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At its regular meeting on March 13th, 2000, the Arts and Sciences Senate voted almost unanimously to accept the recommendation by the Ad Hoc Committee on Faculty Rights, Responsibilities and Retirements concerning guidelines for the establishment of departmental by-laws.  The Senate President was then asked to place these guidelines on the Arts and Sciences Senate Webpages and to send the guidelines to all departmental chairs in the College of Arts and Sciences.

After a careful review of existing departmental by-laws in the College of Arts and Sciences, the Arts and Sciences Senate Ad Hoc Committee on Faculty Rights, Responsibilities, and Retirements (CFRRR), upon the approval of the Arts and Sciences Senate Executive Committee, recommends the following guidelines for the development of departmental by-laws in the SUNY/Stony Brook College of Arts and Sciences.

While there is no requirement that departments have by-laws, the committee recommends that all departments and programs consider adopting formal by-laws, if they have not already done so. Departments and programs should consider creating by-laws in the absence of a crisis situation rather than seeking to implement such a document in response to extreme or critical circumstances.

Advantages of by-laws include:

1.Protection of faculty against arbitrary decision-making,

2. Clarification of faculty rights and responsibilities within the department or program – particularly for new members joining the unit,

3. Specification of standard procedures for a wide variety of practices, such as selection of a chair, program directors and committee members, workload, etc.,

4. Determination of the status of members with "combined," "joint," affiliated, or adjunct appointments, and

5. Articulation of procedures for promotion, tenure, and contract renewal review, for hiring new faculty, for discretionary fund recommendations, for grievances should they arise, and so forth.

In order to establish more consistency in by-laws throughout the college, the CFRRR recommends that departments planning to create new by-laws or to review and revise existing by-laws consider the following areas in establishing operating policies and procedures for the department or program. In general, the committee recommends that guidelines address questions of departmental membership, departmental governance, operations of the department, other areas including workloads, allocation of resources, and retirements as well as formal procedures for amending by-laws.

What follows is an outline of areas that should be addressed in any full set of departmental by-laws:






[specification of which faculty members/appointments have voting rights and under what circumstances.]

a) Full Faculty Appointments

b) Joint or Combined Faculty Appointments

(jointly appointed between "line dept" and "non-line dept"; also, although rare, "combined," i.e. "split line" departmental appointments between more than one department)

c) Lecturers (FT and PT)

d) Affiliated Faculty Appointments

e) Adjunct Faculty Appointments



1) Chair:

a. Procedures for Selection (i.e. recommendation to Dean)

b. Duties of the Chair

2) Executive Committee

a. Composition

b. Election

c. Functions

3) Program Directors

a. Director of Undergraduate Studies

b. Director of Graduate Studies

c. Other Directors

4) Departmental Committees

a. Standing Committees

b. Ad hoc Committees

5) Departmental Meetings

a. Quorum

b. Voting Procedures

6) Protection of Sub-groups within the Department

7) Clarification of Status and Protection of Faculty with

Interdisciplinary, Interdepartmental, or even Intercollegiate Research, Teaching, and Service Obligations

8) Student Representatives




1) Procedures for Promotion and Tenure (other than what is already stated in PTC Guidelines)

2) Procedures for Contract Renewals of non-tenured faculty (Lecturers, Adjuncts, Visiting Appointments, etc.)

3) Procedures for Searches and Hiring of New Faculty

4) Procedures for Election of Departmental Senator (to Arts and Sciences Senate and therefore to the University Senate)

5) Procedures for Dealing with Grievances: Faculty, Graduate Student, Undergraduate Student (other than guidelines set by AJC and UUP)



1) Determination of Distribution of Discretionary Funds

2) Determination as to how to Rectify Salary Inequities

3) Determination as to Allocation of Travel Funds

4) Determination of Faculty Workload (including teaching or service in other departments)

5) Determination of Rights and Responsibilities of Retirees




The Arts and Sciences Senate Ad Hoc Committee on Faculty Rights, Responsibilities and Retirements (CFRRR) was established in the Fall 1998 to review such things as across the board policy issues for retirees (offices, research leaves, recognition of accomplishments, emeritus status, etc.), the by-laws of departments, faculty with joint or cross-disciplinary appointments, affiliated status, guidelines for faculty who transfer their lines from one department to another, and review of individual appeals by faculty in these sorts of cases. This committee would also be charged with addressing issues beyond the purview of the PTC, such as contract renewals and term contracts. In short retirement issues, department and program by-laws, interdisciplinary appointments, contract renewals, transfer of lines from one department to another, individual faculty appeal cases, and similar concerns. Subsequently, the CFRRR decided that it would be inappropriate for the committee to review individual cases or appeals.

Committee Members(1998-2000)

Hugh J. Silverman (Philosophy and Comparative Literature), Chair; Kelly Oliver (Womens Studies), Sarah Fuller (Music), Daniel O’Leary (Psychology), Colin Martindale, now emeritus (Physical Education and Athletics), Larry Slobodkin, emeritus (Ecology and Evolution), Donald Lindlsey (Geosciences). For consultation to avoid any overlap with UUP concerns: Joel Rosenthal (UUP, Academic Grievance Officer).