Texas A&M Department of Geography

Bylaws

(Ammended 12-2-2015)

 

Table of Contents

I. Faculty Organization and Definitions.............................................................................................. 3

A. Membership of the Faculty of the Department of Geography......................................................... 3

B. Meetings of the Department Faculty................................................................................................. 3

C. Administrative Positions in the Department.................................................................................... 3

1. Department Head (DH)............................................................................................................................................................ 3

2. Assistant Department Head (ADH)..................................................................................................................................... 4

3. Graduate Director (GD)............................................................................................................................................................ 4

4. Undergraduate Director (UGD)............................................................................................................................................ 4

II. Faculty.................................................................................................................................................. 5

A. Tenure-Track Faculty........................................................................................................................ 5

1. Ad Hoc Committees to Make Tenure-Track Appointments..................................................................................... 5

B. Visiting Lecturers, Instructors, and Graduate Assistant/Instructors............................................. 5

1. Visiting Assistant Professors................................................................................................................................................. 5

2. Instructors..................................................................................................................................................................................... 6

3. Graduate Assistant/Instructors........................................................................................................................................... 6

C. Graduate Faculty................................................................................................................................ 6

D. Appointment of Adjunct Faculty....................................................................................................... 6

E. Joint Appointments............................................................................................................................ 7

1. Full vs. Associate Joint Faculty Appointments and Criteria for Consideration............................................... 7

2. Application for a Joint Appointment.................................................................................................................................. 7

3. Opportunities for Faculty with Joint Appointments.................................................................................................... 7

4. Term of Joint Appointments.................................................................................................................................................. 7

III. Teaching.............................................................................................................................................. 7

IV. Committees......................................................................................................................................... 8

A. Executive Committee (EC)................................................................................................................. 8

1. Duties & Responsibilities........................................................................................................................................................ 8

2. Eligibility & Composition........................................................................................................................................................ 8

B. Graduate Committee (GC).................................................................................................................. 8

1. Duties & Responsibilities........................................................................................................................................................ 8

2. Eligibility & Composition........................................................................................................................................................ 8

C. Undergraduate Committee (UGC)..................................................................................................... 9

1. Duties & Responsibilities........................................................................................................................................................ 9

2. Eligibility & Composition........................................................................................................................................................ 9

D. Assessment Committee (AC)............................................................................................................. 9

1. Duties & Responsibilities........................................................................................................................................................ 9

2. Eligibility & Composition........................................................................................................................................................ 9

E. Permanent Promotion and Tenure Committee (PP&TC)................................................................ 9

1. Duties & Responsibilities........................................................................................................................................................ 9

2. Eligibility & Composition...................................................................................................................................................... 10

3. Ad Hoc Promotion and Tenure Subcommittees......................................................................................................... 10

4. Ad Hoc Post-tenure Review Subcommittees................................................................................................................ 10

F. Departmental Seminar Director (DSD)........................................................................................... 11

1. Duties & Responsibilities...................................................................................................................................................... 11

2. Eligibility & Composition...................................................................................................................................................... 11

VI. Approval and amendment of the Bylaws................................................................................... 11

 


Preamble

 

No policy in this document may contravene the current or future Policy & Procedures Manuals (PPM) of the College of Geosciences or Texas A&M University.  If no policy is stated in this document the Department will be guided by the College and University bylaws as well as by the policies and procedures of the Faculty Senate (FS) (such as with regard to the appointment of the Department Head, role of faculty on graduate committees etcetera).

 

I. Faculty Organization and Definitions

 

A. Membership of the Faculty of the Department of Geography

·   Individuals with full-time tenured or tenure-leading faculty appointments in Geography, and all full-time faculty who have full joint appointments in Geography may vote on matters pertaining to hiring or graduate program policy.  Only tenured faculty in Geography and those tenured individuals holding full joint appointments in Geography may vote on matters pertaining to tenure and promotion.  These faculty comprise the voting faculty (VF).

·   The regular faculty (RF) of the department of geography comprise all persons having full-time faculty appointments (of all types) to the department.  They may attend all regular faculty meetings as ex officio members and may vote except on items specifically restricted above to the VF.

·   Associate joint appointments in Geography do not have voting priveledges.

·   Persons having Graduate Faculty appointments in geography are not automatically members of the regular or voting faculty. 

·   Persons having adjunct appointments are neither regular nor voting faculty. 

 

B. Meetings of the Department Faculty

Faculty meetings are normally called and scheduled by the DH.  In general, the faculty will meet monthly in September, October, November, January, February, March, and April.  Additional meetings as necessary may be scheduled at the discretion of the DH or at the written request of the EC.  All faculty members in residence are expected to attend.  Graduate students may elect a non-voting representative to attend faculty meetings. 

 

Procedures:  Meetings will be run by parliamentary procedure, with the DH or his representative as chair.  Proposed agenda items should be submitted to the DH the Friday before a scheduled meeting. 

 

Voting:  If consensus is not apparent, a simple majority vote of all VF present and voting is necessary to pass a motion.  In the event of a tie the DH shall cast the deciding vote.  Elections and personnel decisions will normally be by secret ballot.  At the discretion of the chair, other votes may be by show of hands or voice.  Any member of the VF has the right to require that any vote be by secret ballot. 

 

C. Administrative Positions in the Department

 

1. Department Head (DH)

Duties & Responsibilities: the DH represents the Department of Geography to the College of Geosciences and university administration. The DH is also the department's chief administrative officer, representing the administration to the department and bearing responsibility for the pursuit and maintenance of excellence in the department.  The DH has full authority at the department level over matters of policy, personnel, and resource allocation, but must seek out and consider carefully the advice of the various committees as indicated below.  The terms and regular evaluation of the DH will be set by College Policy.

 

2. Assistant Department Head (ADH)

 

Duties & Responsibilities 

·   The ADH is responsible for day-to-day decision making and administrative chores in situations where the DH is unavailable due to travel, illness, etc.

·   In the absence of the DH the ADH will chair faculty meetings. 

·   The ADH chairs meetings of the Executive Committee

·   The ADH is responsible for assisting with special projects as assigned by the DH.

·   The normal term for the ADH is 4 years.

 

Eligibility

·   The Department Head shall appoint the ADH after consultation with the VF.

·   The ADH will be drawn from the tenured faculty.

 

3. Graduate Director (GD)

 

Duties & Responsibilities 

·   Co-ordinates (with the RF) recruiting and evaluation of applicants to the graduate program. 

·   Co-ordinates (with the DH and Graduate Committee) allocation of funding to graduate students.  Co-ordinates (with the DH and Graduate Committee) assignment of graduate assistantship duties. 

·   Orients and advises incoming graduate students. 

·   The GD serves as a liaison between the graduate students and faculty, and is responsible for reporting to the faculty on the state of the graduate program. 

·   The GD chairs the Graduate Committee (GC) (see below).  The GD's actions are subject to review by the GC and final approval by the DH.

·   Co-ordinates with business staff (GEOG and CLGE) regarding GAT budgets and accounts for stipends and tuition payments.

·   Makes admission decisions to the graduate program as advised by the graduate committee.

·   Responds to data requests by the Department, College and University

·   Represents the Department on the GGICC

·   The normal term for the GD is 4 years.

 

Eligibility 

·   The Department Head shall appoint the GD after consultation with the VF.

·   The GD will be drawn from the tenured faculty.

 

 

4. Undergraduate Director (UGD)

 

Duties & Responsibilities 

·   The UGD serves as a liaison between the undergraduate students and faculty, and is responsible for reporting to the faculty on the state of the undergraduate program. 

·   The UGD chairs the Undergraduate Committee (UGC) (see below).  The UGD's actions are subject to review by the UGC and final approval by the DH. 

·   In consultation with the UGC the UGD sets and enforces department policies on course substitutions. 

·   The normal term for the UGD is 4 years.

 

 

Eligibility 

·   The Department Head shall appoint the UGD after consultation with the VF.

·   The GD will be drawn from the tenured faculty.

 

II. Faculty

 

A. Tenure-Track Faculty

1. Ad Hoc Committees to Make Tenure-Track Appointments

 

a. Duties & Responsibilities 

·   The ad hoc search committee will develop a proposed job description and advertisement to be distributed to the VF for review and comment.  The search committee chair may wish to request, or the DH may choose to call, a general faculty meeting either prior to developing a proposed position description, or to discuss the proposal. 

·   The search committee shall solicit and receive applications and screen candidates.  All application materials and committee meetings will be available for review or observation by any interested faculty member.  The search committee will use telephone interviews to refine its screening process. 

·   At a duly called special meeting of the VF the search committee shall present its list of recommended candidates to the VF.  The VF will approve or modify the list to recommend to the Department Head and Dean. 

·   The search committee will arrange for interviews of the candidates, making reasonable efforts to ensure that all VF in residence have adequate opportunity to participate in interviews.  The search committee will schedule a specific interview of each candidate by the entire search committee.

·   At a duly called special meeting of the VF the search committee shall report to the faculty on the acceptability of each finalist, a rank order of preference, and any binding conditionality that the committee believes appropriate in the event that the first- or second-ranked candidates were to decline offers.  The VF will approve or modify the list. 

·   VF shall indicate by secret ballot the acceptability of each finalist, and the ranking of the finalists.

·   The recommendations and the votes of the VF are advisory to the DH.  If the DH judges it necessary to appoint counter to the recommendations of the VF the DH will provide a justification. 

 

b. Eligibility & Composition 

·   The DH, in consultation with the EC, will appoint a chair for each ad hoc search committee.  The chair must be a member of the VF. 

·   In consultation with the chair the DH will appoint a committee consisting of not fewer than three faculty members including the chair, of whom a majority must be members of the VF, and one graduate student representative. 

 

B. Visiting Lecturers, Instructors, and Graduate Assistant/Instructors

 

1. Visiting Assistant Professors

·   If time permits, the DH will form an ad hoc search committee consisting of three faculty members, the chair of which and one other member are to be drawn from the VF.  The ad hoc search committee will develop a proposed job description and advertisement to be distributed to all geography faculty for review and comment. The search committee chair may wish to request, or the department head may choose to call, a general faculty meeting either prior to developing a proposed position description, or to discuss the proposal.  When time is short, visiting assistant professors may be appointed by the DH at the recommendation of the EC.  Every effort will be made to consult appropriate faculty prior to the appointment of a visiting assistant professor.

·   The search committee shall solicit and receive applications, screen candidates, and conduct telephone candidate interviews of the finalists. 

·   The search committee will rank their choices and recommend appropriate action to the DH. 

 

2. Instructors

Instructors will be appointed by the DH at the recommendation of the EC. 

 

3. Graduate Assistant/Instructors

Instructors paid as graduate assistants will be appointed by the DH at the recommendation of the Graduate Committee and in consultation with the Chair of the Graduate Student's Committee. 

 

C. Graduate Faculty

 

·   VF will be normally be appointed as Members of the Graduate Faculty in Geography without the need for steps the steps below. 

·   A faculty member who expresses interest in a graduate faculty appointment in Geography and who is not a member of the VF in Geography can request appointment as Member of the Graduate Faculty (Chair role, Co-chair role, or member role) (see University document on Graduate Faculty Membership). A candidate for such membership will submit a vita to the department and a brief statement of what mutual benefits the proposed appointment will bring to the department and the applicant.

·   The VF will vote on the appointment at a regularly scheduled faculty meeting.  A simple majority will be enough for the DH to make the appointment. 

·   Non-VF Graduate Faculty appointments will undergo regular review by the PP&TC based on their equivalent rank.  Non-VF Graduate Faculty who have not contributed in some reasonable way to the academic life of the department in their term will be recommended for removal by the Head.  Contributions will include (but not be limited to) service on graduate student committees, teaching cross-listed courses, and, where appropriate, service on standing committees. 

D. Appointment of Adjunct Faculty

 

·   A faculty member who expresses interest in an adjunct appointment will submit a vita to the department and a brief statement of what mutual benefits the proposed appointment will bring to the department and the applicant.  The VF will vote whether to invite the applicant to formally address the department.  The candidate will be treated much like a job candidate.  The Faculty may request that a formal presentation of current research be given.  In such a case the candidate will meet as many of the faculty as are available. 

·   The VF will vote on both the adjunct appointment and on whether to offer an adjunct faculty member the status of Adjunct Member of Graduate Faculty in Geography at a regularly scheduled faculty meeting.  A simple majority will be enough for the DH to make the appointment. 

·   Adjunct appointments will undergo regular review by the PP&TC based on their equivalent rank.  Adjunct faculty who have not contributed in some reasonable way to the academic life of the department in their term will be recommended for removal.  Contributions will include (but not be limited to) service on graduate student committees (if part of the Graduate Faculty), teaching cross-listed courses, and, where appropriate, service on standing committees. 

·   Adjunct Faculty will not be members of the VF.

 

E. Joint Appointments

            The goal of joint appointment in the Department of Geography is to promote collaborations between members of the Department and others with strong research and/or teaching interests in Geography.  Such collaborations will strengthen both primary and joint appointments by encouraging interactions between faculty members with similar interests across departmental boundaries.

 

1. Full vs. Associate Joint Faculty Appointments and Criteria for Consideration.

 

In general, the qualifications required for a joint appointment will be the same as those required of candidates for primary appointment at the equivalent rank in addition to a demonstrated commitment to involvement in the Department.

a.        Full Joint Appointments: Full Joint Appointments are reserved for those faculty members who have part of their salary paid by the Department of Geography.  Full Joint Appointments retain all rights and priviledges of VF in the Department.  They are able to chair graduate committees in Geography, and are able to vote on all issues except those that pertain to joint appointments.

b.       Associate Joint Appointments: Associate Joint Appointments do not have voting priviledges in the Department of Geography.  They are, however, able to supervise graduate students. 

2. Application for a Joint Appointment

Applications for joint appointments should be made to the Head of the Department.  The application will include a statement indicating how such an appointment would benefit both the Department and the individual, and stating his or her qualifications.  The Department Head will solicit a recommendation from the EC.  The credentials of the individual will be reviewed by the VF.  Upon a favorable vote of the VF, the applicant will be invited to present a seminar in the Department, and then a recommendation for a joint appointment will be brought forward for consideration at a faculty meeting.  After discussion at a faculty meeting, a vote will be taken by secret ballot.  If the nomination receives a majority affirmative vote of the faculty (VF), a joint appointment will be recommended to the Department Head.

3. Opportunities for Faculty with Joint Appointments

·         Attendance at faculty meetings and seminars in the Department.

·         Service on Departmental Committees

·         Participation in teaching Geography Courses

·         Participation in recruiting and outreach activities

·         Continuing collaboration with members of the Department

 

4. Term of Joint Appointments

Full Joint Appointments do not expire.  Associate Joint Appointments will be awarded for a period of five years.  Near the end of the five-year term, a new application, which also includes a description of how the applicant has fulfilled the responsibilities stated above, should be made to the Department Head.  This new application will undergo review by the PP&TC.  The PP&TC will then make a recommendation to the Department Head.  In the absence of a new application, the Joint Appointment will terminate automatically at the end of the fire-year term.

III. Teaching

·   Teaching assignments are made by the DH in consultation with the EC. The EC will develop a proposed schedule, taking into account faculty requests, curriculum needs, logistic constraints, and other factors. 

·   The DH will determine whether funds are available for summer teaching and allocate them according to the needs of the teaching program and the requests of the faculty to be considered for such funding. 

 

 

IV. Committees

The six standing committees serve as the first stage of deliberation and are advisory to the faculty and the DH.  Actions, recommendations, and resolutions approved by all committees are subject to review by the VF and final approval by the DH. Committees will be chosen by the DH in consultation with the EC at the beginning of the academic year, except as otherwise noted.  The DH is a nonvoting, ex officio member of all committees except the Executive Committee (EC).

 

A. Executive Committee (EC)

 

1. Duties & Responsibilities 

Advise the DH on all matters of budget, academic matters, curriculum development and oversight, policy and planning for all aspects of departmental activities. 

 

2. Eligibility & Composition 

·   The EC shall consist of four members: the DH, the ADH, the GD, and the UGD.

·   In the case of discussions of items affecting a member of the EC (such as promotion & tenure decisions or disciplinary action) the DH will, at need, appoint an alternative member from among the VF.

 

B. Graduate Committee (GC)

 

1. Duties & Responsibilities 

·   Evaluate applicants and act as the Graduate Admissions Committee. 

·   Maintain open files on applicants and seek to inform colleagues of applicants who may be of interest to them.

·   Rank graduate students for funding priority

·   Conduct annual reviews of graduate student progress.

·   Act as a graduate curriculum committee reporting to the VF.  All proposed 689 and new G courses must be approved by the GC and the VF, in succession, before transmission to the Geosciences Graduate Instruction Committee (GGIC).  Ensure that all requirements of the College & University as to wording of proposed new course outlines and content of such courses are met.  In the case of new G course proposals where there may be concerns from other departments about overlap, the GC will ensure that the proposer of the course has contacted the appropriate department(s).  Examine new G course proposals from other departments that may overlap geography courses and recommend any appropriate action to the CCC and to the FS. 

·   Advise the GD and DH on all matters involving the graduate program. 

·   Enforces the Graduate Policy Manual and suggest modifications to the Graduate Policy Manual for eventual approval of the VF.

 

2. Eligibility & Composition 

·   The GC will normally consist of five VF members in geography, the GD and four others, appointed by the DH with the approval of the EC.  They should adequately represent the major subfields of human and physical geography and geographic techniques.  One member must be the representative to the College GGIC (normally the GD).

·   The GD may appoint an individual member of the VF to act as a temporary member of the GC to consider an individual applicant to the graduate program where the applicant has the same area of interest as that member of the VF.

·   The GD will chair the committee. 

 

C. Undergraduate Committee (UGC)

 

1. Duties & Responsibilities 

·   Act as an undergraduate curriculum committee (UGCC).  All proposed 489 and new UG courses must be approved by the UGC and the VF, in succession, before transmission to the UCC.  Ensure that all requirements of the College & University as to wording of proposed new course outlines and content of such courses are met.  In the case of new UG course proposals where there may be concerns from other departments about overlap, the UGC will ensure that the proposer of the course has contacted the appropriate department(s).  Examine new UG course proposals from other departments that may overlap geography courses and recommend any appropriate action to the CCC and to the FS.  Advise on all proposals for the inclusion of geography courses in the University Core Curriculum.

·   Act as the undergraduate scholarship committee. 

·   Advise the UGD and DH on all matters involving the undergraduate program. 

·   Promote geography as a major. 

 

2. Eligibility & Composition 

·   The UGC will consist of five members of the VF in geography, the UGD and four others, appointed by the DH with the approval of the EC.  They should adequately represent the major subfields of human and physical geography and geographic techniques.  One member should be the representative to the College UGCC.

·   The UGD will chair the committee. 

 

D. Assessment Committee (AC)

1. Duties & Responsibilities 

·   Remain up-to-date on the university assessment requirements.

·   Develop and maintain the assessment plans for all of the Department of Geography degree programs.

·   Consult with the faculty to ensure that assessment goals are being met and that assessment findings are translated into actions that will enhance the teaching experience within the Department of Geography.

 

2. Eligibility & Composition 

·   All members of the RF are eligible to sit on the AC.

·   The chair of the AC should be drawn from the VF.

·   The AC should consist of at least one member from the GC and one member from the UGC.

·   The AC will consist of at least 3 members including the chair of the committee.

 

E. Permanent Promotion and Tenure Committee (PP&TC)

 

1. Duties & Responsibilities 

·   Review of candidates for promotion and tenure, in accordance with college and university policies and procedures. 

·   Conduct annual progress toward tenure and promotion reviews of all faculty members

·   Conduct third-year evaluations of all tenure track faculty members

·   Report results of annual reviews and third-year evaluations directly to faculty members involved

·   Recommend to the DH the likely outcome of requests by candidates for early promotion.  Individuals who wish to put themselves forward for such early promotion should consult with the PP&TC and must pass their request through the PP&TC.  Neither the PP&TC nor the DH may prevent such requests. 

 

2. Eligibility & Composition 

·   For decisions involving tenure and promotion to Associate Professor the PP&TC will consist of all tenured VF in residence.

·   For decisions involving promotion to Full Professor the PP&TC will consist of all Full Professors in residence who are VF.  If no more than two members of the VF (excluding the DH) are Full Professors at the time the candidate requests consideration for promotion the DH may, in consultation with the Full Professors in Geography and the candidate, appoint to the committee persons holding the rank of Full Professor at Texas A&M University who are otherwise members of the Geography faculty or who are not Geographers.

·   The chair will be appointed by the DH. 

 

3. Ad Hoc Promotion and Tenure Subcommittees

a. Duties & Responsibilities 

·   The subcommittee will request that the candidate prepare the appropriate files and will, in consultation with the DH and the candidate, produce a lists of external referees. 

·   The chair of the ad hoc subcommittee will solicit letters of support from external referees. 

·   The subcommittee will prepare draft reports summarizing thecandidate’s qualifications with respect to teaching, research, and service.

·   The chair will transmit the reports of the ad hoc subcommittee to the PP&TC.

 

b. Eligibility & Composition 

·   The chair of the PP&TC, in consultation with the DH and the candidate, will appoint a chair for each ad hoc committee. 

·   The DH will, in consultation with the chair and the candidate, appoint a committee of not fewer than three eligible faculty including the chair.  The majority of such a committee is to be composed of tenured members of the VF in Geography.  Candidates may request that tenured non-Geography members of the TAMU faculty be considered for such service. 

 

 

4. Ad Hoc Post-tenure Review Subcommittees

a. Duties & Responsibilities

·   Review tenured faculty with the rank of Professor or above, in accordance with department, college and university policies and procedures, every 6 years. 

·   The committee will request that the candidate prepare the appropriate files.

·   The chair will transmit the vote and findings of the ad hoc committee to the DH. 

·   Review of tenured Associate Professors is performed on an annual basis by the PP&TC.

·   Candidates will be reviewed in the tree areas of teaching, research and service.  An evaluation of satisfactory or unsatisfactory will be determined in each category.  The committee will assign an overall evaluation of unsatisfactory if the candidate receives an unsatisfactory rating in 2 of the 3 areas of teaching, research and service.

·   An overall unsatisfactory evaluation will result in the initiation of the professional review process in accordance with University Rule 12.06.00.M0.01.

 

b. Eligibility & Composition

·   The DH will, in consultation with the candidate, appoint a chair for each ad hoc committee. 

·   The DH will, in consultation with the chair and the candidate, appoint a committee of not fewer than three eligible faculty including the chair.  The majority of such a committee is to be composed of tenured members of the VF in Geography.  Candidates may request that tenured non-Geography members of the TAMU faculty be considered for such service. 

 

 

F. Departmental Seminar Director (DSD)

 

1. Duties & Responsibilities 

The DSD will be responsible for the organization of the weekly graduate seminar and the co-ordination of visiting lecturers, including appropriate entertainment in the form of lunches, dinners, and receptions.  The DH will provide a budget and office support. 

 

2. Eligibility & Composition 

The DSD will be appointed by the DH in consultation with the EC from among the faculty of the department of geography.

 

VI. Approval and amendment of the Bylaws

 

Approval and amendment of the Bylaws of the Department of Geography may be accomplished by a majority vote of the VF.