Faculty Senate Bylaws
- University of Nevada, Reno
- Approved by the Faculty September 24, 2020
- Approved by the President October 9, 2020
Table of Contents
- Article 1: Faculty Senate
- Article 2: Authority, Purpose, and Objectives
- Article 3: Membership Authority
- Article 4: Senate Membership
- Article 5: Vacancies
- Article 6: Voting
- Article 7: Executive Board
- Article 8: Committees
- Article 9: Meetings
- Article 10: Parliamentary Authority
- Article 11: Amendment
- Article 12: Apportionment
Article 1: Faculty Senate
The name of this association of faculty shall be the UNR Faculty Senate, herein after referred to as the senate.
Article 2: Authority, Purpose, and Objectives of the Faculty Senate
The authority, purpose and objectives of the senate are established within the traditional concept of faculty organization in American universities, and shall be as defined in section 1.4.7 of the Nevada System of Higher Education Code and in the University of Nevada, Reno Bylaws. The senate is authorized to act on questions and issues properly brought before it by the faculty of the several colleges, schools, and components, hereinafter in these bylaws called "major units," of the university. The senate is authorized to take appropriate actions not in conflict with these bylaws, the bylaws of the University of Nevada, Reno, the Nevada System of Higher Education Code, and the laws and statutes of the State of Nevada and the United States.
The senate may develop written procedures or guidelines for senate participation in shared governance activities authorized by the NSHE Code and UNR Bylaws, which shall be in effect upon: 1) approval of two-thirds majority of the members of the senate eligible to vote and 2) approval by the president. These procedures and guidelines shall be included in the Senate Procedures Manual housed on the university bylaws website.
Article 3: Membership Authority
Membership and membership rights to the senate shall be extended to all faculty members elected to membership in the senate in accordance with article 4 of these bylaws.
Faculty members elected to the senate are authorized and have responsibility to represent faculty on matters of primary concern to the faculty of the university.
Article 4: Senate Membership
Eligibility to vote in nominations and elections to the senate shall be accorded to all UNR faculty on regular annual contracts of 0.50 FTE or more. Emeritus faculty, adjunct faculty, and employees on letters of appointment shall not be eligible to vote. If a faculty member has a split appointment, that faculty member may vote with the unit in which s/he has the larger FTE.
Faculty who are eligible to vote in section 4.1 are also eligible for nomination to membership on the senate, excluding those faculty who plan to be on leave for more than three months during their potential senate term, or who will have served more than one year on the senate in the past two academic years, and those who serve as chief administrators of the university. Chief administrators of the university include the president, executive vice-president & provost, vice-presidents, associate and assistant vice-presidents, vice-provosts, deans, associate and assistant deans, or their administrative equivalents; as well as members of President’s Council and Academic Leadership Council. Faculty members are only eligible to represent the unit in which they are allowed to vote. Questions regarding eligibility for senate election shall be referred to the senate office.
The president, executive vice-president & provost, immediate past chair, chair-elect, and senate manager shall be nonvoting, ex officio members of the senate.
The term of office in the senate shall be three (3) years. Insofar as possible, an equal number of terms shall expire each year.
Members of the senate may not serve two full consecutive terms. No person shall represent a unit as a senator for more than four years in any five consecutive years. This limitation does not apply to service as senate chair, chair-elect or past chair, as they do not represent particular units.
Election to membership in the senate shall be held in early spring of each year, or as prescribed in article 5 of these bylaws.
Major units will be notified of Senate elections. The election process shall be run by the senate office, under the following minimum standards.
- Nominations and elections shall be by secret ballot in each of the units.
- There shall be three (3) ballots: a nominating ballot, an election ballot, and, if necessary, a run-off ballot.
- Each faculty member eligible to vote may nominate as many candidates as there are vacancies to be filled in the major unit to which the faculty member belongs.
- All eligible nominees who have indicated their willingness to serve shall be placed on the election ballot for their major unit.
- The nominee with the majority of election votes shall be declared as elected to senate membership to represent their unit. If no nominee receives a majority of votes, then the two nominees who received the most votes shall be placed on a run-off ballot. In the event of a tie vote in the run-off ballot, a new vote shall be taken until a majority is achieved.
Article 5: Vacancies
When a member of the senate vacates their seat or has been or is expected to be absent from called and regularly scheduled senate meetings over an extended time period, the senate office shall notify the major unit. A special election to fill such vacancy shall occur.
An “extended time period" is defined as the member being absent for more than three consecutive regularly scheduled senate meetings where no provision for proxy representation is provided, or where the absence of the member exceeds one academic semester.
Special elections to fill vacancies shall adhere to the procedures of article 4.7 of these bylaws.
- A major unit may assign a proxy or temporary senate member until the special election is complete. For as many senate seats that are vacant, the chief administrator of that major unit may assign a temporary senate member to serve until the special election concludes.
A member of the senate may be recalled by petition to the executive board from at least 25 percent of the faculty members in the unit of the senate member; and upon the approval of a majority of the faculty members from such unit who vote in a secret ballot. The senate chair, chair-elect, and past chair are exempt from recall, but may be removed from office as provided in article 7.2.4 of these bylaws.
A senate member may appoint a proxy to serve at any senate meeting. Only one proxy may be exercised by any individual at any time.
- Non-voting members of the senate shall not serve as a proxy.
A proxy is extended all the prerogatives of a regularly elected member of the senate, provided that:
- The senate member shall provide the senate chair or the chair’s designee a dated statement of proxy representation, either by e-mail or signed memorandum.
- The proxy representation shall in all respects be qualified for membership in the senate, and shall be a faculty member of the same unit of representation as the senate member.
Article 6: Voting
All members present at any meeting of the senate where the business of the senate is being transacted shall be entitled to cast one vote on any questions properly brought before the senate, and shall be entitled to cast in addition one proxy vote so long as a quorum is present.
- If the Executive Board determines a vote of the senate needs to occur before the next scheduled meeting, an electronic vote of the senate may occur with a minimum notice of 5 calendar days to the university faculty. The notice must include the background information and the motion for the vote including the deadline for the vote. A simple majority of the members of the senate eligible to vote shall constitute a quorum for an electronic vote. If a quorum is not met, the vote shall be reopened within 5 calendar days for a time certain, to be no less than 24 hours after notice is given to the senators. If a quorum is not met by the next regular senate meeting, the electronic vote will be negated and a new vote may be held at the senate meeting.
Voting shall at all times conform to procedures established in Robert's Rules of Order, Newly Revised, except as specified above.
All members of the senate are eligible to initiate or second motions on action items. All members of the senate may participate in senate discussions and request consideration of future agenda items. Members of the senate, except as indicated in 4.3, may vote on motions. The senate chair may only vote to break a tie.
Article 7: Executive Board
The executive board is composed of the senate chair, the chair-elect, a parliamentarian, two at-large senate representatives, the senate manager and the immediate past chair.
- Each year, the senate shall elect from among its members, a chair-elect, a parliamentarian, and two representatives at large to the senate’s executive board.
- The senate chair or the chair’s designee shall be the official representative of the senate and the university faculty at all functions. The chair shall preside at meetings of the senate and the executive board, and may serve in other capacities as prescribed by the NSHE Code or the UNR Bylaws.
- The chair-elect of the senate shall assume the position of senate chair in the absence of the chair. The chair-elect shall advance to chair upon completion of the term of the chair.
- The parliamentarian shall make recommendations to the senate chair on matters of parliamentarian procedures.
- The executive board may serve as an ombuds group at the request of any faculty member and use its influence to resolve issues in an amicable manner.
- The executive board shall meet regularly to develop agendas for meetings of the full senate, to appoint senate committees, to respond to requests for information or advice, and to develop goals and policies which the senate chair will, with appropriate help from the board, seek to implement.
- The executive board shall review proposed University Administrative Manual (UAM) modifications and rectify executive board and/or senate concerns with the administration.
- The executive board may approve UAM modifications during senate recess in excess of 30 days, reporting action at the next regularly scheduled senate meeting.
- In an emergency, the executive board may approve UAM modifications, reporting the nature of the emergency and action taken at the next regularly scheduled senate meeting.
Election and Removal of Officers shall be as follows:
- Any elected member of the senate, either currently serving or elected for a term extending through the coming senate year, is eligible to become chair-elect. Any elected member of the senate whose term extends through the coming senate year is eligible to become one of the other officers of the senate.
- Election of officers shall be by secret ballot and supervised by the members of the senate.
- The Nominating Committee will follow Executive Board Nominating Committee Guidelines to identify a slate of candidates who are willing to run for office. The slate of candidates will be presented to the senate prior to the meeting at which the vote will occur. The new officers will be elected no later than the last meeting of the academic year, at which time the chair shall call for nominations from the floor.
- Officers of the senate may be removed by at least a two-thirds vote of the senate members who vote in a secret ballot. The request to consider removal shall be placed on the senate agenda at the request of a majority of the executive board, or by a petition signed by at least 25 percent of the voting members of the senate. Should the senate chair, chair–elect, or immediate past chair be removed, they will not return to the senate.
- If a vacancy occurs mid-term for the chair, the executive board will recommend appointment of either the past chair or the chair-elect as chair. To fill the resulting vacancy, the executive board will serve as the nominating committee, and will present a slate of candidates willing to run for the vacant position, as either the chair-elect or an at-large member at the next senate meeting.
- If a vacancy occurs mid-term for the parliamentarian or at-large member, the executive board will serve as the nominating committee, and will present a slate of candidates willing to run for the vacancy at the next senate meeting.
- If a vacancy occurs mid-term for the past chair, the executive board will serve as the nominating committee and will present a slate of candidates willing to run as an at-large member at the next senate meeting.
- While serving, the senate chair, chair-elect, and past chair shall not represent a specific unit, but rather the faculty as a whole. If the election of the chair-elect creates a vacancy in the representation of a unit, that unit shall elect a representative for the remainder of that senator’s term. The election shall be conducted in accordance with Article 4.7 of these bylaws.
Article 8: Committees
A nominating committee shall be elected annually, and shall include 4 members elected by and from the senate membership, plus the immediate past chair of the senate, who shall serve as chair of the nominating committee. The committee shall identify a slate of candidates for senate officers.
Standing committees may be established by the executive board, subject to approval by the senate. These committees shall be ready to report at each meeting of the senate and shall submit a written annual report to the senate.
Ad hoc committees may be established by the senate executive board, subject to approval by the senate. Ad hoc committees shall be ready to report at each meeting of the senate until discharged by the senate.
Only faculty who have either served on the senate or are eligible for nomination to the senate shall be eligible to serve as chairs or voting members of senate committees. The executive board may appoint persons other than eligible faculty, including students, chief administrators, classified staff, or professional employees on letters of appointment, to serve as nonvoting liaisons to senate committees.
The executive board shall develop procedures to select chairs and members for both policy and ad-hoc committees, and make these selections available to the senate for information. The executive board shall also propose charges for committees, and present these to the senate for approval.
All senate committees shall be named and charged for periods not to exceed one calendar or academic year. Exceptions shall require approval by the senate.
Joint committees of the senate and other administrative or campus governing bodies shall be formed and charged upon agreement by the senate and the appointing authorities of the units of the other bodies. The executive board shall select faculty members to joint committees, in consultation with the appointing authority of the units of the other bodies, to study and to make recommendations on matters of concern to both groups. The senate may request interim reports of a joint committee's progress and the senate shall receive final reports and may act on any recommendations.
Article 9: Meetings
In addition to regularly scheduled meetings, special meetings may be called by the executive board. A special meeting must be convened within two weeks of receipt of a written petition signed by either 25 percent or more of the senate membership, or at least ten percent of the university faculty.
A simple majority of the voting members of the senate, not including any members with additional proxies, shall constitute a quorum for transaction of business at any meeting of the senate.
Agendas shall be distributed to members of the senate at least five calendar days prior to any meeting of the senate, and minutes shall be distributed at least five calendar days prior to the following meeting. Items “for information only” may be added following agenda distribution. Agendas and minutes of senate meetings shall also be made available to all members of the university faculty.
Article 10: Parliamentary Authority
Article 11: Amendment
A proposed amendment to these bylaws or to the Senate Procedures Manual may be introduced by any member of the senate or a senate committee as charged. Presentation of the amendment must be in writing.
The proposed amendment will be adopted upon approval by two-thirds majority of the members of the senate eligible to vote. This vote will be conducted at the next regularly scheduled senate meeting following the meeting at which the amendment is introduced. There shall be at least two weeks between the introduction of an amendment and the vote.
- Should the language of the amendment change between its introduction and the vote, and the Executive Board determines the change to be beyond grammatical corrections or clarifying language, then the amendment will be re-introduced to the faculty senate electronically. There must be at least two weeks between the re-introduction of the amendment and the vote.
An amendment to these bylaws approved by the senate shall become effective upon the approval of the president.
An amendment to the Faculty Senate Procedures and Guidelines Manual, pertaining to activities authorized by UNR Bylaws or the NSHE Code, shall become effective upon the approval of the president.
Article 12: Apportionment
The senate shall reapportion itself at least once every five years or when there is an organizational change of major units.
A decision to reapportion other than required in 12.1, shall require approval by two-thirds of the voting senate membership.
The total body of the senate shall equal 31 voting members. The president, executive vice president & provost, senate chair, chair-elect, immediate past chair, and senate manager shall all be nonvoting members of the senate, except that the senate chair may vote to break a tie.
Apportionment shall follow the Faculty Senate Apportionment Procedure and be based on the total FTE of those faculty eligible to vote in senate elections, as defined in section 4.1 of these bylaws, on the December 1 prior to reapportionment.
Representation in the senate shall be afforded to faculty of each major unit in the university. Each major unit shall have a minimum of one seat on the senate.