Bylaws of the Department of History

  • University of Nevada, Reno
  • Approved by the Department Faculty on May 2, 2008
  • Approved by the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts on February 11, 2010
  • These bylaws were approved by unanimous vote of the Department of History, April 2006, with revisions October 2007 and April 2008.

Table of Contents

  1. Authority
  2. Mission of the Department of History
  3. Faculty of the Department of History
  4. Organization of the Department of History
  5. Searches
  6. Individual Faculty Responsibilities
  7. Tenure and Promotion
  8. Termination
  9. Adoption and Amendment of Bylaws
 

I. Authority

NSHE Code, October 1995 (with revisions); UNR Bylaws, June 1992 (with revisions); College of Liberal Arts (CLA) Bylaws, April 2006 (with revisions).

 

II. Mission of the Department of History

The Department of History of a publicly funded, land-grant university has several important missions. History is a cornerstone of higher education in America: as a department we seek to impart an understanding of the past as a vital force in shaping the present and the future. We serve the public by extensive research, teaching, and scholarly publications in fields that are important to audiences from the local to the international. We enrich our analysis through interdisciplinary, cross-cultural, and theoretically informed examinations of the past. We unite our roles as scholars and public servants by organizing and participating in public forums as well as professional conferences and organizations.

We are a community of scholars and teachers dedicated to our profession. Teaching is central to our mission. This includes undergraduate and graduate history instruction and participation in the University CoreCurriculum. We offer bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. We promote critical thinking, analytical, and writing skills, urgently needed by students facing an uncertain and rapidly changing future. Our individual research activities bring rigor and creativity to our teaching. Teaching and research are mutually reinforcing, and we are active in scholarly research and writing. Each member of our faculty participates in all parts of the mission, and each makes a unique contribution.

The Department of History shall periodically review its effectiveness, accomplishments, programs, and priorities. At least once every five years, it shall revise its current master plan in light of this review.

 

III. Faculty of the Department of History

  1. The continuing faculty of the Department of History is defined in accordance with the CLA Bylaws.
  2. The Department of History does not have administrative faculty positions.
  3. General Assembly: The general assembly shall consist of the continuing faculty, as well as contingent faculty, temporary faculty, and post-doctoral fellows (all these categories are defined by CLA bylaws) assembled in departmental meeting. Except in specific instances described below (III.C.2), the general assembly shall also include a graduate student representative.
    1. For a quorum, two-thirds of the continuing faculty must be present in the general assembly. Members not present may provide a proxy to another continuing faculty member, and must notify the Chair in writing of their intention to vote by proxy. No person may hold more than one proxy.
    2. No later than the fourth week of the fall semester, the graduate students shall elect a representative who shall attend all general assemblies, except when personnel matters (including hiring, promotion and tenure, elections of Chair and Executive Committee, and personnel evaluation) are discussed. Only those graduate students who have been admitted to the program, and have completed two semesters of work subsequent to their admission, shall be eligible to serve as graduate representative. The Graduate Advisor shall supervise the nomination and election procedure.
    3. All proposals on matters of serious import, involving such things as policy, curriculum, and bylaws, shall be submitted either to each member of the general assembly or to each member of the continuing faculty as appropriate, at least one week before a vote can be taken. This rule may be waived by unanimous vote of the continuing faculty.
    4. Any member of the continuing faculty may call for a secret ballot to be taken on any matter before the assembly.
    5. Minutes shall be made of each faculty meeting to reflect all motions made whether passed or defeated. The yeas and nays shall be recorded at the discretion of the assembly, or when required by the bylaws of the CLA or UNR. The Chair shall appoint a secretary for each departmental meeting.
    6. Regular general assembly meetings shall be held at least once each semester. Special meetings may be called by the Chair at any time, or by one third of the continuing faculty upon application to the Chair.
  4. Voting: All continuing faculty members shall have an equal vote in any matter placed before the department. When the entire general assembly is voting, all members of the general assembly shall have an equal vote.
    1. All matters affecting general departmental policy shall be passed by a majority vote of the general assembly. The result of all votes shall be considered the faculty's directive to the Chair except in the naming or promotion of the Chair, which shall be a direct recommendation to the Dean of the College through the Executive Committee.
    2. Matters pertaining to tenure and promotion, election of chair and Executive Committee, hiring of tenure-track faculty, and suspending any of the provisions of these bylaws shall be voted on by continuing faculty only. Specific provisions in each case are addressed below, in Sections IV, V, VII, and IX.
 

IV. Organization of the Department of History

  • A. Department Chairperson (hereinafter referred to as "Chair")
    1. The Chair shall be the chief administrative officer of the department. He or she shall represent the department faculty to the college; implement college, UNR, and NSHE policies within the department; and communicate such policies to the department. It is the chair's responsibility to implement and supervise policies established by the department.
    2. The Chair is appointed by the President on recommendation of the Dean of the College, normally for a three-year term.Within the department, the vote for the Chair shall be conducted by a secret ballot of the continuing faculty. No Chair shall serve more than two terms consecutively, unless two-thirds of the continuing faculty vote to suspend this provision. The Chair shall be a tenured member of the department. The department shall complete its nomination before the end of spring semester; the Chair's term shall commence July 1st.
    3. Should the office of Chair become vacant, the department shall nominate a replacement no later than four weeks after the vacancy occurs. The vice chair (see IV.B.2 below) shall serve as acting chair in the interim. Voting for the replacement chair, who shall serve for the remainder of the current academic year, shall occur by secret ballot of the continuing faculty. Before the end of the spring semester of that academic year, the department shall nominate a new chair for a three-year term as described in IV.A.2 above.
    4. The Chair shall appoint annually permanent and temporary committees to assist him/her in implementing departmental policies. Ordinarily these committees shall be appointed from members of the continuing faculty, with the Chair as an ex-officio member of each. The Chair shall also appoint the Undergraduate Advisor and the Graduate Advisor (described in Section IV.C below), and such other assistants as he/she may from time to time deem necessary.
    5. The Chair shall make teaching assignments based on programmatic need and consistent with faculty members’ areas of expertise after consulting with them individually and with the Undergraduate and Graduate Advisors.
    6. The Chair shall make recommendations for salary and merit increases to higher authority, and in doing so shall seek the advice and consent of the Executive Committee, as described in IV.B.4 below.
    7. For every untenured, tenure-track faculty member in the department, the Chair shall, in consultation with the Executive Committee,annually assess in writing the progress toward tenure and meet with the faculty member to review his/her record and make any necessary recommendations.
    8. The Chair shall determine use of operating and travel funds, summer session appointments, and any other supplementary financial allocations. In doing so, he/she shall seek the advice and consent of the Executive Committee meeting collectively and shall provide for the opportunity to discuss these decisions in a regular general assembly meeting.
    9. The Chair shall, after discussion in the general assembly, write the annual evaluation of the departmental administrative assistant, which shall be reviewed by the Executive Committee.
    10. The vice chair, described in IV.B.2 below, shall assume the duties of the Chair when necessary.
  • B. Executive Committee
    1. The continuing faculty shall elect annually an Executive Committee from among its members. TheExecutive Committee shall consist of three members: one serving a one-year term; two serving two-year terms. The two-year terms shall be staggered. At all times,at least one member of the Executive Committee shall be a tenured member of the department. Executive Committee members shall be limited to two consecutive terms in office. The Chair and the graduate representative shall not be eligible for membership on the Executive Committee. The election of the Executive Committee shall be completed before the end of spring semester; the terms of Executive Committee members shall commence July 1.
    2. The member of the Executive Committee with the longest continuous service on the Executive Committee shall function as Vice Chair of the department. No untenured faculty member shall serve as vice chair.
    3. The Executive Committee meeting collectively shall review, and provide advice for and consent to, all letters of recommendation for promotion and tenure, all sabbatical-leave letters prepared by the Chair, and all annual personnel evaluation reports, before they are dispatched to higher authority.
    4. The Executive Committee shall provide advice for and consent to merit reviews and recommendations for salary increases made by the Chair. If the Chair’s recommendation to higher authority differs from the recommendation of the Executive Committee, the Chair shall explain to the Executive Committee the reasons for that departure.
    5. The Executive Committee shall provide advice and consent to the Chair concerning the allocation of operating and travel funds, summer-session appointments, and any other supplementary financial allocations.
    6. The Executive Committee shall prepare the annual evaluation report, and any other necessary personnel reports, on the department Chair, who shall also be evaluated by the Dean of the College.
    7. The Executive Committee shall serve as the hiring committee for the following types of positions: emergency hires; faculty hired to teach a single course on a one-time basis (letters of appointment). For all other hiring, see Section V: Searches.
  • C. Undergraduate Advisor
    1. The Chair shall appoint an Undergraduate Advisor for a two-year term. The Undergraduate Advisor may not serve more than two terms consecutively. The Chair may reappoint an Advisor who has completed two consecutive terms only if two-thirds of the continuing faculty vote to suspend this provision.
    2. The Undergraduate Advisor shall serve as chair of the Undergraduate Studies Committee. This committee will be responsible for overseeing and reviewing the department’s undergraduate programs and scholarships.
  • D. Graduate Advisor
    1. The Chair shall appoint a Graduate Advisor for a two-year term. The Graduate Advisor may not serve more than two terms consecutively. The Chair may reappoint an Advisor who has completed two consecutive terms only if two-thirds of the continuing faculty vote to suspend this provision.
    2. The Graduate Advisor shall serve as chair of the Graduate Studies Committee. This committee shall be responsible for overseeing and reviewing the department's graduate program; reviewing and voting on all admissions to the Ph.D. program; reviewing and making recommendations to the Graduate Advisor on admissions to the M.A. program, when appropriate; and reviewing applications for awards of graduate fellowships and scholarships.
 

V. Searches

  1. When vacancies occur in the instructional staff, the department chair shall appoint a Search Committee consisting of not fewer than three members of the continuing faculty. The Chair shall designate one of the members of this committee as the committee chairperson. Other members may be appointed to the committee in accordance with College and University bylaws, policies, and procedures. The department Chair may appoint a graduate student in the Ph.D. program as an additional member.
  2. The Search Committee shall have the responsibility to write a job description, which must then be approved at a meeting of the general assembly. The Search Committee shall oversee the hiring process in accordance with College and University bylaws, policies, and procedures. The Search Committee shall recommend a short list to the faculty. The general assembly shall vote by secret ballot on the composition of the short list. For tenure-track and other multi-year positions, a decision to recommend hiring a particular candidate shall be by a majority of the continuing faculty.
 

VI. Individual Faculty Responsibilities

A. The individual responsibilities of each faculty member shall be in concert with the Mission Statement (II, above) and in accordance with the bylaws and policies of the College of Liberal Arts and the University.

  • B. Research and Scholarly Activity

    Faculty shall contribute to historical scholarship, striving for professional excellence. Accomplishments shall be measured by the quality of published works, by unpublished manuscripts either completed or in progress, by original papers presented at scholarly conferences, by book reviews, and by invited addresses and commentaries.

  • C. Instruction

    Central to our mission, instruction takes multiple forms: formal undergraduate and graduate teaching; undergraduate and graduate independent study; thesis and dissertation supervision and service on graduate student committees; advisement. (Outreach instruction, including teaching in the wider community and work with elementary and secondary schools, is evaluated as service, in accordance with the CLA Bylaws). Important considerations in evaluating teaching include the dependability, interest, and enthusiasm of the instructor; the extent of preparation and innovation in teaching; and the care with which advisement, evaluation, and other matters vital to the student's welfare are handled. Proficiency may be measured by such means as collegial consultation and classroom visitation, students' evaluations, examples of students' progress in learning, and innovation in teaching methods and creation of new courses.

  • D. Service

    Faculty service can take multiple forms; no one is expected to be proficient in all of them:

    1. Service to the discipline: including attendance at and participation in local, regional, and/or national meetings; election to local, regional, and/or national boards of scholarly and academic organizations; recognition by historical organizations; editorial activities for professional journals; and other forms of involvement in the discipline of history.
    2. Service to the University, the College, and the department: including service on committees; activity in university affairs; sponsorship of or participation in other than required education activities; contributing to the achievement of university, college, and departmental goals.
    3. Service to the community: including outreach instruction, such as teaching in the wider community and work with elementary and secondary schools; professionally related community services; talks to service groups.
  • E. Weighting of individual faculty responsibilities

    The weight given to each component (research, instruction, service) shall be determined after consultation between the individual faculty member and the Chair, and expressed in writing. Generally, however, research and instruction shall be of approximately equal weight; service shall be of lesser weight.

  • F. Personnel Evaluation Reports

    Each department faculty member shall be evaluated annually (including periods of sabbatical leave or leaves of absence) for merit increases on the basis of his/her professional responsibilities and performance. Each person shall submit documentation for evaluation, to be conducted by the Executive Committee and the Chair (see IV.A.6; IV.B.4). The evaluation of each person shall carry a signed statement indicating that he or she has read the evaluation or has waived the right to read it. If the faculty member disagrees with any part of the evaluation, he or she may submit a written statement which shall be attached to the written evaluation and become a part thereof. Formal appeal of annual evaluations is governed by a university-level process specified in the NSHE Code and UNR Bylaws.

 

VII. Tenure and Promotion

  • A. Schedule for consideration
    1. Tenure: A probationary member of the faculty may be recommended for tenure in any year during the probationary period, with the candidate's approval. In addition to the annual assessment of progress toward tenure (see IV.A.7 above), the faculty member must be evaluated and formally considered regarding progress toward tenure no later than during the third probationary year, and if not granted tenure, annually thereafter. The faculty member shall be informed of this evaluation in writing, including any program of improvement that must be undertaken to be considered for tenure at a later date.
    2. Promotion: A member of the faculty may be considered for promotion in any year, with the candidate's approval. An instructor or lecturer shall be evaluated according to criteria established in writing with the chair at the time of hire, and in accordance with College of Liberal Arts bylaws. An assistant professor shall be evaluated and formally considered for promotion no later than the fifth year in rank, and annually thereafter. The above specified times shall not be construed as a minimum time in rank before promotion. Any academic or equivalent rank may be a terminal rank.
  • B. Process
    1. The process and calendar for evaluating and recommending faculty for tenure and promotion shall in all cases adhere to the bylaws, policies, and procedures of the College of Liberal Arts, the UNR Bylaws, and the NSHE Code.
    2. A calendar for internal tenure and promotion deadlines is established by departmental guidelines. Any faculty member who wishes to be proposed for promotion and/or tenure the following academic year shall inform the Chair of this wish and conform to that calendar.
    3. The candidate shall prepare an application for promotion and/or tenure, in accordance with University of Nevada, Reno and NSHE policies. This application shall include supporting materials related to each component of his/her record: instruction, research and scholarly activity, service. The candidate may, if appropriate, request that the Chair solicit letters of recommendation or evaluation from colleagues who have worked with the candidate in any area of his/her activity, inside or outside the University.
    4. The Chair shall solicit at least four external peer reviews of the candidate's scholarship as follows and in accordance with University of Nevada, Reno and NSHE policies:
      1. The candidate shall submit to the Chair a list of potential peer reviewers. This list should describe the candidate’s relationship with each potential reviewer.
      2. The Chair shall endeavor to select reviewers who can provide expert, reasonably objective assessments of the candidate. The Chair shall select no more than three potential reviewers from the candidate's list, and at least one potential reviewer not on the list. To identify reviewers not on the candidate's list, the Chair shall, if necessary, consult colleagues in the candidate's area of study at other institutions.
      3. The Chair's letter to potential peer reviewers shall ask reviewers to state any personal association with the candidate, and to assess the quality of the candidate's scholarly achievements, his/her reputation in the profession, and if appropriate how the candidate's record compares with successful applications at the reviewer's institution. Peer reviewers shall be provided with supporting materials (curriculum vitae and scholarly work, provided by the candidate). The Chair shall ask that peer-review letters be submitted with ample time for the Executive Committee and the continuing faculty to evaluate them, as part of the candidate's application.
    5. Before the application is due to the College of Liberal Arts, the Executive Committee shall review the candidate's record.
      1. Each member of the Executive Committee shall be responsible for writing an evaluation of one component of the candidate's record: instruction; research and scholarly activity; service. If the candidate is a member of the Executive Committee, he/she shall recuse himself from reviewing any promotion and tenure applications in that year. In addition, no untenured member of the Executive Committee shall review promotion/tenure applications in that capacity. In all such cases, the Chair shall appoint a replacement to serve exclusively in dealing with those applications.
      2. For each component, this written evaluation shall involve multiple indices of assessment. Evaluation of research shall include the peer-review letters as described above, and may also include examination of the candidate's publications, and examination of published reviews of the candidate's work. Evaluation of teaching may include student course evaluations and student letters, examination of the candidate's teaching portfolio (syllabi, assignments, student work), and classroom observation. Evaluation of service may include the candidate's and other colleagues' description of his/her service activities, as well as any supporting materials.
      3. The members of the Executive Committee shall submit their evaluations to the Chair no later than two weeks before the application is due to the College of Liberal Arts. The Chair shall make these evaluations, and the candidate's entire file (peer-review letters, supporting materials), available for perusal by all continuing faculty. Peer-review letters shall not be made available to the candidate.
    6. Before the application is due to the College of Liberal Arts, the continuing tenure-track faculty (as defined by the CLA Bylaws) shall meet to review the candidate's record and make a recommendation to the Chair. Determinations shall be made by majority vote of the continuing tenure-track faculty by secret ballot. Candidates shall be afforded the opportunity of making representations on behalf of their candidacies, if they so desire, but shall not be present for the continuing tenure-track faculty’s review.
    7. The Chair shall prepare a summary evaluation of the candidate, to be submitted with the supporting materials, including the external and internal peer reviews, to higher authority. The Executive Committee shall review this summary evaluation before its submission. The Chair shall report the vote of the faculty in this evaluation. If the Chair’s recommendation disagrees with the vote of the tenure-track faculty, the Chair shall show cause for a dissenting opinion and shall be obliged to explain that opinion to the tenure-track faculty.
  • C. Specific Criteria for Tenure and Promotion
    1. Tenure: The candidate must have completed the Ph.D. and be on a contract of at least .5 FTE. The candidate must be judged no less than satisfactory in all three areas of performance and excellent in either teaching or research.
      1. Achievements in research or creative work shall be evidenced by published articles and/or books. Books under signed contract with publishers, and articles accepted for publication should be included.(To be considered fully, a book manuscript must have been through all reviews, and all revisions made and approved by the publisher.) Other scholarly achievements such as book reviews and conference papers, external grants, participation in conference panels, and invited addresses also constitute important parts of the record. However, such achievements cannot substitute for published works as described above. The candidate must show a commitment to scholarly endeavor and the promise of continued intellectual growth through research and writing, and must demonstrate that he or she is in the process of establishing a national reputation.
      2. A record of effective teaching must be documented in at least two of the following ways: written student evaluations; documentation of instructional creativity and growth through teaching portfolios; peer review. Also important to the instructional record is participation on graduate student committees, offering graduate seminars, thesis and dissertation advisement (either formal or informal).
      3. Service in university and departmental and professional activities.
    2. Promotion to Assistant Professor: The candidate must have completed a Ph.D. and be on a contract of at least .5 FTE.
    3. Promotion to Associate Professor: The candidate must be judged no less than satisfactory in all three areas of performance and excellent in either teaching or research. As stated in the CLA Bylaws, the candidate must have “established a substantial record of achievement in teaching, scholarly and/or creative work, and service.”
      1. Achievements in research or creative work shall be evidenced by published articles and/or books. Books under signed contract with publishers, and articles accepted for publication should be included. (To be considered fully, a book manuscript must have been through all reviews, and all revisions made and approved by the publisher.) Other scholarly achievements such as book reviews and conference papers, external grants, participation in conference panels, and invited addresses also constitute important parts of the record. However, such achievements cannot substitute for published works as described above. The candidate must show a commitment to scholarly endeavor and the promise of continued intellectual growth through research and writing.
      2. A record of effective teaching must be documented in at least two of the following ways: written student evaluations; documentation of instructional creativity and growth through teaching portfolios; peer review. Also important to the instructional record is participation on graduate student committees, offering graduate seminars, thesis and dissertation advisement (either formal or informal).
      3. Service in university and departmental and professional activities.
    4. Promotion to Full Professor. The candidate must be judged at a minimum excellent in either teaching or research, at least commendable in a second area, and no less than satisfactory in any of the three areas (teaching, research and scholarly activity, service).
      1. Research accomplishments shall indicate a sustained record of excellence and the establishment of a national or international reputation. Evaluation of scholarly accomplishment shall emphasize work since the last promotion and shall include published book(s) and/or a substantial body of published articles appearing in some of the most important journals in the discipline or sub-discipline. The record should also show consistent participation in scholarly endeavors as evidenced by publications, conference papers, conference comments, invited lectures and addresses, editorial duties. Promise for continued achievement should be clear.
      2. Distinction in teaching shall be established by student evaluations, peer review, and a record of continued classroom development as evidenced by pedagogical creativity and/or the development of new courses. In addition, contribution to the graduate program must include activities such as seminars, directed readings, thesis and dissertation advisement, participation on graduate student committees.
      3. Distinguished professional service should include all three areas: to the department (standing and ad hoc committees, or as chair or graduate or undergraduate advisor), to the college or university (committees, special programs) and to the profession (editorial boards, manuscript and grant reviews, conference organization, panels, etc.).
 

VIII. Termination

The department acknowledges the provisions of the UNR Bylaws and NSHE Code relating to termination.

 

IX. Adoption and Amendment of Bylaws

Bylaws shall be adopted and may be changed by a two-thirds vote, in a secret ballot of the continuing faculty. Final implementation will be contingent on all pertinent levels of review and approval by college and university authorities.