Bylaws of the Faculty Senate
Article 1. Name and Authority
The name of this organization is the Faculty Senate of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, referred to hereinafter as the Faculty Senate, or Senate.
The Faculty Senate acts on the authority delegated to it by Series 40101 of the Rules & Regulations of the University of Texas Board of Regents, and by the Faculty of the UTHSCSA.
The Faculty Senate may present recommendations to the President of the UTHSCSA, Deans, and Executive Committee of the University, the Assemblies of the various Schools of the UTHSCSA, the various University and School committees and Administrators, and the Office of the Chancellor and Board of Regents of the University of Texas System, as appropriate and as specified by the Regents' Rules.
Article 2. Mission of the Faculty Senate
The Mission of the Faculty Senate of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, as guaranteed by Regents' Rules and Regulations, is to provide representation for the University Faculty so as to ensure that every member of the Faculty has a voice regarding issues that may affect his or her rights, privileges, responsibilities, and welfare as regarding the teaching, research, and clinical programs and services of the UTHSCSA.
The UTHSCSA Faculty Senate shall seek actively to contribute constructive discussion and actions that foster the goals and missions of the Institution, and to provide opportunities for campus-wide communication among the Faculty of all of the Schools and Departments, as well as between the Faculty and the Administration.
The Faculty Senate will accomplish its mission by activities it initiates or undertakes, including, but not limited to, the following:
a) Holding regularly scheduled meetings of elected faculty representatives to discuss and debate issues of importance to the Faculty regarding the academic missions and strategic planning of the UTHSCSA; and making appropriate recommendations to the Faculty or the Administration;
b) Fostering faculty initiatives and activities, and promoting these to the UTHSCSA administration, schools, departments, centers and programs, and the individual school Faculty Assemblies;
c) Considering academic and faculty issues that have been raised initially in a Faculty Assembly of an individual School, presented by that Assembly to the Senate for its review and recommendations;
d) Providing a forum for individual faculty members to present issues for consideration, discussion and possible recommendations for action that may affect the rights, privileges, responsibilities and welfare of the UTHSCSA Faculty;
e) Serving as a representative voice of the UTHSCSA Faculty for providing views, opinions or advice to any individual, body or agency regarding any matter or issue that may affect the Faculty or University;
f) Serving as the liaison between the UTHSCSA Faculty and the UT System Faculty Advisory Council (FAC).
Article 3. Senate Membership
Section 1: Responsibilities of Senators
The main responsibility of each member of the Faculty Senate is to serve the Faculty-at-Large, including those faculty who are ineligible to serve on the Senate itself, as a representative concerned with issues and activities of importance to the welfare of the Institution. While serving to represent the Faculty regarding institutional issues, the members of the Faculty Senate will not attempt to disrupt or supersede the activities of the Faculty Assemblies of the individual schools, and will not be concerned with issues unique only to a single school unless requested to do so by the Faculty Assembly of that school.
Senators are charged with bringing issues to the Senate from the Faculty, and from departments, programs and the assemblies of the schools from which they are elected, and with informing their respective faculties, departments, programs and assemblies about issues being considered, as well as issues and actions taken within the Senate.
It is expected that all Senators will attend all meetings of the Senate unless an appropriate excuse is forwarded to the Chair of the Senate prior to the meeting day. Any member of the Senate, other than an ex officio member, who is absent without excuse from three regularly scheduled meetings during an academic year, will forfeit the position. The Chair of the Senate will monitor attendance and notify a senate member of loss of appointment. A replacement will be chosen by the procedure for filling vacancies described in Article 3, Section 7 of these Bylaws.
Section 2: Composition of Membership by School
The number of Senate positions in each school will be as follows:
School of Allied Health Sciences: 4
Dental School: 4
Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences: 4
School of Medicine: 8
School of Nursing: 4
The appropriateness of the numbers of Senate positions in each school will be reviewed every five years, in the years ending with 0 or 5. If the numbers and distribution of Senate members representing each school is changed, Senate approval is required and an Amendment to the Senate Bylaws is required as prescribed in the Article 7 below. At no time will the minimum number of faculty representatives per school be fewer than four.
Section 3: Eligibility for Senate Membership
All UTHSCSA faculty members from the rank of Assistant Professor or above as defined by the Regents' Rules, tenured or non-tenured, who are employed full-time by the University are eligible for membership in the Senate. Administrative faculty are not eligible for membership in the Faculty Senate. Administrative faculty are defined as all who are included in the line structure of the University from the President through and including all Vice-Presidents, Deans, sub-level deans, and the Chairs of the academic departments.
Section 4: Eligibility for Voting Privileges
All faculty members who meet the criteria for membership in the Faculty Senate are eligible to vote for their Senate representatives. In addition, all full time faculty at the Instructor level who have been employed for at least two academic years will be eligible to vote on Senate membership. In the event that a faculty member has joint responsibilities in two or more operating units of the UTHSCSA, voting privileges on Senate membership are granted for only the school of primary appointment.
Section 5: Terms of Office for Senate Members
The term of office for a Senate member is three years, commencing on September 1 of the calendar year elected. A maximum of two consecutive three-year terms is allowed for each member of the Senate. After serving two consecutive three-year terms, a faculty member can be elected in any but the immediate subsequent election cycle. The terms of office of Senators are to be staggered, when possible, such that approximately one-third of the membership from each School is elected each year.
A roll of the Senate membership, including the dates of election of each member, is to be held and maintained by the Chair of the Senate, with the assistance of the Chair-Elect.
Section 6: Election Procedure for Senate Members
Each academic year (prior to February 1), the Chair of the Senate is to notify the Chair of the Faculty Assembly of each School that an election should be held to replace outgoing Senators, and to specify the correct number of Senators to be elected. Each Faculty Assembly shall conduct its election of Senate representatives as soon as possible in order to guarantee that the names of new Senators are forwarded to the Senate Chair prior to June 1.
It is the expectation of the Senate that the nomination and election process in the Assemblies will follow these broad guidelines: 1) Two or more eligible candidates, as defined in Section 3 above, for each Senate vacancy are to be nominated by each Faculty Assembly in a democratic process; 2) Each Assembly shall insure that only voting eligible faculty will vote for the school's Senate representatives; 3) Candidates for each position receiving the highest number of votes by secret ballot are elected; 4) Officers of the Assemblies are eligible for election to the Senate; 5) Assemblies are encouraged to insure broad departmental representation in the Senate; and, 6) the Chair of each Faculty Assembly is to inform the Chair of the Senate of the election results within seven days of the election
Section 7: Mid-term Vacancies of Senate Members
Vacancies on the Senate that occur between regularly scheduled elections are to be filled by a special election called by the Chair of the Faculty Assembly of the School in which the vacancy occurs. If less than six months remain to be served, the Assembly Chair of the respective school may identify an individual to fill the vacancy.
Section 8: Ex Officio Membership
The following individuals serve as ex officio members of the Senate without a vote:
a) The President of the UTHSCSA, or the President's designee.
b) The Chairs of the Faculty Assemblies or their designees (if the Chair is not an elected Senator).
Article 4. Senate Officers and Executive Committee
Section 1: Senate Officers
There are three officers of the Senate: Chair, Chair-Elect, and Immediate Past Chair. The Chair-Elect is elected at the meeting of the Faculty Senate each year; he or she succeeds to the Chair the following year, and to Immediate Past-Chair the year after that. All members of the Senate, except the ex officio members, are eligible to be officers of the Senate.
Section 2: Duties of Officers
a) Chair of the Faculty Senate
The Chair presides at all meetings of the Senate, chairs the Executive Committee of the Senate, calls special meetings of the Senate when necessary, nominates the Chairs and members of the Senate's standing and ad hoc committees subject to the Senate's approval, provides instruction and orientation concerning the operations of the Senate to new Senators at the beginning of each academic year, approves minutes of Senate meetings prior to distribution, prepares a year-end report on Senate activities, and represents the Senate for purposes of communicating the opinions and recommendations of the Senate to the Administration of the UTHSCSA and to other appropriate institutional forums. The Chair is permitted to vote only in the case of a tie on any issue that may require a two-thirds majority for passage. The Chair serves on the UT System Faculty Advisory Council as one of the UTHSCSA representatives. After the completion of the one-year term of office, the Chair serves as Immediate Past Chair on the Executive Committee of the Senate.
The Chair-Elect presides at meetings and performs the duties of the Chair in his/her absence. The Chair-Elect is, in effect, a three-year term of office (Chair-Elect, one year; Chair, one year; Past-Chair, one year). The Chair-elect has the same voting privileges as other members of the Senate. The Chair-Elect serves on the UT System Faculty Advisory Council as one of the UTHSCSA representatives. The Chair-Elect is responsible for recording and maintenance of the minutes and all other records of the Senate's business during his/her one-year term as Chair-Elect.
c) Immediate Past Chair
The Immediate Past Chair of the Senate continues to serve in the Senate as a member of the Senate Executive Committee for a period of one year after expiration of his or her term as Chair, even if that term of office as elected Senator has expired. During his or her term as Immediate Past Chair, full voting privileges are retained, including the right to vote as part of the full Senate, as well as a member of the Senate Executive Committee.
d) Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate
The Senate Executive Committee is composed of the Senate's three executive officers (the Chair, Chair-Elect, and Immediate Past Chair) plus the Chair of the Senate's Committee on Committees and the Chairs of the Senate's Standing Committees. The Senate Chair presides over the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee functions as the administrative council of the Senate and assists the Chair in all aspects of managing the affairs of the Senate. In addition, the Executive Committee is to take actions specified by other parts of these Bylaws, including the setting of the agenda for all regular meetings of the Senate.
The Senate Executive Committee is responsible for distribution of topics for consideration by each of the four Standing Committees each year. These topics are to fall within the general scope and purview of these Committees, as described in Sections 4 through 7 of this Article, and are subject to the review of the full Senate. The Senate Executive Committee may develop additional charges for the Standing Committees at any time during the academic year according to the same procedures. All formal charges to the Standing Committees shall be recorded as they occur in the Minutes of the Senate business.
Section 3: Election of Officers
a) Annual Elections
Following the annual elections of the Members of the Senate, but prior to the beginning of each academic year, nominations for Chair-Elect are to be solicited by the Committee on Committees from the full Senate. The names of nominees are to be communicated to the Senate at least seven (7) days prior to the first regularly scheduled meeting of the Senate in order to allow a vote to be taken at that meeting. Having received a majority vote by secret ballot from the Senators, the new Chair-Elect begins a 3-year term (one year each as the Chair-Elect, Chair, Immediate Past-chair). If the three-year term of office exceeds the remainder of the Chair-Elect's term as a Senate representative from one of the Schools, the Senate term is automatically extended to allow completion of the three-year term.
b) Mid-Term Vacancies of Officers
In the event the Chair does not complete his/her term of office, the Chair-Elect is to succeed to that office and continue as Chair for the following year. In the event the Chair-Elect does not complete his/her term of office, the Senate is to elect a member of the Senate to serve out the remainder of the term of office. The election should follow the process described in the previous section of these Bylaws. In the event the Immediate Past Chair does not complete his/her term of office, the Chair is to appoint another member of the Senate to fill this position on the Executive Committee for the remainder of the year.
Article 5. Committees and Committee Structure
The day-to-day business of the Senate is primarily carried out through the activities of its Committees (see below). In addition to the Senate Executive Committee, there will be three types of working committees: the Standing Committees, the ad hoc Committees, and the Committee on Committees which provides input on the membership of all committees except itself.
Section 1. Committee on Committees.
The Committee on Committees oversees the organization of all standing and ad hoc Senate committees, including recommending faculty members to the Chair of the Senate, for appointment to each committee. The Committee on Committees also oversees the solicitation of nominees for Chair-Elect of the Senate as described in Article 4, Section 3 of these Bylaws.
The Committee on Committees is composed of five members of the Senate who are to be elected for three-year terms by the Senate. Members of the Senate elected to the Committee on Committees should possess sufficient experience with matters of the Senate so as to provide both continuity to the Senate committee system, as well as standing committee memberships capable of effectively reaching their goals. Therefore, following elections of the Officers of the Senate at the first Senate meeting of the academic year, election of members to the Committee on Committees will proceed such that 1) Nominations are solicited from members of the Senate, 2) Each school will have a member on the Committee on Committees, 3) Eligible candidates for the Committee on Committees must have a minimum of one full year experience on the UTHSCSA Faculty Senate, and 4) Whenever possible, Committee membership will be staggered such that no more than two members of the Committee are elected in a given year. In the event that the Senate term of a Committee on Committees member expires, membership on the Committee on Committees will continue to the end of the three-year term.
c) The elected Chair of the Committee on Committees will serve on the Senate Executive Committee throughout his or her term as Chair of the Committee.
Section 2. Standing Committees
There are four Standing Committees of the Senate: Academic Affairs, Scholarly Activities and Faculty Service, Faculty Governance, and Faculty Status and Welfare.
a) Committee Membership
Each Committee Chair, in consultation with the Chair of the Senate and the members of the Committee on Committees, is responsible for providing nominations for the membership of Standing Committees. The Chair of the Senate then presents the nominees for membership on the Standing and ad hoc Committees to the full Senate for approval. Approval requires a majority vote of the Senate. Nominees that do not carry a majority approval vote are to be returned to the Chair of the Senate for re-consideration;
Each Standing Committee is to have a minimum of five members with at least one member from each School. Up to 50% of the membership of each of the Standing Committees may be drawn from the Faculty at-Large (non-members of the Senate).
b) Committee Chairs
The Chair of each Standing Committee is nominated each year by the Chair of the Senate in consultation with the members of the Committee on Committees. It is the responsibility of the Committee on Committees to guarantee that Standing Committee chairs, as a group, are composed of senators from each and every school of the UTHSCSA. This will insure campus-wide representation on the Senate Executive Committee. The Chair of the Senate will seek Senate approval of the nominees for Chair positions at the same time as for committee membership.
Standing Committees may appoint subcommittees with membership drawn from the Faculty at-Large, in consultation with the Chair of the Senate and the Committee on Committees. Subcommittees must be chaired by a Senate member of the parent Standing Committee.
Section 3. Operation of the Standing Committees
Each Committee is to meet as often as required to consider those issues within their general purview and specific charges, and any such matters that may be assigned to them by the Senate Executive Committee. The Standing Committees is to report at least once each quarter to the Executive Committee of the Senate. The Chair of the Senate is responsible for informing the Senate body regarding the business, progress and recommendations of each Standing Committee at least once each quarter. Committee recommendations may be accepted, endorsed or rejected by the body of the Senate upon majority vote of the Senate. Standing Committees are not to release any decisions, reports or recommendations outside the Senate unless specifically authorized by the full Senate. Each Standing Committee is to issue an annual report of its activities and recommendations to the Senate through the Executive Committee.
Section 4: Academic Affairs Committee
The Academic Affairs Committee is charged to consider all issues of importance to the Faculty that relate to the academic environment, including but not limited to:
a) Recruitment of new faculty and chairs (including endowed chairs), faculty workloads, and long range academic planning;
b) Evaluation of the Administration and its relationships with the Faculty;
c) Maintaining the quality of the curricula and the student bodies of each of the schools.
Section 5: Scholarly Activities and Faculty Service
The Scholarly Activities and Faculty Service Committee is charged to consider all issues of importance to the Faculty related to the research and clinical environments at the UTHSCSA, including but not limited to:
a) Planning, conducting and evaluating basic and clinical research, and other scholarly pursuits;
b) Allocating of space, facilities, service, intramural support and collaboration.
c) Clinical, research, laboratory and administrative services that faculty provides for the University.
Section 6: Faculty Governance Committee
The Faculty Governance Committee is charged to consider all issues concerned with interpretation of Institutional and System policies and regulations, including but not limited to:
a) Providing to the Faculty Senate, when required, interpretations of the policies stated in the UTHSCSA Handbook of Operating Procedures, and in the University of Texas Regent's Rules and Regulations; and monitor changes incorporated into those documents noting when revisions occur that affect the Faculty;
b) Considering issues that relate to the UTHSCSA and School budgets in relation to the governance of its faculty, and seeking opportunities for input by the Faculty into matters of interest to the Faculty;
c) Considering issues that relate to faculty grievances; this may include review of existing grievance procedures, as well as conducting Senate hearings on grievances and negotiating solutions, formal or informal, between the Faculty and the Administration, or between members of the faculty;
d) Promoting communication among members of the faculty and the various faculty groups and committees, and between the Faculty and the Administration, concerning rules, regulations, and policies of the UTHSCSA and of the UT System that are of importance to the Faculty.
Section 7: Faculty Status and Welfare Committee
The Faculty Status and Welfare Committee is charged to consider issues that relate to all aspects of faculty development including but not limited to:
a) Ensuring the open and fair treatment of all members of the faculty, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, or age;
b) Ensuring an open and fair system of faculty evaluation, promotion, granting tenure and of post-tenure review;
c) Identifying and developing training opportunities that promote faculty development.
Section 8. Ad Hoc Committees
The Senate Executive Committee may appoint, subject to the approval of the Senate, such ad hoc Committees as it deems necessary to pursue the mission of the Faculty Senate. These Committees should be established for a specific purpose and limited duration. The rules governing the operations of the Standing Committees also apply to all ad hoc Committees. Ad hoc Committees cannot appoint nor utilize subcommittees of extended membership without the authorization of the Senate Chair.
Article 6. Meetings of the Faculty Senate
Section 1: Regular Meetings of the Faculty Senate
There is to be at least ten regular meetings of the Senate, to be held monthly during the academic year, with the first meeting of the year being in September. The meeting dates, typically scheduled for the same day of the week and time each month, are set by majority vote of the Senators. These dates are to be posted on the Faculty Government web page and announced via email (with an attached agenda and meeting room number) to the Faculty-at-Large to give appropriate warning that a meeting of the Senate is about to take place.
Section 2: Special Meetings of the Faculty Senate
Special Meetings of the Senate may be called: 1) By the Senate Chair; 2) Upon written request by three or more members of the Senate to any member of the Senate Executive Committee; and/or 3) By petition of 25 or more full-time faculty members of University delivered to any member of the Senate Executive Committee. Notice of Special Meetings will be sent by the Chair-Elect of the Senate to all members of the Senate; the notice should contain the purpose, time, and place of the Special Meeting. Ordinarily, at least five working days must elapse between the time the notice is posted and the date of the Special Meeting.
Section 3: Quorum
A quorum of the Senate is defined as fifty percent of the total elected membership in attendance. In addition, each school must have at least two elected representatives present in order for official business to be conducted. The Chair-Elect shall determine if there is a quorum at the beginning of each meeting.
Section 4: Open Senate Meetings
Regular and Special meetings of the Senate are open to all members of the Faculty or Administration without right of participation. Without objection by a majority of the Senate members present, any person present has the right to participate in the specified discussion but may not vote.
Section 5: Invited Guests
Members of the Faculty, Staff or the Administration may be invited by the Senate Chair to attend meetings when subjects related to their areas of service are under discussion. Invited guests are non-voting.
Section 6: Voting Procedures
Voting on particular issues can be performed during Senate meetings by roll call, paper ballot or show of hands according to the rulings of the Parliamentarian. A secret ballot will be required for the election of officers of the Senate or on any issue if requested by at least one third of the voting members. With regard to voting for approval of meeting minutes, approval may be obtained via email in order to make minutes available to the faculty in a timely way.
Section 7: Agenda of the Senate
The agenda for each regular meeting of the Senate is to be distributed to the members of the Senate, and the meeting time and place announced at least five working days in advance of the meeting date.
Section 8: Communications of the Senate
a) Communications to Faculty
All written communications of the Senate to the Faculty is to be performed by email. All records of senate business, such as the notices and agenda of meetings, minutes of meetings, committee reports, actions, election results, the Senate budget and expenditures, all votes of record, and any other matter of significant record of Senate business is to be placed on the Senate web site. Records of Senate business are to be maintained on the Senate web site during the academic year, and retained and publicly accessible for at least one academic year beyond the current year. Following that, all records are to be electronically archived such that they can be retrieved on call by anyone.
b) Communications to Administration
Senate-approved proposals to UTHSCSA and UT System administrators, and to the UT System Faculty Advisory Council, are to follow conventional protocol of the University and the System through use of hard copy documents (letters, memoranda and reports), and copies of all such communications are to be placed as records of business on the Senate web site.
c) Minutes of Senate Meetings
The Chair-Elect of the Senate is responsible for preparing the minutes of each meeting of the Senate and for sending copies by email to each member of the Senate within five (5) working days following the meeting of record. Senators may request that minutes be amended. The amended minutes are then distributed to Senators in a timely way by email attachment for purposes of obtaining final approval by email vote. Approved minutes are distributed as follows:
a) to the Faculty-at-Large
b) for posting on the Faculty Government web page
c) to key members of the UTHSCSA Administration
A brief bulleted outline of the Senate's meeting minutes is submitted to the Editor of the HSCNews for publication in the first available issue.
d) Annual Report
The Faculty Senate is to prepare an annual report that describes the major Senate activities for that year and the issues that will be considered for the next year. The annual report is to be distributed electronically to the entire Faculty and the President of the University.
Section 9: Procedural Rules of the Faculty Senate
Meetings of the Senate are governed by the most recent edition of Robert's Rules of Order. The Parliamentarian is appointed by the Chair of the Senate according to Robert's Rules of Order, and is the final arbitrator of the Senate's meetings according to Robert's Rules of Order. Suspension of Robert's Rules of Order requires a two-thirds vote of those present. Debate may be closed by a two-thirds vote of the Senators present.
Article 7. Amendments
Amendments to the Bylaws of the Faculty Senate may be proposed by any member of the Senate at a regular meeting, or by one or more of the Faculty Assemblies of each School by a two-thirds vote of the members present at a regular meeting of such Assembly. Proposed amendments are to be placed on the agenda of the following regular meeting of the Senate for discussion and vote. Upon a two-thirds vote of the members of the Senate, the proposed amendment is submitted in the form of secret ballot by the Chair of the Senate to all members of The UTHSCSA Faculty who have voting privileges. Amendments approved by a majority of the ballots returned within 10 working days of the mailing, shall become effective immediately.