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Departmental Bylaws

Bylaws of the Department of Biology and Biochemistry
University of Houston

Modifications approved by unanimous vote, Friday, October 22, 2004


Section I. The Faculty

A. Membership

1. Full-time faculty shall consist of those full-time University employees who are tenured or tenure-track and devote at least 50 percent of their time to duties within the Department. Full-time faculty shall have full voting privileges.

2. Associate faculty consists of Jointly appointed, Visiting, Research, Adjunct or Clinical faculty, Instructors and Lecturers. They shall have a Ph.D., M.D. or equivalent degree and may consist f University or non-University employees who contribute to and participate in Departmental activities. Associate faculty generally do not have a voting right, although jointly appointed faculty may be accorded Full-time faculty status with voting privileges by consent of the existing faculty and Department Chair.

3. Visiting Professor, Visiting Associate Professor arid Visiting Assistant Professor positions are faculty who assume a non-tenure track position with teaching responsibilities. They are generally paid from state funds. Visiting faculty may not apply for research grants through the University of Houston unless also holding a Research Faculty appointment.

4. Research Professor, Research Associate Professor and Research Assistant Professor positions are faculty who are generally paid from research grants or other external funds and normally do not have teaching responsibilities. Research faculty may serve as Principal Investigator for external or internal research grants and serve as co-advisors on thesis and dissertation committees.

5. Appointment of a Professor to Emeritus status shall be approved by the Chair and by the voting faculty of the Department. Nominations for Emeritus status may come from either the Chair or the faculty. Professors Emeriti will continue to be members of the Department but will not have voting privileges.

B. The Full-time and Associate faculty comprise the research and teaching staff of the Department and may participate in the supervision of the research training of graduate and undergraduate students and may serve on student thesis and dissertation committees. Only Full-time faculty may chair a thesis or dissertation committee.

C. New faculty searches shall be conducted according to the guidelines established by the University of Houston. A Search Committee will be appointed by the Chair to conduct faculty searches. The Committee, in conjunction with the Chair, will coordinate advertising, review applications, select candidates for interviews, and conduct the interview process for candidates.

D . A favorable recommendation for a full-time faculty appointment shall require a majority vote of the Search Committee and concurrence by the Chair.

E. Adjunct and Joint appointments shall have the consent of the faculty as a whole or the faculty in a Division. Research and Visiting faculty will be appointed on an annual basis by the Chair


Section II. Officers and Administration

A. Department Chair

1. The Chair shall be appointed according to the Bylaws of the College of Natural Science and Mathematics. Full-time faculty shall be polled for their choice of Chair as provided by the College Bylaws.

2. The Chair shall provide academic and administrative leadership for the Department, preside over Departmental Meetings, perform such duties as assigned by the University or the Dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, supervise the operation of the Department, represent the Department in College and University affairs, and inform the faculty of events affecting the Department or welfare of the faculty.

B. Vice-Chair

1. The Vice-Chair shall be nominated by the Chair subject to consent by the Full-time faculty.

2. The Vice-Chair shall carry out such duties as assigned by the Chair.

3. The Vice-Chair will serve as Acting Chair of the Department at any time the Chair is out of town, unavailable, or incapacitated and unable to administer the affairs of the Department.

C. The Chair shall appoint Associate Chairs of Graduate and Undergraduate Affairs who shall supervise Departmental efforts in those areas and perform those duties assigned by the Chair. The Associate Chair for Undergraduate Affairs shall serve as the administrative head of the Department if both the Chair and Vice-chair are absent.


Section III. Divisions

A. The Department shall be divided into Divisions which include faculty of similar research areas and interests. This will initially include the Divisions of Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology, and Ecology and Evolution. Faculty may belong to more than one Division, although they should have a primary Division for administrative reasons.

B. Each Division shall be administered by a Division leader elected for a 2 year term by the faculty of that Division from nominations made by the Chair or the Division faculty. The Division leader shall serve as liaison between the Division and the Chair and shall oversee administration of matters specific to that Division.

C. The Division is responsible for developing graduate and undergraduate curriculum for students in that discipline.

D. Faculty teaching responsibilities shall be assigned by the Chair in conjunction with the Associate Chair for Undergraduate Affairs and the Division Leaders.

E. Each Full-time faculty member shall select a primary Division. Appointment of other new faculty to a Division requires the consent of the Division. Faculty may also request membership in a second Division with the consent of the membership of that Division.

F. The creation of a new Division shall be approved by a two-thirds majority of the voting faculty.


Section IV. Committees

A. Standing Committees

1. The Policy Committee shall be chaired by the Chair and consists of the Vice and Associate Chairs, all Division leaders, and an At-Large member, elected by the faculty for a two year term. The Policy Committee will assist and advise the Chair in the administration of the Department. The Committee shall consider matters of Departmental policy, overall planning and development of the Department, areas for new faculty hiring, faculty salary increments, and other Departmental business. The Policy Committee will annually conduct post-tenure review of all faculty in accordance with Departmental policy. This committee will select nominees for open Departmental positions on the Faculty Senate and College Committees and may also consider problems concerning space allocation and faculty and staff work schedules. This Committee will serve to assist and advise the Chair in all matters not specifically assigned to other Committees.

2. The Promotions Committee shall recommend faculty promotions and tenure based on the evaluative material specified by the College and University. The same procedures will also be used to evaluate Research and Clinical faculty for promotion. The committee shall also conduct annual reviews of non-tenured faculty. The Committee shall consist of at least two tenured Full-time faculty from each Division. Tenure and promotion decisions are voted on by members of the Committee who are senior in rank, although all members may participate in the discussions. The Committee Chair shall be appointed from among its members by the Chair.

3. The Curriculum Committee, chaired by the Associate Chair for Undergraduate Affairs, will be responsible for degree plans, development of long-range curriculum plans, designing new curriculum, creation of new courses, and supervision of Departmental core courses not otherwise overseen by specific Departmental Divisions. Matters regarding Graduate or advanced Undergraduate curriculum shall in general be the responsibility of the Division, but changes should be approved by the Curriculum Committee. Changes in Divisional degree requirements shall be approved both by the Faculty of that Division as well as the Curriculum Committee.

4. The Graduate Committee, chaired by the Associate Chair for Graduate Affairs, will be responsible for graduate recruitment, recommend action on graduate applications and appointments, recommend awarding of assistantships, supervise the graduate program and administer departmental graduate exams if any, review and advise incoming graduate students, and review the performance of graduate students who have not selected their thesis or dissertation committee. The Committee will be composed of two members from each Division. Graduate program requirements will be proposed by the Graduate Committee and subject to consent of the faculty.

B. Other Committees shall be appointed as deemed necessary by the Chair.

C. Nominations for membership on each committee may be made by the faculty or the chair. An election by the faculty shall be held when there is more than one nominee for a seat on a committee. Full-time or Associate faculty may serve on any of the above committees except the Promotions Committee. Membership on committees shall be for a 2-year term, with one-half of the committee being newly elected each year. Faculty may serve unlimited subsequent terms.


Section V. Meetings

A. A departmental faculty meeting should be held as necessary, but no less than once per semester. Meetings may be called by the Chair or by at least four voting Faculty upon written request to the Department Chair. A quorum (simple majority of voting faculty in residence) must be present in order to conduct business.

B. Full-time faculty members unable to attend a meeting may vote in advance on a matter under consideration by submission of a written vote to the Chair.

C. Secret ballots shall be used if requested by any faculty member present.

D. Consent of the faculty shall mean approval by a simple majority of a quorum of the faculty at a departmental faculty meeting or by a simple majority of votes cast in a written ballot.


Section VI. Research

A. Each faculty member shall have complete freedom in choosing research objectives relevant to basic, applied, and institutional research within the ethics of their profession, and in accord with AAUP principles.

B. Full-time faculty shall be assigned office space and research space as appropriate within the Department. The extent and location of this space is at the discretion of the Chair.


Section VII. Promotions, Tenure, Dismissal

A. Eligibility for promotion and/or tenure will be determined according to the current Faculty and Staff Handbook and the Manual of the Board of Regents. Evaluation and review shall follow the written policies of the Department and the College.

B. Provision for termination or dismissal of any faculty member shall be in accordance with University guidelines as outlined in the Faculty and Staff Manual.


Section VIII. Relationship to Other Governing Rules and Regulations

Nothing in these bylaws should be construed to supersede provisions of the Statutes of the University of Houston as described in the Faculty Handbook and other materials provided by the Office of the Provost or the bylaws of the College of Natural Science and Mathematics.”


Section IX. Amending the Bylaws

Amendments to these Bylaws shall be submitted in writing to either the Policy Committee or the Chair and shall be approved by two-thirds majority vote at a faculty meeting at which a quorum of voting faculty are present.