Bylaws of the College of Arts and Letters

Revised November, 2012


Article I. Name, Objective, and Authority

Section 1. Name. The name of this constituent faculty of the University shall be the faculty of the College of Arts and Letters, hereinafter designated as the “College faculty.”

Section 2. Objectives. The College of Arts and Letters is committed to excellence in the acquisition, dissemination, and application of knowledge. At both the graduate and undergraduate levels and through their research our scholars in the social sciences, humanities, and the fine and performing arts serve our communities and professions locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally.

Section 3. Authority. These bylaws authorize the faculty of the College to establish and to manage its own educational objectives, including matters of student admission and curriculum; and to participate in the selection of its Dean, unit administrators, and faculty members. As stated in the Faculty Handbook, the faculty – through their respective unit personnel committees – shall participate in personnel decisions regarding performance reviews, tenure assessments, promotion proceedings; make recommendations to the Dean on promotions in academic rank, renewal or non-renewal of employment, dismissal, or termination of employment; and make recommendations to the Dean on applications from members of the unit faculty for academic leaves of absence and sabbaticals.

Article II. Membership

The Board of Trustees defines the faculty of Mississippi’s public universities as those employees holding appointment within the Corps of Instruction. The University Corps of Instruction shall consist only of full-time employees holding the ranks of Professor, Associate Professor, Assistant Professor, or Instructor, but the Board may approve other teaching personnel. Full-time extension and research personnel and certified Librarians may be appointed by the President to a rank commensurate with appointment to the Corps of Instruction on the basis of comparable education and training. University faculty holding appointments in the College, and those retaining academic rank in the College in accordance with the Faculty Handbook are members of the College faculty.

Article III. Administration

Section 1. Officers. The administrative officers of the College are the Dean and such Associates and Assistants as the Dean may appoint. The Dean (or designee) shall serve as the presiding officer of the College faculty. The duties and responsibilities of the Dean shall be as specified in the Faculty Handbook.

Section 2. Chairs/Directors of Units in the College. “Unit heads” refers to those administrative officers of the units and departments who report directly to the Dean.

Section 3. College Executive Council. Unit heads of the College shall comprise the College Executive Council, to be presided over by the Dean or, in the Dean’s absence, by an Associate Dean. In their absence, the Council shall select a temporary chair to preside.

Article IV. Meetings

Section 1. Call of Meetings. The Dean (or designee) may call meetings of the College faculty or upon the written petition of fifty (50) percent of the College faculty.

Section 2. Quorum. A quorum shall consist of not less than fifty (50) percent of the voting members of the College faculty as defined in these by-laws, Article II. If less than a simple majority is present, actions are subject to reconsideration in accordance with Section 4 of Article IV.

Section 3. Agenda. The Dean of the College shall be responsible for and shall issue an agenda at least three (3) working days prior to each meeting of the College faculty. The agenda shall list all subjects to be voted on at the meeting. Both the Dean and the faculty shall reserve the right to bring forth and discuss such new business as they shall deem appropriate.

Section 4. Reconsideration. Actions taken at any meeting of the College faculty at which less than a simple majority is present or recommendations made at a meeting at which a quorum is not present shall be subject to reconsideration in accordance with the following procedure: If the Dean receives a petition requesting reconsideration of a specifically designated action or recommendation taken at the meeting, the Dean shall distribute to all members of the College faculty a mail ballot for such reconsideration. The Dean must receive this petition no later than one week following the meeting, and it must bear the signatures of at least twenty (20) members of the College faculty. A copy of the minutes of the meeting shall accompany the ballot. Approval of the mail ballot must be by a majority of those voting on the question, providing that at least as many valid mail ballots are cast on the given question as were cast in the College faculty meeting. If fewer valid mail ballots are cast on the question than were cast in the College faculty meeting, the previous action or recommendation on said question shall stand.

Section 5. Secretary. The Dean will appoint a secretary for the meetings.

Article V. Committees

Section 1. Standing Committees. Standing committees of the College of Arts and Letters are the College Advisory Committee, College Council, the College Staff Advisory Committee, the College Student Advisory Committee, and the College Research/Creative Activity and Awards Committee.

Section 2. Special Committees. The Dean may create and dissolve special committees of the College as needed.

Section 3. Membership. The Dean shall make known the names of those appointed to all committees within the College.

Section 4. Term of Office. Members of standing committees, except the College Advisory Committee, shall take office the third week of the fall semester and serve for 12 months. Standing committees, with the exceptions of the College Advisory Committee and special committees will expire at the same time. Therefore, the Dean shall ensure that the selection of committee members (with the exception of those of the College Advisory Committee) is accomplished during the first two weeks of the fall semester.

Section 5. Meetings. All committees shall meet by call of the chair or Dean or at the request of at least fifty (50) percent of their members.

Section 6. Vacancies. Units, through election, shall fill vacancies in standing committees occurring during the academic year. The Dean, through appointment, shall fill vacancies occurring during the academic year in special committees.

Section 7. The College Advisory Committee (CAC)

  • Membership. The College Advisory Committee (CAC) will consist of one full-time tenured faculty member holding the rank of associate or full professor from each unit in the College of Arts and Letters. These representatives will be elected by secret ballot for a three-year term by the respective unit. The election will be held by April 15 with the term of service beginning in May. The terms of service will be staggered so that one-third of the CAC will change each academic year. The first year the rotation will be determined by draw in the CAC meeting developing these guidelines.

    While only full-time tenured faculty members holding the rank of associate or full professor may serve on the CAC, all full-time faculty of the respective unit may vote for the CAC representative. However, faculty members with titles such as “visiting,” or “special,” or “adjunct,” that imply impermanence are not eligible to vote. Individuals who are requesting tenure and/or promotion will not serve on the CAC during the year they are reviewed. University administrative officers serving as President, Provost, Vice Presidents, or as Department Chairs within the College may neither vote in elections for nor sit as members or ex-officio members of the College Advisory Committee.
  • Chair. The Dean (or designee) will call the first meeting of the Committee each fall, during which the members shall elect a chair. The chair will work with candidates to obtain external references if the academic unit cannot constitute the required committee.

  • Meetings. The Dean or chair of the CAC may convene the College Advisory Committee.

  • Duties. The College Advisory Committee shall: 
      1. Review all departmental recommendations on promotion and tenure, ensuring that both the substantive and procedural policies of departments and the College have been followed.
      2. Review the merits of recommendations for promotion and tenure, and submit personnel recommendations to the Dean and to the University Advisory Committee.
      3. Advise academic Deans on appeals from academic staff members regarding departmental evaluations and personnel recommendations.
      4. Perform such other duties within their authority as may be required in the Faculty Handbook. 
  • Rules Regarding Procedures. Members of the CAC may participate in consideration of applications from their academic units; however, they are not permitted to vote on these applications. Strict policies of recusal also govern the deliberations of the CAC. These are:

      1. Members of the CAC who are related (as per Board and University Nepotism Policy) to parties being reviewed must recuse themselves from all personnel proceedings involving such parties. In no event shall they vote or offer advice, either directly or indirectly, to other committee members.
      2. Members of the CAC reviewing any unit personnel evaluation or recommendation in which they participated in any manner at the unit level may not vote.
      3. Associate Professors sitting as members of the CAC must recuse themselves from all personnel proceedings in all cases involving the promotion of a party from the rank of Associate Professor to the rank of Professor.
      4. (Note: For complete information regarding Tenure and Promotion procedures, refer to the Tenure and Promotion sections of the Faculty Handbook).

Section 8. The College Council

  • Membership. Each academic department or school within the College will elect one representative to the Council. These representatives must be tenure-track personnel who hold at least Graduate Faculty Level 1 status (for representatives in departments offering graduate programs). When the Council is reviewing graduate curricular issues or graduate programs, any members of the Council who are not also regular members of the Graduate Faculty will be excused.
  • Chair. The Dean (or designee) will call the first meeting of the Council each Fall, during which the members shall elect their chair. The chair will call all subsequent meetings during the year. In the event a chair resigns in mid-year, the Dean will call a Council meeting to conduct another election for chair. In addition to calling and running the meetings, the chair serves, when needed, as a spokesperson for the Council to higher curricular bodies.
  • Meetings. Following election of a chair, the chair will consult with the membership and coordinate meetings to comport with Academic and Graduate Council meeting schedules. Meetings will normally be held monthly during the nine-month academic year.
  • Duties. The College Council advises the Dean, who reserves the right to consult with other interested parties such as the College Executive Council, on undergraduate and graduate academic affairs. The College Council shall:
      1. Recommend improvements in all undergraduate and graduate programs of the College. 
      2. Review and either endorse or reject proposed changes in the undergraduate and graduate curriculum.
      3. Report its decisions to the Dean for transmittal to the Academic or Graduate Council. The Dean will report both his/her and the committee's recommendations to the appropriate Council for all curricular matters.

Section 9: The College Research/Creative Activity and Awards Committee 

  • Membership. Each unit shall elect one faculty member to serve on the College Research/Creative Activity and Awards Committee. Members will serve one-year terms, renewable up to three years. The Director of the Institute for Collaborative Research and Engagement shall serve as an ex-officio member of the committee.
  • Chair. Members of the committee will elect a chair (or – as appropriate – co-chairs).
  • Meetings. The Dean (or designee) will convene the committee at the beginning of the fall semester, and, after selection, the chair of the committee will call subsequent meetings. This committee will meet at least once each semester.
  • Duties. The College Research/Creative Activity and Awards Committee shall:  
      1. Encourage through awards the quality of scholarship and research in the College of Arts and Letters.
      2. Review, rank, and forward recommendations to the University Research Council for the College’s Summer Faculty Research Grants during each fall semester.
      3. Communicate research concerns of the College to the University Research Council.
      4. Represent the College to the University Research Council and the Vice Provost for Research in matters relating to research and creative activities.
      5. Establish College awards, solicit nominations, and select the faculty/staff to be recognized.

 Section 10: The College Staff Advisory Committee

  • Membership. Each department shall decide its number of representatives but must designate only one as a voting member. Staff members in the Dean’s office shall serve as ex-officio members of the committee.
  • Chair. The members of the committee will elect a chair.
  • Meetings. The Dean (or designee) will convene the committee at the beginning of the fall semester, and, after selection, the chair will call subsequent meetings.

  • Duties. The College Staff Advisory Committee shall consider important matters affecting staff in the College and shall recommend action to the Dean.

Section 11: The College Student Advisory Committee

  • Membership. The College's elected representatives to the Student Government Association shall comprise the Student Advisory Committee.

  • Chair. The Dean or Associate Dean will normally chair the meetings.

  • Meetings. This Committee will meet at least once each semester.

  • Duties. The Student Advisory Committee shall: 

    1. Encourage and enhance the quality of all interactions between the faculty, staff and students in the College of Arts and Letters.
    2. Provide feedback and advise as requested on proposed changes in student policies and procedures in the College of Arts and Letters.
    3. Perform other duties from time to time as assigned by the Dean. 

Article VI. Units* of the College

Section 1. Operations. Each faculty member of a unit has the right to "participate" in decision-making in unit business (except for matters delegated to Unit Personnel Committees and/or Tenure and Promotion Committees). "Participate" as used here means to be informed and to be heard. Faculty recommendations are subject to review by higher administrative authority. Nothing in this paragraph shall be so construed as to prevent faculty from forwarding their views to higher authorities.

Section 2. Meetings. Each unit shall hold faculty meetings at least once each semester. Meetings may be convened by the chair/director or at the request of fifty (50) percent of the faculty. A quorum shall consist of not less than one-half of the eligible faculty. Minutes of all meetings must be kept and distributed to the eligible members.

Section 3. Title, Responsibility, Appointment, and Tenure of Executive Officers.

  • Title. The Dean, Provost, and President shall recommend the specific title of the executive of each unit of the College to IHL.
  • Responsibilities. The unit chair/director is both a faculty member and an administrator, being an integral member of the administration. Reporting to the Dean, the unit chair/director is the chief administrative officer of the unit, responsible for the general direction and supervision of the unit. The unit chair/director is also responsible for the preparation and administration of the unit budget and for making appropriate recommendations to the Dean regarding personnel needs. The unit chair/director leads the department in determining educational policy and implementing institutional policies. This includes establishing curricula, schedules, unit majors, and graduation requirements. The unit chair/director encourages excellence in teaching and engages the faculty in the evaluation of teaching. The unit chair/director is directly responsible for developing the unit faculty, encouraging research, establishing standards of instruction, evaluating instruction, and making recommendations to the Dean regarding salaries, promotions, tenure, and retention. Duties of the unit chair/director are described in the Faculty Handbook.
  • Appointment. 
      1. When an unforeseen vacancy occurs in the position of an executive either by retirement, resignation, or, if necessary, removal, the Dean shall submit to the Provost a nomination for acting executive.
      2. When seeking to replace an executive, the Dean and the unit shall decide whether the search will be limited to internal candidates or will also include external candidates. If either party wishes to include external candidates, then such candidates will be included.
      3. Once the search parameters have been defined, the Dean shall create a search committee comprised of members of the unit and shall name a search committee chair from outside of the unit.
      4. The Dean shall receive from the search committee chair a written report of the recommendation of the search committee and the results of a recommendation of the entire faculty of the unit.
      5. The Dean will forward the recommendation to the Provost and President along with his/her recommendation.
  • Tenure. Executive officers are eligible for tenure in academic rank only under normal procedures outlined elsewhere in these Bylaws and in the Faculty Handbook.

Section 4. Review of Executive Officers.

  • Review. The Dean shall review executives annually. The Dean shall have the right and responsibility to initiate an earlier review when deemed necessary.
  • Review Procedure. The review will normally occur during the spring semester and shall include consideration of the results of any evaluation conducted by the faculty of the unit. This will include a review of past performance and establishment of new goals and objectives for the upcoming year.

*Units are the academic divisions of the College: Department, School, etc.

Article VII. Election of College Representatives

The election of representatives of the College to Faculty Senate, Council of Chairs, Staff Council, Academic Council, Graduate Council, Research Council, Human Subjects Protection Review Committee, Professional Education Council, Honors Council, Employee Mediation Program, etc. will proceed according to the procedures outlined by each respective body.

Article VIII. Rules of Order

The College of Arts and Letters faculty or unit faculties, may adopt, by majority, rules of order. The latest edition of Robert’s Rules of Order shall govern points of order not so covered, provided they are not in conflict with these bylaws or the University Faculty Handbook.

Article IX. Amendment of Bylaws and Subrogation

Section 1. Amendment. A vote of a two-thirds majority of those present and voting at any called meeting of the College shall suffice to amend these bylaws – in part or whole, provided that each faculty member of the College shall have received the amendment in writing at least two weeks in advance of the meeting or at the previous meeting of the faculty of the College.

Section 2. Subrogation to Faculty Handbook. In the event any provisions of these By-Laws should conflict or be inconsistent with the Faculty Handbook, or any other University policy or regulation, the Faculty Handbook and University policies or regulations shall be controlling.