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College of Arts and Sciences

College of Arts & Sciences Faculty Bylaws

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Bylaws for the Faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences at Cornell University

I. Membership.

The voting membership of the faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences shall consist of those tenured and tenure-track faculty (both current and emeritus) who have an appointment in this college. As specified in the University Bylaws (Article XIII,1), instructors, senior research associates, lecturers, and senior lecturers with an appointment in this college, and those bearing the adjunct title shall be non-voting members of the faculty, except as specified below. The faculty shall include such other persons as may have been, or may hereafter be, elected by the board of trustees, upon recommendation of the faculty, to voting or non-voting membership therein. The university president and provost are ex-officio members of the college faculty. All members of the faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences may attend college faculty meetings (both on-line and “live”) and participate in discussion of the matters at hand. Voting rights are reserved to current and emeritus members of the tenured and tenure-track faculty. Continuing lecturers,1 continuing senior lecturers, and continuing non-tenure-track professorial appointees may vote on those matters which the dean of the college, in accordance with University Bylaws XIII.12 has determined are germane and appropriate for their consideration. No other individuals shall have the right to vote in this assembly.

1. Continuing faculty, for purposes of these bylaws, are those appointed for three or more years, as well as those who have been appointed for a third year in the relevant title. This article notwithstanding, no candidate for a degree at Cornell University may be a voting member of the faculty.

2. This section of the University Bylaws states: "Lecturers and senior lecturers shall participate fully in those decisions that are directly related to their roles within the college or school and within the department. The dean or director shall have the responsibility of identifying those issues that are related to their roles within the college or school."

II. Faculty rights and responsibilities.

The college faculty, as a body, is responsible for educational policies and activities that are not part of the broader purview of the university faculty. The faculty's duties are specified by the bylaws of the university as follows:  "Subject to the authority of the university faculty on all matters affecting general educational policy, it shall be the duty of the college faculty to determine the entrance requirements for its own students; to prescribe and define courses of study for them; to determine the requirements for such degrees as are offered to students under its jurisdiction; to recommend to the president such candidates for degrees as may have fulfilled the requirements therefor; to enact and enforce rules for the guidance and supervision of its students in their academic work; and in general to exercise jurisdiction over the academic interests of students and all other educational matters in the particular college or school."3 Arts and sciences faculty participate directly in the process of admitting undergraduates. Through legislative action in meetings of the college faculty, they exercise control over the undergraduate curriculum and academic programs, including concentrations, minors and majors, and set college-level policies on other matters related to the educational program (such as appointments, promotions, academic integrity and discipline, and relations with sister colleges and other academic units of the university).

3. University Bylaws, Article XIII.3.

III. Responsibilities of the administration.

The university's bylaws charge the deans of the various colleges with administrative responsibility for their respective units, including personnel and all programs of instruction and research therein. In administering the College of Arts and Sciences, college officials shall report to and seek advice from the faculty on the conduct of college affairs and on the priorities that govern its budgetary planning and academic initiatives. College officials shall consult with the faculty on all major college policy issues and facilitate faculty discussion of and action on issues that members of the body or academic departments and programs may wish to place before it; their responsibilities include the implementation and/or enforcement of legislative measures adopted by the faculty. To ensure the maintenance of this collaborative relationship, the dean and associate deans shall meet regularly and collectively with the chairs of the academic departments and bring issues raised by the body of chairs to the meetings of the faculty.

IV. Faculty organization.

The academic department or section is the locus of primary interest and activity for most faculty. The first level of decisions on matters of appointments and re-appointments, tenure, salary adjustments, teaching, research, and service responsibilities, and the assignment of space and access to other facilities reside there. In general, the requests and concerns of faculty members are presented on their behalf to college officials by department chairs. In turn, the chairs are responsible for communicating relevant information from the college administration to other members of their departments. Faculty play an important role in college governance through their service on various college committees; the standing committees of the college are described in the following section. In addition to these college-level committees the college faculty have representation on two university-level committees: The university appeals panel (elected) and the employment issue arbitration panel (appointed). Finally, departments in the college are represented at the university level through their elected members of the university senate. Members of the college faculty also participate in university faculty committees organized at that level.

V. Standing committees.

A. Composition of the standing committees.

The standing committees of the faculty oversee and help determine academic policy for the college and ensure that such policy is appropriately interpreted. The standing committees4 are the following:

Elected Committees:

Dean's advisory committee on appointments

Academic integrity hearing board

Faculty grievance committee

Educational policy committee

Nominating committee

Agenda committee

The dean’s advisory committee, which is chaired by the dean, has twelve elected tenured faculty members (four each from humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences and mathematics). The academic integrity hearing board has six elected student members and twelve elected faculty members (rank open, four each from humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences and mathematics) plus a chair appointed by the dean. The faculty grievance committee is composed of the three longest serving members of the academic integrity hearing board; the dean appoints one of these members as chair. The educational policy committee, which is chaired by the Dean of the College or an associate dean appointed by the dean, has three elected student members and six elected faculty members (rank open, two each from humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences and mathematics). The nominating committee, which elects its own chair, has six elected faculty members (rank open, two each from humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences and mathematics). The agenda committee, which elects its own chair, has five elected faculty members (rank and discipline open).

Appointed committees:

Academic Records committee

Admissions Committee

B. Election and appointment.

Faculty membership on the elected standing committees of the College of Arts and Sciences and representation on the university appeals panel shall be by election of the tenured and tenure-track faculty of the college. Continuing lecturers and senior lecturers shall be eligible to serve on and to vote upon nominees for all committees except the dean's advisory committee on appointments and the university appeals panel. In January of each year the dean will distribute to all faculty a list of the standing committees showing their continuing and outgoing membership and will invite nominations of candidates for these positions. Any member eligible to serve on a committee may nominate her/himself or any other eligible member for consideration. The college nominating committee will review the nominations received, ascertain willingness to serve, solicit further nominations as needed to form a full slate of candidates for each committee, and present such a slate of candidates for each committee no later than the first week in April. When the slate has been approved, the election will take place at the on-line faculty website. Results of the election will be posted on the website at the conclusion of the voting period. Student members of the educational policy committee and the academic integrity committee shall be chosen by student ballot. The dean appoints the members of the academic records committee and the admissions committee. The academic records committee has nine tenured faculty members, whose names are held in confidence, and is co-chaired by the dean or (an) associate dean(s) appointed by the dean. The admissions committee has approximately 55 faculty members of all ranks, who meet in small groups chaired by professional staff.

C. Terms of service.

Faculty membership on standing committees of the college shall be for three years and appointments shall be staggered so that a majority of a committee's members continue in office as new members are appointed. Appointment to the university appeals panel carries a five-year term. Service shall commence on July 1 and end on June 30 of the appropriate years.

D. Vacancies, resignations.

Vacancies occurring for any reason may be filled by appointment by the nominating committee. Where there are elected alternate committee members, appointment shall be from among these names. Any member elected to a committee may be removed by a 2/3’s majority vote of the committee provided that removal is based on failure to perform the work of the committee.

4. The establishment or abolition of standing committees, or any change in their composition, requires amendment of the bylaws.

VI. Faculty meetings.

Faculty meetings are an essential part of the operation of the faculty, for they provide an opportunity to bring together those faculty who are interested in the issues facing the college. The meetings fulfill several functions. In both the on-line and live environments, they provide an opportunity to vote on faculty legislation and other matters. Beyond that, they provide a forum for debate, an opportunity to interact with faculty in other departments, and a chance to hear or view reports and ask questions of members of the administration as well as members of standing committees.

A. Regular schedule and time.

Most business requiring a vote will be presented to the College of Arts and Sciences faculty via the on-line meeting site. When a live meeting is called, it shall normally be held on the first Wednesday of October or of each succeeding month, except January, through May of each academic year. An agenda committee, which shall consist of five members elected by the faculty, shall organize meetings in consultation with the dean. The schedule of meetings may be modified by the dean and the agenda committee, provided notice of any such change is sent to every member of the faculty well in advance--preferably before the end of the previous term.

B. Additional live meetings of the faculty.

Additional live meetings of the faculty may be called in three ways: by the dean, by the agenda committee, or by petition to the dean or the agenda committee from 10% of the voting members of the faculty.

C. Agenda, calls to meetings.

The agenda for the on-line meetings shall be set by the agenda committee in consultation with the dean. Individual faculty members may submit agenda items to the agenda committee via the on-line faculty meeting site; any item proposed by fifteen or more faculty members shall be placed on the agenda. Calls to meetings of the faculty shall indicate the nature of the business to be presented or brought to a vote. Distribution of the agendas for such meetings will be sufficient for this indication but may be supplemented by additional material at the discretion of the dean or the agenda committee. The call to a live meeting of the faculty shall be given at least three days in advance of the meeting date, except in case of an emergency.

D. Records of meetings.

1. On-line meetings.

Original motions and discussion topics approved by the agenda committee, along with a final version of amended motions, supporting materials provided as PDF files, the on-line discussion, and the results of the vote on final motions will be archived, searchable, and available for viewing by the faculty.

2. Live meetings.

A secretary for live meetings of the faculty shall be designated by the dean of the college. The secretary shall keep a careful record of all proceedings before the faculty, including the number of members attending, a summary of all oral reports presented and all questions asked and their answers, the full text of all written reports and of all motions and amendments considered, and a summary of the debate.  Except in extraordinary circumstances and with the permission of the faculty in advance, all other participants (members, visitors, etc.) are prohibited from photographing, sound recording, videotaping, or using any other electronic means to record the proceedings. Minutes of the most recent live meeting shall be posted at the on-line website. Members of the faculty may propose corrections to the minutes there and a vote to accept the minutes as corrected will be held on-line.

E. Presiding officer.

The dean of the college shall appoint from the university faculty a presiding officer for meetings of the faculty.

F. Attendance at meetings by other individuals.

Members of the administrative staff of the college who are not members of the faculty may be invited annually by the dean to attend live meetings of the faculty or to monitor/respond to the questions or discussion occurring on-line. Student members of the standing committees of the college may attend live meetings when the work of the committees on which they serve is being considered by the faculty. Officers of the administration of the university may attend live meetings or participate in the on-line discussion by invitation of the dean when business pertaining to their offices is on the agenda. Members of the media may attend live meetings by invitation or permission of the dean, who shall announce their presence at the beginning of the meeting. If a member of the faculty objects to the presence of any non-faculty member in attendance, and if this objection is supported by a majority of the voting faculty in attendance, the non-faculty member must leave the meeting.

G. Quorum.

The quorum at any meeting of the faculty shall be 10% of the members eligible to vote on each item.

1. On-line Meetings.

The presence or absence of a quorum will be item-specific and will be determined by the number of eligible faculty who vote on any given item. Eligible members may also call for a live meeting on a given motion. A quorum requesting a live meeting will overrule the on-line votes on that motion--even if the number voting on-line exceeds the number that calls for a live meeting--pending the acquisition of a quorum at the meeting requested and a subsequent vote there.

2. Live Meetings.

In a meeting at which a quorum for some item is lacking, discussion of that item may proceed but no binding vote shall be taken. A request to determine the presence of a quorum at a live meeting shall be in order at any time, but once the presence of a quorum has been ascertained, either by a count or by an unchallenged ruling of the chair, it shall be presumed to continue until a contrary determination has been made.

H. Absence of a Quorum.

If a quorum is not reached in an on-line vote or in a live meeting, the dean may convene the body of department chairs as a faculty executive committee empowered to debate and vote on pressing legislative proposals that are before the faculty.

I. Order of Business.

1. On-line Meetings.

All faculty members with access to the site may enter discussion on any of the motions currently posted, propose topics for discussion on-line, and ask questions of the dean.

2. Live Meetings.

The order of business at a meeting of the faculty shall follow the agenda set by the agenda committee in consultation with the dean and circulated with the call to meeting. Time shall be provided at each meeting for questions to the dean. In addition, at the conclusion of the prepared agenda, new business may be introduced by any member of the faculty. Such business shall be subject to discussion but not to binding vote at this meeting.

J. Rules governing motions, questions, the introduction of new business and voting.

The rules governing live faculty meetings shall be those contained in Robert’s Rules of Order and other rules unique to this college, as specified below.


A. On-line Voting.

Motions which fail to achieve a quorum of on-line votes or requests for a live meeting will be referred to the department chairs for a decision. Final results of each vote will be posted on-line.

B. Voting in a Live Faculty Meeting.

Votes on any question shall be taken by voice, but any member may require a count of hands.

VII. Adoption of bylaws.

Adoption of these bylaws shall require approval by a majority of the faculty present at the adoption meeting. Copies of the proposed bylaws shall be distributed along with the agenda for the faculty meeting at which they will be presented for consideration. A vote on the document, as amended, shall be taken at the next meeting.

VIII. Amending the bylaws.

Amendments to the bylaws may be proposed at any meeting of the faculty. To be adopted, an amendment must receive a two-thirds majority of the votes cast, so long as a quorum of faculty participate in an on-line vote or are present at a live meeting.

IX. Parliamentarian.

At the first meeting each year the dean shall propose a parliamentarian for confirmation by the faculty. The parliamentarian shall advise the chair concerning the interpretation of these rules and all other matters of parliamentary procedure.

X. Distribution of these bylaws.

Copies of these bylaws, in the form currently valid, shall be distributed to all members of the faculty at the time of their appointment.

Approved by vote of the Faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences on April 1, 1998

Revised and approved by Department Chairs – November 2006

Updated to reflect 2008 change in university terminology from “concentration” to “minor.”