(Originally Approved on 19 April 1995)
The purpose of this constitution is to implement the principle that the Texas A&M International University is a collegium (i.e. association of professionals) in which the responsibility for the educational objectives lies with the faculty. This constitution provides the rules and principles of governance for the Faculty upon its acceptance by the membership of the faculty, except where limitations are imposed upon it by the laws of the United States of American, the state of Texas and the Administrative Policy and Reporting Manual of the Texas A&M System (p. 3-19, May 20, 1991, or the latest edition).
ARTICLE I. Organization of the Faculty
Section 1. Membership
As used herein the term “Faculty” or “The Faculty” or any indication of “membership” in the Faculty is inclusive Faculty.
a. The Faculty consists of the President, the Provost, Deans, all full professors, associate professors, assistant professors, instructors, and librarians and administrators holding faculty status.
b. Voting Members of the Faculty shall be those members of the faculty with tenure or with full-time tenure track appointments, full-time fixed term (12.07) faculty, and faculty with full-time appointments at the rank of instructor.
c. Associate Members of the Faculty shall be those members of the faculty with part-time and/or non-tenure track appointments. An associate member shall have all membership privileges except those of voting and the right to serve in the Faculty Senate; however, an associate faculty member with a full-time appointment may vote as of the beginning of the second consecutive year of full-time service. This faculty member, however, may not vote on issues pertaining to Promotion and Tenure, University-wide issues, or serve on the Faculty Senate. Associate faculty members with full-time appointments should also consult the Faculty Handbook for other limitations on their voting rights.
d. Emeritus Members of the Faculty shall be those members of the faculty with emeritus status; they shall have the same privileges as associate members.
ARTICLE II. Authority of the Faculty
Section 1. Authority of the Faculty (subject to Article II Section 3, below).
The faculty shall have authority over matters pertaining to educational policy. By authority is meant the responsibility for developing rules, establishing and acting upon procedures, and recommending policies relating to all matters of educational concern for the welfare of the University. The following are indicative:
a. Standards for admission, selection and retention of students.
b. Requirements for granting degrees and compliance with the certification requirements in teacher education programs.
c. Curricular requirements and the structure of the University with reference to academic matters.
d. Instructional standards and standards for the evaluation of faculty.
e. Promotion and facilitation of academic and instructional research.
f. Procedure for faculty participation in the selection and retention of chairpersons of Departments/Schools and the Deans.
g. Standards for public information programs dealing with educational matters.
h. Standards for academic freedom and the protection of faculty interests.
i. Standards for students’ affairs, conduct and discipline.
j. Appointment, promotion, tenure and dismissal of faculty members.
k. Standards for faculty affairs, conduct, and discipline.
Section 2. Faculty Resolving Authority
The faculty may express, by formal resolution and/or written petition, their opinion on any other matter pertaining to the policies and administration of the University. The following matters are indicative:
a. Selection, retention, or removal of the President and principal academic officers, as well as the creation or abolition of such offices.
b. Expenditures of funds allocated to instructional and academic or instructionally-related research.
c. Major issues affecting current or projected budget decisions.
d. Programs impacting welfare of the Faculty such as salaries, insurance, leaves of absence, University reorganization and accreditation.
Section 3. Responsibility of the Faculty Senate
a. The Faculty Senate is empowered to act on behalf of the Faculty, subject to:
i. The limitations of this constitution (see Article IV, Section 1), and
ii. Administrative Policy and Reporting Manual of the Texas A&M System (p. 3-19, May 20, 1991, or latest edition.)
b. In the event of a conflict between the Faculty and the Faculty Senate, the will of the Faculty shall prevail.
ARTICLE III. Conducting Faculty Business
Section 1. Meetings of Faculty
The President of Texas A&M International University may call a meeting of the Faculty at any time to report on any item that the President deems appropriate. Likewise the Faculty has the right to assemble at any time for the purpose of conducting Faculty business. The meeting may be in the nature of a forum, which the Faculty is encouraged to attend and participate. The meeting also may be in the nature of a hearing which the Faculty is encouraged to attend and, if appropriate, to testify.
Section 2. Special Meetings
Special meetings of the Faculty shall be called as follows:
(a) Upon request of the Faculty Senate, a special meeting of the Faculty shall be called by the Secretary of the Faculty Senate.
(b) A special meeting of the Faculty shall be called upon receipt by the Faculty Senate of a petition signed by ten (10) or more voting members of the Faculty.
Section 3. Notice of Meetings
The Secretary of the Faculty Senate shall notify the Faculty in writing at least two weeks prior to the meeting date. The Secretary of the Faculty Senate shall prepare minutes of all actions taken by the Faculty, and file a copy with the President of Texas A&M International University. Another copy of those minutes shall be filed with the President of the Faculty Senate. The Secretary of the Faculty Senate shall distribute the minutes within two weeks after the end of the Faculty meeting.
Section 4. Approval Process for the Minutes of a Faculty Meeting
To obtain approval, or not, of the minutes of a Faculty meeting, a blank approval form shall be attached to, and distributed with the minutes to all voting Faculty within two weeks after the faculty meeting. The following options shall be on the approval instrument:
(a) Minutes approved as they are.
(b) Minutes approved with the following changes:
(c) Minutes not approved until the following changes are incorporated:
(d) Minutes are not approved.
The faculty shall return the completed approval instrument to the Secretary of the Faculty Senate within one week after receipt of the minutes by the Faculty.
The vote of a quorum of the Faculty, returning the completed approval instrument, shall determine whether the minutes are approved or not. In case of a tie vote, the President of the Faculty Senate shall cast the deciding vote.
Section 5. Faculty Voting Mechanism
The mechanics of Faculty voting shall be as follows
(a) A simple majority of voting members of the Faculty shall constitute a quorum.
(b) A Faculty voting committee, consisting of Faculty Senators, and chaired by the Secretary of the Faculty Senate, shall prepare and mail secret ballots to the voting Faculty. These ballots are to be returned to the Faculty Senate Voting Committee within one week after receipt of the ballot.
(c) Results of the Faculty vote shall be determined by the Faculty Senate Voting Committee, and reported by the Faculty Senate Secretary to the President of the Faculty Senate, who in turn will report the results to the Faculty.
Section 6. Assistance of the Faculty Senate Secretary
In all Faculty business matters in which the Faculty Senate Secretary acts as liaison between the Faculty Senate and the Faculty, the Secretary may request the assistance of any and/or all members of the Faculty Senate as the Secretary deems appropriate.
ARTICLE IV. Faculty Senate
Section 1. Function of the Faculty Senate
a. Legislative Functions.
The Faculty Senate may consider all matters appropriate for faculty action under Article III, Section 1. The Faculty Senate may act or refer such matters with recommendations to the Faculty.
b. Administrative Functions.
The Faculty Senate shall:
1. adopt Faculty Senate bylaws to the Faculty constitution.
2. prepare its own agenda.
3. initiate proposals for its own and Faculty consideration.
4. elect committees whenever necessary for the discharge of its functions.
5. fill vacancies for unexpired terms which occur in any elected faculty office or in any elected committee.
6. continuously study the effects of past and current legislative actions.
c. Consultative Functions.
The Faculty Senate shall be available to act in an advisory or consultative capacity with members of the administration on all matters of university policy.
Section 2. Eligibility for Senate Membership
a. All members other than student members must be voting members of the Faculty.
b. Members-at-large. Five full-time voting faculty members to be elected by the vote of the Faculty. In addition, one full-time instructor or fixed term (12.07) faculty member to be elected by the vote of the fixed-term faculty and full-time instructors.
c. Departments/Schools, within Colleges, Members. One full-time voting faculty member from each department/division within a College to be elected by the voting membership of that department or division. The Library will be considered as a department/school and will be represented by one full-time faculty member.
d. Student Members. One undergraduate student and one graduate student to be elected by their respective constituents. The student members shall be non-voting members.
e. Recall of Senators. If a majority of full-time faculty in a department or division petition in writing to the Faculty Senate President to hold a special election on whether or not to recall its representative in the Faculty Senate, then the President will call for a special election within one week of receipt of the petition. The Secretary of the Senate will announce the special election and conduct it following the procedures used in other Senate elections. Only those department or division faculty eligible to vote in Faculty Senate elections (see Article 1) may vote to retain or recall their Faculty Senator. A majority of those voting will determine the results of the election.
f. Dismissal of Senators: Faculty Senators who miss more than two regularly scheduled monthly meetings of the Senate during the year will be dismissed from the Senate. Senators who have legitimate reasons for missing more than two such meetings may petition the Senate to exempt them from this rule. The President of the Senate will notify the department or division of the dismissal and call for a special election of a new Senator if the dismissal occurs more than two months before the regular spring elections.
Section 3. Senate Officers
a. Designation and Responsibilities.
1. President. The President calls meetings and presides at meetings. The officer represents the Senate to the public and the administration. The President’s right of discussion is limited. The chair must be temporarily relinquished for the period of the discussion of that point in order for the President to participate in the discussion. The President has the right to vote on all issues. In the event of a tie, the issue fails for lack of a majority.
2. Vice-President. This officer fulfills the President’s responsibilities in the President’s absence, and serves as chair of the Academic Affairs Oversight Committee of the Senate.
3. Secretary. The Secretary prepares the minutes of Senate proceedings and debates; distributes minutes among the faculty; and corresponds with others as required by Senate decisions.
4. Parliamentarian and Elections Officer. The Parliamentarian will advise the President on parliamentary procedures and will supervise all elections, polls, and evaluations sponsored by the Faculty Senate.
b. Term of Office. Senate officers serve for one year and may be re-elected.
c. Method of Election. Senate officers are elected by majority vote of the Senate. A special session of the new Senate will be convened in late April or May for the purpose of electing officers.
Section 4. Election Procedures for Senate Representatives
a. During the first full month of the Spring Semester, the Secretary of the Senate will notify all voting members of the Faculty that nominations for Senate memberships are open for the appropriate categories (see Section 2).
b. Voting members of the Faculty who wish to run for office will inform the Senate Secretary within two weeks of the announcement that nominations are open.
Each member desiring to run will also let the Secretary know the membership category, which he/she is seeking to fill.
c. A ballot or ballots will be prepared by the Senate and distributed to the voting faculty as appropriate. That is, each faculty member should receive a ballot for only those offices for which he/she is eligible to vote.
d. A Senate committee will be assigned the task of receiving and tabulating the votes. The election results will then be affirmed by the Senate and announced.
e. In order to insure the secrecy of the ballot, all faculty voting will be held in the Deans' offices. Each Dean's secretary will be provided with the list of faculty who are eligible to participate in voting. A faculty member will be able to sign his/her name and cast his/her ballot.
Section 5. Ex-Officio Member
The President or the President's appointed representative shall be the non-voting ex-officio member.
Section 6. Special Elections
A special election May be called by the Senate President to fill vacancies in Senate membership when the Senate is notified that a vacancy exists.
Section 7. Term of Office of Elected Representatives
a. The term of office for all elected representatives other than student members is three years.
b. Student members shall serve for one year terms.
c. Senate representatives may be re-elected; the only constraints on terms will be imposed by the will of the representative's constituents.
d. In the year of the first election, five of the members shall serve for one year; five of the members shall serve for two years, and five of the members shall serve for three years. This determination shall be made by lot as the first item of business at the first meeting and shall be presided over by the University President or his appointed representative.
Section 8. Meetings
a. Regular meetings will be held once per month.
b. Special meetings may be called by the President of the Senate at the discretion of the President of the Senate or when requested by any three voting members of the Senate.
Section 9. Quorum
A simple majority of the voting members shall constitute a quorum.
Section 10. Voting Rules
A majority of those voting members present passes a motion. The voting method will be voice vote and/or show of hands unless a secret ballot is requested by a member and approved by majority vote.
Section 11. Outsider Attendance
a. Senate meetings are open to all members of the University community.
b. By majority vote, the Senate may go into closed session to be only by its voting members.
Section 12. Distribution of Minutes
The Secretary shall distribute the minutes to the Faculty within two weeks of a regular meeting. Minutes of special meetings may be distributed along with those of the next regular meeting.
Section 13. Agenda Provisions
a. Items may be placed on the agenda by any Senate member, or as requested by other faculty if adopted by majority vote.
b. Items approved by a majority vote of the Assembly must be placed on the Senate agenda, by at least the next meeting of the Senate.
ARTICLE V. Procedures
Section 1. Amendments
Amendments to the Faculty Constitution must be approved using the same
procedure as that used to approve changes to the Faculty Handbook. The
Faculty Senate must approve the changes, distribute the proposed changes to
all faculty members, present the changes for discussion at a general meeting
of the faculty, and hold a general faculty election to approve or reject the