Faculty Senate Constitution

FACULTY SENATE MISSISSIPPI UNIVERSITY FOR WOMEN (MUW)

ARTICLE I: TITLE

This organization shall be entitled “The Faculty Senate of the Mississippi University for Women.” Hereinafter the organization is designated “the Senate.”

ARTICLE II: PURPOSE

The purpose of the Senate is to represent the MUW faculty by acting as follows:

  1. The Senate will advise and make recommendations to the President of the University regarding policies, practices, and procedures in areas involving the faculty and the academic program. Presidential decisions on Senate recommendations shall be communicated to the Senate.
  2. The Senate will act as a liaison among the teaching faculty, the academic administration, and the President of the University. The Senate will contribute to the overall effectiveness of Mississippi University for Women by effecting harmony and unity of purpose among the various Colleges and other academic units of the University by:
    1. enhancing faculty performance
    1. ensuring academic freedom
    1. protecting academic security
    1. guaranteeing involvement in institutional governance

ARTICLE III: MEMBERSHIP

SECTION 1. MEMBERSHIP ELIGIBILITY

Senators will be elected from and by full-time members of the faculty of each College, School, and the University library. (Hereinafter the term “College” refers to the Colleges, School, and the University library.) To serve as a Senator, a faculty member must be full-time and must teach at least 9 contract hours per semester (i.e., fall and spring) or perform the academic, librarianship, or clinical (e.g., hours spent supervising student performance in a hospital, clinic, or community setting) equivalent.

Administrative responsibility is not to be considered an academic, librarianship, or clinical equivalent for purposes of Senate membership eligibility. Any faculty member who holds an administrative position conducting faculty evaluation for promotion and/or tenure will not serve as a Senator but may vote to elect Senators. A department chair will not serve as a Senator; they may vote in elections for Senators.

Faculty members who are on sabbatical may vote in elections for Senators.

SECTION 2. COLLEGE REPRESENTATION

Representation for each College is as follows: Each Department, except where the number of faculty does not allow, is guaranteed one senator. In the event a department does not have a qualified candidate, a faculty member from the same college will be elected to represent that department. The Chief Academic Officer (CAO) will determine the number of full-time teaching faculty prior to each election.

SECTION 3. ELECTION PROCEDURES

  1. Full-time faculty in each College will hold an election by March 31 of each year to elect senators to fill any existing vacancy.
  2. Elections will be administered by the Dean of each College. 
  3. Within 5 working days after the election the results will be reported to the newly elected Senate member and the President of the Faculty Senate. The outgoing President of the Faculty Senate will notify the CAO of the new slate of officers, and the names of the next academic year’s Senators.

SECTION 4. TERM OF SERVICE

  1. A Senate term is 3 years.
  2. A senator elected to fill out an unexpired term will serve only to the end of the unexpired term.
  3. A senator may be re-elected for a consecutive term.
  4. A senator who serves two consecutive terms shall become eligible for re-election only after an interval of one year.
  5. The term of office begins with the last regular meeting of the academic year and continues for 3 years. During the final meeting of the year, business will proceed as follows: On business other than election of officers, retiring senators retain voting privilege and new senators do not vote. After incoming senators are installed, the membership for the upcoming year will elect officers for the year.
  6. Withdrawal from the Senate will occur under the following conditions:
  7. Departure of the member from the MUW faculty.
  8. Resignation of the member from the Senate for cause, with the concurrence of the Senate.
  9. Appointment to an administrative position requiring reduction of teaching contract hours to fewer than 9, appointment to a temporary (in which case a temporary proxy may be assigned) or permanent chair or director position, or appointment to an administrative position requiring faculty evaluation for promotion and/or tenure.
  10. Absence from the campus for more than one semester.

SECTION 5. Duties of the Senators

  1. Attendance and participation in all faculty senate meetings.
  2. In the event of an absence, a senator is obligated to attempt to locate a proxy.
  3. Serving as the voice of their department and/or College.

ARTICLE IV: OFFICERS

SECTION 1. ELECTION OF OFFICERS

  1. Officers of the Senate are President, Vice President, and Secretary.
  2. Election of officers will be held annually at the last meeting of the academic year by secret majority vote of the membership for the upcoming year.
  3. Each of the three officers will be elected from different Colleges.

SECTION 2. TERMS OF OFFICE

  1. An officer’s term is one year.
  2. An officer may serve three consecutive terms.
  3. The President and Vice President must have served on the Senate for at least one year prior to election as officers.
  4. Should the President become unable or ineligible to complete a term, the Vice President will become President and a special election will be held to elect a new Vice President.
  5. Should the Vice President become unable or ineligible to complete a term, a special election will be held to elect a new Vice President.
  6. Should the Secretary become unable or ineligible to complete a term, a special election will be held to elect a new Secretary.

SECTION 3. DUTIES OF OFFICERS

A. PRESIDENT

Because of the responsibilities of the office, the Dean of the College from which the President is elected will work with the Chief Academic Officer in adjusting the Senate President’s workload. The Senate President will have a one-course reduction in teaching load per semester.

DUTIES:

  1. To preside over meetings of the Senate and of the Senate Executive Committee.
  2. To represent the Senate on Administrative and other University Councils.
  3. To prepare and distribute notices of Senate meetings and the agenda for meetings a week in advance to Senate members.
  4. To post meeting agendas and minutes to the Senate webpage.
  5. To appoint, as needed, Sub-Committees for the work of the Senate from the Senate membership. A list of committees is found in the Appendix.
  6. To appoint consultants or advisors to sub-committees from the membership of faculty and administration outside the Senate.
  7. To report in writing the results of Senate studies and actions to the CAO.
  8. To serve as coordinator of reports made to the faculty by members of the Senate.
  9. To perform all other functions of the President of an organization.

 B. VICE PRESIDENT

DUTIES:

  1. To be a member of the Senate Executive Committee.
  2. To preside over Senate meetings in the absence of the President.
  3. To substitute for the President at meetings of the Administrative or other University Councils or at other functions as requested by the President.
  4. To represent the Senate on Academic Council.

C. SECRETARY

DUTIES:

  1. To be a member of the Senate Executive Committee.
  2. To prepare and provide a copy of the official minutes of each regular meeting to the President who will post it on the Senate webpage for all members of the faculty.
  3. To correspond, report for, or represent the Senate as requested by the President.
  4. To represent the Senate on the Planning and Institutional Effectiveness (PIE) Council.

SECTION 4. EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

The officers of the Senate constitute the Faculty Executive Committee. The Faculty Executive Committee will meet at the request of the President to discuss agenda or other matters which arise between regularly scheduled Senate meetings. Normally, the Faculty Executive Committee will review and approve applications for Faculty Development Funds authorized by Policy Statement #1310 until the Faculty Development Monies Committee has been appointed at the first meeting of the fall semester. If a member of the Faculty Executive Committee is applying for any of these funds, the Senate must approve the application.

ARTICLE V: CONDUCT OF BUSINESS

SECTION 1. FREQUENCY OF MEETINGS

The Senate will plan to meet at least once a month during the school year. The schedule of monthly meetings will be established at the beginning of each academic year. Special sessions may be called at the discretion of the President or at the request of the President of the University. Before a monthly meeting may be canceled, the President must send out a request to Senators for business. If no business is submitted within 10 days of the meeting, it may be canceled.

SECTION 2. QUORUM AND VOTING RIGHTS

  1. For purposes of conducting business on which a vote is required, quorum is defined as 2/3 of the elected Senate membership, including at least one Senator from each College.
  2. Only Senate members vote on business before the Senate.
  3. A senator unable to attend a meeting must attempt to locate a proxy from the College. The proxy will have voting rights.
  4. Any member of the faculty has a standing invitation to attend the Senate meetings but does not have the privilege of the floor or of voting.
  5. The President or a member of the Senate may invite to a meeting persons whose presence is deemed necessary for the discussion of an agenda item. These persons have the privilege of the floor, but not of voting.
  6. The Senate may exercise the right to conduct a closed session. The concurrence of 2/3 of the members present is required.
  7. If quorum cannot be established at a regular business meeting, the President will send out an electronic ballot on all business requiring a vote. Senators will respond within 3 working days.

SECTION 3. REFERRAL OF BUSINESS

Matters may be referred to the Senate by the University President, a Senate member, a faculty member, or an administrative staff member. Referrals must be made in writing and submitted to the President before the agenda is prepared.

SECTION 4. AGENDA PROCEDURES

The Executive Committee determines the order in which items of business are to be presented to the Senate. The Executive committee will meet before a scheduled monthly Senate meeting to prepare an agenda that will be distributed at least one week before the scheduled Senate meeting. Matters arising after this time may be included in the agenda at the discretion of the Executive Committee. If time does not permit discussion of an agenda item, the item will automatically be placed first on the agenda for the next regular meeting.

ARTICLE VI: FINANCIAL SUPPORT

At the University President’s annual spring budget hearings, the Senate President will submit a budget request for funds for secretarial assistance, office supplies, travel, and facilities for the Senate to perform its functions.

ARTICLE VII: AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION

SECTION 1. PROPOSAL

A proposed amendment will be submitted in writing to the Senate at an official meeting held prior to the date on which the vote on the amendment shall be taken.

SECTION 2. RATIFICATION

A proposed amendment approved by a 2/3 vote of the total Faculty Senate will be submitted to the general faculty for ratification by a simple majority vote. Following such ratification, it will be submitted to the CAO and to the President of the University for approval.

Approved by Faculty Senate: October 29, 2023

Approved by General Faculty: November 21, 2023

Approved by Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Tollison: November 29, 2023

Approved by President Miller: January 9, 2024

APPENDIX

SENATE COMMITTEES

FACULTY DEVELOPMENT MONIES COMMITTEE

The purpose of this committee is to call for, review, and select funding proposals from faculty to participate in professional activities (i.e., Fund A) and to engage in activities that strengthen their teaching (i.e., Fund B). Funds are described in Policy Statement #1310 (Faculty Development Monies). The committee determines (a) grant sizes, (b) how funds will be distributed across the year, and (c) the maximum amount any one applicant can be awarded in a fiscal year. The Senate must approve the fiscal year limit. The above information is published on the Faculty Senate webpage.

FACULTY SALARIES COMMITTEE

The purpose of this committee is to complete salary studies as described in Policy Statement #1313 and according to a procedural manual developed in collaboration with Academic Council.