College of Humanities and Sciences bylaws

Version 4/19

Article I: Name

The name of this organization shall be the Faculty of the College of Humanities and Sciences of Virginia Commonwealth University.


Article II: Purpose

The purpose of this organization shall be to provide an effective means of collective participation by the Faculty in the consideration, formulation, and implementation of recommendations and decisions relating to the academic policies of the College of Humanities and Sciences, and to those University policies that affect the College and its faculty. The organization shall provide the opportunity for each member of the Faculty to express, through representation, concerns and opinions about matters vital to the welfare of the University and the proper functioning of the College.


Article III: Membership

  1. Tenure-eligible and term faculty in the College's departments, interdisciplinary academic programs, the School of World Studies, and the Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture, who hold full-time appointments as professors, associate professors, assistant professors, and instructors shall be designated as faculty with voting privileges.
  2. Full-time faculty in the above-named departments, programs, and Schools who hold joint appointments in other Schools of the University, shall have full voting membership in the College of Humanities and Sciences.
  3. Part-time, adjunct, retired, emeriti, visiting and affiliate faculty members shall have the right to participate in general meetings of the faculty without voting privileges.
  4. The President, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, and the Dean of the College of Humanities and Sciences shall be considered non-voting members of the Faculty of the College of Humanities and Sciences with the exception of administrators holding faculty status in the College of Humanities and Sciences, who retain voting privileges.

Article IV: Faculty Council

  1. Faculty Council participates in the shared governance of the College of Humanities and Sciences Faculty, and exists in accordance with Article VI of the VCU Bylaws of the Faculty, which mandates that “The Faculty of each school of the University shall organize and establish in assembly, rules and procedures for faculty participation in the governance of the school.” Faculty Council also fulfills the obligation of the College of Humanities and Sciences to the “Philosophy of Shared Governance” articulated by the University Council (5/4/2017). 
  2. Faculty Council helps create, maintain, and protect a diverse and inclusive College environment conducive to growth of scholarship, creativity, learning, teaching, research, and service.
  3. Faculty Council represents the concerns of College Faculty to the Dean of the College and to other appropriate bodies in the University. 
  4. Faculty Council advises the Dean of the College of Humanities and Sciences about issues of concern to the Faculty, including but not limited to graduate and undergraduate curricula, programs, evaluation and improvement of instruction, Faculty employment conditions, information technology, awards and honors, tenure and promotion, and teaching and research grants.
  5. Faculty Council advises on and approves substantive changes to departmental, School, and interdisciplinary academic program structures and bylaws; the organization of CHS curriculum and units; and other structural organizational matters affecting the research and teaching environment of the College. 
  6. Faculty Council will assist the Dean of the College of Humanities and Sciences to establish slates of candidates for University and College committees, councils, and boards. In extraordinary circumstances, it will work with the Dean's office to fill vacated positions quickly without recourse to a full Faculty vote. 
  7. Faculty Council oversees the compliance of CHS standing committees with the College’s bylaws, while also serving as a hub of information for the activities of the standing committees.

The Faculty Council is comprised of members from throughout the College, including: 

  1. One elected representative of each department, School, and interdisciplinary academic program.
    1. The term of service is three years, and open to tenured, tenure-track, and term faculty. 
    2. Terms are staggered across the College’s departments, Schools, and interdisciplinary academic programs.
    3. Members cannot hold an administrative title at the level of departmental chair, director of the School of World Studies, director of the Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture, or above. 
    4. Representatives should be named by April 25th of the year before they are to serve.
  2. Non-voting members to serve one-year, renewable terms. Non-voting members include: 
    1. The Chairs of the College’s standing committees detailed in Section V of the CHS bylaws;
    2. The President of the Faculty Senate, or a designated alternate currently serving in the Senate who is also a member of the Faculty of the College; 
    3. The President of the University Council, or a designated alternate currently serving on the Council who is also a member of the Faculty of the College; 
    4. The President of the Staff Council, or a designee currently serving on the Council.
  1. The officers of the Faculty Council will include: President, Secretary, and Parliamentarian; 
  2. Officers will be drawn from the continuing Faculty Council membership for one- year terms;
  3. The President of the Faculty Council shall be afforded a one-course release per semester; 
  4. Officers shall hold no more than two consecutive terms in any one position;
  5. Officers must be elected by the Faculty Council by April 25th of the academic year before they are to take office; 
  6. The duties and responsibilities of Faculty Council officers are detailed in the policies and procedures of the Faculty Council.
  1. Faculty Council meetings will be held monthly according to the official academic calendar; 
  2. The President of Faculty Council shall call special meetings as necessary; 
  3. Faculty Council procedural matters, including the scheduling of meetings, are governed by the policies and procedures of the Faculty Council.

Article V: Standing Committees

Article V addresses the College’s standing committees and details core provisions involving each committee’s purpose, membership, officers and duties, and meetings. 

Applications for standing committee status must be submitted to the Faculty Council of the College. The application must include a statement that explains how the College’s faculty governance structure will be enhanced by the committee, draft bylaws in the style and format of the subsections of Article V of the CHS bylaws. Successful applications will receive a majority vote by the Faculty Council. The President of the Faculty Council is then charged with initiating the process to update the CHS bylaws accordingly. 

Standing committees are integral to the governance structure of the College. For this reason, it is incumbent upon each department, school, and interdisciplinary academic program within the College to ensure active, diverse, and inclusive representation on standing committees. All full-time faculty within the College should embrace the opportunity to serve so that each committee benefits from their perspectives and experience.

  1. Purpose
    1. The Undergraduate Academic Committee shall be concerned with degree requirements, academic standards, curriculum development, and other matters appropriate to the maintenance and development of the Humanities and Sciences undergraduate academic program.
    2. The Undergraduate Academic Committee shall study all departmental proposals in the College of Humanities and Sciences for addition or deletion of undergraduate courses that carry semester-hour credit. 
    3. While decisions regarding technical details of course content shall be recognized to be the province of the department, School or interdisciplinary academic program concerned, the function of the Undergraduate Academic Committee shall be to ensure that courses offered for credit shall be of appropriate quality and to prevent serious duplication of courses offered by two or more departments or schools. It shall study and make recommendations regarding the establishment of new programs or the abolition of existing programs leading to bachelor’s degrees or certificates in Humanities and Sciences. The Undergraduate Academic Committee shall also study and make recommendations concerning new rules, or changes in the rules, affecting the academic status of undergraduate students in the College of Humanities and Sciences, in respect to admission policies, academic advising, degree requirements, grades and any other academic policy matters.
  2. Membership
    The Undergraduate Academic Committee shall be composed of:
    1. A representative from each department, School, and interdisciplinary academic program in the College chosen under their respective bylaws for a two-year term;
    2. One undergraduate student representative from the College may be appointed following nomination and approval by the committee; 
    3. The Dean or the Dean’s designee, serving as non-voting member;
    4. The President of the Staff Council, or a designee currently sitting on the Staff Council, serving as a non-voting member. 
  3. Officers and Duties 
    1. The chairperson and other officers shall be elected and serve according to the provisions of the Committee’s policies and procedures.
    2. The particular duties and responsibilities of all officers must be detailed in the policies and procedures of the Committee. 
    3. These duties must include regular communication with relevant committees within the College and the University, including the Faculty Council.
    4. The chairperson will convey a written summary of Committee activities to the President of the Faculty Council on an annual basis in conjunction with the close of the academic year. 
    5. The chairperson, or designee, will oversee the Committee’s website, including any and all updates to membership, leadership, and Committee policies and procedures.
  4. Meetings
    1. Committee meetings will be held monthly during the academic year. 
    2. The Committee chairperson shall call special meetings as necessary. 
    3. Procedural matters, including the scheduling of meetings, are governed by the policies and procedures of the Committee.
  1. Purpose
    1. The Graduate Academic Committee shall be concerned with graduate admission requirements, degree requirements, academic standards, curriculum development, the establishment of new graduate courses and programs and the abolition of existing ones, and other matters relating to the graduate programs in the College of Humanities and Sciences.
  2. Membership
    The Graduate Academic Committee shall be composed of:
    1. A representative from each department, School, and interdisciplinary academic program in the College that has a graduate program, chosen under their respective bylaws for a one-year term;
    2. One graduate student representative from the College may be appointed following nomination and approval by the committee;
    3. The Dean or the Dean’s designee, serving as a non-voting member.
    4. The President of the Staff Council, or a designee currently sitting on the Staff Council, serving as a non-voting member.
  3. Officers and Duties
    1. The chairperson and other officers shall be elected and serve according to the provisions of the Committee’s policies and procedures.
    2. The particular duties and responsibilities of all officers must be detailed in the policies and procedures of the Committee.
    3. These duties must include regular communication with relevant committees within the College and the University, including the Faculty Council.
    4. The chairperson will convey a written summary of Committee activities to the President of the Faculty Council on an annual basis in conjunction with the close of the academic year.
    5. The chairperson, or designee, will oversee the Committee’s website, including any and all updates to membership, leadership, and Committee policies and procedures.
  4. Meetings
    1. Committee meetings will be held monthly during the academic year.
    2. The Committee chairperson shall call special meetings as necessary.
    3. Procedural matters, including the scheduling of meetings, are governed by the policies and procedures of the Committee.
  1. Purpose
    1. The Committee on Administration is convened by the Dean to discuss administrative and procedural matters, share information, and enhance coordination so as to promote the efficient and effective operation of the College of Humanities and Sciences.
  2. Membership
    The Committee shall be composed of:
    1. The Dean of the College;
    2. The Associate Deans of the College;
    3. The chairpersons and directors of each department, School, and College interdisciplinary academic program;
    4. The President of the Faculty Council, or a designee currently sitting on the Faculty Council;
    5. The President of the Staff Council, or a designee currently sitting on the Staff Council.
  3. Officers and Duties
    1. The Dean will act as chair and is responsible for setting the meeting agenda.
  4. Meetings
    1. The Committee on Administration shall meet at least once per month during the academic year.
  1. Purpose
    1. The Technology Committee shall discuss technology-related developments in instruction and research and their impact on faculty and students of the College. The committee will also coordinate applications for technology funding in the College, in addition to overseeing the allocation and use of these funds.
  2. Membership
    The Committee shall be composed of:
    1. A representative from each department, School, and interdisciplinary academic program in the College, chosen under their respective bylaws for a two-year term;
    2. One undergraduate student representative from the College may be appointed following nomination and approval by the committee;
    3. One graduate student representative from the College may be appointed following nomination and approval by the committee;
    4. The Dean or the Dean’s designee, serving as a non-voting member;
    5. The President of the Staff Council, or a designee currently sitting on the Staff Council, serving as a non-voting member.
  3. Officers and Duties
    1. The chairperson and other officers shall be elected and serve according to the provisions of the Committee’s policies and procedures.
    2. The particular duties and responsibilities of all officers must be detailed in the policies and procedures of the Committee.
    3. These duties must include regular communication with relevant committees within the College and the University, including the Faculty Council.
    4. The chairperson will convey a written summary of Committee activities to the President of the Faculty Council on an annual basis in conjunction with the close of the academic year.
    5. The chairperson, or designee, will oversee the Committee’s website, including any and all updates to membership, leadership, and Committee policies and procedures.
  4. Meetings
    1. Committee meetings will be held at least once per semester during the academic year.
    2. The Committee chairperson shall call special meetings as necessary.
    3. Procedural matters, including the scheduling of meetings, are governed by the policies and procedures of the Committee.
  1. The Promotion and Tenure Committee is responsible for the fair and equitable evaluation of promotion and tenure applications originating from departments, Schools, and College interdisciplinary academic programs within the College.
  2. The Promotion and Tenure Committee is currently selected and tasked according to section 7.1.3 of the College of Humanities and Sciences Promotion and Tenure Guidelines.
  3. In addition to the responsibilities detailed therein, the Promotion and Tenure Committee will monitor and advise the Faculty Council and the Dean on the standards and practice of promotion and tenure within the College, with particular regard to compliance with University and College guidelines. Accordingly, the chair will report findings on the standards and practice of promotion and tenure within the College in written form on an annual basis to the President of the Faculty Council, the Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs, and the Dean of the College.
  4. The chair, or designee, will also oversee the Committee’s website, including any and all updates to membership, leadership, and Committee guidelines.
  1. Purpose
    1. The Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Committee shall assist in the development of policy and practices that ensure an academic and work environment characterized by inclusive excellence.
    2. The Committee will support the development, implementation, monitoring, and ongoing refinement of the College’s Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Plan.
    3. The Committee will engage in activities that support the College’s diversity and inclusion goals, including: content development of the College’s website focusing diversity; publicizing the College’s diversity programming; recognizing the professional and scholarly achievements of faculty and staff in advancing inclusion, diversity, and equity; promoting standards of inclusion, diversity, and equity among College boards and committees; assessing the views of faculty and staff on inclusion, diversity, and equity priorities, practices, and initiatives in the College; and advocating on behalf of faculty and staff in defense of the intellectual value of diversity and inclusion in higher education.
    4. The Committee will produce an annual report that specifies the College’s diversity and inclusion goals and activities of the previous fiscal year and the budget and projected goals for the upcoming fiscal year.
  2. Membership
    The Committee shall be constituted in the following manner, while ensuring equitable representation across the humanities, the social sciences, and the mathematical and natural sciences. With the exception of the non-voting representative from the Office of the Dean and the Staff Council, no elected or appointed member may serve consecutive terms; however, members may be re-appointed or re-elected after a one-year gap between terms.
    1. Five members drawn from and elected by the Faculty to serve three-year, staggered terms;
    2. Five members drawn from and elected by all classified staff and University and Academic Professionals in the College to serve three-year, staggered terms;
    3. One undergraduate and one graduate student member drawn from and elected from their respective student body to serve one-year terms;
    4. One at-large member elected by the entire College to serve a three-year term. The at-large member may not be a member of a department which is already represented, and they cannot currently serve in an administrative capacity;
    5. Two members appointed by the Dean in consultation with the Faculty Council and Committee leadership;
    6. A non-voting representative from the Dean’s office;
    7. The President of the Staff Council, or a designee currently sitting on the Staff Council, serving as a non-voting member.
  3. Officers and Duties
    1. The chairperson(s) and other officers shall be elected and serve according to the provisions of the Committee’s policies and procedures.
    2. The particular duties and responsibilities of all officers must be detailed in the policies and procedures of the Committee.
    3. These duties must include regular communication with relevant committees within the College and the University, including the Faculty Council.
    4. The chairperson will convey a written summary of Committee activities to the President of the Faculty Council on an annual basis in conjunction with the close of the academic year.
    5. The chairperson, or designee, will oversee the Committee’s website, including any and all updates to membership, leadership, and Committee bylaws.
  4. Meetings
    1. Committee meetings will be held at least two (2) times per semester during the academic year.
    2. The Committee chairperson(s) shall call special meetings as necessary.
    3. Procedural matters, including the scheduling of meetings, are governed by the policies and procedures of the Committee.

Article VI: Faculty Meetings 

  1. The Faculty Council will convene a meeting of the Faculty of the College of Humanities and Sciences at least once per year. In addition to any regular business, the Faculty Council will also invite the Dean to address the Faculty.
  2. The President of the Faculty Council shall convene a meeting of the General Faculty upon the written petition of 25 or more members of the Faculty. The petition must clearly state the reason for the meeting and, if appropriate, request the presence of the Dean of the College.

Article VII: Parliamentary Authority

Robert's Rules of Order, Revised, shall be the authority on all questions of parliamentary procedure not covered by the Bylaws.


Article VIII: Amendment to the Bylaws

  1. Amendment of these Bylaws may be requested by any faculty member of the College with voting rights. Proposals must be first submitted in writing to the Faculty Council. Upon receipt, the following process will be initiated:
    1. The Faculty Council will discuss any and all requested amendments. Proposals must receive a two-thirds majority vote by the Faculty Council before proceeding to the next stage in the process.
    2. Following endorsement by the Faculty Council, the proposed amendment(s) enters a 30-day review period coordinated by the Faculty Council.
      1. The President of the Faculty Council will prepare an accompanying document that identifies the impact of the proposed amendment(s) upon the existing Bylaws.
      2. The President of the Faculty Council will then convey the proposed amendment(s) and accompanying document to the chair or director of each department, School, and interdisciplinary academic program in the College of Humanities and Sciences. Chairs and directors are thereafter obligated to ensure discussion of the proposed amendments(s) during their next faculty meeting or a special session.
      3. The Faculty Council will publish the proposed amendment(s) and accompanying document to the Faculty and provide the opportunity for feedback from individual faculty in writing or through an electronic format, such as an online feedback form.
      4. The Faculty Council is also encouraged to convene a Town Hall for broad discussion of any amendments that would significantly impact the Bylaws.
    3. Upon the conclusion of the 30-day review period, the Faculty Council will revisit the proposed amendment(s) and submit the proposed amendment(s) to a second vote. Proposals must receive a two-thirds majority vote by the Faculty Council before proceeding to the next stage in the process.
    4. Within 30 days from the final endorsement by the Faculty Council, the proposed amendment(s) must be voted on by ballot sent to all Faculty with voting rights. Affirmative votes to the proposed amendment(s) by two-thirds of those voting indicates approval.
  2. The Faculty Council may make technical/editorial changes to these Bylaws, including changes intended for clarification or consistency with university policies and procedures, without a vote of the Faculty in accordance with the following procedures:
    1. Approval of technical/editorial changes by the Faculty Council through a majority vote;
    2. Announcement of the proposed changes to the college faculty followed by a two-week commentary period;
    3. If ten percent or more of the Faculty, as defined in Article III.A, object during the commentary period to the designation of a change as technical/editorial, the change(s) will be put to a vote of the Faculty.

Revised 4/71, 7/81, 2/85, 4/90, 4/94, 8/94, 5/02, [Changes in the organizational structure of the College of Humanities and Sciences incorporated in 2014], 5/16 [amendment passed, but never incorporated into document of record], 4/19

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