Bylaws of the Department of Mechanical Engineering

  • University of Nevada, Reno
  • Approved by the Department Faculty on January 17, 2017
  • Approved by the Dean of the College of Engineering on May 10, 2017

Table of Contents

  1. Bylaws
    1. Authorization
    2. Scope of these Bylaws
    3. Adoption and Amendment
  2. Mission of the Mechanical Engineering Dept.
  3. Organization
    1. Department Chair
    2. Faculty
    3. Adjunct Faculty
    4. Committees
      1. Standing Committees
      2. Ad Hoc Committees
    5. Industrial Advisory Council
    6. Voting Procedures
  4. Personnel Policies
    1. Recruitment of Tenure Track Faculty
    2. Retention of Tenure Track Faculty
    3. Promotion and Tenure
      1. Promotion and Tenure Committees
      2. Department Criteria for Tenure, Promotion & Merit
  5. Faculty
    1. Professional Responsibilities
    2. Consulting
    3. Use of Department’s Facilities
  6. Department Chair
    1. Duties of Department Chair
    2. Selection of Department Chair
    3. Term of Office of the Department Chair
    4. Removal of the Department Chair
    5. Evaluation of the Department Chair

1. Bylaws

  • 1.1 Authorization

    These Bylaws are authorized by Section Six of the Bylaws of the University of Nevada, Reno.

  • 1.2 Scope of these Bylaws

    These Bylaws provide for the organization, administrative structure and operating procedures of the Mechanical Engineering Department. They shall be consistent with the University of Nevada, Reno Bylaws, the College of Engineering Bylaws, the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) Code and the laws of the State of Nevada and the United States.

  • 1.3 Adoption and Amendment

    Any member of the faculty may propose amendments to the Bylaws. Proposed amendments shall be submitted to the entire department faculty for their consideration and approval. Subject to Dean and President approval, proposed adoption or amendments shall be in force if two-thirds of the department's faculty approve via secret ballot.


2. Mission of the Mechanical Engineering Department

The mission of the mechanical engineering department is:

To provide undergraduate and graduate educational programs which emphasize fundamental mechanical engineering skills, such that:

  • The graduates are competitive in local, national, and international employment opportunities.
  • The core curricula are broadly based to accommodate a variety of career goals.

To provide the faculty and students an environment for scholarly research and innovation.

To act as a focal point for engineering practitioners and industry through industry/university cooperative efforts.

To develop and cultivate life-long learning opportunities.


3. Organization

  • 3.1 Department Chair

    The Department Chair shall be the chief executive officer of the department, chair of faculty meetings, and ex-officio member of all committees. The Chair is appointed by the Dean, after consultation with the faculty. In the absence of the Chair, a senior faculty member designated by the Chair shall act as Department Chair.

  • 3.2 Faculty

    The term "faculty", as defined in the UNR Bylaws, refers to all persons in the department holding authorized professional positions with the exception of Adjunct Faculty. Faculty are entitled to a prorated portion of a vote in departmental matters as provided in the NSHE Codeand UNR Bylaws.

  • 3.3 Adjunct Faculty

    Persons holding adjunct appointments in the Department, as defined in the UNR bylaws, shall be nonvoting members of the Department.

  • 3.4 Committees
    1. Standing Committees

      The following standing committees shall be established every other year by vote of the faculty, and a faculty member may vote for two different members of each committee:

      Curriculum Committee (a minimum of 3 tenure track/tenured faculty): Prepare proposals and materials for new courses, curriculum changes, catalog descriptions, accreditation reviews, and recommend to the Chair teaching schedules.

      Graduate Committee (a minimum of 3 tenure track/tenured faculty): Oversee the graduate program. Recruit graduate students and make recommendations to the Chair regarding admissions and the granting of teaching assistantships. Establish admission and qualifying examination standards and procedures, subject to faculty approval. Recommend to the Chair the make-up of the Qualifying Examination Committee.

      Laboratory Committee (a minimum of 3 tenure track/tenured faculty): Oversee maintenance and acquisition of equipment and experimental facilities (including computer hardware and software that is dedicated to an experimental apparatus) within the department. Oversee maintenance and acquisition of computational equipment including computer hardware and software within the department. Maintain an inventory of all capital equipment within the Department. Annually recommend, after consultation with the faculty, acquisition and facility development priorities.

    No faculty member may be a member of more than two of the above committees. No faculty member may be chair of more than one of the above committees. The chair of each committee is selected by faculty vote of the membership on the committee.

    The Department Chair must approve all committee recommendations.

    1. Ad hoc Committees

      The Chair may appoint, after consulting with the faculty, ad hoc committees that will address particular needs within the Department.

  • 3.5 Industrial Advisory Council

    The Chair, in consultation with the faculty, will invite practicing mechanical engineers to participate on an Industrial Advisory Council for the purpose of providing industrial feedback on proposed curriculum changes and other departmental initiatives. The activities of this council will be coordinated with those of the College of Engineering Advisory Board.

  • 3.6 Voting Procedures

    For purposes of voting on motions brought before the faculty at least a simple majority of the faculty must exercise his/her vote unless otherwise specified in these Bylaws. A motion will be approved by a simple majority of the ballots caste unless otherwise specified in these Bylaws.


4. Personnel Policies

  • 4.1 Recruitment of Tenure Track Faculty

    The department chair shall recruit new tenure track faculty in consultation with a search committee and the Dean. The chair in consultation with only the tenured or tenure track faculty will appoint the search committee. The search committee will screen the candidates, following University policies, and make recommendations to the Chair.

  • 4.2 Retention of Tenure Track Faculty

    When any question arises with respect to a probationary faculty member, a committee of tenured members of the faculty, which may include individuals from outside the Department, shall be chosen by the Chair, in consultation with the faculty and the Dean, to make recommendations as to the retention of the faculty member in question. This recommendation, along with that of the Chair, will be forwarded to the Dean. All committee votes shall be obtained via secret ballots.

  • 4.3 Promotion and Tenure

    In conformity with UNR Bylaws, individuals seeking promotion or tenure prepare their application in consultation with the Department Chair. The appropriate departmental committee considers applications. The committee recommendation, including the results of a secret ballot, is forwarded to the Chair. The right to a minority opinion shall not be abridged. The Chair then informs the applicant of the results and forwards these results to the Dean together with his(her) own recommendation.

    1. Promotion and Tenure Committees

      The promotion committee shall consist of all tenured faculty senior in rank to the member involved. The tenure committee shall consist of all tenured faculty. The Chair is a nonvoting member of both committees. The first action of either of the above committees will be the election of their committee chair. Both committees are ad hoc, and will disband when the personnel recommendation is forwarded to the Chair. All committee votes shall be obtained via secret ballots.

    2. Department Criteria for Tenure, Promotion and Merit

      The criteria listed in the College of Engineering Bylaws shall constitute the minimum criteria for tenure,promotion, and Merit for the Department. In addition, the standards for recommendation for appointment with tenure, as delineated in the UNR Bylaws, shall be observed.


5. Faculty

  • 5.1 Professional Responsibilities

    Duties of regular faculty include teaching, research (and/or design) and service. These duties are defined in the following:

    Teaching is interpreted broadly and includes: classroom, extension, and laboratory instruction; development of new courses, laboratories and teaching methods; development and publication of original-creative publications, textbooks and educational software; and advising undergraduate and graduate students;

    Research and/or Design refers to the creation and dissemination of new knowledge, techniques, concepts or operating devices and systems that extend the frontiers of engineering knowledge or create new technologies. These accomplishments should go beyond the routine research and design activities, which any competent practicing industrial or consulting engineer performs (e.g. routine testing to produce new data or standard design practices leading to a new device). Research and/or design activity shall be documented by peer reviewed papers, creative-original books, and other reports and documents;

    Service includes service to students, colleagues, the Department, the College, the University, the community and the profession of engineering. Service to the community will be characterized by the use of the faculty member's professional expertise. Service to the profession of engineering includes activism in recognized professional organizations.

  • 5.2 Consulting

    Faculty are encouraged to do engineering consulting under the conditions of the UNR consulting policy as specified in the Faculty Handbook.Consulting work must not interfere with the faculty member's duties to the Department. Department facilities may not be used in conjunction with consulting work unless a prior financial arrangement has been made. The Chair shall be notified whenever a faculty member engages in a consulting activity.

  • 5.3 Use of Department's Facilities

    Equipment of the Department is provided expressly for faculty use in connection with their regular duties. Use for other purposes is prohibited unless prior arrangements are made with the Laboratory Director and the Chair. Equipment may not be removed from the physical plant without prior approval of the Laboratory Committee Chair and the Department Chair.


6. Department Chair

  • 6.1 Duties of the Department Chair

    The Chair shall provide leadership in academic functions, planning and public services, and shall coordinate and facilitate the administration of the department. The Chair shall function as a member of the faculty and spokesperson for the faculty in communication with upper administration. The primary responsibility is to the department faculty.

    The Chair shall be responsible for coordination of instruction, schedules, curriculum, and student relations.

    The Chair shall transmit appropriate information from College of Engineering Chair meetings to the department faculty.

  • 6.2 Selection of Department Chair

    Upon the Chair position becoming vacant, an internal candidate for replacement may be recommended to the Dean by the faculty. If the Dean decides on an external search, a search committee will be formed, consisting of three tenured faculty members elected by the faculty, and one member from outside the department selected by the Dean. The search committee shall elect its own committee chair. The search committee, after consultation with the faculty, shall provide a non-binding, unranked list of candidates to the Dean.

  • 6.3 Term of office of the Department Chair

    The normal term of office for the Chair shall be five (5) years. Recommendation for continued appointment will be based on a majority vote of the faculty.

  • 6.4 Removal of the Department Chair

    The faculty reserves the right to request removal of the Chair at any time. A recommendation for removal must be by secret ballot of the faculty, to be counted by two senior tenured members of the faculty other than the Chair. A majority vote is required for submission of the department request to the Dean.

  • 6.5 Evaluation of Department Chair

    The Chair will be evaluated annually by the departmental faculty by individual written evaluations. This evaluation will be conducted prior to the conclusion of the annual faculty evaluations, and in accordance with UNR forwarded to the Dean. At the time of evaluation of the Chair, the faculty may also forward an evaluation of departmental goals and progress.