ENGLISH DEPARTMENT BYLAWS
The purpose of this document is to describe the organizational structure of the English Department at the Doña Ana Community College campus of New Mexico State University. The rules contained in these bylaws shall govern the department in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with New Mexico State University Policy.
ARTICLE I. CONSTITUTION AND FRANCHISE RIGHTS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH
In the broadest sense, the English faculty is made up of everyone who teaches in the department. The faculty is subdivided into two major categories. First is the tenured and tenure-track faculty. The term “tenure-track” in this document shall refer to both groups, with the terms “tenured” and “untenured” used where a distinction needs to be made. Tenure-track faculty make significant contributions to the community college through teaching, scholarly and creative activities, service, and outreach. Tenure-track faculty have the primary responsibility for departmental governance. Tenure-track faculty enjoy voting rights regarding all routine departmental matters and all policy issues. Any exceptions will be noted below.
The second group is comprised of a variety of non-tenure track temporary instructors and adjunct faculty—whether part- or full-time (here after referred to as contingent faculty). Of these two groups, the tenure-track faculty have the primary responsibility for departmental governance; however, all those teaching in the department are free to contribute to the department’s deliberations over policy and procedures, especially in areas of the department’s programs in which they are personally involved. Some of the formal ways in which they can contribute are specified in these bylaws.
The department will be administered by a Department Chair.
The Department Chair has broad administrative responsibilities over all the programs in the department. However, detailed administration of the various programs, including English, and reading and study skills, will be the responsibility respectively of different members of the faculty. Detailed administration may include but is not limited to program assessment, faculty mentoring, curriculum changes, supporting adjunct faculty, and reporting program needs to the department. Each of these curriculum specialists will be elected by the faculty and will be evaluated by the Department Chair and the Dean as part of the regular faculty evaluation process.
The Department Chair will be selected from a pool of tenured candidates within the department. For the selection of candidates, a committee of three tenured faculty from the department, with one member from the division at large and one member from the college at large will serve as a screening committee. This committee as a whole will submit the department’s recommendations on to the Division Dean and Vice President of Academic Affairs.
The Department Chair will serve a term of three to five years. The Department Chair will be given a formative review by faculty for each year he/she serves except on the year of his/her institutional evaluation.
1) The following responsibilities of the Department Chair are to be accomplished, insofar as possible, within budget and policy restraints.
a. Academic Leadership:
The department chair is expected to be the academic leader of the departmental faculty. The department chair is responsible for ensuring that highly qualified faculty are employed. Also, the department chair ensures that official transcripts, including highest degree earned are reviewed for every new faculty member. Insofar as possible, the kind of atmosphere in which the faculty can do their best work in teaching, research, and service should be maintained.
b. Faculty Development:
Leadership of the faculty implies working closely with the faculty on the development and sustenance of departmental courses and the stimulation and encouragement of faculty development. A performance evaluation of each faculty member will be carried out at least once a year as per the college Promotion and Tenure procedure and should be made in the positive vein of professional development. Evaluation of the progress of tenure-track faculty should be made in consultation with senior department faculty and in accordance with the highest standards of faculty performance.
c. Teaching Support:
The department chair has no more important task than ensuring teaching excellence. Encouragement and support of good teaching must be given to faculty, especially new faculty. Copies of current syllabi will be maintained. The department chair is responsible for ensuring an effective departmental evaluation of teaching.
d. Effective Management:
The department chair must ensure the effective administration of the department, including keeping the faculty fully informed of department, division, college, and university matters. Routine and special reports, and other matters, must be handled accurately and on time. These include but are not limited to:
- Developing class schedules and recommending faculty assignments to the Division Dean.
- Participating in student recruitment, advising, and placement activities.
- Administering daily operations of the department ensuring that policies and procedures are followed.
- Addressing student concerns and issues in conjunction with faculty when appropriate.
- Communicating regularly with satellite directors and department faculty regarding class schedules, curriculum, and program, department, and college matters.
- Handling routine departmental matters in a professional, accurate, and timely manner.
- Participating in professional development activities at the local, state and national level.
- Providing direction for curriculum/course development and assisting in class scheduling.
- Assisting in part-time faculty training and evaluation. Coordinate discipline faculty meetings.
e. Budget Manager:
Effective development and supervision of the department budget is important. The department chair will assist department faculty in developing the annual budget and keep the faculty informed on budgetary matters.
f. Departmental Advocate/Division and College Steward:
The department chair is expected to be an advocate of the department, yet at the same time appreciate the concerns and priorities of the division and college.
g. Liaison to Dean:
The department chair is responsible to the dean of the division for all activities of the department. The dean should be kept apprised of all department activities and concerns.
for communicating department status and needs to Division Dean through regular meetings and preparing individual and departmental reports as required, such as program review and assessment of student learning.
h. Policy Compliance:
The department chair is responsible for ensuring that department, division, and college regulations are adhered to.
ARTICLE II. DEPARTMENTAL COMMITTEES
The English Department has regular committees, consisting of standing committees, ad hoc committees, and task forces. Each of these committees has an area of responsibility and a specific makeup defined in these bylaws. Each committee is vested with the responsibility to consider issues germane to its area of responsibility and to make recommendations to the department as a whole. Each committee will elect its own chair at the first meeting. Ordinarily, each committee will meet at least once a month during the academic year, however committees are not obliged to meet if there is no pressing business. The time and place of the next meeting will be announced in the department meetings each month. Except for meetings of the screening committee when personnel issues are being discussed, departmental committee meetings are open. Any member of the department can ask for a copy of the agenda (when there is a formal agenda) and can attend the meeting. Some committees may have business to conduct during the summer as well. The regular committees of the department are: Screening Committees, Budget & Enrollment Committee, Area of Interest Committees and Adhoc Committees.
A. COMPOSITION & RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE COMMITTEES
Typically, departmental committees will have five members who are tenure-track faculty, all elected by the faculty. Members will serve for the term of the departmental charge to be completed. Elections to all committees will take place before or during the first regular faculty meeting of an academic year. If a faculty member resigns from a committee of which he or she is a member, a new member will be elected to replace him/her. The Department Chair is a member of all regular departmental committees with ex-officio status.
1) Screening Committees will have two members selected from the department’s tenure-track faculty members. They will be selected by department faculty. Two other members of the screening committee will be recommended by the department faculty: one from the division at large and the other from the college at large. The chair of any Screening Committee will ordinarily be tenured faculty from the department elected by the department faculty. The department recognizes the importance of constituting a committee with diverse representation and will strive to create committees with balance of both gender and ethnicity.
The primary responsibility of the Screening Committee is recommending for hire new tenure-track faculty members and the department chair. The committee makes recommendations concerning position descriptions to the department, screens applications according to NMSU’s procedures, and recommends a list of candidates to be interviewed. Scheduling and arrangement of candidate visits is primarily the responsibility of the Committee Chair, however, members of the Screening Committee should take some responsibility during interviews for campus tours and the transportation of the candidates. The Committee will determine a topic for the candidate’s teaching or administrative presentation, and the Committee Chair will be responsible for acquiring the room, technology, and advertising the presentation to the campus.
Once finalists have visited the campus, the committee will collect confidential department and college faculty feedback on each candidate and combine it with their list of strengths and weaknesses of each candidate. This report can be delivered to the administration by the committee chair or the entire committee if committee members so decide. The responsibilities of the Committee end once this has been accomplished.
Because it impacts the entire department, all tenure-track faculty are expected to actively participate in this important governance process by attending the presentations and/or providing input.
2) Budget & Enrollment Committee, made up of Faculty interested in reviewing department expenditures and needs in order to craft a department budget recommendation to forward to the General Studies Division. The committee will meet regularly through the fall semester to discuss matters pertaining to department budget—enrollment trends, adjunct credit hours taught, space utilization, faculty pay, etc. The committee may elect a chair. Recommendations of the committee will be brought to the department for review and approval no later than the December meeting.
3) Area Interest Committees, made up of Faculty interested in a certain curricular area (such as English, reading, or study skills), will meet regularly to discuss issues in their programs. Each committee should function as a committee of the whole; every interested member of the department should be informed of committee meetings and invited to attend. Each committee should elect a chair. Each committee is charged with the responsibility of developing curriculum, maintaining course content guides, and assisting adjunct faculty in its area. Area interest committees make policy recommendations to the department directly.
4) Ad Hoc Committees. The Department may elect ad hoc committees from time to time to work on issues which seem to cut across areas of committee responsibilities such as department chair evaluation, textbook selections, assessment, or drafting the PRIP. The formation of such a committee will be approved by a majority of eligible voters at a regular faculty meeting. Ad hoc committees will have chairs elected by the committee members. Recommendations will be brought to the department as a whole.
5) Task Forces. Matters that don’t seem to belong to any specific committee but which might be better handled by a temporary committee rather than by the department as a whole can be referred to a task force. Task Forces are created by the department chair in consultation with the departmental faculty.
ARTICLE III. CONTINGENT FACULTY
The Department Chair is responsible for recommending contingent faculty to teach each semester to the dean after all tenure-track faculty have been schedule as per the department’s scheduling policy.
Contingent faculty will be offered classes by the Department Chair with consideration to credentials and availability. In general, the maximum credit hours scheduled for contingent faculty over a two year period shall not exceed 36, excluding summer sessions.
B. Statements of Principal Regarding Contingent Faculty
Contingent faculty in the English department will not be asked to accept teaching assignments with reduced or pro-rated pay due to under enrollment of a class.
As a percentage of total department credits taught in a semester, contingent faculty will not exceed 60% of credit hours taught except when there are vacant tenure faculty lines. If adjunct credit hours exceed 60%, the department will prioritize new faculty lines in its annual budget request.
C. Participation in Department Decisions
Contingent faculty will be permitted three representatives to vote in all department decisions. These representatives must have taught in the department for a minimum of one year and regularly attend department meetings to retain their voting status.
Contingent faculty will be evaluated following the 3 step process outlined by the VPAA’s office on August 15, 2014: The 3 steps include
- Submission of a portfolio
- Colleague classroom observation
- Supervisor feedback
E. Committee of the Whole
The contingent faculty will meet with the Department Chair when they have concerns which they wish to bring directly to the Department Chair’s attention. They will also meet to elect three representatives to vote in department decisions (see B above) at the fall convocation. Such meetings will customarily take place at least once a year.
ARTICLE IV. TRANSACTING THE BUSINESS OF THE DEPARTMENT
A. Department Meetings:
The department will have a regular meeting at least once a month during the academic year. Meeting dates and times will be established by the first meeting of each semester. The quorum for the purpose of conducting business will consist of more than half the voters eligible to vote on the issues at hand, including all tenure-track faculty and the three contingent faculty from the committee of the whole. These meetings will be run by the Department Chair or, in his or her absence, a designee.
B. The Agenda:
The agenda for each regular meeting will be set by the Department Chair with input from faculty in the week before the meeting. The chair of each committee will normally request time on the agenda for the committee to report or make recommendations for the department as a whole. The committees’ recommendations should be discussed and approved or disapproved. Important policy decisions should be based on written material distributed to the faculty at least 48 hours before the meeting during which it will be discussed. If a vote is necessary, a quorum of eligible voters must be present.
An effort will be made to leave time at the end of each meeting for all members of the department to bring “new business” to the attention of the department. Matters brought to the department’s attention in this way or to the Department Chair will normally be referred to the relevant standing committee.
C. Parliamentary Authority:
A modified version of the rules contained in the current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised shall govern department meetings in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with these bylaws and any special rules of order that the department may adopt.
As per Robert’s Rules of Order, the basic requirement for approval of an action or choice by the department is a majority vote. The word majority means “more than half” of the votes cast by persons entitled to vote at a regular or properly called meeting. When called for, a two-thirds vote, means at least two thirds of the votes cast by persons entitled to vote at a regular or properly called meeting.
- Voting by Ballot: As per Robert’s Rules of Order, a ballot vote can be ordered by a majority vote—which may be desirable whenever it is believed that members may thereby be more likely to vote their true sentiments. Slips of paper on which members indicate their preferences are understood to be secret ballots unless otherwise specified. Balloting may also be used if members decide to vote electronically outside of meeting times. The chair appoints tellers to collect and count the ballots. Tellers should be chosen for their accuracy and dependability and should have the confidence of the membership.
- Proxy Voting: a proxy is a power of attorney given by one person to another to vote in her stead. Because proxy voting is incompatible with the essential characteristics of a deliberative assembly in which membership is individual, personal, and nontransferable, it is allowed only under very specific circumstances. Voting by proxy will be accepted only on decisions or votes that are published on the agenda prior to the meeting so that the absent member may have made her wishes known to the proxy.
E. Department Chair Vote:
As a faculty administrator, the Department chair only votes in the case of a tie and is not counted as part of the quorum.
F. Review of Administrative Action:
Any action of the departmental administration or any of its committees may be called before a meeting of the faculty for review.
G. Amendment of Bylaws:
These bylaws may be amended at any regular meeting of the department by a two-thirds vote, providing that the amendment has been submitted in writing at the previous regular meeting and discussed prior to the vote.
H. Effective Date:
These bylaws will become effective as soon as they are approved by a two-thirds vote of the tenure-track faculty in attendance at a regularly scheduled departmental meeting.
ARTICLE V. Statements on Professional Ethics & Shared Governance
A. Statement on Professional Ethics
The English Department adheres to the following statement of professional ethics and shared governance derived from the American Association of University Professors.
1) As concerns intellectual honesty and the discipline
Faculty, guided by a deep conviction of the worth and dignity of the advancement of knowledge, recognize the special responsibilities placed upon them. Their primary responsibility to their subject is to seek and to state the truth as they see it. To this end faculty devote their energies to developing and improving their scholarly competence. They accept the obligation to exercise critical self-discipline and judgment in using, extending, and transmitting knowledge. They practice intellectual honesty. Although faculty may follow subsidiary interests, these interests must never seriously hamper or compromise their freedom of inquiry.
2) As concerns teaching
As teachers, faculty encourage the free pursuit of learning in their students. They hold before them the best scholarly and ethical standards of their discipline. Faculty demonstrate respect for students as individuals and adhere to their proper roles as intellectual guides and counselors. Faculty make every reasonable effort to foster honest academic conduct and to ensure that their evaluations of students reflect each student’s true merit. They respect the confidential nature of the relationship between professor and student. They avoid any exploitation, harassment, or discriminatory treatment of students. They acknowledge significant academic or scholarly assistance from them. They protect their academic freedom.
3) As concerns collegiality and professional behavior
As colleagues, faculty have obligations that derive from common membership in the community of scholars. Faculty do not discriminate against or harass colleagues. They respect and defend the free inquiry of associates, even when it leads to findings and conclusions that differ from their own. Faculty acknowledge academic debt and strive to be objective in their professional judgment of colleagues. Faculty accept their share of responsibilities for the governance of their institution.
4) As concerns the institution
As members of an academic institution, faculty seek above all to be effective teachers and scholars. Although faculty observe the stated regulations of the institution, provided the regulations do not contravene academic freedom, they maintain their right to criticize and seek revision. Faculty give due regard to their paramount responsibilities within their institution in determining the amount and character of work done outside it. When considering the interruption or termination of their service, Faculty recognize the effect of their decision upon the program of the institution and give due notice of their intentions.
5) As concerns free speech and academic freedom
As members of their community, faculty have the rights and obligations of other citizens. Faculty measure the urgency of these obligations in the light of their responsibilities to their subject, to their students, to their profession, and to their institution. When they speak or act as private persons, they avoid creating the impression of speaking or acting for their college or university. As citizens engaged in a profession that depends upon freedom for its health and integrity, faculty have a particular obligation to promote conditions of free inquiry and to further public understanding of academic freedom.
Therefore, any faculty member who violates the above statements on professional ethics shall be held accountable.
B. Statement on Shared Governance
Shared governance is recognized as a central tenet of academic decision making in the English Department. According to NMSU policy 1.05.70, by law, the Board of Regents governs the NMSU system, under the advice of faculty through the enactment of policies. The Board of Regents also governs by its delegation of operational authority through administration.
Consistent with the principles of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), and in accordance with NMSU Policy & Procedures, the English Department faculty shall be involved in:
- personnel decisions through participation in all department hiring processes, including elected representation on all department screening committees,
- selection of department chairs through participation in the hiring processes, including elected representation on the screening committees, and
- preparation of the department and division budget.
The American Association of University Professors’ 1966 Statement on Shared Governance “derives the weight of the faculty’s voice on an issue—that is, the degree to which the faculty’s voice should be authoritative on the issue—from the relative directness with which the issue bears on the faculty’s exercise of its various institutional responsibilities” (AAUP Policy Documents & Reports, Pg142). Therefore, in these areas department faculty’s responsibility shall be primary:
- subject matter,
- methods of instruction,
- faculty status and
- those aspects of student life which relate to the educational process,
Faculty also have primary responsibility for developing and applying policies affecting the department’s academic mission such as maximum course enrollments, mid-term grade reporting, department chair term limits, and these bylaws.
Revision: February 2016