecturers shall participate in all matters before the Faculty Senate with the exception of matters related to tenure and promotion of tenure-track or tenured faculty. For the purposes of this section full-time lecturers shall include clinical faculty. Lecturers must have at least a three-year contract. (amended 05-2010)
 
Section 4.
There shall be two students elected by the Student Association (modified 05- 1998). These student senators shall have the status of observers, with the rights of speaking and serving with a vote on committees of the Faculty Senate, but they shall not vote on decisions of the Faculty Senate as a whole.
 
Section 5.
The Faculty Senate shall reapportion itself at least (amended 11-2009) every three years as defined in Article III, Section 3 below (modified 05-1998) in time for the spring election of senators in the third year of each term.
Reapportionment shall be achieved by dividing 40 into the membership of the entire full- time faculty, including full-time lecturers, and applying the quotient thus obtained to the
voting groups in such a manner as to give representation proportionate to members; the number of senators-at-large, lecturer senators and student senators shall remain at eight, two and two, respectively (amended 11-2009).
 
Article III. Terms, Qualifications and Elections
Section 1.
(Amended 04-2006, ratified 05-2006) The term of office for each faculty senator shall be three years.  Faculty senators may serve a maximum of two full consecutive terms. A faculty senator may take a leave of absence from the senate of up to one semester. Taking a leave of absence from the senate that shall extend longer than one semester shall constitute that senator’s resignation from the senate; the chair of the senate shall thereupon declare a vacancy in the membership of the senate.
 
Section 2. The term of office for each student senator shall be one year. Student senators may serve a maximum of two full consecutive terms.
 
Section 3. (amended 06-1975) Qualifications for faculty senators shall be full-time faculty status excluding chairs. Interim chairs can be on the Faculty Senate only if their appointment as interim chair is for one academic year or less. Their senate membership will be terminated if their appointment is extended. For purposes of this and all other pertinent provisions, the term “full-time faculty status” shall be defined as including instructors/librarians, assistant professors, associate professors and professors  who normally carry a full teaching and/or research load in a tenured or tenure track position (amended 05-1998). The term “full-time faculty status” also shall be defined as including resident artists (as full professors), librarians (as instructors), and full-time lecturers (amended 11-2009) with three or five year contracts. (amended 05-2010)
 
Section 4.
Qualifications for student senators shall be the attainment of 45 semester hours by the time of election.
 
Section 5. (amended 12-1976, ratified 09-1977, approved 10-1981/03-2002, amended 04- 2006, ratified 05-2006) A vacancy shall be declared if a senator is absent from three meetings of the Faculty Senate within a Senate year (Sept-Aug), and the chair of the senate may thereupon immediately declare a vacancy in the membership of the senate; or for good cause in the judgment of the chair, such declaration may be deferred or omitted. In the event of a declared vacancy, whether caused by a senator’s absences, resignation, or taking a leave of absence longer than one semester, the Faculty Senate Election Committee shall conduct a special election among the appropriate electorate to fill the vacancy. A senator dropped from membership because of three absences is eligible for re-election; however, for the purposes of determining the length of continuous membership in the senate (as in the case of limitation of two consecutive three-year terms) a senator who is re- elected to fill a vacancy for a position which he or she has just vacated shall be deemed to have had continuous membership. A specially elected senator shall be seated in the next regular Faculty Senate meeting following his or her election and shall serve the remainder of the senator’s term.  No vacancy shall exist if a senator-at-large, elected from a specific
=academic rank, is promoted to a new rank during his or her term of office in the senate. The senator-at-large shall complete the elected term. Senators who have a regularly scheduled commitment, such as a Wednesday afternoon class, shall take a semester leave from the Senate. Normal procedures to fill the vacancy will apply. (amended 05-2010)
 
Absences from three consecutive meetings of a senate committee, except in the case of ex officio members, shall constitute automatic resignation from the committee by the member, and the chair of each senate committee shall report such absences to the chair of the Faculty Senate, who may thereupon immediately declare a vacancy in the membership of the committee; or for good cause in the judgment of the chair of the senate, such declaration may be deferred or omitted. In the event of a declared vacancy, or in the event of a vacancy caused by a resignation from a committee and/or the senate by a committee member, the chair of the senate shall notify the Committee on Committees, which shall nominate a replacement in accordance with nominating procedures of the senate.
 
Section 6. Qualifications for voting in the elections for all faculty senators shall be full-time faculty status in a tenured or tenure-track position, full-time status as a professional librarian, or full-time lecturers. (amended 05-2010)
 
Section 7.
(amended 02-1972, ratified 02-1972) Elections shall be held by all electorates during the spring semester of each year in which terms of senators representing such electorates expire. The election period for Faculty Senate positions of instructional units shall be completed by the 15th day of each March. The election for Faculty Senate positions of the university-at-large shall take place after the 15th day of each March, but nominations for senators-at-large may be made prior to that date. Elections shall be by secret ballot and shall be supervised by an appropriate committee of the Faculty Senate.
 
Section 8. (amended 03-1997, ratified 04-1997) The Faculty Senate shall be organized each year at the September meeting at which time all new senators shall take office. Terms of office shall thus begin with the September meeting and shall expire at the “Call to Order” of the September meeting of the appropriate year of the expiration of the term.
 
Article IV. Officers and Committees of the Faculty Senate
Section 1.
(amended 02-1972, ratified 02-1972; 02-2000, ratified 04-2000; 03-2002) A chair shall be elected from among the senate at the May meeting. It shall be the chair’s duty to preside at meetings of the senate. The chair shall vote only in the case of a tie vote. The term of the chair shall be from July 1st to June 30th.
 
Section 2. (amended 02-2000, ratified 04-2000) The Faculty Senate shall elect from among its members a vice chair, who shall preside in the absence of the chair, and such other officers as it deems appropriate. It shall define the additional duties of its officers. The officers shall be elected at the May senate meeting and terms of office shall be from July 1st to June 30th. Election of the vice chair and other Senate officers shall follow the procedures stipulated in Section 1 of this Article.

Section 3. Committees of the Faculty Senate shall include an Executive Committee, Committee on Committees, a Curriculum Committee, an Academic Affairs Committee, a Faculty Research Committee, a Charter and Bylaws Committee and such other standing and temporary/ad hoc committees as the Faculty Senate shall from time to time create. (amended 05-2010)
 
Section 4.
(ratified 02-1980, amended 10-1981, amended 03-1997, ratified 04-1997) The Committee on Committees shall consist of nine senators elected at the September meeting of the Faculty Senate plus the chair, vice chair and the secretary of the senate. In turn, the Committee on Committees shall then appoint other members to other committees, subject to the approval of the senate. Where appropriate and subject to the approval of the Faculty Senate, the Committee on Committees may appoint faculty members (including lecturers and instructors), administrators, staff, and students from outside the membership of the Faculty Senate. (amended 05-2010)
 
Section 5. (approved 02-2006, ratified 05-2006) Faculty Senate officers serve at the pleasure of the Senate. A Faculty Senate officer may be removed from office by a two- thirds vote of the voting members of the Senate (vacant Senate seats shall not be counted in determining the two-thirds majority needed for removal of an officer). A motion to remove an officer shall be privileged, taking precedence over any other Senate business except the election of officers. A resolution for removal of an officer may be introduced by any Senator, and must be seconded by at least two other Senators in order for a vote for removal to be taken. A twice-seconded motion for removal of an officer shall be considered a first reading of the motion. The vote of Senators on a resolution to remove an officer shall be conducted at the next regularly scheduled Senate meeting, or at a special session of the Senate called for that purpose, to be held no sooner than two weeks after the motion is introduced and seconded. Should an officer be removed before the completion of that officer’s regular term of office, the Senate shall immediately elect a member of the Senate to fill the resulting vacancy and to complete the remainder of the uncompleted term of office.
 
Article V.  Meetings and Procedures of the Faculty Senate
Section 1
. The Faculty Senate shall hold a regular meeting at least once each month from September through June of each year, with the exception of January. (amended 05-2010)
 
Section 2. Special meetings of the Faculty Senate may be called by the chair on his or her own motion. The chair must call a special meeting when petitioned to do so by 20 percent of the senators.
 
Section 3. The Faculty Senate shall be the sole judge of its own rules and procedures.
 
Section 4.
There will be a Faculty Senate Procedures Manual that will contain procedures for the Faculty Senate and its committees.

Article VI. Status of Existing and other Faculty Governmental Bodies
Section 1.
With the organization of the Faculty Senate, the Faculty Council was dissolved (05-1998). As the Faculty Senate proceeds to establish certain committees to carry out its business and as such committees are formed, any existing university faculty committee that has similar functions shall then be dissolved.
 
Section 2. There shall be a University Promotion and Tenure Committee (UPTC) (amended 02-2009) whose members shall not be appointed by the Committee on Committees but shall be elected by the faculty at large. The UPTC shall be responsible for developing and amending reappointment, promotion, and tenure policies, in consultation with the President of the University of North Texas, in light of and with respect for principles of shared governance, on behalf of the faculty and subject to ratification by the Faculty Senate of the University of North Texas. It is understood that the President is vested with authority by the Board of Regents to approve reappointment, promotion,  and tenure policies.(amended 02-2010) The UPTC has responsibility for creating procedures for handling specific complaints or grievances concerning reappointment, promotion and tenure. (amended 02-2010)
 
Section 3. There shall be a University Review Committee whose members shall not be appointed by the Committee on Committees but shall be elected by the faculty at large. The URC shall be responsible, subject to the approval of the faculty,  for drafting and implementing structures and procedures for appealing questions of faculty salary, academic freedom, and other major issues, excepting promotion and tenure. (amended 02-2010)
 
Article VII. Amendments
Section 1.
(amended 03-1977, ratified 09-1977, approved 10-1981) The charter of the Faculty Senate may be amended in either of the following ways. Sub-section a. Initiation by two-thirds of the senators present at any regular Faculty Senate meeting, followed by ratification of three-fourths of all full-time faculty members voting. To be eligible for initiation by the senate, the amendment must have been considered by the Charter and Bylaws Committee and must be presented for a first reading at the meeting preceding the one at which it shall be voted upon. Sub-section b. Initiation by petition of 20 percent of the full-time faculty members calling for a special faculty meeting. Upon verification of the petition, the Faculty Senate must call such a faculty meeting within 30 days from receipt of the petition. The only subject for discussion at this meeting shall be the proposed amendment. If a majority of those attending the meeting favor the amendment, it shall be initiated. Ratification shall then be by the same method as in “sub-section a” above.
 
Section 2. (amended 03-1977, ratified 09-1977, approved 10-1981) Amendments and additions to the Bylaws shall be initiated by a first reading at any regular meeting of the Faculty Senate and shall be ratified by a simple majority of the senators attending the next regular meeting. The first reading shall be regarded as an announcement of pending consideration; debate on the proposed amendment shall take place at the second reading,
at the next regular meeting of the senate. Such amendments and additions to the bylaws shall be published in the minutes and distributed to the entire faculty. Changes in the titles of offices and of academic units shall be made in the Bylaws as they occur by the Charter and Bylaws Committee. All such changes shall be reported to the senate at its next regular meeting, and such changes shall become final when so reported, unless the senate shall vote to treat the report as a first reading of a proposed Bylaw.
 
Section 3. Deleted (amended 11-2009)
 
Approved: 08/1988  Effective: 08/1988  Revised: 05/2010