Summary of Proposed Changes to the Bylaws of the Purdue Northwest Senate, August 20, 2017
The Bylaws Committee, formed over the summer of 2017, submitted a proposal to the Executive Committee at its meeting of 8/18/17. The changes to the Bylaws recommended by both the Bylaws Committee and the Executive Committee are summarized below.
- Revision of the Standing Committees.
The Executive Committee recommends revising the Standing Committees, with changes as follows:
- Make the Nominations and Awards Committee a standing committee; it was previously a subordinate committee to Faculty Affairs.
- Merge the General Education Committee and the Assessment Steering Committee into one standing committee.
Justification: The Nominating Committee, and all of the other subordinate committees, were never populated last year, because there was no mechanism for populating the Nominating Committee, and with no Nominating Committee in place, there was no body to populate the rest of the Committees. By making the Nominating Committee a standing committee, all other committees will have oversight of their population by a standing committee. In order to make room for this new standing committee, two of the current standing committees needed to become one. It is the opinion of the Executive Committee that the General Education Committee and the Assessment Steering Committee have similar enough tasks to be handled by one unified committee.
- Clarification of election of the Chair and Vice-Chair.
The current bylaws contain no mechanism for choosing the Vice-Chair; they merely state that the Vice-Chair becomes the Chair the following academic year. The Bylaws Committee recommends that the Senate choose a Vice-Chair Elect from among its members at its final meeting of each academic year, with that person becoming Vice-Chair when the new terms of Officers start in the fall – the committee also recommends that new terms of Officers start one week before the first Executive Committee meeting of the fall. The Chair and the Vice-Chair in the current Senate are considered extra members of the Senate, with their previous seats re-filled by their academic units; the Bylaws Committee recommends making this arrangement permanent, so when the Vice-Chair Elect is selected in the spring, that person’s seat on the Senate is then to be refilled by whatever method it was filled to begin with, assuming there is time left in its term.
Note: The Chair of the Senate for the 2018-19 academic year needs to be selected by a special method, since there will be no Vice-Chair carrying over from the current, transitional arrangements. That is the subject of a proposed resolution submitted to the Executive Committee that will presumably be introduced at the August Senate meeting.
- Clarification of qualifications to vote for and serve as Senators.
Administrators with academic rank must now have a minimum 0.5 FTE teaching assignment and no supervisory duties over faculty in order to vote for or serve as Senators. This is consistent with new language being proposed for membership on Promotion and Tenure committees. The old language was 0.5 FTE or less administrative assignment; this still left open the possibility of supervisory duties over faculty.
- Modification of numbers of members in the committees.
The Bylaws Committee recommends that there always be at least five Senate members of each standing committee, with the exception of the Nominations and Awards Committee, for which the minimum number is three. There should always be an odd number of faculty Senators on each committee.
Justification: There will be fluctuating numbers of members on the Senate, and the Bylaws needs to be able to accommodate varying numbers on the standing committees. The current requirement is usually seven, which is probably too many. The Executive Committee recommends making an exception for the new unified General Education and Assessment Steering Committee.
The faculty members of the Athletics Committee created by the Senate in January (SD 16-02) are tasked with the work of creating policy for athletics, including both intercollegiate and intramural sports, as well as wellness and fitness activities. They form a subordinate committee to the Student Affairs Committee.
- General cleanup.
- The order of the Articles has been changed, to put the more general requirements earlier, and the more specific later.
- There have been numerous minor changes to wording in the interest of greater clarity. No doubt more could be accomplished in this area.
- Transition to proportional representation.
This is not a change in the Bylaws, but just a reminder that in the Spring of 2018, academic units need to conduct elections according to the requirements of the current Bylaws I.B.2.c, which have not been changed in the proposed revisions, but have been moved to III.B.2.c.