Faculty Senate Constitution

DEFINITION OF TERMS

Faculty member, as used in this document and for the purposes described herein shall be understood to mean: (1) a full-time employee of the University, (2) one having the academic rank of instructor or above, and (3) one whose primary duty is teaching, which means that at least 2/3 of the assignment will consist of teaching duties, defined as classroom, laboratory supervision or research. The term faculty shall exclude individuals whose responsibility lies above that of department chair.

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ROLE AND SCOPE OF THE SENATE

The Faculty Senate of Abilene Christian University is a representative body of the faculty. It shall be concerned with:

  • faculty work and welfare
  • the preservation of faculty prerogatives
  • efficient and decorous conduct of all affairs of the University of concern to the faculty.

Special attention will be given to promoting communication within and between all segments of the University community. Matters may come before the Senate by administrative referral, by faculty request, or by the Senate’s own initiative.

As it seems appropriate, the Senate will advise the president on the adequacy and efficiency of procedures and committees relating to any matters that affect the faculty.

The deans and academic councils from the various colleges shall nominate members to positions designated as college representatives on faculty standing committees.

The Senate will nominate faculty members to serve in the at-large positions on faculty standing committees.

The actions of the Senate may be determinative when requested by the administration or the whole faculty. Otherwise its actions are investigative or advisory. Its conclusions will be delivered to the president or provost or presented to the faculty as a whole. Except when there is true cause for confidential deliberation, all actions and conclusions of the Senate will be presented in minutes distributed to the faculty.

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MAKEUP AND ELECTION OF THE SENATE

Membership

Representation

Senate membership will consist of twenty-two (22) members. Two at-large representatives will be elected from each college and from the unit comprising the Library and Learning Enhancement. The balance will be elected by apportionment of the faculty in the colleges, plus the chair as a member-at-large, and the chair-elect as member-at-large. Apportionment is based on the relative percentages of faculty in each of the colleges and is subject to annual review and implementation by the Faculty Senate. However, each college, as well as the unit comprising the Library and Learning Enhancement, is entitled to one representative based on apportionment.

Qualifications for Membership

Senators shall be members of the faculty who have three years or more of service and hold the rank of assistant professor or above. Faculty members elected to the Senate who are appointed during their term of service to positions above that of Department Chairman shall resign from their Senate seats.

Term of Office

Membership in the Senate is to be for three years, with the provision that only two terms may be served consecutively.

Elections

Time of Elections

Election of members of the Faculty Senate for the next academic year is to be conducted no later than April 1. Properly elected members shall assume office at the conclusion of the spring term.

Conduct of Elections

1. Regular

The election of faculty senators shall be supervised by the Election Committee selected by the Faculty Senate and chaired by the Past Chair. Ballots shall be circulated to all faculty members; ballots may be returned by mail to the Election Committee. Voting also shall be by secret ballot at a time and place designated on two consecutive days. The Election Committee will supervise the balloting and certify eligibility of each voter. Votes for qualified write-in candidates will be counted. Votes will be tallied by the Election Committee and approved by the Faculty Senate. The results shall be made known to the faculty as soon as possible.

2. Run-off Elections

Run-off elections will be held between the two (or more in case of ties) candidates for each position receiving the most votes when no candidate receives a majority of votes cast in any election.

3. Special Procedure for Tie Votes

In the case of a tie in an election with only two candidates for a position, a majority vote of the Faculty Senate in a mail ballot will be used to break the tie.

Qualifications for Voting

Any member of the faculty as defined in the preamble of this document may vote on all candidates for Senate membership.

Nomination of Candidates

The chairman of the Election Committee will appoint a nominating committee for each college of the University. Nominating committees will be appointed no later than March 1. Each committee will nominate at least two candidates for each place to be filled from within that college.

Deadline for Nominations

The nominating committee from each of the colleges must submit to the Faculty Senate the names of candidates no later than March 15, or the Friday following Spring Break. Names of all candidates will be announced or distributed through printed publications.

Vacancies

Vacancies on the Faculty Senate may be filled at the next regular election or, at the discretion of the Senate, at a special election. Replacements shall come from the same college in which the vacancy occurred, and the elected replacement(s) shall serve for the balance of the unexpired term.

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OFFICERS OF THE FACULTY SENATE

Officers to Serve

The officers of the Faculty Senate shall be chair, chair-elect, past chair, and secretary.

Qualifications of Officers

1. Chair- Only a person who has served at least one year as a member of the Senate and has tenure is eligible to serve as chair.

2. Chair Elect- Only a person who has served at least one year as a member of the Senate and has tenure is eligible to serve as chair-elect.

3. Secretary- Any member of the Senate may be elected to the office of secretary.

Duties of Officers

1. Chair—The duties of the chair of the Senate shall be:

  • Preside over the Senate
  • Bring such issues before the Senate as may be deemed reasonable and worthy of consideration
  • Convene a meeting of only faculty at least once each semester to discuss or report on such matters as may be of concern
  • Serve on University Budget Committee
  • Serve on University Strategic Planning Committee
  • Oversee the Senate budget
  • Appoint chairs for the standing committees of the Senate and recommend issues for their consideration. 

2. Chair-Elect—The duties of the chair-elect shall be: 

  • Serve as liaison to the Provost
  • Serve on University Budget Committee
  • Serve on University Strategic Planning Committee
  • Chair the Senate Budget Committee which shall be charged with the responsibility of preparing a budget for the following year
  • Chair any special committees as may be requested by the Chair

3. Past Chair—The duties of the past chair shall be:

  • Serve on University Budget Committee
  • Serve on University Strategic Planning Committee
  • Serve as chairman of Senate Election Committee
  • Chair or serve on any committees as requested by the chair

4. Secretary—The duties of the secretary shall be:

  • Record, maintain and distribute minutes of Senate meetings via mail, via email, and/or posting on the Senate web site
  • Obtain and maintain a list of faculty members who are eligible for Senate service and election to Senate office

Term of Office

Each officer of the Faculty Senate shall be elected for a period of one year. By the nature of succession, the chair and chair-elect may not succeed themselves. Secretary may be elected for one additional year.

In the event that any officer is appointed to a position above that of department chairman, that individual shall resign the office and from the Senate. If the position of past chair is vacated for any reason, the Senate Chair may appoint , with the advice and consent of the Senate, a previous Senate Chair to fulfill the duties of Past Chair for the balance of that school year.

Election of Officers

Chair/Chair-Elect

The Chair and/or Chair-Elect of the Faculty Senate shall be chosen by popular vote of the entire eligible faculty electorate. Nominations shall be made by the Senate no later than April 8.

The election shall be no later than April 20. Each shall assume office at the conclusion of the spring term, or in an election to fill a vacancy in either office, immediately following that election.

Secretary

Before the conclusion of the spring term each year, the Faculty Senate as constituted for the following year shall elect the secretary.

Vacancies

In the event of a vacancy in the chairs before October 31, the Chair-Elect shall accede to the office of Chair. A special election shall be called to fill the office of Chair-Elect. If a vacancy occurs in the chairs after November 1, the Chair-Elect shall become acting Chair for the remainder of the academic year and then accede to the office of Chair at the end of the spring term. In the event of a vacancy in the office of Chair-Elect, a special election shall be called by the Senate as soon as possible to fill this office. 

At-Large Status of Chair and Chair-Elect

The Chair and Chair-Elect of Faculty Senate shall always be considered members-at-large. Upon the assumption of their offices, if the Chair-Elect is a current member, the unexpired term shall be filled in accordance with this Constitution. In the event the term as Senator has expired, the Chair-Elect, in the member-at-large status shall be allowed to serve the ensuing year as Chair.

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PROCEDURES OF THE FACULTY SENATE

Rules of the Senate

Within the framework of this Constitution, the Senate will establish its own rules. 

Committees

The Senate shall appoint such committees as it deems necessary to accomplish its purpose and work. The following standing committees shall serve annually, with chairs appointed by the Senate Chair unless otherwise specified in this Constitution.

  • Unity and Wellness
  • Elections
  • Committee on Committees
  • Academic Affairs
  • Budget
  • Faculty Compensation
  • University Scholars

Amendments

1. This Constitution may be amended during the fall or spring semester by ballot circulated to the entire faculty or by a vote taken at a faculty meeting. In either case, one week’s notice shall be given. An amendment is adopted if approved by two-thirds of those voting.

2. Amendments will be submitted to the faculty when approved by the Senate or upon petition by 15 percent of the faculty.

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