Department Bylaws

In the following bylaws, the term 'Agreement' refers to the current Master Agreement between the Northern Michigan University Board of Control and the Northern Michigan University Chapter of the American Association of University Professors.

1. Membership and Voting
2. Academic Senate and Bargaining Council Representatives
3. Department Head
4. Minimum Requirements for Academic Ranks
5. New Faculty Appointment
6. Committees
7. Guidelines for Promotion and/or Tenure
8. Travel Monies and Released Time
9. Student Grievance Procedure
10. Procedure for Amending these Bylaws

Membership and Voting

1.1

Voting membership in the Biology Department is extended to all full-time faculty teaching at least one class or having equivalent research responsibilities and having the rank of Instructor, Assistant Professor, Associate professor or Professor in the Department.
1.1.1
Voting privileges may be extended to other members of the department by a vote of the department.

1.1.2

A representative of the graduate assistants in the Biology Department may attend the departmental meetings without a voting privilege.

1.2

By a majority vote the department may exclude nonvoting members from certain deliberations.

1.3

A quorum of the department will be a majority of the voting membership of the department. Departmental approval of any matter referred to it requires the assent of a majority of the entire voting membership of the department.

1.4

Department meetings will be called at the discretion of a departmental committee and/or the Department Head. The convener of the meeting will designate a recorder to prepare and circulate minutes.

1.4.1

An agenda will be prepared by the party or parties calling the meeting and will be distributed at least one day in advance of the meeting.

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Academic Senate and Bargaining Council Representatives

2.1

The election of a faculty member to serve as the Academic Senate representative will be done at the first department meeting in April. An Academic Senate member shall have at least three years at Northern Michigan University, if possible, in accord with Section 3.3.1.4 of the Agreement. Members of the Department Executive Committee are eligible to serve as the Academic Senate representative.

2.2

A representative to the Bargaining Council will be elected from among American Association of University Professors (AAUP) members within the department at the first department meeting in April of the year preceding the end of the current contract period. The representative will serve on the council until a new contract has been negotiated and approved by the NMU Board of Control and AAUP Chapter.

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Department Head

3.1

The Department Head is the chief executive officer of the department and will serve as an ex-officio, nonvoting member of all departmental committees.

3.2

During the process of selecting a Department Head the faculty of the department will follow the procedure outlined in sections 3.1.2.1 and 3.1.2.3 of the Agreement.

3.3

The Department Head may be evaluated periodically in accordance with section 3.1.2.4 of the Agreement. The faculty of the department will meet for an open discussion of the method of evaluating the effectiveness and performance of the Department Head. It is the responsibility of the Executive Committee to obtain information from the faculty to be used in evaluating the Department Head. This evaluation will be forwarded to the Dean of Arts and Sciences.

3.3.1

This policy in no way limits the faculty of the department as a group, the Dean of Arts and Science, the Vice President for Academic Affairs or the President of the University from initiating an evaluation at any time when major concerns may arise about the departmental administration.

3.3.2

Any party initiating such evaluation should do so through the Executive Committee of the department.

3.3.3

This evaluation and any recommendation(s) will be returned to the department for further action.

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Minimum Requirements for Academic Ranks

4.1

Requirements for academic ranks will follow guidelines in Section 5.2 of the Agreement.

4.1.1

Probationary appointments shall be subject to the University tenure policy (Sections 5.1 and 5.5 of the Agreement).

4.1.1.2

Term appointments shall be in accordance with Section 5.1 of the Agreement.

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New Faculty Appointment

5.1

Appointment procedure for new faculty shall be according to Section 5.3 of the Agreement.

5.2

Qualifications for academic appointments with academic rank shall be based on departmental needs as determined by the Department Head and with the approval of the voting membership.

5.2.1

Normally degree requirements for the position must be in the discipline in which the faculty member will be performing his/her primary responsibility

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Committees

6.1

Standing committees for the Biology Department will be the Academic Programs Committee, the Budget Committee, the Computer Committee, the Executive Committee, the Graduate Committee and the Seminar Committee. Robert's Rules of Order will serve as a guideline in the event of procedural conflicts.

6.1.1

Individual faculty membership shall be limited to two consecutive years on the Executive Committee. This section may not violate the provisions of Sections 6.6 or 6.6.1 of these bylaws. Membership is limited to three consecutive years on all other standing committee of the department, and in addition each committee must have at least one new member each year.

6.2

Committee membership may be extended to persons other than the voting membership at the discretion of the voting membership.

6.3

The Academic Programs Committee is charged with responsibility for the continuing evaluation of the academic programs of the department and for making decisions regarding waivers and substitutions for undergraduate degree requirements.

6.4

The Budget Committee is responsible for advising the Department Head in regard to budget requests and allocations. The committee is also responsible for evaluating student grant proposals. Their recommendations must be submitted to the entire voting membership of the department for approval.

6.5

The Computer Committee is responsible for advising the department in matters dealing with computers and issues involving learning technologies.

6.6

The membership of the Executive Committee will consist of five members and an alternate. If possible, the committee will consist of at least three tenured members of the department and at least one nontenured member. Whenever tenured members in the department number three or fewer, all tenured members of the department will serve on this committee. This section may not violate the provisions of Section 6.6.1 of these bylaws.

6.6.1

For all recruitment, retention, promotion, and tenure deliberations, a quorum will consist of four members of the Executive Committee. All eligible members of the committee will be polled on recruitment, retention, promotion, and tenure recommendations. If a member of the Executive Committee is under consideration for promotion, tenure, or sabbatical leave, that individual shall resign from the Committee and the alternate will serve as a substitute. If a faculty member intends to apply for promotion or tenure, or to submit a sabbatical leave request in the subsequent year, that individual may request not to be placed on the ballot for the Executive Committee election. For matters other than those specified, a quorum will consist of three members.

6.6.2

Membership of the Executive Committee will be elected by the voting membership of the department by secret ballot in April of each year. Membership on the committee will extend for one year beginning August 1. The chair and recorder of the Executive Committee will oversee the election.

6.6.3

The Executive Committee will serve as an advisory committee to the Department Head. It will serve as representative of the department as a whole, concerning itself with all matters referred to it.

6.6.4

The Executive Committee will serve as a nominating committee for all other standing committees of the department. Nominations for committee membership will be presented to the department at a departmental meeting within the first two weeks of each academic year.

6.6.5

The Executive Committee is charged with preparing the evaluation of each faculty member according to Section 5.4 of the Agreement. Tenured full professors will be evaluated every three years; other faculty will be evaluated annually. A tenured full professor, the departmental evaluation committee, or the Department Head may request annual evaluation. In addition, the committee will make recommendations to the Department Head concerning all questions relating to promotion and tenure in accordance with Sections 5.5, 5.6, and 5.7 in the Agreement.

6.6.5.1

Criteria to be considered by the committee in the annual evaluation will include teaching, professional growth, and service to the department, University and community. Examples of specific activities which fall within each category and which might be included in individual evaluations are listed in 7.1 of these bylaws.

6.6.5.1.1

The Executive Committee or any of its members will attend lecture/laboratory/discussion section(s) of the instructor for peer evaluation purposes.

6.6.5.1.2

The faculty member must be notified of any additions to the faculty member's departmental personnel file (other than annual evaluations) within ten (10) days.

6.7

The Graduate Committee is charged with establishing academic standards and requirements for the Master's degree. They shall review all applications by prospective graduate students, including applications for graduate assistantships, and make recommendations regarding acceptance of students and awarding of assistantships. Their recommendations must be submitted to the entire voting membership of the department for approval. The committee will review and make decisions regarding special cases submitted to it by a graduate student's advisory committee, the graduate student, Department Head, or the Graduate School.

6.8

The Seminar Committee is responsible for arranging biology seminars and colloquia conducted for the benefit of both staff and students.

6.9

Each standing committee in the department will elect a chairperson and establish its own operating procedures in compliance with these bylaws.

6.10

The responsibilities of the committees are not restricted to those specifically stated in these bylaws. All committees shall assume responsibility for those matters that appropriately require their attention. Proceedings of all committee meetings will be made available to any faculty member, unless otherwise specified in these bylaws.

6.10.1

Between academic years, committees are empowered to act on behalf of the Biology Department, in consultation with the Department Head. All such actions will be reported during the first Fall meeting of the Department.

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Guidelines for Promotion and/or Tenure

7.1

Recommendations for promotion will be in accordance with Sections 5.4, 5.6, and 5.7 of the Agreement. In addition to the requirements for promotion listed in 5.6.2.1.1 of the Agreement, the following are examples in the three judgmental areas of evaluation regarded as significant by the Biology Department. The more specific criteria contained in these bylaws, including the examples, must be understood to amplify the language in the Master Agreement, not diverge from it. The lists are not intended to be complete or ordered by rank. Other types of activities may be considered. The lists include common types of activities and are meant to establish a norm. Furthermore, it is not expected that any individual will be active in all of examples listed. Finally, some items, e.g., "editor or reviewer" appear on more than one list; in such cases the item may not be double counted.
a. Teaching, Advising, and Other Assigned Professional Responsibilities
  1. Demonstration of solid understanding of the subject matter being taught and ability to effectively convey that understanding to students.
  2. Continued positive teaching evaluation by students and peers.
  3. Continued positive advising evaluation by students and peers.
  4. Production of instructional aids that enhance learning in the classroom and laboratory.
  5. Continued efforts toward course improvement, including utilization of student feedback.
  6. Development of new course offerings or major revisions of existing courses.
  7. Involvement in curriculum development projects at the department, university, regional or national level.
  8. Design of laboratory or field equipment that enhance learning in the laboratory or field.
  9. Attendance at teaching workshops and subsequent incorporation of material into course offerings.
  10. Availability for student and peer consultation.
  11. Willingness to provide educational opportunities that would not otherwise be available, such as directed studies and working with freshman fellows.
  12. Effective direction of students in research or thesis projects.
b. Professional Development
  1. Research productivity as evidenced by papers submitted or published in professional journals, reports submitted to granting agencies, and presentations at scientific meetings. Papers that are published or accepted in refereed publications carry greater weight than other publications.
  2. Authorship of books, monographs, or laboratory manuals.
  3. Acquisition and sharing of knowledge with colleagues and students through seminars or other activities.
  4. Recognition of scholarly endeavors as evidenced by speaking invitations, requests for reprints of articles, or citations.
  5. Submission of grant proposals and more favorably, funding of grant proposals.
  6. Participation in student research or thesis projects.
  7. Service as an editor or reviewer for scholarly or professional organization publications, textbooks, or grant applications.
  8. Consultation in the area of one's expertise.
  9. Having material published (or cited) in the public press in the area of one's expertise.
c. Professional Service
  1. Service on departmental and university committees, or in the academic governance structure; evidence of contributions to the work of the committee, such as writing reports or holding office.
  2. Individual efforts (i.e., apart from committees) that bring innovation and improvement to programs of the department or university (e.g., web page design and maintenance).
  3. Service as an officer of a professional organization, either local, regional or national, or performing other noteworthy service for such an organization.
  4. Service as a professional consultant, either on or off campus.
  5. Directing or organizing workshops, symposia, and seminars, or judging at science fairs.
  6. Participation in programs with elementary or secondary schools or other elements of the community.
  7. Service as an editor or reviewer for professional publications or grant applications.
  8. Writing grant proposals seeking external funding for the Department, and more favorably, funding of these proposals.
  9. Service as an adviser to students, organizations or other service to the student body.
  10. Service in a mentoring capacity with new faculty.
  11. Service as a support person in recruitment and retention of students, or serving in a leadership role in major efforts of this sort.
  12. Participation in professionally related community service.

7.1.1
The following guidelines will be used by the Executive Committee in determining recommendations for promotion to academic ranks.

When a promotion is being considered, a history of sustained professional achievements of the types listed in 7.1, or comparable achievements, will be expected. Growth and progress will also be considered for promotion. Growth and progress is recognized as an increase in the number, type, or quality of professional activities, such as those listed in 7.1, and/or advancements in these activities, such as:

  1. Incorporation of new information or technology into classes that reflects advances in the field.
  2. Incorporation of suggestions from annual evaluations for course and teaching improvement.
  3. Demonstration of improved advising based on peer and student input.
  4. Active direction of graduate student research.
  5. Sustained record of publishing research findings and/or presenting information at conferences and seminars, leading to a cumulative record of achievement in the area of expertise
  6. Providing leadership or innovative planning in service.
The relative importance of professional development and service shall be specified in the annual evaluation procedure, as specified in Section 5.4.1.5.b. of the Agreement. The Executive Committee will confirm the faculty member's relative emphasis in each evaluation, and this emphasis will be stated by the faculty member in the application for tenure and promotion. If the Committee or Department Head believes the faculty member or the Department would be better served by placing the emphasis differently, they will consult with the faculty member. The ultimate ranking of professional development and service will be the decision of the faculty member, subject to approval of the Department Head.

The demonstration of effectiveness and contributions is understood to be cumulative since appointment or promotion to the preceding rank.

7.1.2

Standards for Academic Ranks
  1. Assistant Professor: Promotion to this rank requires a doctoral degree or other approved terminal qualifications; demonstrated effectiveness in assigned responsibilities, (e.g., mastery of content of pertinent areas of his/her discipline and effective classroom technique), professional development and professional service (e.g. advising; departmental, and/or school or university committees, or professionally related community service). Exceptions may be permitted by the Executive Committee for unusual scholarly or professional achievement.
  2. Associate Professor: For promotion to Associate Professor, the Executive Committee shall evaluate professional growth and progress while at the rank of Assistant Professor. This growth and progress shall be reflected in d emonstrated effectiveness in performance beyond those contributions recognized for the rank of Assistant Professor. "Beyond" here is meant to indicate the need for faculty achievements in each area of judgment to meet a significantly higher standard for each rank; in all instances, the standard needed to be achieved is that of the intellectual community at NMU as embodied in past tenure and promotion decisions. Effectiveness would be demonstrated by a history of sustained achievements of the types listed in the three judgmental areas of section 7.1 of these bylaws, and growth and progress would be demonstrated by activities similar to the examples listed in section 7.1.1. The faculty member must show progress toward the annual evaluation goals. In Teaching, Advising, and Other Assigned Professional Responsibilities there must be evidence of favorable evaluations by students and peers. In Professional Development, there must be evidence of active participation in research or similar activities (see article 7.1 of these bylaws) deemed equivalent by the Executive Committee. Evidence of Service commitment would be demonstrated by the extent of involvement in department, school or university service or professionally related service to the community. Exceptions may be permitted by the Executive Committee for unusual scholarly or professional achievement.
  3. Professor: For promotion to Professor, the Executive Committee shall evaluate professional growth and progress while at the rank of Associate Professor. This growth and progress shall be reflected in demonstrated effectiveness in performance beyond those contributions recognized for the rank of Associate Professor. "Beyond" here is meant to indicate the need for faculty achievements in each area of judgment to meet a significantly higher standard for each rank; in all instances, the standard needed to be achieved is that of the intellectual community at NMU as embodied in past tenure and promotion decisions. Effectiveness would be demonstrated by a history of sustained achievements of the types listed in the three judgmental areas of section 7.1 of these bylaws, and growth and progress would be demonstrated by activities similar to the examples listed in section 7.1.1. In Teaching and Assigned Professional Responsibilities there must be evidence of favorable evaluations by students and peers. In Professional Development, there must be evidence of active participation in research or similar activities (see article 7.1 of these bylaws) deemed equivalent by the Executive Committee. Continued evidence of Service commitment would be demonstrated by involvement in department, school or university committees, etc. or professionally related service to the community. The faculty member must show progress toward the annual evaluation goals. Exceptions may be permitted by the Executive Committee for unusual scholarly or professional achievement.

7.2

Tenure: Recommendations for tenure will be in accordance with section 5.5 of the Agreement. A positive recommendation for tenure will be based on demonstrated effectiveness using the criteria required for promotion to Associate Professor in the three judgmental areas (section 7.1 of these bylaws) and the expectation of future contributions based on the evidence contained in the cumulative evaluation at Northern Michigan University.

7.2.1

Section 5.4.1.5.b of the Master Agreement requires faculty applying for promotion to state whether they choose to emphasize professional development or service, and implies that the bylaws will describe how the standards for service or professional development will be met. The absence of a specification within these bylaws of how the standards will be met does not in any way suggest a rejection of the requirements of Section 5.4.1.5.b of the Master Agreement; instead, it merely signals the department's decision to rely on the standards implicit in the University community as embodied in past tenure and promotion decisions.

7.3

All Executive Committee meetings which deal with questions of retention, promotion, or tenure are closed. Others may attend these meetings only upon invitation of the committee. The faculty member under consideration will be informed of any such invitation and may attend during that appearance.

7.4

The faculty member may append to the evaluation any pertinent material. Conversely, the departmental committee may ask the faculty member for any information in the faculty member's possession that would aid the committee in its evaluation. Requested information must be appended to the evaluation. (Agreement 5.4.1.2)

7.4.1

After deliberation of a staff member's case by the Executive Committee, a written recommendation will be prepared by the Committee. A faculty member who has met the criteria for promotion and/or tenure as outlined in the Agreement, Article 5, and is not recommended for promotion and/or tenure by the Executive Committee, shall be notified in writing as to the reasons for this decision. This recommendation will include a tally of the committee's vote and will become a part of the evaluation of the staff member. The completed evaluation will be forwarded by the Department Head to the Dean in accordance with Section 5.4.1.8 of the Agreement.

7.5

All retention, promotion, and tenure deliberations of the committee and all such information made available to the committee are to be kept in strict confidence by members of the committee.

7.6

The faculty member shall review the faculty member's own evaluation and shall have the right to add any written comments or pertinent material before it leaves the department (section 5.4.1.8 of the Agreement).

7.7

Tenure/promotion applications must be complete when they leave the department and no additions are permitted after that (sections 5.5.6.2.1 And 5.7.4.1 of the Agreement).

7.8

The Executive Committee, in an advisory capacity to the Department Head, shall also evaluate department members' applications for sabbatical leave in accordance with the sabbatical leave policy of the University (Section 8.1 of the Agreement). Sabbatical applications will be viewed more favorably if evidence is provided of one or more of the following: the leave will enable the faculty member to participate in professional development activities, the leave is likely to strengthen the faculty member's contributions to the department and University; the leave will lead directly to enhanced education of students.

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Travel Monies and Released Time

8.1

The Department Head will authorize expenditures of travel/professional development funds for faculty provided by section 6.5.2.4 of the Agreement. Typical uses for these funds will include, but not be limited to the following: travel to professional conferences, workshops, or collection sites; consultation visits to receive professional training or advice; the purchase of relevant professional journals; the purchase of computer software or other technical support relevant to the professional development of the faculty member; travel expenses to bring consultants or speakers to campus to participate in professional development activities. It is understood that any materials purchased with these funds become the property of the University. If the Department Head believes a travel/professional development request is inappropriate, the Department Head shall consult with the Executive Committee prior to making a decision. A standing operating procedure shall allow each full-time faculty member an average allotment for departmentally approved travel and professional development. Departmental monies allocated for faculty travel/professional development under section 6.5.2.4 of the agreement and not expended during each fiscal year will be carried forward for individual departmental faculty to be used for travel/professional development in the following fiscal year for up to three years. Any travel/professional development money in a faculty member's allotment which is not spent after three years becomes available to all members of the department. By October 15 each year, the Department Head shall notify each faculty member of the money available in the faculty member's allotment. By this same date the Department Head shall also notify the department faculty of how much carry-over money is available. Faculty members will have until November 15 to submit a written proposal to the Department Head for the expenditure of all or a portion of the carry-over money. The Department Head and Executive Committee will meet together to evaluate the proposals and award funds, and will announce their decision to the department by December 15. Any member of the Executive Committee requesting funding from this source will not participate in these deliberations. Money not spent by this procedure will be carried over into the following year.

8.2

Applications for credit for earned released time must be submitted to the Department Head no later than the first day of classes of the semester in which the overload class is being taught. The Department Head shall maintain a record of released time credits accumulated for each faculty member. Plans for using such hours must be approved by the Department Head in consultation with the Executive Committee, taking into consideration departmental teaching loads and appropriateness of the applications. These recommendations will then be presented for concurrence to the department faculty acting as a committee of the whole. Plans for using more than four credit hours must also be approved by the Vice President for Academic Affairs (Section 6.1.1.6 of the Agreement).

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Student Grievance Procedure

9.1

The following procedure is available for use in cases of student grievance:

9.1.1

The student should first see the instructor with whom the grievance has arisen.

9.1.2

If not satisfied with the results of such a meeting, the student shall meet with the Department Head or in the case of graduate assistants teaching laboratory sections, with the professor in charge of the class. The student, faculty member/graduate assistant and Department Head should attempt to reach a satisfactory resolution to the grievance.

9.1.3

If still dissatisfied, the student may request a hearing by a three-member ad hoc Student Grievance Committee. The student, faculty member, and Department Head shall each select one of the committee members from among full-time faculty of the department. This committee may include one graduate assistant when a grievance against a graduate assistant is made.

9.1.4

The findings of the committee will be presented to the instructor with recommendations for resolving the grievance. The instructor should seriously consider adhering to the recommendations. If the instructor does not choose to adhere to the recommendations he/she shall state in writing the reasons for not adhering and this document along with all previous correspondence from the student and committee shall be turned over to the Department Head for possible further action.

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Procedure for Amending these Bylaws

10.1

Copies of the proposed amendment must be presented to all of the voting membership at least seven days in advance of the time a vote is taken on that amendment.

10.2

The vote on the proposed amendment will be under the supervision of the Executive Committee and may be taken via a ballot circulated to the voting membership or at a departmental meeting.

10.3

An amendment to these bylaws will require a majority vote of the voting membership and will become effective in accordance with Section 3.1.1.1 of the Agreement.

10.4

When a new Agreement is negotiated, the Department Bylaws will be revised or amended to conform with the new Agreement. In areas of conflict, the new Agreement will supersede the Department Bylaws until the bylaws are revised.

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Approved by Provost and Vice President Dr. Fred Joyal on January 31, 2003
Approved by Biology Department on April 18, 2001
Base Document Approved by Department on March 13, 1995

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