EAS Bylaws - University of Houston
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EAS Bylaws



Adopted by the EAS Faculty May 9, 2018


  1. The voting faculty of the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences shall consist of all tenured and tenure-track professors, associate professors, and assistant professors, who have appointments of at least 50% FTE within the department and are not on
  2. In these bylaws, the unmodified use of the word “faculty” refers to the tenured and tenure-track faculty. In the interests of unambiguous clarity, all references to research or instructional faculty, or to other classes of faculty, will be
  3. Other non-tenure track positions as defined by the Faculty Handbook and bylaws of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics are Promotion-Eligible (Research Faculty, Instructional Faculty) and Non-Promotion Eligible (Visiting Faculty, Lecturing Faculty, Research Scientist and Senior Research Scientist, Adjunct Faculty).
  4. All promotion-eligible non-tenure track faculty will have committee service and voting rights as defined
  5. Non-promotion-eligible non-tenure track faculty may attend and participate in discussion (but not vote) at all faculty meetings, except for closed sessions. Faculty in this category may be invited by a Committee Chair to participate in discussion but not vote at committee meetings, when a specific issue falls within their professional


  1. Meetings of the faculty open to all ranks and categories will be called by the Department Chair at least twice per long semester during the academic year. Meetings may also be called at the request of one-third or more of the voting faculty. A semester schedule of regular meetings or electronic notice of a special meeting specifying the time and place of the meeting will be circulated to all faculty members at least two working days before any meeting. A preliminary agenda of anticipated items to be considered at the meeting will accompany the notice of the meeting. All pertinent information will be made available to all faculty members upon request. Agenda items may be added by faculty and new business may arise during the meeting. A quorum shall be two thirds of the voting faculty. The Chair or her/his designated representative will preside at all faculty meetings. Voting faculty will meet in a separate closed session to consider bylaws, hiring and other personnel issues.
  2. One student, elected by the department student body, may attend the open portion of faculty meetings. The student representative will be charged with expressing student views on pending departmental business, including suggestions for changes in departmental policies or operating procedures. At the discretion of the Department Chair, the student representative may be excluded from some deliberations.
  3. The Chair will strive to decide matters by unanimous consent. When unanimity cannot be reached, meetings will be conducted in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised 11th edition. The Chair may participate in discussions and vote. Votes may be cast in writing by proxy, but only on items that clearly state the matter on which the faculty are voting. Written proxy votes will not be allowed on any motion amended during the course of a meeting. A faculty member may also delegate their vote on specific agenda items to another faculty member with prior written notice to the Chair. No faculty member may exercise more than one delegated vote. Except where otherwise specified, a majority of voting faculty present will decide an issue. If any vote is tied, one revote may be taken to break the tie. If after the revote a tie still exists, the motion fails.
  4. In votes concerning tenure track and non-tenure track hiring matters, a majority of all voting faculty is required.
  5. The results of all votes will be included in minutes of the faculty meeting. Minutes of all faculty meetings will be taken and distributed to all faculty within two weeks after the faculty meeting or prior to the next scheduled meeting, whichever comes first.


A. Departmental business will be conducted as much as practicable by the individuals to whom responsibility for certain areas is delegated. These individuals are authorized to act within the area for which they are responsible (e.g., Associate Chair, departmental Undergraduate and Graduate Advisors, Committee Chairs), subject to rules set up by the faculty and higher authorities. However, they will refer matters of policy, proposed exceptions to established policy or lengthy practice, and all major decisions to the Chair and to the earliest practicable meeting of the faculty (or appropriate higher body). They are also charged with keeping the faculty informed of their actions.


  1. The Department Chair is responsible for the overall operation of the department and for its official relations with other units of the university and with outside individuals and organizations. The Chair will perform her/his responsibilities in accordance with policies determined by the faculty and higher
  2. The Chair will be appointed or reappointed annually by the University President upon recommendation by the Dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. As a general rule, the Chair shall serve for a period of 3 years. Polling of the faculty for their preference for a Chair is conducted by the NSM Committee on College Government as outlined in Section VI of the College
  3. The primary responsibilities of the Chair include the continued functioning and development of the department, assignment of teaching responsibility, and usage of space and other resources. The Chair will make plans and institute actions to achieve these ends, with the advice and assistance of other faculty members.
  4. The Chair has final responsibility for staff and budgetary matters within the department and is responsible for the orderly execution of these by-laws. In policy matters of great importance, he/she will consult with the faculty in meeting assembled. The Chair will make independent recommendations to the Dean of the college concerning merit salary increments for all staff and eligible faculty members, after annual merit review results by the departmental Merit Review Committees (see sections VI and VII) are provided to the Chair for his/her consideration.
  5. The Chair appoints the members and chairs of departmental standing and ad hoc committees (except as otherwise provided in these bylaws, exclusive of the Promotion and Tenure Committee and the Merit Review Committees). The Chair may, with the advice and consent of the faculty, appoint and convene ad hoc committees as deemed necessary. The Chair may at his/her discretion appoint one promotion-eligible non-tenure track faculty member to any standing or ad-hoc committee. A current list of members of the departmental standing committees will be kept on file in the department office and posted on the Department web
  6. The Associate Chair is a tenured faculty member nominated by the Chair and approved by a majority vote of the faculty. The Associate Chair assists the Chair in managing the business of the department and acts as Department Chair during any absence of the
  7. The department budget is managed by the Department Chair with the assistance of the Associate Chair. The Chair will keep the faculty informed on departmental financial expenditures and status. At least one month before the beginning of each fiscal year the Chair will consult with the faculty on developing a budget prospectus for the coming No more than two months after the close of each fiscal year, the Chair will present to the faculty a budget report that includes all department revenues and expenditures.
  8. The Chair will maintain a written record of department guidelines approved by faculty vote and available to the entire faculty. These may address policy issues relevant to the department, but may not conflict with relevant sections of superseding documents such as the UH Manual of Administrative Policies and Procedures or the Faculty Handbook.


  1. The Promotion and Tenure Committee is responsible for making recommendations to the Department Chair and to the Dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics on questions regarding promotion, tenure and termination of members of the faculty. Independent recommendations are sent to the Dean by the Department
  2. The Promotion and Tenure Committee consists of five tenured faculty elected by the voting faculty. A sixth faculty member at any rank may be elected as a non-voting observer for the purposes of development at the discretion of the faculty. This observer may not participate in discussion of individuals or grievance matters. A majority of the committee elected must hold the rank of Professor. Individuals who are to be considered for promotion, tenure, or termination will not be eligible for membership. A personnel committee that will decide on promotion to Professor in the coming year must be entirely composed of Professors. An additional promotion-eligible non-tenure track member at appropriate rank shall be elected by the promotion-eligible non-tenure track faculty as necessary to consider any request for promotion of non-tenure track faculty. Non-tenure track faculty may not have access to promotion and tenure materials of tenure track faculty nor may they be present during discussion of tenure and promotion of tenure track faculty. The Departmental Chair serves as a non-voting, ex-officio member, however she or he may not participate in or vote on any committee discussions involving promotion or tenure of individuals.
  3. Members of the Promotion and Tenure Committee members shall be elected by secret written ballot at the penultimate faculty meeting of the spring semester. Votes will be tallied and recorded by a non-voting member of the faculty or a staff member. Each candidate for the committee will be elected by a separate ballot. On each of the ballots, the faculty member receiving the greatest number of votes equal to or greater than one third of the members of all the voting faculty will be elected until all positions are filled. The chair of the committee will be elected by majority vote of its members at the first meeting.
  4. The Department Chair will contact all faculty members who are to be considered for promotion, tenure, termination or review each year, and request that they submit pertinent information to the Committee. The committee Chair will make available to the individuals concerned, and to each of the committee members, current statements of College, University, and Department policies concerning the criteria that should be used in formulating a recommendation. All recommendations require the approval of a majority of the full committee membership. A voting member of the committee will write a letter to the Dean of the College incorporating the recommendations of the committee. Individuals for whom recommendations are to be made may request a meeting with the committee prior and/or subsequent to the meeting at which the recommendation is formulated. Decisions of the committee will be communicated in writing to the individuals concerned, along with the rationale for the decision(s). An individual receiving a negative recommendation will have the opportunity to submit additional material to the committee and/or request a hearing before the committee. The additional information and the individual's pleas will be considered by the committee prior to formulation of a final decision. Except in cases in which the Dean specifically requests a report, negative recommendations will not be forwarded to him/her. The Committee Chair is responsible for providing each individual concerned with a written copy of the report that is sent to the Dean.
  5. PROMOTION - A faculty member who has served the minimum amount of time in rank to be eligible for promotion will be notified in writing by the Department Chair that the question of promotion may be considered. Individuals who are not recommended for promotion may be reviewed again in subsequent years. Written criteria for promotion to Associate Professor and Professor (and their Instructional and Research counterparts) will be adopted by vote of the faculty and maintained as an official department guideline. They will be reviewed yearly by the Promotion and Tenure Committee. Any changes will be recommended to the full faculty for vote, and if approved will take effect the following academic year.
  6. TENURE - A faculty member who has served the appropriate time at the University of Houston to be considered for tenure will be notified in writing by the Department Chair that the question of tenure may be considered. At the request of the individual concerned, the tenured faculty may be secretly polled by the committee at the outset of the process and the results of the poll will be relayed to the Dean along with recommendations of the Promotion and Tenure
  7. TERMINATION - When the Personnel Committee recommends that an individual should be given a terminal contract for the following year, it must communicate that recommendation in writing to the individual. The individual may, if he or she wishes, request a secret polling of the entire voting faculty at that time. The results of the poll are to be revealed to the individual and included in the final report forwarded to the Dean. The individual may appeal the decision of the committee through College and University level grievance
  8. GRIEVANCES - The Promotion and Tenure Committee (exclusive of the nonvoting members) will also serve as necessary to hear faculty grievances related to departmental matters, as provided for in the bylaws of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Section VII and the Faculty Handbook. The faculty grievance procedure will be distributed by the Chair to all faculty. The initial resolution effort for grievances shall be in conference with the Department Chair. If the matter cannot be resolved, it will be the duty of the Promotion and Tenure Committee to accept such faculty grievances, either formally in writing or at a hearing, at which the faculty member may have the assistance of a representative and may present evidence. This does not deprive the grievant of the opportunity to address other appropriate bodies directly (for example in cases of alleged discrimination), but instead provides a formal facilitating mechanism by which disputed issues may be either resolved or passed along appropriately for action. In departmental cases where no other governing body within the university is appropriate to resolve the issue, the Promotion and Tenure Committee itself will make a finding of fact with a recommendation by majority vote within 10 days, subject to appeal to the college Government Committee. The grievant then has further recourse under the grievance policies of the College and University. Grievances against the Chair will be referred directly to the College Government Committee.


  1. Each year the Merit Review Committee will review the performance of each faculty member. This committee consists of five tenure-track faculty, who are elected to serve in the spring of each year. A majority of the committee must be tenured. Names are placed in nomination in general session of a faculty meeting and voted on by the voting faculty. If an elected faculty member is unable to serve, she or he may be replaced by special
  2. ANNUAL MERIT REVIEW –- Each year all faculty members will submit a complete three-year record of activities on a form provided by the committee. The due date for this information, normally in March, shall be set by the committee at least one month in advance. A summary of the results of annual review will be given to each faculty member in writing. Questions concerning performance of an individual will be communicated to the individual in writing with their rankings in research, teaching and service. Results will be provided to the Chair, and, if appropriate, to the Dean for purposes of annual merit increments and overall reviews. A faculty member may request, and must then receive, a hearing by the committee in order to discuss the review and rankings provided. Failure to submit an updated curriculum vita and Three Year Summary of Activities to the Department Office may interfere with any pending merit
  3. Only tenure track faculty may be granted access to merit review materials and be present during merit review committee
  4. POST TENURE REVIEW – The Merit Review Committee sets the criteria for and conducts post tenure review as described in the Faculty Handbook. This evaluation will be based on the professional responsibilities of each faculty member in teaching, research and service. A complete description of these procedures will be available each year to all faculty members.


A. The Merit Review Committee for Non Tenure Track Faculty shall consist of the Merit Review Committee plus one promotion-eligible member of the non-tenure track faculty elected by the tenured, tenure track and promotional eligible non-tenure track faculty.


  1. At the first faculty meeting of the Fall semester, the standing committees listed below should be formed by appointment of the Chair from among those volunteering and eligible to serve. In addition, the Chair may appoint at his/her discretion a maximum of one promotion eligible non-tenure track faculty member, if the issues to be considered fall within their professional responsibilities, but they may not serve as chair. Meetings of these committees should be announced to the whole faculty at least 24 hours in advance and be open to all interested faculty. Findings and recommendations should be circulated in writing to all faculty, brought to a faculty meeting and voted upon when appropriate. Committee chairs will be appointed by the Department
  2. UNDERGRADUATE STUDIES COMMITTEE – The Undergraduate Studies Committee consists of the Undergraduate Advisors, plus two additional voting faculty serving one-year terms. The Undergraduate Advisors will be appointed by the Chair, usually for three-year terms. The charge of the committee is to provide information, analysis, planning and recommendations to the full faculty on all matters concerning undergraduate education, including but not restricted to recruitment, degree requirements, and curriculum.
  3. GRADUATE STUDIES COMMITTEE – The Graduate Studies Committee consists of the Graduate Advisors plus two additional voting faculty serving 1-year terms. The Graduate Advisors will be appointed by the Chair, usually for three-year terms. The charge of the committee is to provide information, analysis, planning and recommendations to the faculty on all matters concerning graduate education, including but not restricted to recruitment, degree requirements and curriculum, and procedures and
  4. MATERIEL AND PLANNING COMMITTEE – The Materiel and Planning Committee consists of four voting faculty. The charge to the committee is to provide information, analysis, planning and recommendations to the Chair and faculty on all matters concerning research equipment and facilities, teaching equipment, computing facilities, and non-instructional space. An important function of the committee is to rank faculty proposals for the expenditure of department funds for purchasing of materials for teaching and research.
  5. SCHOLARSHIP AND AWARDS COMMITTEE - The Scholarship and Awards Committee consists of the Graduate Advisors, the Undergraduate Advisors, and at least one additional voting faculty. The charge of the Scholarship and Awards Committee is to review undergraduate and graduate student performance for the purpose of making recommendations to the faculty concerning awards, scholarships, and other forms of recognition for outstanding scholastic achievement. Award rankings should be submitted to the voting faculty for approval. This committee may also make recommend individual EAS faculty for National, International, University or Departmental teaching, service and research awards.


  1. Candidates to represent EAS on the various College Committees including alternates and at-large positions if applicable will be nominated from the floor at a faculty meeting and approved by vote. The Chair may appoint interim candidates when a faculty meeting cannot be
  2. Candidates to represent EAS in the Faculty Senate, including alternates and at-large positions if applicable, will be nominated from the floor at a faculty meeting and approved by vote. Additional candidates may be nominated by procedures described in the Faculty Senate bylaws. The final elections will be conducted by the Faculty Senate according to procedures described in its bylaws.


  1. The Department encourages all faculty members to develop their leadership potential. All faculty, but especially tenured faculty, are encouraged to take on service roles within the Department. These include graduate advisors, undergraduate advisors, standing and ad- hoc committee chairs and Associate Chair.  This experience will enhance the understanding of department activities, procedures and responsibilities. The Department also encourages service in the College and University to gain experience with issues at higher levels.

SECTION XI: AMENDMENTS  - The departmental bylaws may be amended at any meeting if approved by a 2/3 vote of the entire voting faculty, provided that the exact language of the proposed amendment was distributed 7 days in advance. Amendments to the bylaws will be communicated to the NSM Committee on College Government.


No part of these bylaws or administrative regulations or customs of the department shall be in contravention of the bylaws of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, or the administrative regulations and policies of the University of Houston as published in the UH Faculty Handbook, and the Manual of Administrative Policies and Procedures. In the event that any portion of these bylaws is or becomes in conflict with such regulations, that portion will be superseded and nullified by the applicable college or university regulations.


These bylaws shall take effect upon acceptance by a 2/3 vote of the entire voting faculty and communicated to the NSM Committee on College Government. Acceptance of the bylaws supersedes and nullifies all previous bylaws of the department.

Received By NSM Committee on College Government on May 10, 2018

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