Bylaws of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Science

  • Approved by the Department Faculty on September 27, 2012
  • Approved by the Dean of the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources on December 15, 2014

These Bylaws are established under Section 1.3.4 of the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) Code and the University of Nevada Reno (UNR) Bylaws 2.1.2. They are to serve and implement the University and College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources (CABNR) Bylaws and to provide for orderly operation of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Science. In any conflict of interpretation, the University or College Bylaws shall take precedence. The NSHE Code, University and College Bylaws and other policy statements of the University are applicable to all faculty members and should be consulted in matters not specifically mentioned herein. These bylaws shall be in force upon approval by a simple majority vote of the voting faculty in the Department in a written, secret ballot and after review by a college bylaws review committee and approval by the Dean of CABNR (UNR Bylaws Part 2.1.2).

Table of Contents


A. Amendments to the bylaws

Amendments to these bylaws may be proposed by any voting faculty member and shall be in force upon approval by a two-thirds majority vote of the Department voting faculty in a written, secret ballot and after approval by the Dean and the President (UNR Bylaws Part 2.1.2).


B. Statement of general policy

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Science (NRES) resolves to focus on the fundamental relationships of living organisms, the environment, and people through recognized research, teaching, and outreach programs. Within this focus, the primary emphases will be:

  1. Offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs that meet educational needs of the students, the state, the region, and the nation;
  2. Providing leadership to and actively participating in research and teaching programs; and
  3. Providing community and public service programs through outreach and education. Sections 2.1.2 and 3.3.1 of the UNR Bylaws outlines faculty responsibilities for this mission.

Each faculty member has equal rights and privileges irregardless of the proportion of specific responsibilities that include (1) teaching, (2) research,and (3) outreach and service. Since specific assignments and duties of the individual faculty members vary, promotion, tenure, and salary increases will be based on performance according to a faculty member’s annual role statement.


C. Personnel

The personnel of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Science consist of the following:


D. Duties of faculty

  1. All faculty members are responsible for continual improvement of curriculum, teaching, research, and outreach service.
  2. The duties of Department faculty members are the professional responsibilities specified in Section 3.3.1 of the UNR Bylaws.
  3. Duties of individual faculty members are stated in their annual role statements.

E. Duties of the department chair

If appointed internally, the Department Chair will have a three year term with the possibility of reinstatement. If obtained by a national search, the appointment will be for five years, also with the possibility of reinstatement.

The Chair position can be filled either by an NRES faculty member chosen by majority vote of NRES faculty or through a national search. If the search is national in scope,the process will be followed as outlined in the UNR administrative manual. The search committee will have at least one member from each discipline in the department and these will be voted upon by the faculty. The committee will rank the candidates, and the candidate chosen will be selected based on a majority vote. This person will then be recommended by the committee to the Dean.

  1. The Department Chair will be the chief spokesperson in the conduct of the business of the Department and will ensure that the Departmental operations conform to the University, College, and Departmental Bylaws and the NSHE Code.
  2. The Department Chair is expected to consider and promote the programs, projects, and policies of the Department.
  3. The Department Chair will provide a description of the general operating budget for the department at least once a year, early in each budget year. This will be reviewed at a faculty meeting.
  4. Administrative matters will be the responsibility of the Chair, unless he or she chooses to delegate such matters to another faculty member. Matters that change Department policy will be submitted to the faculty at regular faculty meetings,or if necessary, at specially scheduled meetings.
  5. Matters that are of relevance to the faculty as a whole will be communicated to the faculty at large by the Department Chair in a timely manner.
  6. The Department Chair is responsible for working with the Peer Review Committee to ensure that standards of performance as determined by the Department faculty are consistently applied during the evaluation process. If the Department Chair's recommendation to the Dean regarding annual evaluation, promotion, or tenure is contrary to the recommendation of the faculty or the Department’s Peer Review Committee, the Department Chair shall inform the Dean and the faculty member concerned in writing.
  7. The Chair is responsible for facilitating professional development for all faculty and staff.
  8. The Department Chair shall appoint ad hoc committees as necessary to facilitate the functioning of the Department.
  9. In the Chair's absence, the Department Chair may appoint a Department faculty member, with the concurrence of the Dean, to serve as Acting Chair.
  10. If the Chair position becomes vacant, this vacancy will be filled on an interim basis by a faculty member from the Department until successful completion of a formal search procedure.

F. Meetings of the faculty

  1. At least 4 meetings per year will be held for the purpose of considering appropriate action on any matter before the faculty.
  2. Special meetings may be called at any time by the Department Chair or by petition to the Department Chair by 1/3 of the voting faculty. Meetings called by petition shall be convened within ten working days of receipt of the petition.
  3. Notification of any regular or special meetings shall go to the faculty at least three working days prior to the meeting date. Each member of the faculty shall be notified in writing or electronically of the date, time, place, and agenda.
  4. Minutes of each regular or special meeting shall be distributed to each faculty member within two weeks of that meeting.
  5. A voting quorum shall consist of a simple majority of Department voting faculty members.
  6. Voting Faculty: Faculty meeting either of the following criteria and who also do not have voting rights in other administrative units are eligible to vote and have one vote in any matter put before the Department:
    1. Those appointed as tenured, tenure-track or Rank 0 faculty in the Department with a continuing contract, renewable annually with the University of Nevada.
    2. Those with joint appointments and at least a 0.50 FTE appointment in the Department.
  7. Non-voting Faculty and Students: Adjunct, visiting and Emeritus Faculty have non-continuing appointments and do not have Department voting rights. Upon invitation by the Chair, students may attend meetings of the Departmental Faculty as non-voting participants. Students may be accorded voting privileges on certain committees (e.g.faculty search committees) by vote of the Department faculty. Robert's Rule of Order shall apply to all meetings of the faculty.

G. Departmental committees

  1. Committee membership terms are four years with 1/4 of the committee members being replaced each year. Members may serve consecutive terms if nominated and approved.
  2. Operational guidelines for each committee will be developed by that committee and the members shall elect their Chair.
  3. Ad hoc Committees may be established by the Chair or faculty by Departmental vote, as deemed appropriate.
  4. The Department shall have the following standing committees with members designated by the Department Chair and approved by a majority vote of the Department Faculty:
    1. The Executive Committee will be composed of one faculty member tenured in the Department with a continuing contract (defined in section F.6.a) and representing each major discipline. The Committee will advise the Chair regarding long range and immediate needs of the Department. They will also review and recommend for Department vote any requests for Departmental membership as a non-voting faculty member.
    2. The Peer Review Committee will be composed of one tenured faculty member from each major discipline. The Peer Review Committee shall review the annual evaluation of each faculty member by the Department Chair to ensure a just and equitable evaluation as per UNR Bylaws (Sec. 3.2.2). The committee shall report the results of its review in writing to the Chair, giving supporting documentation where appropriate. A copy of the Peer Review Committee report shall be forwarded to the respective faculty member by the Chair. This committee will also be responsible for initial review of the applications put forward by those seeking promotion or tenure.
    3. The Curriculum Committee will be composed of the Department Chair and one member from each major within the department. This committee will review formal course offerings and make recommendations to the Department concerning needed changes, additions or deletions. This Committee will review proposals for new classes, changes (additions or deletions) to existing classes, and provide guidance to the Department or the Chair before approval or sending a request forward to the CABNR Curriculum Committee. This Committee will provide any needed advisory materials or information to other faculty.

H. College committees

For College committees, Department voting faculty shall elect two nominees, with their names being forwarded by the Chair to the Dean for selection of one member, as specified in the College Bylaws.


I. Promotion and tenure review

  1. Evaluation of faculty members for tenure (as per UNR Bylaws 3.4.4) and continuing appointment prior to tenure shall be made annually. These evaluations shall consider the faculty member's effectiveness as a teacher, record of scholarly research or creative activity, and record of service as per UNR Bylaws Section 3.4.5.
  2. For each Rank II faculty member who is appointed without tenure, the Department Chair, in consultation with faculty members, shall appoint a tenure mentoring committee of at least three members. The committee Chair will be designated by the Department Chair. The members of the tenure mentoring committee shall have tenure and hold the position of Rank III or IV. At least two of the Department members shall hold Rank IV. Should a vacancy on the tenure mentoring committee occur, the Department Chair shall appoint a new member.
  3. The chair of the mentoring committee will develop a meeting schedule and will provide progress reports and recommendations following meetings of the Rank II faculty member and the committee. The tenure mentoring committee shall meet within the first six months of the faculty member's first year of service. The initial meeting will acquaint the candidate with his/her committee and initiate an annual evaluation process of the candidate's performance relative to the attainment of tenure. Every Rank II candidate for tenure shall submit annually a statement of his/her qualifications to the committee on the approved University Tenure and Promotion form. The committee will review all information available on the candidate's qualifications in accordance with the time frame set forth by UNR Bylaws 3.4.4. Recommendations and/or necessary improvements needed to address the guidelines for promotion and/or tenure from the Committee's perspective must be clearly conveyed to the candidate annually. Each year, the Department Chair will send a report to the Dean and the candidate reporting his/her progress toward promotion and/or tenure or reservations concerning his/her work.
  4. Rank III faculty members may request that a mentoring committee composed of Rank IV faculty be convened to provide guidance for promotion from Rank III to Rank IV. The Department Chair will convene a committee of three Rank IV faculty members, one of whom will act as chair of the mentoring committee. The chair of the mentoring committee will develop a meeting schedule and will provide progress reports and recommendations following meetings of the Rank III faculty member and the committee.
  5. Consideration of promotion or tenure will be evaluated by an ad hoc tenure and/or promotion committee consisting of all voting faculty of the Department at or above the rank/status sought by the candidate. This tenure and/or promotion committee shall consider recommendations from the tenure mentoring committee when considering requests from Rank II faculty for tenure. The results of the evaluation and the faculty recommendation shall be forwarded to the Department Chair. The Department Chair will prepare a separate recommendation, which will be a part of the official promotion and/or tenure recommendation. After review by the College, the Dean will notify the faculty member of the final recommendation in accordance with UNR Bylaws 3.4.4c referring to the process in 3.3.5. C. The criteria for consideration of tenure are specified in UNR Bylaws section 3.4.5.
  6. Rank 0 faculty may also be considered for promotion within this rank, using the same general procedures included in sections I.1, I.2, I.3 and I.4. The composition of the committee may differ from that specified in section I.2, in that members of the committee should have achieved Rank III or higher and have been granted tenure. If the applicant for promotion is a lecturer with teaching responsibilities, the application should have:
    1. a statement of teaching philosophy
    2. samples of original materials developed by the candidate for teaching
    3. reviews of teaching based on classroom visits by peers outside of the Department but within the University

J. Search Procedures

  1. Vacancies for tenure-track positions in the Department will be filled using the University Human Resources search procedures. All search committees will comply with UNR Affirmative Action guidelines and represent the diversity of University of Nevada, Reno students.
    1. The Department voting faculty will elect an ad hoc committee consisting of members of the Department and members from outside of the Department, in compliance with College and University policy.
    2. The committee will elect a chair, prepare a position description, and develop a rating sheet in accordance with the University procedures. The position description will be approved by majority agreement of the voting faculty of the Department.
    3. The committee will conduct the search as specified by University of Nevada, Reno policy. The committee chair and/or committee will work with Affirmative Action Office Personnel and the Department Chair to ensure that affirmative action guidelines are followed.
    4. The committee will report to the Department Chair and faculty their ranking of the candidates, and after majority agreement by the voting faculty of the Department, the committee chair will transmit a ranked list of acceptable candidates to the Department Chair.

K. Annual evaluation of faculty

At the beginning of each calendar year, each faculty member will meet with the Department Chair to discuss and mutually agree upon the faculty member's role statement of the year, describing Departmental teaching, research, outreach, and service responsibilities. In the event the Chair and faculty member cannot reach agreement, the Peer Review Committee will provide counsel. Subsequently, the role statement is submitted to the Dean for his/her approval. Guidelines for ratings of Unsatisfactory, Satisfactory, Commendable, and Excellent are established in NSHE 5.12.2 and noted in the University of Nevada’s bylaws (sec. 3.3.2). At the conclusion of each calendar year, faculty members will submit Part One of the Annual Evaluation (Digital Measures) Form to the Department Chair. The Department Chair will complete Part Two and submit the summary ratings evaluation to the faculty Peer Review Committee. This shall occur prior to sharing, transmittal, or substantial discussion of the evaluation with any other department chair or administrator of the University, College, Experiment Station, or Extension as per UNR Bylaws section 3.3.2, except for faculty who hold joint appointments. Criteria for evaluation are specified in Section section 3.3.2 of the UNR Bylaws and the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources Bylaws (Part V Section G).


L. Annual evaluation of department chair

The Department Chair shall be evaluated annually by College Administrators and Department Faculty in accordance with the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources Bylaws Part V, Section C. The criteria for this evaluation will be based upon the duties as outlined for the Department Chair in the bylaws. The Department’s Executive Committee will develop the procedures for conducting evaluation within the Department. Following two successive evaluations in which the performance of the Chair is ranked unsatisfactory by 1/3 of the faculty, the faculty may solicit removal of the Chair by the Dean.