Policy Number: B02.0

 

Policy Name: CHARTER OF ACADEMIC GOVERNANCE

 

Scope:  All Faculty


ARTICLE I. PREAMBLE

 

The task of university governance must be apportioned and delegated among the board of trustees, administration, faculty, staff, and students of the university. The interdependence of these members of the university community and their delegated responsibilities establishes the basis for effective shared governance.

 

It is the faculty's responsibility to lead in the formulation of recommendations relating to academic matters. The academic governance of the university provides for the exercise of the faculty's role in academic decisions, the protection of legitimate faculty aspirations, the implementation and preservation of academic standards, and the promotion of the academic welfare of students. It is the obligation of each member of the faculty to participate in these governance activities to the fullest extent possible.

It is the faculty's responsibility to organize itself effectively to carry out its governance responsibilities in an efficient manner. This document establishes the framework for the academic governance of the Rochester Institute of Technology through the creation of an Academic Senate, standing committees of the Senate, and a Faculty Assembly. It is intended that, in normal circumstances, matters will come before the Senate for discussion and recommendation after scrutiny by the standing committees. In exceptional circumstances, matters may come before the Senate from an individual college, another university governance body, an administrative officer, or a submission by ten percent of the voting members of the faculty.

At the same time, the faculty has the responsibility to collaborate with others who may be formulating recommendations of university-wide concern. This document seeks to articulate the faculty role in academic governance while fully recognizing the appropriate shared governance responsibilities which reside in other constituents and officers of the university and in the Institute Council.

ARTICLE II. THE FACULTY

2.1 The faculty consists of the president, provost and the vice presidents holding professorial appointments, the academic deans, and others defined as faculty in E6.0-Policies on Faculty Rank and Promotion (hereafter referred to as E6.0). The president is the presiding officer of the university.

 

2.2 Throughout this charter and all policies in which the word “college” is used, it will refer to all colleges and the Golisano Institute for Sustainability. All faculty except the president, provost and vice presidents holding professorial appointments at the university level shall have an appointment in or affiliation to a college for the purposes of academic governance.

2.3 The voting members of the faculty at the university, college, and department levels include tenure-track (both tenured and pre-tenured) members of the university and senior and principal lecturers who:

2.4 Those voting faculty with joint appointments vote in the college or department to which the majority of their time is assigned. A voting member who holds equal appointments in two or more colleges or departments shall designate in writing to their administrative supervisors one college or department in which to exercise all voting privileges.

 

2.5 Voting faculty, as defined above, shall only vote on matters that fall within the purview of their rank and title as defined by E6.0 or specified by policy.

 

ARTICLE III. RESPONSIBILITY OF THE FACULTY

3.1 Policies: The voting faculty has primary responsibility to formulate all educational policies subject to final approval by the president and where appropriate by the board of trustees. The faculty in accordance with their responsibilities as defined in E6.0 must identify issues of academic concern, discuss and formulate recommendations, and recommend approval for implementation. Academic issues include such matters as the establishment or dissolution of all degree programs; faculty hiring, retention, promotion, tenure, development, and dismissal; curriculum; admission standards; scholastic standards; examination and testing programs; the award of honors; the approval of candidates for earned degrees; and the establishment or dissolution of all colleges, departments, or independent centers or institutes. The process associated with certain educational policies may fall to non-faculty members of the RIT community for implementation and revision. In such cases, faculty will provide input as noted in section 3.2 of the charter.

3.2 Advice and Recommendations: In addition, the faculty in accordance with their responsibilities as defined in E 6.0 has a responsibility to advise and make recommendations to the appropriate persons or bodies concerning other policies and decisions affecting university development and welfare. The faculty's advice and recommendations in such matters are offered to the deans, vice presidents, provost, or president as appropriate or as specified in university policy, or to the Institute Council in those matters which appropriately come before the Council. The subjects of the advice and recommendations include, for example, the appointment, retention, promotion, and tenure of individual faculty; the appointment of administrative and academic officers; faculty personnel policies; student responsibilities and discipline; the academic calendar; the setting of fund-raising priorities; the formulation of priorities for and review of the annual operating budget of the university; the development and expansion of the campus; and the expression of university views on matters of public concern.

3.3 The provisions of this section are subject to Article XIV.

ARTICLE IV. THE ACADEMIC SENATE

4.1 The Academic Senate shall be the legislative and representative agency of the faculty.

4.2 The Senate is empowered to formulate legislation in areas of academic policy affecting more than one college of the university (cf. Article III, 3.1, above). The legislative decisions of the Senate are submitted to the provost for further action.

4.3 The Senate shall also offer advice and recommendation covering other matters of university welfare (cf. Article III, 3.2, above). Its advice and recommendations are submitted to the relevant vice president, the provost, the president, or the Institute Council.

4.4 The Senate shall act upon other resolutions, recommendations, or proposals submitted by the faculty of any college, department, or committee of the Senate and pertaining to the academic governance or the general welfare of the university.

4.5 The Senate may enact and amend its own bylaws.

ARTICLE V. COMPOSITION OF THE ACADEMIC SENATE

5.1 The Senate shall be composed of:

5.2 The operations officer of the Senate shall validate the number of voting members in each college by January 15th of each academic year from a list provided by the provost and shall allocate a certain number of senators to each according to the following procedure. Each college shall have one representative for the first 29 full-time voting faculty. A second senator is added when the faculty count in a college reaches 30 and thereafter, a college will have one additional senator for each multiple of 30 voting faculty. No college shall have more than 20% of the total representatives or fewer than one representative, not counting the representatives of the Deans Council.

 

5.3 Each college shall also elect an alternate or alternates who shall serve in place of an absent senator and shall enjoy all privileges of the senators during the period of service. Alternates are not eligible to serve as an officer of the Senate or considered as a candidate for the executive committee.

5.4 Senators shall be elected for three-year terms. Senators shall not be elected for more than two consecutive terms.

5.5 The election of senators from the voting faculty in each college shall be accomplished by March 1.

5.6 Terms of service for the senators begin after the last scheduled meeting of the academic year; however, incoming senators are expected to attend the final meeting of the Academic Senate in the year of their election.

 

5.7 In the event of a resignation, change of duties, prolonged absence, removal from office, or other serious interruption of service, the chairperson of the Academic Senate will request that the faculty of the unit concerned elect a new representative to fill out the unexpired term or temporary vacancy.

5.8 Responsibilities of senators shall include but not be limited to the following: serve each year on at least one of the following bodies - a standing committee of the Academic Senate, the Institute Council, or a university-wide committee; represent all faculty within their college; seek input from constituents on matters before Senate; serve as a conduit of information from the senate to their constituents.

 

5.9 In the event of dispute as to the eligibility of a faculty member to serve or be represented, the Academic Senate shall make the final determination.

5.10 The Academic Senate recognizes the right of individual constituents to form caucuses to discuss matters of interest to the members of the respective caucuses.

ARTICLE VI. OFFICERS OF THE ACADEMIC SENATE

6.1 The Senate shall annually elect, from among the faculty senators as identified in 5.2 above, an executive committee composed of a chairperson, a vice chairperson, a communications officer, an operations officer, and a treasurer. All officers will serve for a term of one year and take office at the end of the academic term in which they are elected. In the event of a resignation, change of duties, prolonged absence, removal from office, or other serious interruption of service, a new officer will be elected to complete the term from among the voting members of the faculty elected to the Senate.

6.2 The election of officers shall take place by formal written ballot. This election and the vote to approve at-large committee members will take place according to the following schedule:

  1. By March 15th, the Nominations Committee will solicit nominations from the members of the Senate. These may be provided directly from the floor at the time of the meeting or submitted in writing to the Nominations Committee. It shall be the responsibility of the Nominations Committee to seek, after this meeting, the consent of each nominee (see Article 10.1 for further description of Nominations Committee and electoral process).


    At this time, the Nominations Committee will also seek candidates for any committee at-large position that will become available at the end of the academic session.  It is the responsibility of each college to have completed its own elections by March 15th, so the Nominations Committee will know the pool of eligible faculty from whom they can seek candidates.


  2. By April 15th, the Senate will conduct a nomination meeting for presentation of officer candidates and committee candidates by the Nominations Committee. At this time, the candidates for the executive committee shall have a CV, and vision/mission statement available for review. All candidates must give prior consent to the nomination.


  3. By April 30th, the Senate will conduct an election meeting for the purpose of carrying out the election of candidates for officer positions and committee positions.

6.3 The chairperson shall preside at all meetings of the Senate and shall sign the official copies of all Senate actions. The chairperson and vice chairperson shall represent the faculty at all meetings of the full board of trustees.

6.4 The vice chairperson shall preside at meetings of the Senate and of the executive committee in the absence of the chairperson. He or she shall ensure that the final approved wording for any policy approved at Academic Senate is forwarded to the Office of the Provost for approval and to officially post on-line.

6.5 The operations officer shall preside at the meetings of the Senate in the absence of the chairperson and vice chairperson and serve as the coordinating officer for standing committees of the Academic Senate. During meetings of the Senate, the operations officer will serve as parliamentarian, using Robert's Rules of Order (latest edition), and time-keeper of discussion.  In addition, the operations officer shall validate the number of voting members in each college in January  of each academic year from a list provided by the provost and shall allocate a certain number of senators to each.

6.6 The communications officer shall preside at the meetings of the Senate in the absence of the chairperson, vice chairperson, and operations officer. The communications officer shall prepare all ballots, keep all records of the Senate, and shall prepare and distribute all minutes and materials for Senate elections and for referenda of the faculty. The communications officer shall record the results of all such elections and referenda.

6.7 The treasurer shall be the receiving and disbursing agent for any and all funds under the control of the Academic Senate. The treasurer will keep appropriate records, report on these matters upon request of the chairperson, and prepare a proposed budget at the end of each academic year for the following year. At the end of the term of office, the treasurer will submit to the Senate an annual report of receipts and disbursements together with a statement of assets and liabilities and hand over all financial records to the newly elected treasurer for the next academic year.

 6.8 The immediate past chairperson of the Academic Senate shall serve as an ex-officio, non-voting member of the Nominations Committee.

ARTICLE VII. PROCEDURES AND ACTIONS OF THE ACADEMIC SENATE

7.1 The president may address the Senate at the opening of any senate meeting and present such reports and information as may concern the faculty.

7.2 The Senate shall meet at least once monthly during the academic year. The chair, in consultation with the executive committee, may call other or alternate meetings as deemed necessary. A quorum of the Senate shall consist of a majority of its members. An action of the Senate is approved only if passed by a majority of its members present and voting. Meetings shall otherwise be conducted according to Robert's Rules of Order (latest edition).

7.3 Meetings of the Senate shall be open to the faculty, members of the administration, students, staff, and interested members of the public. Agendas and minutes of such meetings shall be distributed to all members of the Faculty Assembly (see Article XI, below) and made available to the entire university community.

7.4 In the areas in which the faculty has primary responsibility to formulate policies, the legislative actions of the Academic Senate shall require the concurrence of the president. The chairperson shall transmit to the provost all such legislation within ten working days of its passage.

 

ARTICLE VIII. THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF THE ACADEMIC SENATE

8.1 The executive committee shall be composed of the officers of the Senate (chairperson, vice chairperson, operations officer, communications officer, and treasurer).

8.2 The executive committee shall be responsible for preparing the agenda of the Senate in consultation with the chairs of the standing committees of the Senate. It shall also be the committee of reference for the establishment of new academic-related university committees, task forces, and ad hoc committees and shall forward such matters to the appropriate Senate committee or committees. The executive committee shall further be responsible for the coordination of the proposals and actions of the Senate's various standing and ad hoc committees. It shall forward the recommendations of these committees to the Academic Senate for approval, and shall serve as an information clearing house for the constituent collegial faculties. The actions of the executive committee shall not limit the ability of the administration to establish other committees and task forces to address university affairs; however, the executive committee shall normally be consulted as these groups are established.

8.3 The executive committee shall include in the agenda for Senate meetings any recommendations or resolutions within the purview of the Academic Senate submitted by (1) the standing committees and other committees of the Senate; (2) ten percent of the voting members of the faculty; (3) the various collegial assemblies; (4) the duly constituted governance bodies of the university; and (5) the administrative officers of the university. The executive committee may, at its discretion, invite formal or informal presentation of such recommendations or resolutions prior to the establishment of the Senate agenda. All matters coming before the Senate shall normally be reviewed by a standing committee or ad hoc committee of the Senate prior to their placement on the Senate agenda.

8.4 The executive committee shall not alter proposals or presentations forwarded for Senate action without the authorization and consent of the originating bodies. The executive committee may, however, transmit to the Senate such proposals and presentations with a positive or negative recommendation, or with an alternate proposal.

ARTICLE IX. COMMITTEES OF THE ACADEMIC SENATE

9.1 All committees of the Academic Senate, unless otherwise specified, shall be established by the Senate, and committee membership shall be ratified by the Senate. The chairperson of the Senate shall appoint a chair pro tem for each committee, whose function shall be to convene the committee's first meeting. The committee shall then elect a permanent chair from among its non-ex-officio members. The chair shall communicate his or her election to the chairperson of the Academic Senate.

9.2 Each committee shall receive its charge(s), as appropriate, from the Senate, and may consider matters within its competence referred to it by the Senate and by faculty members, faculty bodies, administrators, or students. Each committee shall report to the Senate or the executive committee as required, and shall submit an annual written report of its activities and recommendations to the Senate. If specific charges had not been assigned to a standing committee in a particular year, the committee report should reflect on the status of the overall responsibility assigned to the committee.

9.3 Elections to all standing committees of the Academic Senate except the Inter-College Curriculum Committee (ICC) and Graduate Council shall be normally for a period of two academic years, except that at the first election one-half of the collegial representatives to each standing committee shall be elected for one year and one-half for two years, so that there will be a turnover of 50% of the standing committee members each year.

9.3.1 Collegial representatives to the ICC and Graduate Council shall normally be elected for a term of three years, with an annual turnover of 33% of the members of the committee.


9.3.2 Committee members from a given constituent group shall not be elected or appointed for more than two consecutive terms on a given committee.


9.3.3 All elections shall be conducted by formal ballot.


9.3.4 As circumstances may require, the Senate may add to or alter the composition of any committee, except the ICC Committee or Graduate Council, in order to assist it in the accomplishment of its charge. To assist with the accomplishment of its charge, the ICC shall request the Senate to conduct college elections for members of a sub-committee(s) as needed; however, the membership of the subcommittees shall reflect the composition of college representation on the ICC.


9.4 The authority of the Senate to appoint the committees shall not be construed to circumscribe the appropriate authority of the president, provost, and the vice presidents to appoint such committees, whether of the faculty, the administration, or jointly of both, as they shall deem necessary to the administration of the university. The president, provost, and the vice presidents shall consult with the Senate in the formation of such committees and shall receive such nominations of members from the Academic Senate or from the executive committee acting on behalf of the Senate.

 

ARTICLE X. STANDING COMMITTEES OF THE ACADEMIC SENATE

The following standing committees of the Academic Senate are hereby established. The chair of each standing committee shall be elected by the members of that committee. The responsibilities of each committee, as listed below, are illustrative not exhaustive. Voting membership on some of these committees may, in view of the respective purviews of the committees, appropriately include a vice president, dean, staff member, student, and/or other faculty member as selected by the Senate as at-large members. The standing committees shall report directly to the Academic Senate, and shall otherwise serve as directed by the Senate.

 

10.1 The Academic Affairs Committee. The Academic Affairs Committee shall be the educational policy committee of the Senate and shall formulate and review all matters related to educational policies and procedures, with the exception of policies that are in the purview of the ICC and Graduate Council. The committee shall also serve as liaison with appropriate administrators and administrative bodies of the university. The Academic Affairs Committee shall consist of the following: one faculty member per college, each to be elected by his or her collegial faculty; three members at large elected by the Academic Senate; and the provost or his or her delegate (ex officio, voting).

 

10.2 Committee on Academic Support and Student Affairs. The Committee on Academic Support and Student Affairs shall have the responsibility to monitor and review the aspects of the university that support education and teaching. Examples of areas of academic support include the following:  academic services; computer services; cultural programs; and museum and library services of the university. The committee shall also be responsible for policy recommendations relating to the academic aspects of student life and to review questions and policies related to the quality of student life.  Faculty members from the committee shall also serve as liaison for the Senate with appropriate administrative officers, committees, and councils of the university, and, when appropriate, shall act in conjunction with the Academic Affairs Committee in the formulation of policies and proposals to be submitted to the Academic Senate. The committee shall consist of the following: one faculty member per college, each to be elected by his or her collegial faculty; three members at large elected by the Academic Senate; four student representatives, including the president of Student Government or his or her delegate (ex-officio, voting); the provost or his or her delegate (ex-officio, voting) and the vice president for Student Affairs or his or her delegate (ex-officio, voting).

 

10.3 The Faculty Affairs Committee. The Faculty Affairs Committee shall be responsible for policy recommendations concerning faculty tenure, rank, welfare, leave, and professional conduct and shall review all policies and procedures concerning the extended part-time and adjunct faculty of the university.  The committee will also oversee the needs related to the professional development of quality teaching and serve to foster collegiality and mentorship among faculty. The Faculty Affairs Committee shall consist of the following: one faculty member per college, each to be elected by his or her collegial faculty; one dean elected by the Deans Council; three members at large elected by the Academic Senate; and the provost or his or her delegate (ex-officio, voting).

 

10.4 Graduate Council. Graduate work at the university shall be governed by the Graduate Council of the Academic Senate. The primary function of the Graduate Council, along with the academic deans, shall be to promote the development and maintenance of high quality educational programs at the graduate level at RIT and to see that the policies and procedures of the university as they relate to graduate programs are carried out effectively. The Graduate Council shall study graduate curricular proposals from a university-wide perspective, maintain appropriate intercollege relationships with regard to curriculum, define the essential character of graduate study at the university, and continuously review existing graduate programs. The Graduate Council shall consist of the following representatives: one faculty member per college which offers a graduate program, each to be elected by his or her collegial faculty; three members at large elected by the Academic Senate and who are members of a college offering a graduate program; the dean of Graduate Studies; the provost or his or her delegate (ex-officio, voting); and a graduate senator from Student Government serving as a graduate student representative. Each college representative shall be a voting member of the curriculum committee or committees of that college. The graduate student representative shall serve for a term of no longer than one year.

 

10.5 Inter-College Curriculum Committee. The Inter-College Curriculum Committee (ICC) shall have the following responsibilities: study undergraduate curricular proposals from a university-wide perspective;  maintain appropriate inter-college relationships with regards to courses and curriculum; assure that existing undergraduate program curricula and any university-wide curricular requirements e.g. general education (liberal arts and sciences) and writing curricula are periodically reviewed; and  make proposals to the Academic Senate for undergraduate curriculum approval or discontinuance. The ICC shall call upon the Senate to initiate college elections to fill positions on subcommittees it may form to oversee general education and institute writing. The membership of the subcommittees shall reflect the composition of college representation on the ICC. The ICC shall consist of the following: one faculty member per college which offers an undergraduate program, each to be elected by his or her collegial faculty and a member of the college’s curriculum committee; one representative elected at large by the Academic Senate and who is a member of a college offering an undergraduate program; one representative from the academic deans; one representative from Student Government; and the provost or his or her delegate (ex-officio, voting). A subcommittee for General Education shall also include the director of Student Learning Outcomes and Assessment (ex-officio, non-voting). A sub-committee for Institute Writing shall include the writing program director, one representative from the Academic Support Center, and one representative from the English Language Center. The chair of any ICC subcommittee shall serve as an ex-officio non-voting member of the ICC. The chair of ICC shall serve as an ex-officio non-voting member of any ICC subcommittee. Whenever a particular curriculum proposal is being considered in the Senate, the dean(s) of the respective college(s) making the proposal shall be invited to be present and to speak.

 

10.6 The Long Range Planning and Environment Committee. The Long Range Planning and Environment Committee shall prepare and review strategic planning initiatives of the university and review progress in achieving those goals. It shall take into consideration the sustainability and the physical state of the university as it influences the academic mission and include any deficiencies and proposed initiatives in a report to the Senate. The Long Range Planning and Environment Committee shall consist of one faculty member per college, each to be elected by his or her college; and three members at large elected by the Academic Senate.

 

10.7 The Nominations Committee. The Nominations Committee shall consist initially of all college representatives on the Academic Senate who also serve on Institute Council for their college and the immediate past chairperson of the Academic Senate (ex officio, non-voting). Any Institute Council representative seeking candidacy for election to the Senate's executive committee shall recuse him/herself from the Nominations Committee. The remaining Institute Council representatives shall then designate four of their number to serve as the Nominations Committee with the immediate past chairperson of the Academic Senate and elect its own chairperson. The committee shall be responsible for actively soliciting and receiving oral and/or written nominations for:

The election schedule will follow the dates provided in section 6.2 of this charter which will result in an election conducted at Academic Senate by the end of week twelve of spring term.

 

10.8 The Resource Allocation and Budget Committee. The Resource Allocation and Budget Committee shall be the faculty committee on all matters pertaining to university budget and finances. It shall also submit to the Academic Senate for review and approval academic priorities related to external academic funding. The committee shall be responsible for presenting an analysis of the budget and other financial matters to the Senate for its review and the executive committee shall forward that review in writing, as adopted by the Senate, to the president and to the Institute Council. The committee shall serve as liaison for the Senate with the vice president for Finance and Administration and with other appropriate administrators and administrative policy bodies of the university. The committee shall consist of one tenured faculty member per college, each elected by his or her collegial faculty; three tenured faculty members at-large elected by the Academic Senate; and the vice president for Finance and Administration or his or her delegate (ex-officio, voting).

 

10.9 Other Committees as Needed. The Academic Senate may establish by a majority vote other standing committees or ad hoc committees as it deems necessary.

ARTICLE XI. THE FACULTY ASSEMBLY

 

The Faculty Assembly is the assembled body of the faculty. The president of the university is the presiding officer of the Assembly. The president shall preside at all meetings of the Faculty Assembly. In the absence of the president, the provost shall preside. The president shall plan and arrange the agenda for the Faculty Assembly meeting in collaboration with the Senate chair. The Assembly normally will be convened by the president at the beginning of the academic year to hear the president's report on the state of the university and plans for university development. The president shall also convene the Assembly on matters of university-wide concern at the request of the Senate, the executive committee acting in the Senate's behalf, or ten percent of the voting members of the faculty. At each meeting of the Assembly, the chair of the Senate shall give account to the Assembly of matters referred to the Senate. The meetings shall normally be open to all members of the RIT community.

ARTICLE XII. ACADEMIC FREEDOM AND ACADEMIC DUE PROCESS

 

12.1 All members of the faculty at the Rochester Institute of Technology are entitled to full freedom in their teaching, studies, creative activities, and research, and in the publication of the results of their research. Likewise, they are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subjects and material relating to them. It is expected that the aforementioned teaching will be aimed toward achieving the educational objectives agreed upon by the faculty, administration, and the board of trustees.

As teachers and persons of learning, the faculty are aware that the public may judge their profession and the university by their utterances. They shall, therefore, strive to be accurate and to exhibit appropriate professional conduct. They shall respect the views, opinions and sensibilities of others, give appropriate professional consideration to the body of belief held by their audience, and clearly indicate when they are not speaking on behalf of the university.

12.2 Academic due process means that all faculty evaluations shall be carried out according to the norms, criteria, and standards expressed in university policies, and that their application shall be substantive at each stage of the evaluation process.

 

ARTICLE XIII. PROVISIONS FOR AMENDING THE CHARTER

Amendments to the Charter of Academic Governance shall require approval by the Senate and a two-thirds majority of the voting members of the faculty who cast a vote. Voting will be carried out by electronic or paper ballot. Concurrence of the president is also required.

ARTICLE XIV. RESERVATIONS OF TRUSTEE RIGHTS

No provisions herein shall, nor shall be deemed to, derogate from or supersede any rights, powers or duties of the board of trustees under the charter or by-laws of the university, it being understood that such rights, powers, and duties are expressly and fully reserved hereby.

Responsible Party: Academic Senate.  Inquiries can to be directed to asenate@rit.edu.

 

Effective Date: Approved November 15, 1995


Policy History:

Amended September 17, 1996
Edited February 4, 1997
Amended October 20, 1998
Amended October 2, 2000
Edited July 2001
Amended April 15, 2002
Edited March 2004
Amended November 4, 2004
Amended April 5, 2007
Amended January 7, 2010
Amended May 20, 2010
Edited August 2010
Amended by Academic Senate March 21, 2013, and approved by faculty April 22, 2013