The role of the faculty in governance of The University of Tennessee is defined by delegation from the Board of Trustees, where all governance authority originally resides. The governance responsibilities of the faculty of The University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UT) and The University of Tennessee Space Institute are defined in the resolution of the Board of Trustees creating the UT Faculty Senate, in the Bylaws of the Faculty Senate, and in the UT Faculty Handbook. The Faculty Senate carries out those responsibilities through various standing and special committees, including the Graduate Council and the Research Council, in which members of the Institute faculty actively participate. The Faculty Assembly of the Institute provides a mechanism for carrying out the governance responsibilities of the Senate in the particular context of the Institute.
The Assembly shall consist of all full-time Faculty of The Institute who hold the rank of Assistant Professor or higher and certain Adjunct Faculty. These Adjunct Faculty shall be full- time Institute professional staff who are actively involved in the Academic Programs of The Institute. The Faculty Affairs Committee shall recommend such Adjunct Faculty to the Assembly. The Assembly shall act upon these recommendations. In addition, there shall be Ex- officio Administrative Members: the Vice President of The Institute; the Dean for Academic Affairs and the Dean for Research and Development. The Dean for Admissions and Student Affairs and the Director of Administration and Finance shall be Advisory Members. The Student Affairs Committee shall appoint a non-voting Student Member who may attend Assembly Meetings at the discretion of the President. All but Advisory and Student Members shall be empowered to vote at any scheduled Regular Meeting of the Assembly.
The Assembly shall be constituted to reflect the unique nature of The Institute as indicated by: its responsibility for only graduate-level education; its unusually strong emphasis on research; its location remote from the Knoxville Campus and its independent budgetary status within The State-wide University System.
The responsibilities of the Faculty Assembly in the governance of The Institute are important and varied. These are organized and effected by the Faculty Assembly so as to:
- Initiate, review, and recommend The Institute’s academic standards and degree requirements in agreement with appropriate departments, colleges, and schools at the Knoxville Campus.
- Recommend and encourage policies that promote a research environment in which faculty, staff and students can be productive and can develop professionally.
- Consider, advise and recommend policies related to a wide range of concerns that affect the welfare of The Institute. Among these concerns shared by the faculty are:
- Criteria for Faculty appointment, dismissal, promotion and tenure.
- Criteria for the selection of the Vice President, the Deans and other Institute Administrative Officers.
- Policies concerning the responsibilities and professional development of the Faculty.
- Policies concerning Student life, rights and responsibilities.
- Priorities for The Institute budget.
- Priorities within The Institute development plan.
- Priorities for the development of the physical facilities of The Institute.
In response to these concerns, the Faculty Assembly shall maintain standing committees in these areas.
The Faculty Assembly has no management or administrative function either in itself or through its standing and special committees. These functions are expressly reserved for the Vice President and the administrative staff of The Institute. The advice and recommendations of the Faculty Assembly are indispensable to the well-being of The Institute, however, and should be considered carefully by all administrative officers of The Institute.
Meetings of the Assembly
There shall be three regularly scheduled meetings of the Assembly during each semester and one meeting in the summer term. The Executive Committee shall set the schedule for these meetings at the start of the Fall Semester.
Special meetings may be called by the President of the Assembly or by a petition of at least one quarter of the members of the Assembly. Such meetings may, or may not, include some or all of the Ex-officio and Advisory Members.
All meetings shall be conducted in accord with Robert’s Rules of Order and these Bylaws. A quorum of at least one half of the Assembly membership shall be in attendance before any business shall be enacted. The Secretary shall circulate to the Assembly, one week in advance, an agenda of the upcoming Assembly meeting. A member who will be absent from the announced meeting may communicate, to the Secretary in writing, any vote or pronouncement on any agenda item.
Officers of the Assembly
The Officers of the Assembly shall include the following who are elected, and who serve, in accord with these Bylaws. The election of said Officers shall be conducted during April of each year and their term of office shall commence at the start of the following Fall Semester. If an elected officer, other than the President, is unable to complete his/her term of office then the President shall appoint an Interim replacement to fill the remainder of the term. This appointment shall be with the approval of the Assembly. The election procedure for each office is specified under the appropriate heading below.
- The President
The President of the Assembly shall preside at all meetings of said Assembly. In the absence of the President, the President-elect, or if also absent, another member of the Executive Committee designated by the President, shall preside. The President is the chief spokesperson for the Assembly. The President shall be a member, and the chairperson, of the Executive Committee. After one year in office, the president assumes the title of Past President and serves for one year as a Member of the Executive Committee. The President shall hold no other elected office within the Assembly.
- The President-elect
The duties of the President-elect include, but are not limited to, acting as President in the absence of that elected official and assuming the Presidency in the event that the Office of President is vacated. The President-elect, who must be a tenured Faculty member, shall be elected annually. The President-elect becomes President at the end of the one year term of office. The President-elect shall be a member of the Executive Committee.
- The Secretary
The Secretary of the Assembly shall preserve the Records of the Assembly, which shall consist of the Minutes of all meetings of the Assembly and of the standing committees and shall execute other functions specified by the President or voted by the Assembly. The Secretary shall be elected for a one year term but is eligible for re-election. The Secretary shall be a member of the executive committee.
The Parliamentarian of the Assembly shall ensure that meetings of said Assembly be conducted in accord with Robert’s Rules of Order and these Bylaws. The Parliamentarian shall be appointed by the Executive Committee on a yearly basis.
- Past President
The Past President shall be a member of the Executive Committee for one year after having served as President. The Past President may hold any other elected office but that of President.
Membership in Committees
All Assembly members who serve on committees of the Assembly are referred to as Regular Members of those committees except as specified below.
These committee members serve by virtue of the administrative offices that they hold within The Institute. They are the Vice President and the Deans for Academic Affairs and for Research and Development. They are empowered to vote on motions before the committees.
Advisory Members, as selected by the Executive Committee, or as described in these Bylaws, serve without the power to vote. They need not be members of the Assembly.
The Nominations Committee shall provide nominations for Assembly Officers and Executive Committee Membership as stated under the Nominations Committee heading.
In addition, the Nominations Committee shall provide nominations for the Faculty Senate (UT) and the Graduate Council (UT) and conduct the election for these offices as described under the Nominations Committee heading.
The Executive Committee shall prepare a list of Nominees for all other positions and the Secretary shall prepare a ballot containing all nominees for office. Said ballot shall be distributed to the Assembly at least one week before the election. Provisions shall be made on that ballot for nominations from the floor.
The Assembly shall meet during April of each year to complete the nominations list and to vote. The newly elected officers and committees shall take up their duties at the start of the following Fall Semester.
In the event of a committee vacancy, the Executive Committee shall submit names of nominees for replacements to the Assembly in a process appropriate to the particular committee. The Assembly shall elect these replacement committee members for a term determined ad hoc, if not otherwise specified.
Elections shall be administered by the Nominations Committee. The candidate(s) receiving a majority of the votes cast shall be elected. If fewer candidates receive a majority than there are vacancies to be filled, the leading candidates will stand in a run-off election with two candidates presented for each vacancy yet to be filled. The candidate(s) receiving the highest number of votes shall be elected. Tie votes shall be decided by lot.
Standing Committees of the Assembly
The following standing committees shall be elected and caused to function in accord with these Bylaws. Special committees, established in accord with these Bylaws, may be convened, as appropriate, by the Executive Committee. No member shall serve on more than three standing committees during any Academic year. Unless otherwise stated, terms for each office shall be one year but re-election shall be permitted.
The Vice President of The Institute shall be an Ex-officio Member of all standing committees with the exception of the Executive Committee. The Assembly President is a member of all standing committees. In addition, the Deans for Academic Affairs and for Research and Development shall be Ex-officio Members of that standing committee in their area of responsibility and the Dean for Admissions and Student Affairs shall be an Advisory Member of the Education Committee and of the Student Affairs Committee. The Director of Administration and Finance shall be an Advisory Member of the Budget Committee.
Minutes of all standing committee meetings are to be placed in the Assembly Record as kept by the Secretary of the Assembly. In addition, each Standing Committee shall submit a written report to the Assembly at least once during the academic year. Committees shall interact on matters of mutual concern. Each standing committee will meet and elect a chairperson within one week following the annual election unless otherwise specified in these Bylaws.
- The Executive Committee
Eight members shall serve on the Executive Committee. These include the President, the President-elect, the Past President and the Secretary. Four regular members shall be elected from the Assembly, shall serve for a two-year term and shall be elected in pairs on alternate years. They may be re-elected. The Nominations Committee serves to identify candidates for President-Elect, Secretary and regular members. The President shall be the Chairperson of the Executive Committee. Each person on the committee shall have one vote.
The Executive Committee shall represent the Assembly in meetings with the Administration and other groups. It shall also handle necessary business on an emergency and interim basis between regular meetings of the Assembly. The Executive Committee shall present nominations to the Assembly for service on all committees not under the jurisdiction of the Nominations Committee. The Executive Committee shall recommend and review committee assignments and may establish special committees on behalf of itself or as directed by the Assembly.
The Executive Committee shall prepare an annual evaluation of the state of The Institute (including education, research, administration and other relevant activities).
The Executive Committee shall interact with The Institute Administration concerning information presented to it by other Committees or by the Assembly.
- The Education Committee
The Dean of Academic Affairs shall be both an Ex-officio Member of the Education Committee and its Chairperson. The Dean of Admissions and Student Affairs shall be an Advisory Member of the Committee. The remaining members shall be the Program Chairpersons representing each Degree-granting Program within The Institute. Said Program Chairpersons shall be appointed by the Dean for Academic Affairs in concurrence with the appropriate Department Head at UT and the Institute Faculty of that Program.
The Education Committee is charged with providing leadership in academic program development and shall consider, advise and recommend regarding the academic policies and goals of the Institute. The committee shall be concerned with standards for recruitment, admission, retention, and graduation of students within all programs. It shall be responsible for seeking ways of emphasizing and recognizing faculty commitment and effectiveness in graduate education. The committee shall be concerned with curricula improvement and implementation. The committee shall also be concerned with the environment for thesis and dissertation research which is an essential component of graduate education at UTSI.
- The Research Committee
At least eight, but not more than ten, Regular Members shall serve on the Research Committee. The Dean for Research and Development shall be an Ex-officio Member of the Research Committee. Advisory Members from pertinent service functions within The Institute (such as professional and technical staff, representatives from the Library, The Computer Center) may at times be asked to serve on this Committee. The Research Committee shall select such Advisory Members. The Regular Members shall be nominated by the Executive Committee and elected by the Assembly to reflect the diverse research interests of The Institute.
The Research Committee shall serve to promote the research activities of The Institute and its faculty, staff and students and enhance professional development. The committee shall be concerned with the policies and procedures of The Institute concerning research grants and funding and with the development of state-of-the-art research facilities for both experimental and theoretical work. The committee shall concern itself with the development and support of new research areas within The Institute. The committee shall also be concerned with the publication of research results and with other matters pertaining to the research policies of The Institute.
- The Faculty Affairs Committee
Three elected Regular Members shall serve on the Faculty Affairs Committee. The Faculty Affairs Committee shall be concerned with and attentive to the rights, privileges, and responsibilities of Institute faculty. The committee shall serve in an advisory and review capacity recommending reasonable and equitable procedures in matters of appointment, retention, promotion, tenure, and general professional career development. The Faculty Affairs Committee shall address all matters pertaining to the professional development of Institute faculty and shall explore all means for enhancing that development. The Faculty Affairs Committee shall be responsible for recommending Adjunct Faculty to the Assembly for approval as Assembly Members.
- The Budget Committee
Three Regular Members shall serve on the Budget Committee and be elected, one per year, for a three year term. In addition, the Director of Administration and Finance shall be an Advisory Member of the Budget Committee. The committee shall provide for campus-wide Faculty input into The Institute budgeting process. The committee shall consider budget priorities and concern itself with overall policy. The committee is charged with monitoring the financial status of The Institute and reporting this information to the Executive Committee and to the Assembly. The other standing committees shall make budgetary recommendations to this committee at appropriate times.
- The Library Committee
Six Regular Members shall serve on the Library Committee and be elected three per year for two-year terms. The Librarian shall serve as an advisory member. This committee shall be concerned with the development and support of The Institute Library.
- The Student Affairs Committee
Three elected Regular Members shall serve on the Student Affairs Committee and the Dean for Admissions and Student Affairs shall serve as an Advisory Member. The President of The Institute Student Government Association and two other elected student representatives shall be Advisory Members of the Student Affairs Committee. The Student affairs Committee shall be concerned with all aspects of student life, with student rights and with student responsibilities within The Institute. The Student Affairs Committee is responsible for selecting the Student Member for the Assembly.
- The Nominations Committee
Three members shall serve on the Nominations Committee and shall be elected, by the Assembly. The Nominations Committee is charged with submitting a minimum of two nominees for the Office of President-Elect, a nominee for the Office of Secretary and at least three nominees for Regular Members of the Executive Committee. This committee shall seek nominations for the Faculty Senate (UTK) and conduct the election for same during February of each year. In addition, this Committee shall, at the appropriate time, seek nominations for the Graduate Council Representatives (UTK) and conduct the election for said Representative. The Nominations Committee shall solicit nominations from the Assembly Members and shall be responsible for conducting elections in accordance with the election schedule and procedure outlined above. The committee is formed in January of each year and disbands after the April elections.
- The Bylaws Committee
Three elected Regular Members shall serve on the Bylaws Committee. The Committee shall concern itself with reviewing and bringing suggested amendments of the Bylaws to the Faculty Assembly for possible adoption and with organizational matters pertaining to the Bylaws. The committee chairperson shall maintain a current copy of these Bylaws on computer disk storage. The committee shall meet on a timely basis and report its recommendations to the Executive Committee and Faculty Assembly as appropriate.
Amendments of Bylaws
Any proposed amendment of the Bylaws shall be in the form of a motion that the Bylaws Committee places before the Assembly. That motion shall be presented to the Assembly, in writing, at least one week before the meeting at which the amendment is to be discussed. At least two thirds of the Assembly must approve such amendments before they shall be introduced into these Bylaws.
The Assembly, in a petition endorsed by at least one quarter of its members, may direct that the Bylaws Committee consider a specified amendment to the Bylaws. The Bylaws Committee must report to the Assembly these suggested amendments, and their recommendations, and prepare in printed form the present Bylaws with the proposed changes indicated. These changes shall then be voted upon by the Faculty Assembly in accord with the above procedure.
Prior to presenting any proposed amendment of the Bylaws to the Assembly, the Bylaws Committee shall submit the proposed amendment to the University’s Senior Vice President and General Counsel to be reviewed for consistency with the UT Faculty Senate Resolution, the Senate Bylaws, and the UT Faculty Handbook.
The Executive Committee shall, as the need arises, appoint special committees to study specific areas of concern to The Institute. Such committees shall normally serve for a limited time and shall report directly to the Executive Committee. On completion of its task, the committee shall prepare a summary report for the Faculty Record as kept by the Secretary. The structure and composition of such Committees shall be determined by the Executive Committee to meet specific needs.