Department Bylaws

Bylaws of the Department of Computer Science
Florida State University

Approved an adopted by the faculty by unanimous vote in October 1984. Revised and re-adopted by vote of the faculty in April 2006. Amended by vote of the faculty in November 2007, September 2008, December 2008, January 2009, and September 2009, and October 2014. Approved December, 2014 by a two-thirds majority of the faculty via a secret ballot. Amended by vote of the faculty in October 2015.

Preamble

The faculty of the Florida State University Department of Computer Science has drafted and adopted these Bylaws in order to define a set of principles, organizational structures, and procedures that will enable the smooth and effective operation of the department in furtherance of its mission.

The department bylaws adhere to and are consistent with University policies found in the FSU Constitution and the BOT-UFF Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Each faculty member has an equal responsibility in furthering the academic goals and in maintaining the academic excellence of our department. This will be achieved in an atmosphere of collegiality and constructive cooperation.

1 Voting Membership

The Computer Science faculty is defined as follows:

  1. Tenure-track faculty: consisting of those employees having tenure in the Department of Computer Science or those who are earning time creditable towards tenure in the Department of Computer Science;
  2. Non-tenure track Specialized faculty: consisting of those individuals in faculty classifications that are not tenured and not earning time creditable towards tenure, who are appointed as full-time employees of the department or are full-time employees of the FSU Panama City Campus primarily teaching Computer Science courses.

The Voting Membership of the department is defined as the Department Chair and all the members of the Computer Science Faculty for whom the Department Chair approves the annual Assignment of Responsibilities (AoR) and Annual Evaluation. In addition, any other members of the Computer Science Faculty who hold tenure in the department are entitled to vote on matters related to promotion and tenure, including tenure criteria and recommendations to grant promotion and tenure, and on amendments to the Bylaws.

2 Faculty Meetings and Voting

Faculty meetings are typically called by the department chair, but may also be called by petition to the department chair of four voting members. In the latter case, the meeting is to be held within one month. Minutes will be kept and shall be made available to members. At the request of any voting member, Robert’s Rules of Order shall be invoked.

Except where these Bylaws specify a different procedure, decisions made by the faculty will be by a vote conducted at a faculty meeting, by letter ballot, or by e-mail ballot. For a faculty meeting, one half of the Voting Membership that are eligible to vote on the measure under consideration constitutes a quorum, and passage of a measure requires a majority of the Voting Membership that is present and eligible to vote on the measure. Passage of a letter or e-mail ballot requires a majority of the Voting Membership that is eligible to vote on the measure. Except where these Bylaws specify differently, all the Voting Membership is eligible to vote.

In addition to whatever other matters are proposed for vote at a faculty meeting, the following matters shall be subject to approval by vote of the faculty as described:

  1. Curricular changes involving creation, deletion, and modifications of requirements for majors, certificate programs, and degree programs.
    The entire Voting Membership is eligible to vote on these issues, except that for graduate curriculum issues only members with graduate teaching status are eligible to vote.
    Creation and termination of degree programs and their majors require approval by a two-thirds super-majority of the eligible Voting Membership.
  2. Prior to sending the Dean of the College a recommendation for an offer of new employment in a faculty position, the department chair will conduct a poll of the Voting Membership. For tenure track positions, only members of the tenure-track faculty are eligible to vote in the poll.
    In addition, recommendations regarding offers of new employment with tenure, and offers of new employment at the ranks of Associate Professor or Professor, shall be subject to the same balloting processes specified in 4.1 (Promotion and Tenure Committee) for internal candidates for tenure and promotion to the respective ranks.

3 Administrative Officers

3.1 Department Chair

The department chair is the chief administrator of the department. The department chair shall be appointed by the Dean of the College. All other department administrative positions and committees will be appointed by the department chair, with the exception of the Faculty Evaluation Committee, the Promotion and Tenure Committee, and the Department Chair Selection Committee, which are formed in accordance with the provisions as described in Section 4. The department chair will ensure that all department members are informed on matters of policy.

The chair is responsible for annually making and signing Assignments of Responsibilities, and writing Annual Evaluation letters. In addition, it is the chair’s evaluation that will be used in the sustained performance evaluation for Professors. The Annual Evaluation by the chair will take into account the results of the peer evaluation performed by the Faculty Evaluation Committee and the contents of the FEC binder.

The term of the department chair is three years. In the third year of a department chair’s term a Department Chair Selection Committee will be elected and will recommend to the Dean a slate of department chair candidates for the next term, as described in 4.2.2 (Department Chair Selection Committee). If the department chair position becomes vacant before the end of a term, the same process will be invoked as needed to fill the vacancy.

The department faculty may recommend to the Dean that the department chair be removed from office. Such action must be taken according to the following procedure. (a) A petition calling for removal must be signed by a majority of the tenured faculty members and submitted to the Dean. (b) The Dean or his/her representative shall preside at a meeting of the faculty to consider the petition. The department chair will not attend. Two weeks notice shall be given for this meeting. (c) To be adopted, a motion for removal must be supported by 2/3 of the members eligible to vote for the department chair in a secret ballot. This process shall be conducted by the department executive committee (without the department chair), which shall report the vote to the faculty and to the Dean.

3.2 Other Administrative Officers

Other faculty may be appointed by the department chair to assist the department chair in administration of the department, and given responsibilities delegated by the department chair. In performance of such delegated responsibilities, these faculty members shall act with the administrative authority of the department chair.

4 Administrative Committees

These Bylaws establish and define the responsibilities of certain committees. Some of these committees are elected by the faculty; the others are appointed by the department chair. In addition to these committees, the department chair may create and appoint additional administrative committees for specific purposes. Except as specified otherwise in these Bylaws, committee members will come from the Voting Membership of the department. The chair of an elected committee is elected by the committee members. The chair of an appointed committee is appointed by the department chair.

4.1 Promotion and Tenure Committee

Recommendations for faculty promotion and tenure are made by the Promotion and Tenure (P & T) Committee. This committee is comprised of all the tenure-track Associate and Full Professors who are voting members in the department. For ballots involving tenure, only the tenured faculty vote. For ballots involving promotion to Associate Professor, only the Associate Professors and Full Professors shall vote. For ballots involving promotion to Full Professor, only the Full Professors shall vote.

This committee will consider all faculty below the rank of tenured full professor for promotion or tenure, or both, if applicable, each year. A faculty member is encouraged to ask the P & T Committee during the Spring semester to provide advice regarding whether or not he/she should go forward for promotion and/or tenure. The P & T Committee will use the FEC Binders (see 4.2.3) for purposes of providing this advice. The preparation of the nomination binder is initiated as per FSU University policies and procedures. This binder is reviewed by the P & T Committee who will vote on a recommendation decision before the binder leaves the department.

The P & T Committee will elect a chair from their members who must be a tenured full professor. The P & T committee is responsible for the required pre-tenure reviews. The P & T chair will be responsible for soliciting letters if required for pretenure reviews of assistant professors and for writing the actual review that will be submitted for approval by a majority of P & T Committee members.

4.2 Elected Committees and Offices

The elected committees are the Department Chair Selection Committee, the Executive Committee, and the Faculty Evaluation Committee.

4.2.1 Committee Election Procedure

Election of committee members for the Department Chair Selection Committee, the Executive Committee, and the Faculty Evaluation Committee shall be conducted at a meeting of the faculty. All the voting members of the department are entitled to vote in the election of these committees, unless specified otherwise in these Bylaws. Elections shall be conducted by a faculty member chosen to serve as Secretary for the occasion by the department chair. Voting shall be done by secret ballot in a meeting of the faculty called by the department chair and announced to the faculty at least two weeks in advance.

Election of members of the committee shall be one at a time in the following manner: The Secretary calls for nominations from the faculty. Once nominations are made, a vote is taken to elect one member of the committee from those nominated. A member of the committee must be elected by a majority vote of the faculty present at the meeting. This process is repeated sequentially for each of the membership slots. In case no nominee obtains a majority, a run-off is held between the nominees with the highest two vote counts (not necessarily distinct) on the previous ballot. If, after repeated ballots, the tie still holds, the tie is resolved as follows: The person who has served most recently on the committee loses (i.e., is not elected for membership); secondarily, the person of lower academic rank loses; tertiary, the person with fewer years of employment at FSU loses. In cases where these rules do not resolve a tie, the Secretary may attempt to elect committee members by unanimous agreement among himself or herself and the faculty members involved in the tie.

4.2.2 Department Chair Selection Committee

This committee is responsible for recommending candidates for department chair to the Dean. A new committee is elected either early in the final year of a term of a sitting department chair, or when the department chair position becomes vacant before the end of a term.

Four members of the Department Chair Selection Committee shall be elected from the Computer Science faculty. The committee will comprise these four members together with whatever outside members may be appointed by the Dean. The election procedure is specified in 4.2.1 (Committee Election Procedure).

This committee will recommend a slate of candidates to the faculty for ratification. The minimum number of candidates will be as requested by the Dean. It is permitted that this slate include the incumbent. A two-thirds majority of the Voting Membership is required for ratification of the slate. When a recommendation is ratified, it will be forwarded to the Dean of the College.

4.2.3 Faculty Evaluation Committee

The Faculty Evaluation Committee (FEC) is responsible for annual peer evaluations of faculty, which shall be used as input to the annual evaluation performed by the department chair. In addition, the FEC is responsible for working with the department chair as specified in the FEC procedures regarding salary increases. The department chair, in consultation with the FEC, is responsible for departmental recommendations for awards and other opportunities for special recognition of merit and achievement within the university.

This committee has four members from the Voting Membership, elected by the faculty according to the procedures in 4.2.1 (Committee Election Procedure). All of the Voting Members that are subject to evaluation by this committee are eligible to vote on the committee membership. At most one non-tenured faculty member shall serve in any year.

The document “Procedures and Criteria for Evaluation and Promotion, Tenure, and Salary Increase Recommendations” (FEC Procedures) shall detail the FEC procedures and the FEC Binder contents and format, and shall be approved by the faculty and posted on the Department’s Web site. Evaluations are based on the FEC binders, the criteria defined in the FEC procedures, and evidence as to degree of satisfaction of these criteria, relative to the mission of the University and the Department and the duties assigned to the person being evaluated.

A Specialized Faculty Evaluation Sub-committee will evaluate the performance of specialized faculty. This committee shall consist of the FEC and two members elected from the ranks of specialized faculty in the department by the voting membership of the Computer Science department.

4.2.4 Executive Committee

The Executive Committee shall advise the chair on general matters and have approval authority for decisions made by the department chair that are listed below. In conjunction with the department chair, the committee shall seek to promote the stature, image, and support of the department, both within the university and on state, regional, and national levels.

The committee shall be comprised of three tenured faculty members. The department chair shall select one of the committee members and the other two shall be elected each year by the voting membership of the department.

The Executive Committee is responsible for granting approval for department chair decisions that can significantly impact the department. This includes approving:

  1. appointed standing committee assignments.
  2. general space allocation policies.
  3. focus areas for faculty hiring.

If the Executive Committee and the department chair cannot reach a resolution, then the decision can be approved by a majority of the Voting Membership when such a vote is solicited by the department chair. Without approval of the Executive Committee or the Voting Membership the department’s chair decision will not be sanctioned.

The Executive Committee is also responsible for advising the chair on other important matters, such as staff hiring and any large departmental budgetary expenditures, which includes equipment purchases, renovations, and general strategies for OPS, Expense, and Foundation expenditures, etc.

The Executive Committee is also responsible for developing the general computing infrastructure policies (along with the systems group manager and the department chair) subject to ratification of the Voting Membership. Computing infrastructure includes the computing network, servers and workstations (in offices, classrooms, teaching laboratories and research laboratories), and the supporting staff and budget resources. Appropriate areas of policy include reliability, privacy, security, licensing, accessibility, usage, allocation of existing resources, and priority-setting for acquisition of new resources. The committee will solicit input from all appropriate sources, including the faculty, the staff, the curriculum committees, and student groups recognized by the department. The department’s system and network administration support staff (Systems Group) is responsible for implementing department policies related to the computing infrastructure. The manager of the Systems Group will be called upon to advise and inform the Executive Committee on matters related to computing infrastructure.

4.2.5 Senators

Departmental representatives and alternates for the University’s Faculty Senate shall be elected by a majority of the voting members of the department. The Department Chair shall solicit nominations for senate positions whenever a departmental senator reaches the end of his or her term or a position otherwise becomes open. The ballot may be conducted by letter or at a department meeting.

4.3 Appointed Standing Committees

Each standing committee appointed by the department chair is required to have a charter that is available online to the department. The original charter and subsequent amendments to the charter shall be approved by the faculty. It is the responsibility of each committee chair to call meetings and to meet as frequently as necessary for the committee to fulfill its responsibilities.

The department chair shall appoint the following standing committees, subject to the restriction that membership in committees charged with matters limited to the graduate program be limited to members of the graduate faculty.

4.3.1 Undergraduate Curriculum Committee

This committee is responsible for oversight of the undergraduate curriculum, including approval of new course proposals, modifications to existing courses, and textbook choices for all undergraduate courses. The committee is also responsible for proposing degree program requirements and new undergraduate degree and certificate programs to be approved by the faculty.

4.3.2 Graduate Curriculum Committee

This committee is responsible for oversight of the graduate curriculum, including approval of new course proposals and modifications to existing courses. The committee is also responsible for proposing degree program requirements and new graduate degree and certificate programs to be approved by the faculty.

4.3.3 PhD Portfolio Review Committee

This committee is responsible for oversight of the progress of all Ph.D. students. The committee consists of a core that is appointed by the department chair, together with any other Department faculty with graduate faculty status who elect to participate. Meetings of the committee should be announced to all the CS faculty. The Portfolio Evaluation Committee determines whether or not students should continue in the program. The duties and procedures are further described in the FSU Graduate Bulletin.

4.3.4 Graduate Financial Aid & Admissions Committee

This committee is responsible for evaluating applications for graduate admission and financial aid, determining which students are admitted and which are offered financial aid. The committee maintains a ranked list of students who have applied for financial aid. When an E&G funded assistantship becomes available, the rank order list is used to help decide which student should receive the appointment. The committee may be called upon by the department chair to resolve disputes about the hiring and firing of E&G funded assistants.

This committee is also responsible for recruiting graduate students, and generally working to continually improve the caliber and numbers of our graduate student population. The committee is expected to take initiative and exercise creativity in accomplishing its mission.

Departmental procedures on the hiring and firing of E&G assistants must adhere to and are consistent with Student Collective Bargaining agreement.

4.3.5 Faculty Recruiting Committee

This committee is responsible for recruiting faculty in years during which positions will be filled. Responsibilities include actively seeking strong faculty candidates, reviewing and ranking applications, selecting candidates for interviews, and arranging for hosts for the visits of candidates.

5 Bylaws Revision and Reaffirmation Process

The department bylaws adhere to and are consistent with University policies found in the FSU Constitution and the BOT-UFF Collective Bargaining agreement. This document can be amended by a two-thirds majority of the Voting Membership. Ballots for modification to this document shall be by written secret ballot with at least two weeks allowed for response. The ballots shall be conducted in such a manner so as to indicate whether or not a person has voted. The ballots shall be tallied independently by at least two people. Consideration of motions for revisions of the bylaws shall be placed on the agenda of the first faculty meeting of the year.

In order for this document to remain in force, if a period of five (5) years elapses without approval of any amendment the document shall be reaffirmed by written secret ballot of a majority of the Voting Membership. Before such a reaffirmation ballot, an opportunity shall be provided for members of the faculty to propose amendments and have them considered for inclusion in the ballot.