Michigan State University
Michigan State University
Romance and Classical Studies
RCS Bylaws
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Department Bylaws

(Revised 12/10/10; 05/02/14; 09/15/17)

Overview

The Department of Romance and Classical Studies (henceforth, RCS) is one administrative unit and shall consist of all faculty and students as defined by the constituent membership. 

The Department, having various academic missions, will conduct its affairs in 1) administrative units called Sections, 2) Programs (curriculum based), or 3) as a whole. The three sections will be 1) Spanish, 2) French, and 3) Classics, Italian & Portuguese (CIP). 

The Programs will be 1) Spanish, 2) French, 3) Classics, 4) Italian, and 5) Portuguese. 

the Programs are responsible for determining course and teaching schedules, curriculum, standards, evaluation, policies, procedures, and position requests of the Program. 

The role of Sections is for purposes of representation within the Department. 

1.  Definitions

1.1.  Composition

1.1.1.  Faculty

1.1.1.1.  All those in the tenure-system whose primary academic appointment is in the Department

1.1.1.2.  Those with appointments in the Department but not appointed under the rules of tenure. 

1.1.2.  Student Members

1.1.2.1.  All undergraduate students who have declared a major or minor in the Department and all graduate students in the Department. 

1.1.3.  Voting rights and participation

1.1.3.1.  All those in the tenure-system whose primary academic appointment is in the department and those faculty with Designation B appointments in 2017-2018 have voting rights in the department. Voting rights for Designation B do not include personnel matters. 

1.1.3.2.  Designation B faculty will participate in faculty meetings and section meetings. 

1.2.1.  Consultation

A body of faculty and/or students who discuss with and inform the administrator with authority and responsibility for a decision. Such a committee is not a deliberative body; there is no vote. Rather, the members express their views to inform an administrator's decision. 

1.2.2.  Advisory

A deliberative body of faculty and/or students that makes recommendations to an administrator who is authorized to make decisions. The administrator is not bound by the recommendations and accepts responsibility for the decision. 

1.2.3.  Shared Responsibility

A deliberative body of faculty and/or students makes recommendations to an administrator authorized to make decisions. If the administrator and deliberative body cannot agree and action must be taken, the recommendation of the administrator and the deliberative body will be submitted in writing to the next higher administrative level for resolution. 

1.2.4.  Delegated Authority

A deliberative body of faculty and/or students is authorized to make decisions on specified matters. Such decisions are subject to administrative review, but will be altered only in exceptional circumstances.  

2.  Unit Administrative Officers

2.1.  Department Chair

2.1.1.  The Department Chair shall be the chief executive officer of the Department. The duties and responsibilities of the Chair as well as the procedures for appointment and review of appointment are specified in the Bylaws for Academic Governance - and the Faculty Handbook - Michigan State University

2.1.2.  The procedures adopted under the Bylaws of this Department shall not abrogate either the freedom or the responsibility of the Chair to make final decisions in all areas of concern to the Department. However, when the Chair's decisions are not in conformity with the wishes of the majority of the voting members of the Department, the Chair shall explain the reasons for his/her decisions. 

2.2.  Selection and Review of a Chair

In accordance with the Bylaws for Academic Governance - Michigan State University, the following procedures shall be utilized in the selection and review of a Chair. 

2.2.1.  Review of the Chair

2.2.1.1.  The Chair of the department shall be subject to regular review at intervals not to exceed five years. 

2.2.1.2.  The department faculty shall have Shared Responsibility with the Dean to determine procedures for the review of the Chair. as part of its role in this process, department faculty should consult the document "Recommend Procedures in the Review of the Chair of RCS." 

2.2.1.3.  The review procedure may be initiated by the Chair, the Dean, or the Department Advisory Committee. 

2.2.2.  Selection of the Chair

2.2.2.1.  Composition of the Search Committee

The Search Committee shall be composed of all members of the Advisory Committee, excluding the ex officio members. If for any reason a member steps down from the Committee, that member will be replaced by a member selected by the same rules for and manner of distribution as has been established for the selection of AC members. 

2.2.2.2.  The Search Committee shall have Shared Responsibility with the Dean to determine procedures for the selection of the Chair. 

2.3.  The selection of assistant and associate administrators to be nominated by the Provost shall be the responsibility of the Chair who will consult with the Advisory Committee. 

3.  Unit Governance

3.1.  Department Meetings

3.1.1.  Frequency

There shall be at least one Department meeting each semester. Additional meetings of the Department may be called at the pleasure of the Chair, the AC, or upon petition of 20% of the voting members of the Department. 

3.1.2.  Announcement

Department meetings shall be announced, at least five days in advance with the distribution of an agenda. 

3.1.3.  Conduct of Meetings

3.1.3.1.  A majority of the voting members of the Department shall constitute a quorum for the conduct of business at any Department meeting. 

3.1.3.2.  The Chair of the Department, or his/her designate, shall preside at all Department meetings. 

3.1.3.3.  Department meetings shall be conducted according to the rules of parliamentary procedure. 

3.1.3.4.  The Chair of the Department shall appoint someone to serve as secretary. Action which is interpreted as constituting policy or position shall be reported and distributed in writing to all voting members of the Department within two weeks after the meeting.

3.1.3.5.  Decisions shall be determined by voice or show of hands, unless the majority of the assembled decides in favor of another procedure. 

3.2.  Advisory Committee (AC)

3.2.1.  Composition*

The membership of the Advisory Committee shall be comprised of: 

  • Three members of the voting faculty, as below:
  1. one voting faculty member representing the Spanish section;
  2. one voting faculty member representing the French section;
  3. one voting faculty member representing the CIP section.
  • One voting faculty member representing French or Spanish, or CIP, alternating annually
  • Two student representatives**
  1. One graduate student representing the graduate student constituency of the Department -- elected according to the procedures outlined in "Student Representation". 
  2. One undergraduate student representing the undergraduate constituency of the Department -- elected according to the procedures outlined in "Student Representation". 
  • The Chair [and the Associate Chair(s)] of the Department (ex officio), without a vote.   

*In cases where "relatives" (defined as "connection between persons by blood, marriage, adoption, domestic partnership, or other personal relationship in which objectivity might be impaired," cf. https://hr.msu.edu/ua/forms/faculty-academic-staff/info-coi-emp.html), would otherwise be on the AC at hte same time, the second selected will be given a bye until such a time as the first has completed his/her term of office. 

**It is recommended that the student representatives be of different Programs of the department. 

3.2.2.  Functions

The mode of participation shall be Advisory. 

The Advisory Committee shall advise the Chair on matters affecting the Department as a whole, including, but not limited to, matters pertaining to personnel, curriculum (undergraduate and graduate), and departmental responses to College-level initiatives. 

3.2.3.  Procedures

3.2.3.1.  The Advisory Committee shall determine its own operating rules and procedures and annually select a Chair from its membership. 

3.2.3.2.  The Advisory Committee shall meet as often as required to perform its duties, but shall met a minimum of once each academic semester, except summer semester. 

3.2.3.3.  Meetings of the Advisory Committee may be called by the Advisory Committee Chair, he Chair of the Department, or by petition of at least one-third of the voting members of the Advisory Committee. 

3.2.3.4.  The Advisory Committee Chair shall distribute to all voting members of the Department the agenda and summary minutes of each meeting. 

3.2.4.  Selection

3.2.4.1.  Selection takes place in the Spring of each year. 

3.2.4.2.  AC faculty membership is determined alphabetically from lists of voting faculty of the three groups (1. French, 2. Spanish, 3. Classics, Italian, Portuguese). 

3.2.4.3.  The AC approves the alphabetical lists of faculty provided by the Department Chair and makes alphabetical selections with adjustments concerning byes. 

3.2.4.4.  No more than two assistant professors will serve on the AC at a time. 

3.2.4.5.  Byes shall be given, and the next person on the list selected, for sabbatical and other authorized leaves of absence. Those given byes shall be selected in the subsequent year or as soon as possible thereafter. 

3.2.4.6.  The Chair of the AC is selected at the first meeting of the academic year. 

3.2.5.  Terms of office

3.2.5.1.  Faculty. Voting faculty serve two-year terms. 

3.2.5.2.  Students. Student members are elected by the respective student constituencies and serve a one-year term. 

3.2.5.3.  Vacancies are filled by the AC with consideration of bylaws concerning regular AC membership. 

4.  Standing Committees

4.1.  College Standing Committees

4.1.1.  During the semester in which the term of office for the Department representative to the College Advisory Council, or College Curriculum Committee, or College Graduate Committee shall expire, the Chair shall seek nominations from the AC representatives who, after consultation with their constituencies, shall bring to the AC names of possible candidates. The Chair, after consultation with the AC, shall select the representative to those committees, being mindful of the need to rotate among sections and programs. If possible, the representatives on these committees shall come from different sections of the Department. 

4.1.2.  However, when the Department has an associate chair or other with designation Department-wide responsibility for graduate studies or undergraduate studies, this person shall be the department representative to the College Graduate Committee or College Curriculum Committee, respectively. The CAC representative will be selected from the Advisory Committee. 

4.1.3.  Other College Committees

The Chair, after consultation with the AC, shall appoint the representative of the Department to other standing and ad hoc committees of the College. 

4.1.4.  All Department representatives to College committees shall periodically report to the Department meeting (at least once per year). 

4.1.5.  Academic Council and University Committees

When the Department is called upon to nominate a faculty member for a position on the Academic Council or a standing or ad hoc committee of the University, the Chair shall seek nominations from the AC representatives or shall directly ask individual faculty members to volunteer. If possible, the representatives on these committees shall come from different sections of the Department. 

4.2.  Standing Committees of the Department

Since the voting membership of the Department is small in number, it is possible and often desirable to function as a committee of the whole on most matters of concern. However, in order to expedite the work and to assure that all work is done, Standing Committees shall be established. 

The general procedures of Standing Committees shall be: 

  1. Each semester prepare a summary of the activities of the preceding semester and a list of prospective agenda items for the coming semester. This report shall be distributed to all voting members of the Department.