Faculty Senate Bylaws

The bylaws of UTC's Faculty Senate. Passed October 2013, revised April 2015, revised October 2015, revised January 2016, revised February 2016, revised April 2016.



Article 1 - Powers and Duties of the Faculty Senate

Section 1.  Powers and Duties

The Faculty Senate (hereafter the Senate) of The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (hereafter UTC) shall have those powers and duties which have been, and which may be, delegated to it by the Board of Trustees of The University of Tennessee and by the faculty of UTC.


The Senate is authorized, subject to the approval of the chief academic officer, the president, and the UT Board of Trustees, to:

  • Populate the various committees of the full faculty, to charge those committees with specific responsibilities, and to receive and ratify recommendations from those committees.
  • Formulate policies and regulations regarding the general educational objectives of the university, including those policies and regulations related to the overall general requirements for admission, graduation and honors for the degree programs and certificates.
  • Oversee the specific admission and graduation requirements for the programs of the various academic units.
  • Advise, and recommend to the chief academic officer, or, if appropriate, through the chief academic officer to the president, policies and procedures in other matters which concern the general welfare of the UTC, such as, but not exclusively limited to, criteria for faculty appointment, dismissal, promotions, tenure, and retirement; criteria for the selection of the chief academic officer and other campus administrative officers; criteria for the selection of the president of the University System, and other System executive officers; priorities for the university budget; priorities for the university development plan; and changes in physical facilities.  The Senate may also consider, advise, and recommend proposed policies regarding student life, rights, and responsibilities.


The Senate has no management or administrative functions, either in itself or through the instrumentality of its committees, administrative matters being expressly reserved to the president of the UT system, and delegated by the Board of Trustees and through the president to the chancellor and provost. 

Section 2.  Reports and Recommendations

All deliberations by the Senate shall be reported to the faculty through distribution of the minutes of each Senate meeting.  The minutes of the Senate (including much of the debate and a record of all votes) will be made available to each voting member of the faculty within seven (7) working days after the Senate meeting.  The recommendations of the Senate will--with the approval of the chancellor--become effective eight (8) working days after the distribution of the minutes unless there is sufficient desire for the consideration of certain items at a general faculty meeting.  Upon the written request of fifteen (15) voting faculty members to the secretary of the faculty, an item will be placed on the agenda of the next general faculty meeting.  It is the responsibility of the president of the Senate to transmit to the chancellor within two working days any Senate or full faculty recommendations requiring the approval of that office.  The chancellor's decisions will be communicated to the president of Senate within eight (8) working days.


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Article 2 - Faculty Senate Organization


Section 1.  Members: Number, Classification, and Terms of Office 

Administrative Ex officio Members 

Ex officio members are the chancellor, provost, associate provost for Academic Affairs, vice chancellor for finance and operations, dean of Libraries and vice-chancellor for Student Development.  Changes in the allocation of Ex officio memberships may be made by amending the Faculty HandbookEx officio members are non-voting members of the Senate.


Elected Members

Types, Criteria, Election, Term of Office, and Duties

There are two types of senators representing full-time tenure-track faculty: at-large and divisional.  The election of each is described below.  There is also an adjunct faculty representative and a representative of the full-time non-tenure-track faculty.  All of these members have full voting privileges.


At-large and divisional members shall be elected from those members of the faculty who meet the following criteria at the time of election: hold a full-time tenured or tenure-track appointment; and either engage at least half time in teaching and/or academic research, or serve as head of an academic department, or hold rank as a professional member of the library staff, with the exception of the dean of the library, who serves as Ex officio.  Any faculty member who is related to more than one of the voting divisions described below will be considered as a member of the voting division in which rank is held unless duties in another voting division exceed a half-time appointment.


Elections of At-Large Members

On or before March 1st of each year, the secretary of the Senate shall issue to each member of the faculty a description of membership criteria and a list of faculty members eligible for nomination.  Each full time faculty member holding the rank of assistant, associate, or full professor may nominate not more than one person from each of the following categories: (a) assistant professors; (b) associate professors; and (c) full professors.  Nominations must be returned to the faculty secretary (not to be confused with the Senate secretary) within one working week for the nominations to be valid.  The nominations will be counted by the Executive Committee of the Senate.  The four persons in each category receiving the highest number of nominations will be the nominees, with the following exceptions: if three or fewer persons are nominated, each with two or more nominations, then the names received shall be those on the ballot; and, as many names as necessary shall be included on the ballot in order not to omit the name of a person who has received as many nominations as another whose name is included.  No person receiving fewer than two nominations shall be included on the ballot.  The final ballot will be sent to the Secretary of the Faculty on or before March 17.  Before the list of nominees is forwarded by the Executive Committee to the secretary of the faculty, confirmation of the individuals’ willingness to serve shall have been secured. 


The secretary of the faculty shall distribute or post the list of confirmed nominees to the full faculty by March 20th.  Faculty must submit their vote to the secretary of the Faculty by April 5th.  The votes will be counted by the secretary of the faculty and the president of the Senate.  The candidate receiving the majority of all votes cast wins the election.  Absent a majority, the two candidates in each category receiving the most votes will be reconsidered in a run-off election.  The Secretary must announce the results of the election within one week of the election.  Each year three at-large members shall be elected, one each from the following faculty-ranks: Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor.  In any given year, then, six faculty members, two from each rank, serve as at-large senators.


Elections of Divisional Members

Each of the four voting divisions in the college of arts and sciences and the remaining four voting divisions, as described below, shall conduct its own election under the chairmanship of the ranking elected member of the Senate from that voting division.  There shall be two constraints placed upon these otherwise autonomous elections; within each voting division, the members elected must be from at least two different faculty-rank categories, and wherever three members represent a given voting division, it is desirable that they come from three different categories; and, these elections must be held after the completion of the University-at-large election and prior to the final full faculty meeting of the spring semester.


Apportionment of Divisional Members

Divisional members shall be elected by the following voting divisions: (a) fine arts (art, music, theatre and speech); (b) humanities (communication, English, foreign languages, history, humanities, philosophy and religion); (c) behavioral science, (criminal justice, economics, military science, political science, psychology, sociology, anthropology, geography); (d) mathematics and sciences, (biology and environmental sciences, chemistry, mathematics, physics, geology and astronomy); (e) College of Engineering and Computer Science; (f) College of Business; (g) College of Health, Education, and Professional Studies; and (h) the Library.


The number of Senate members from each of the above divisions will be based on the number of assistant, associate, and full professors in each division.  If the size of the division is 1-15, 16-30, 31-45, 46-60, etc., the number of representatives will be 1, 2, 3, 4, etc., respectively.  Only those members of a division eligible to be elected, as described above, will be counted for the purpose of determining the apportionment.


At the time of the spring election, each division will elect representatives based on the apportionment for the academic year ending.  At the beginning of the following academic year, the Executive Committee of the Senate will determine any changes in apportionment of the Senate based on the above criteria.  Divisions entitled to more representatives will be notified and they will conduct the necessary elections at the earliest feasible time.  Divisions entitled to fewer representatives will be notified not to elect a representative the next time a vacancy occurs or a term expires.


Elections of the Full-Time, Non-Tenure Track Member

Before the end of the spring semester in odd years, a nominating committee consisting of the current full-time, non-tenure track Senate representative, the associate provost for Academic Affairs, and the president of the Senate will meet to nominate four full-time non-tenure track faculty for the position of full-time, non-tenure track Senate member.  The list of nominees (from among the lecturers, clinical and visiting faculty) will be distributed in the first week of the Fall semester to active non-tenure track faculty and votes must be submitted to the Senate  Secretary by the end of the third week of the fall semester.  The votes will be counted by the Executive Committee of the Senate.  The full-time non-tenure track member’s term begins immediately.  If the elected member does not return in the fall or has changed rank, the next available candidate receiving the most votes from the list of nominees shall be elected to serve as representative.


Elections of the Adjunct Member

Before the end of August the Senate president will contact all adjunct faculty by e-mail to call for nominations for the position of the adjunct Senate member.  At least five business days will be allowed for nominations.  The president will then announce the results of the nomination process and proceed to administer an electronic election in accord with the procedures set forth above.  The winner of the election will be announced to both the adjunct and full faculty, and installed on the Senate no later than September 15. Unlike the terms of other senators, the term is one year.


Term of Office and Vacancies

The term of office for elected members, except the adjunct faculty member, shall be two years and will begin on July 1 following the election, except as noted in Vacancies below.  A member can be elected to serve only two consecutive full terms. from any category. A member may run for election again after sitting out a two year term.  Senate members have a responsibility to attend all scheduled meetings of the Senate.  Advance notification should be given to the secretary Senate if a member cannot attend.  Absences will be noted in the Senate minutes.  After two absences to regularly scheduled Senate meetings in one semester, the president of the Senate, upon consultation with the Executive Committee, shall declare the seat vacant and notify the ranking elected member from that voting division, or the chancellor, in the case of an at-large member, to elect a replacement.  In case of unavoidable class conflicts with the regularly scheduled Senate meetings, the president shall ask the ranking elected member of the Senate from that voting division, or the chancellor, in the case of an at-large member, for the election of a temporary replacement.


Vacancies may occur on the Senate through death, resignation, election to the presidency of the Senate, or change in appointment resulting in ineligibility as described in the introduction to this section.  Representatives may cease to be a member of the voting division electing them, or may be absent on leave for at least one semester, or may be disqualified for other causes.  

In case of vacancies, the faculty of that voting division which is losing its representative shall elect a successor to fill the unexpired term.  The person so elected shall assume office immediately.  In the event that an at-large member of the Senate is unable to serve, that vacancy would be filled as follows:

  • One-year or less.  The faculty will elect at the earliest feasible time an interim representative from the same rank as the vacating member when elected to serve until July 1 of that year.
  • More than one year.  The faculty will elect at the earliest feasible time a representative from the same rank as the vacating member when elected to serve out the remainder of the two-year term.


Duties of a Faculty Senator

  • Represent the constituency and the broader interests of the faculty.
  • Attend and participate in Senate meetings on a regular basis.
  • Maintain active membership on at least one standing committee.
  • Serve on other committees and task forces as needed. 


Section 2.  Meetings


Regular meetings of the Senate shall normally be held at 3:10 p.m.  on the third Thursday of each month during the academic year.  In exceptional circumstances, the president may cancel a regular meeting or call a special meeting.  A special meeting may also be called by the request of five members of the Senate. The request should be sent to the President by email.


The organizational meeting of the Senate shall be convened by the president immediately following the last regular Senate meeting of the academic year.  All newly elected members will attend and vote with the continuing Senate membership.  The vice-president of the Senate shall be confirmed and serve as chair of the Handbook Committee. The incoming President-Elect will serve as chair of the the Committee on Committees. Other Senate committees shall be elected at that time with their official duties beginning on July 1.



Meetings of the Senate shall be conducted according to Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised unless otherwise provided for in these bylaws.


The agenda shall be prepared by the Executive Committee for each meeting of the Senate and should be arranged according to Robert's Rules of Order, Newly Revised (latest edition).  The secretary shall send copies of the agenda, including all proposals to be discussed, to all Senate members and appropriate administrative officials so that these materials are received at least 72 hours prior to the meeting at which they are to be discussed.  In addition, the secretary shall make available copies of the agenda to every voting faculty member prior to the Senate meeting.


Members of the University community, individually or in groups, may submit proposals and recommendations to the President or the Secretary of the Senate for placement on the agenda, and should be present or represented at meetings when such proposals or recommendations are considered.


The Senate shall act on all matters on the agenda, either by approval, rejection, postponement, referral, or remission to committee.


The minutes (including summaries of the debates and a record of all votes of the Senate) shall be distributed by the secretary no later than 48 hours before the next Senate meeting. 


A presentation for action by any committee of the Senate or any standing committee of the faculty shall be the equivalent of a motion, and does not require a second from the floor for consideration.  A committee chair may bring formal motions to the Senate on the behalf of his or her committee, even if the chair is not an elected member of the Senate. 


Section 3.  Quorum

A majority of the members shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.  The affirmative vote of the majority of those members voting shall be necessary for the passage of any resolution or motion, unless otherwise stated in these Bylaws.


Section 4.  Voting

Voting may be by voice or show of hands, though suitable hand-held electronic voting devices (iClickers and the like) or voting via a digital voting system (utilizing the LMS or other digital means) may be employed at the discretion of the president.  A individual count is required for all curriculum proposals (digital voting results will be reported by specific number of votes to support, deny, or abstain).  All elections shall be conducted by secret ballot.  Any motion will be by secret ballot if so requested by more than one senator.


Section 5.  Committee Reports

Committee chairpersons shall submit reports containing items requiring Senate deliberation (other than receiving of reports) to the Senate’s secretary at least ten days in advance of the Senate meeting during which the report is to be considered.  The secretary must have reports to the Senate at least five days in advance of meetings.  If the report is not delivered within this schedule, consideration of the issue will require approval by a show of hands of two-thirds of the members present and voting.


Section 6.  Order of Business

At the meetings of the Senate the order of business shall be as follows:

  1. The meeting shall be called to order by the president.
  2. Previously distributed minutes of the last meeting shall be approved or amended.
  3. Administrative reports.
  4. New business
  5. Committee reports.
  6. Unfinished business.
  7. Faculty concerns.
  8. Announcements.
  9. Adjournment. 


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Article 3 - Committees


Section 1.  Committee Appointments

With the exception of the Faculty Administrative Relations Committee and the Graduate Council, all committees of the faculty (also known as standing committees) are populated by the Senate’s Committee on Committees and confirmed by Senate at its organizational meeting.  In cases where confirmed members cannot serve, the Committee on Committees shall reserve the right to make substitutions to committees of the faculty throughout the academic year with the confirmation of the Executive Committee of the Senate.  At the discretion of the Executive Committee of the Senate, and after consultation with the administration, course releases or their equivalent may be granted for chairs of demanding standing committees and significant ad hoc committees.


Guidelines for Committee Appointments

  • To the greatest extent possible, committees will be representative of the faculty at large.
  • No faculty member should be appointed to more than two faculty committees.
  • Probationary tenure-track faculty members should be appointed to no more than one committee.
  • Faculty members should not be appointed to faculty committees during the first year of service at UTC.
  • There should be rotation of memberships on committees in order to give faculty more varied experiences.
  • Committee members should rotate off the same committee at the end of three years' service. 
  • Committee chairpersons will be limited to a two-year term.  The Committee on Committees will consult with the chairperson at the time of the replacement
  • Every faculty member who requests committee service should be given an assignment, unless such faculty member only requests an assignment to a committee on which he/she is ineligible to serve. A list of those faculty members not selected will be turned over to the new Committee on Committees for the upcoming year's ad hoc and replacement committee assignments.
  • Each committee will have at least one administrative official designated as an ex officio member. 
  • Committee members may be removed during the year if they do not attend committee meetings.  Attendance will be considered as a factor in making the next year's appointments to committees.
  • In cases where committee members are elected, confirmation of the nominated individuals’ willingness to serve must be secured prior to their consideration for election. 


Prior to, or at the beginning of each academic year, the Executive Committee will communicate with the chairperson of each committee to share committee goals for the upcoming year, review the bylaws concerning duties for that committee, and discuss other information relevant to that committee. 


Section 2.  Responsibilities of Chairs and Committee Members

Responsibilities of the Chair

Responsibilities of the chairs of faculty standing committees are as follows:

  • Set the time and place for meetings.
  • Conduct meetings according to Robert's Rules of Order, Newly Revised (latest edition).
  • Where appropriate, distribute the agenda and other materials at least 24 hours in advance.
  • See that minutes of all committee meetings are kept which would reflect the members present, the action taken (if any) and a record of votes taken (if any), and see that copies of the minutes are sent to the president and secretary of the Senate within a reasonable time following the meeting.
  • Bring all committee resolutions and recommendations to the attention of the executive committee and, if so requested by the president, to the floor of the Senate.
  • Submit to the president of the Senate by April 1, an annual written report of the committee's activities.  A second copy of the report shall be submitted to the head of the reference section of the library for the archives.  Such reports shall be duplicated and distributed to the Senate before its last meeting in the spring semester.


Responsibilities of Committee Members

Committee members have a responsibility to prepare for and attend all scheduled meetings of their committees.  The chair should be notified in advance if a member cannot attend.  Excessive absences, upon review by the committee chair and the Committee on Committees, may result in replacement of the member.


Student Committee Members

  • Students who serve on Senate Committees must meet the following criteria: full-time status, 30 UTC hours, 2.5 GPA.  (These will not affect the SGA president’s right to serve as an Ex officio member of Faculty Committees.)
  • SGA students' recommendations for Senate committees for the following year must be submitted by September 1.
  • Committee minutes should indicate student attendance and should be submitted to the vice-chancellor for Student Development.  Committee chairs should inform the vice-chancellor for Student Development and dean of Students if a student replacement is needed. 


Ex officio Members

Ex officio members of committees serve as non-voting consultants.


Committee Quorum and Voting

A simple majority of voting members shall constitute a quorum unless otherwise specified.  The chair is counted in the quorum.  Members of the Executive Committee of the Senate may serve as alternate members in order to establish a quorum for any of the faculty standing or ad hoc committees in emergency situations.  The Executive Committee may also appoint temporary members during summer months to enable committees to function properly.  The summer quorum for all committees will consist of fifty percent of the faculty membership.  All faculty and student members are eligible to vote, including a faculty chairperson of a committee.



Committees are responsible for executing their purpose and duties as described in the bylaws.  Committees are accountable to the Senate.  The Senate may at any time request reports of activity from any committees which its Committee on Committees has appointed and which it has confirmed.



Any standing committee may be dissolved or repurposed by amending these bylaws. 


Section 3.  Standing and Special Committees (listed in alphabetical order)

Academic Standards (undergraduate) And Scholarship

Responsibilities.  The function of the Academic Standards committee is to review and make recommendations to maintain appropriate undergraduate academic standards for the University.  It will review matters such as continuation standards, grade requirements for graduation and standards for academic honors for all undergraduate programs.  In addition, it will make recommendations for policies involving academic standards in such areas as academic regulations, academic residency and non-traditional credit. Regarding scholarships, this committee will act upon the recommendation of the financial aid office and upon the basis of other information at its disposal and oversee the administration of all scholarships and grants-in-aid provided by endowments and other private funds. Recipients will be selected upon the basis of academic performance, financial need and the terms of specific scholarships. (The committee is not charged with any responsibility in connection with federal financial aid programs.)  The academic standards committee may act on requests for studies, advisory opinions or policy recommendations initiated by the Senate, the administration, standing committees, academic units and individual faculty members, as well as initiating its own studies and recommendations.  Its recommendations will be presented to the Senate where appropriate.  In other cases, the committee will send its conclusions directly to the initiating agent with an information copy to the Senate.  The chair of the academic standards committee is responsible for circulating the agenda for each meeting to the deans and department heads.


Composition.  No fewer than twelve (12) faculty members; two (2) students; Ex officio: provost and university registrar, a member of the Office of Development as designated by the Vice-Chancellor for Development, assistant Provost for Enrollment Services, financial aid counselor, designee from the Honors College.  No more than two members may be drawn from any voting division of the faculty.


Admissions (undergraduate) 

Responsibilities.  The Admissions committee is responsible for supervising the execution of general admissions policy established by the Board of Trustees and for maintaining the specific academic criteria for approved admission.  It ensures that admissions policies are clearly expressed and openly published.  It interprets both general and specific policies, and it studies and makes recommendations concerning proposals for new or revised policies.  This committee considers entering freshmen who do not meet regular or conditional admissions standards and transfer students in special cases.  The committee thus meets frequently during both the academic year and the summer.  Members of the committee must be available for at least a portion of the summer.


Composition.  No fewer than ten (10) faculty members; one (1) student; Ex officio: assistant Provost for Enrollment Services, director of Admissions, university registrar.



Responsibilities.  The athletics committee acts as a liaison group between the director of athletics, the athletic staff and the faculty.  The committee is charged with making recommendations to the Chancellor in the general field of intercollegiate athletics, placing specific emphasis on eligibility, athletic teams' schedules and disciplinary rules, as well as other areas as indicated in the manual of the National Collegiate Athletics Association.


Composition.  No fewer than five (5) faculty members who are committed to summer meetings; two (2) students; Ex officio: chancellor's representative, university registrar, assistant Provost for Enrollment Services, director of Athletics, senior associate athletic director for Compliance and Administration, senior woman’s administrator, faculty athletics representative, assistant athletic director for Student Support Services, director of Compliance, associate provost for Academic Affairs, director of Admissions, Southern Conference faculty representative, head of the Health and Human Performance Department.


Budget and Economic Status

Responsibilities.  The Budget and Economic Status committee has four primary responsibilities: (a) to study and report to the Senate on financial aspects of public higher education in Tennessee and on prospects for faculty salary levels and raises; (b) to examine fringe benefit situations and recommend changes and additions as appropriate; (c) to participate in recommending faculty salary policies; and (d) to participate in broader budgetary matters that impinge on the educational function of the institution.


Composition.  No fewer than nine (9) faculty members, one representing each voting division of the faculty; Ex officio: provost.


Classroom Technology

Responsibilities.  The dual purposes of the Classroom Technology committee are to identify faculty needs for instructional technology/technology training and to advise the director of the Walker Center for Teaching and Learning, Media Resources, the University Technology Committee, the Senate, the Information Technology Advisory Senate, and the Information Technology Division on technological issues that affect classroom instruction.  Such issues include but are not limited to the following: classroom facilities such as wiring, lighting, and fiber optic connections; equipment for presenting material to students; software and hardware needed for classroom instruction and student laboratories; distance learning capabilities and other alternative modes of instructional delivery; and coordination with the Walker Center for Teaching and Learning to train faculty to incorporate technology into their teaching. 


Composition.  No fewer than nine (9) faculty members, at least one representing each voting division of the faculty.  Ex officio: director of the Walker Center for Teaching and Learning, Director of the Disability Resource Center or designee, IT designee.


Committee on Committees (senators only)

Responsibilities.  The Committee on Committees shall be responsible for recommending to the Senate the chair, faculty, and student members of standing and ad hoc committees as provided for by the Faculty Handbook and guidelines adopted by the Senate after prior notice (standing committees for the following year shall be recommended no later than the last Senate meeting of the year); recommending to the administration faculty members for appointment to administrative committees as appropriate; engaging in periodic reviews of the structure and function of faculty committees and reporting findings to the Senate; and proposing revisions to the Faculty Handbook committee and making appropriate recommendations to the Senate.  The chair shall maintain an up-to-date list of currently constituted standing and ad hoc committee members.


Composition.  The Committee on Committees shall be composed of the president-elect (chair), president-elect (chair) and five (5) members of the Senate: two (2) from the College of arts and Sciences and not more than one (1) from any other academic area.


Curriculum (undergraduate)

Responsibilities.  The Curriculum Committee supervises the development of the undergraduate curriculum.  Specifically, it is responsible for recommendations for the content of individual courses and the content of the organized total of courses, programs and sequences that form the undergraduate instructional program.  It reviews new undergraduate degree programs and changes in the content of departmental major and minor requirements and concentrations.  The committee reports its actions to the Senate with recommendations for implementation or appropriate disposition.  The chair of the Curriculum Committee is responsible for circulating the agenda for each meeting to the provost, deans and department heads.


Composition.  No fewer than fifteen (15) faculty members; two (2) students; Ex officio: associate provost for Academic Affairs, registrar or designee, and the Library’s head of collection development or designee.  No more than three members may be drawn from any voting division of the faculty.


Faculty Administrative Relations Committee (elected by the full faculty)

Responsibilities.  The Faculty Administrative Relations committee serves in two capacities: (a) advisory, and (b) investigatory.  The committee functions in times of personal and professional difficulties among faculty members and administrators when the normal communications lines are not functioning to the satisfaction of any party involved.  Grievances, including matters such as academic freedom, tenure, dismissal, suspension, promotion, salary, teaching duties, employment conditions and failure to meet personal and professional responsibilities may originate from either members of the faculty or administration. 


  • Advisory. Any member of the faculty or administration may consult with the committee or any of its members at any time to seek advice and/or help with the proper procedure to follow in order to resolve a grievance. The meeting may be on an informal basis at the option of the aggrieved party. Such meetings are strictly between the persons involved, and no notification of such meetings to any other party is necessary. Only the regular membership of three faculty members is involved in this capacity and constitutes a quorum.
  • Investigatory.  Normal communication channels through department heads, directors, deans and the provost must be used whenever possible. The administrative appeal phase through all channels on the campus of UTC up to and including the provost must be completed before the investigatory phase begins. When such channels have been exhausted and the grievance still exists, the grievance shall be submitted to the committee chair in writing and to the individual or individuals against whom the grievance is filed. Grievances should be forwarded in a timely manner, and in every case, within one year. In retention cases, due to University reporting deadlines, the aggrieved faculty should submit grievances as soon as possible. The committee, having determined that normal channels have indeed been exhausted, will initiate an investigation and will notify the chancellor and all other parties who may become involved. Documents on individual cases will be handled in accordance with Tennessee law.  Reports on the findings of the committee will be given to the person requesting the investigation and to the chancellor who may distribute it through the various levels of administration as deemed necessary. Ultimate responsibility for the disposal of all cases of an investigatory nature resides with the chancellor who shall be provided with recommendations from the Faculty Administrative Relations Committee. The regular membership of three faculty members which constitutes the committee's quorum is involved in this investigatory capacity in all situations except academic freedom, tenure, or dismissal, or suspension of a faculty member with a special or probationary term before the end of the specified term. In those cases, the special membership (as described below) becomes involved. In all cases, advisory and investigatory, the chair votes.

An annual report of the activities of the committee, stating only the number and types of cases considered, will be given to the Senate.


  • Regular. The committee shall consist of three (3) full-time members of the faculty, one of whom is elected each year for a three-year term. Qualifications include at least one year's service at UTC, rank of assistant professor or higher and at least three years to retirement. Department heads or others with EDO review responsibilities shall be ineligible. Election is held at the first full faculty meeting in the fall.  The member serving a third year on the committee serves as chair. If for any reason any member is not able to serve, that position will be filled by a past chair of the committee, first inviting the most recent chair and proceeding in that order until the replacement is made. The past chair will function as acting chair only if the current chair is not available.
  • Special. If the grievance concerns academic freedom, tenure, suspension or dismissal, the faculty administrative relations committee membership will be expanded to include an associate provost designated by the provost, and these four (4) members will constitute its quorum. Such grievances involving tenure would include non-reappointment, dismissal or suspension of a faculty member with a special or probationary term before the end of the specified term, or a notice of non-reappointment that is alleged to constitute a violation of academic freedom.


Faculty Handbook Committee (senators only)

Responsibilities.  The Faculty Handbook committee shall be responsible for consulting with administration on Faculty Handbook content affected by university/system policies; recommending to the Senate any revisions in the Faculty Handbook deemed appropriate and necessary; consulting with the Committee on Committees concerning proposed revisions to this document, examining proposed changes to the Faculty Handbook for consistency and reporting back revisions as appropriate; bringing handbook revisions recommended by Senate to the full faculty where appropriate and necessary, and reviewing and proofreading Faculty Handbook copy prior to publishing.  Adoption of the committee’s resolutions by the Senate constitutes a recommendation of the Senate to the chancellor for revision of the Faculty Handbook.


The Board of Trustees’ Policy on Faculty Handbook revisions, adopted in 1992, and any subsequent amendments, governs the revision of the Faculty Handbook.  In the event of any inconsistency between the Board’s policy and the Faculty Handbook, the Board’s policy will control.  The Senate and the chancellor accept the provisions of the Faculty Handbook.  All have responsibility for revision. 


Composition.  The Faculty Handbook Committee shall be composed of the vice-president of the Senate (chair) and five (5) members of the Senate: two (2) from the College of Arts and Sciences and not more than one (1) from any other academic area; Ex officio: provost or designee.


Faculty Rating of Administration

Responsibilities.  The committee is responsible for recommending policies, procedures, and instrumentation to the Senate for the rating of administration by faculty and for using rating results to improve administration.


Composition.  No fewer than eight (8) faculty members; two (2) students; Ex officio: director of the Office of Institutional Research. 


Faculty Grants

Responsibilities. The Faculty Grants committee considers proposals for grants funded by the University of Chattanooga Foundation endowment. A description of these grants, along with the deadlines and criteria for evaluation, are found in the Faculty Handbook, Chapter VII. (SUBJECT TO CHANGE) Proposals are evaluated on the basis of overall merit. The potential contribution of the research or creative activity to the University or to the researcher’s discipline is a basic criterion. The committee encourages the applicant to seek funds from other sources when needs so indicate; it sometimes recommends small seed-money grants with this end in view. The committee recommends awards for grant proposals to the associate provost for Graduate Studies, Research and Program Evaluation. The chair reports the grants awarded to the Senate.


Composition. No fewer than twelve (12) faculty members; Ex officio: Vice Chancellor for Research and Dean of the Graduate School, Director of the Walker Center for Teaching and Learning or designee.


Faculty Senate Executive Committee (Senate officers only)

Responsibilities. Convening during weeks when the Senate is not in session, the executive committee is responsible for establishing the Senate’s agenda. It decides what issues need to be brought before the Senate for consideration. It also meets monthly with the Chancellor and Provost to convey the concerns of the faculty, to suggest solutions to problems, and to serve as a liaison between the administration and the Senate.


Composition. The president of the Senate, the president-elect, the immediate past president, vice president, and the Senate secretary.


General Education

Responsibilities.  The evaluation of the effectiveness of general education demands a responsive and evolving philosophy of general education.  The General Education Committee will serve a continuous role as facilitator for discussion regarding this philosophy, and as a clearing house for ideas that may keep the philosophy responsive to the needs of the students and the institutional program.  The committee will also act in the following areas:

  • Certify new courses for general education.
  • Monitor existing general education courses.
  • Make recommendations concerning the content and structure of general education.
  • Review practices regarding the transferability of general education credit for all post baccalaureate students, additional degree seeking students, and transfer students.
  • Receive appeals from students concerning transferability of general education credit after review by the appropriate department. 


Composition.  No fewer than ten (10) faculty members, one (1) student; Ex officio: associate provost for Academic Affairs, director of the Walker Center for Teaching and Learning or designee. Departments with special topics courses approved by the General Education committee are required to have a department member on the General Education Committee. 


Grade Appeals

Responsibilities.  The responsibility of the grade appeals committee is to hear undergraduate student appeals whenever a student feels that the student’s rights have been seriously jeopardized by way of unfair, arbitrary, or malicious exercise of faculty grading prerogatives and desires to appeal the grade.  The committee reviews grades after a student who is appealing has followed the current published procedures for grade appeals in the Faculty Handbook.


Composition.  Three (3) faculty members and two (2) alternate faculty members.  In addition, two (2) non-voting faculty members shall be selected at the time of an appeal by the head of the department (or dean of the school if appropriate) in which the appealed course is offered.  The chair shall be the dean of the academic unit involved.  Should the dean be the course professor involved in the appeal, the provost will serve as chair.  The chair shall not vote on an appeal except in case of a tie vote, and will be responsible for reporting the findings of the committee to the Office of the Provost.  A quorum for this committee will consist of three (3) voting members and the chair.


Graduate Council (members appointed by special elections)

Responsibilities.  The Graduate Council is responsible for providing and periodically revising basic educational philosophy for graduate programs, for ensuring the maintenance of high standards in the graduate programs offered and for proposing and recommending to the Senate new graduate programs.  The Graduate Council reviews new courses to be offered for graduate credit as well as other changes in the content and sequence of individual graduate programs.  The Graduate Council is responsible for ensuring that general admission policies as established by the Board of Trustees and specific policies approved for individual graduate programs are maintained.  The Graduate Council hears graduate students' petitions and grade appeals.  The Graduate Council reports its curriculum and standards actions to the Senate Executive Committee with recommendations for implementation or appropriate disposition.  Members of Graduate Council serve two-year terms, are elected, and select their chair in accordance with the policies contained in the Graduate Council’s handbook.


Composition.  One (1) elected representative from each graduate degree program plus one (1) at-large representative elected by the Senate representative from a department that does not offer a graduate degrees.  Ex officio: dean of the Graduate School, the dean of the Library, dean of Lifelong Learning, registrar or designee, and the president of the Graduate Student Association.


Honor Court

Responsibilities.  This committee administers the honor code as set forth in the Student Handbook.


Composition.  Chair; and three (3) other faculty members; three (3) alternate faculty members appointed by the Senate; eight (8) students; Ex officio: vice-chancellor for Student Development and dean of students. 


Learning Support Services & Auxiliary Services

Responsibilities.  The Learning Support Services committee functions as a liaison between the faculty, students, and the offices on campus which provide support for classroom and experiential learning.  It acts as an advisory body to the University administration and to such units as, e.g., the Center for Advising and Student Success, the Library, and the Office of Partnerships and Sponsored Programs, and Records, making recommendations and suggestions with respect to policies, programs, and procedures which are of concern to students and faculty.  The committee’s advisory capacity includes, but is not restricted to, the following: (a) requests for funds from the general University budget, the University of Chattanooga Foundation, and other sources, (b) allocation of funds from the state and other sources to the various departments and programs, (c) general policy and procedural aspects of support services’ operation which affect the nature and type of services available to faculty and students, and (d) provision and utilization of physical facilities ; the committee will have an especial responsibility to ensure the development of a balanced library collection which will meet current and projected teaching and resources needs within available resources. This committee will also advise contract service providers (such as the bookstore, food services, etc.) in the making of general policies and to assist in the communication of these policies to students and faculty.


Composition.  No fewer than twelve (12) faculty members; four (4) students [one {1} of whom shall be a graduate student]; Ex officio: Provost, Associate Provost for Academic Affairs, Assistant Provost for Student Retention and Success, Dean of the Library, Director of the Disability Resource Center or designee, designees from each academic support service unit, and a designee of each contracted service unit.



Responsibilities.  The Mediation Committee provides a low-confrontational setting for settling disputes between faculty and administrators; it does not take the place of the Faculty Administrative Relations Committee.  Such disputes might involve faculty in conflict with other faculty, faculty and administrators, or administrators only.  All disputants must agree to mediation and to one or more mediators to resolve the dispute.  If, during mediation, either disputant wishes to end the process, that is done without prejudice.  All information discussed in mediation is strictly confidential.  Mediation is not arbitration; no coercion is involved.  Any attempt to resolve problems through mediation does not preclude appeal to the Faculty Administrative Relations Committee.


Composition.  Mediators are full time faculty, adjunct faculty, and administrators who are State of Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 31 listed mediators.  They are appointed annually by the Senate.  There is no term limit to their appointment; they can be reappointed at the pleasure of the Senate.


Non-Tenure-Track Faculty


The Non-Tenure-Track Faculty Committee addresses the needs of non-tenure-track faculty and brings their concerns to the attention of Senate and administration.  It provides a communication channel between this part of the community and the university.


Composition.  Three (3) non-tenure-track full-time faculty from three different schools or colleges and three (3) adjunct faculty, inclusive of the member of the Senate for each category; Ex officio: provost or designee.  Adjunct faculty members will be appointed no later than the second Senate meeting of the Fall semester.  The committee will select its own chair.


Petitions (undergraduate)

Responsibilities.  The Petitions Committee considers undergraduate student petitions for exceptions to academic regulations.  The Petitions Committee takes extenuating circumstances into account and may make exceptions to academic regulations in individual cases.


Composition.  No fewer than eight (8) faculty members; one (1) student; Ex officio: vice chancellor for student development, and dean of students, registrar or designee.


Student Media Board

Responsibilities.  The Student Media board is charged with supervision and policy making for student publications and media and is directly responsible to the Chancellor.  A detailed description of the board and its work is set forth in the Manual for Student Publications, as revised.


Composition.  Three (3) faculty members ; three (3) students; vice-chancellor for Student Development , dean of students; associate vice-chancellor for Development; director of Communications and Marketing; two (2) alumni; Ex officio: editors and advisers.


Student Rating of Faculty Instruction

Responsibilities.  The committee is responsible for recommending policies and procedures for evaluation of faculty instruction and for using evaluation results to improve instruction.  The composition of the committee should reflect the various instructional styles of the disciplines and should include at least one faculty member familiar with measurement techniques.


Composition.  No fewer than eight (8) faculty members; two (2) students; Ex officio: director of the Office of Institutional Research and the director of the Walker Center for Teaching and Learning.



Responsibilities.  The function of the Sustainability committee is to serve as a resource for advancement of sustainability in the curriculum, determine criteria for selection of courses that focus on sustainability (both interdisciplinary courses and courses within disciplines), and contribute to conversations and initiatives on campus sustainability.


Composition.  No fewer than eight (8) faculty members from a broad range of disciplines; Ex officio: chancellor or designee.


Ad hoc Committees

Ad hoc committees may be created by the Senate or by the full faculty.  Unless the description of an ad hoc committee directs otherwise, faculty members of the committee shall be recommended by the Committee on Committees and confirmed by the Senate.  Prospective committee members should be contacted by the nominating party prior to their recommendation.


Ad hoc committees are established for short periods (normally no more than one academic year) to deal with special issues as they arise.



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Article 4 - Officers: Duties, Qualifications, and Resources


Section 1.  The President


Nomination for Faculty Senate President shall be solicited by written form from the entire faculty by the first meeting of the Full Faculty in the spring of an election year. Nominations shall be sent to the Full Faculty Secretary who shall formulate a slate via the same procedure as is used for nomination of the At-Large candidates. Each nominee shall be given the opportunity to make a brief statement relevant to his or her candidacy and respond to questions at a subsequent meeting of the full faculty or via electronic means, prior to the election. Election shall be conducted either at this meeting or via electronic vote by a majority vote of all members of the full faculty by simple majority of the ballots as determined by a counting committee appointed by the presiding officer.


The President-Elect

The President-Elect shall be chosen for a one-year term from among those members of the faculty that meet the following criteria: (1) the holding of full-time appointment with the rank, or equivalent rank, of assistant professor or higher; (2) the performance of academic duties totaling at least half-time teaching, research, service, or departmental administration; and (3) prior service on the Faculty Senate (as an administrative member, an elected faculty member, a committee member, or otherwise) within the last five years.


The term of office for President-Elect shall be for one year to begin July 1 and is a voting member of the Faculty Senate. The President-Elect becomes the President the following year for a one-year term, and the President becomes the Immediate Past President for the following year for a one year term.


Replacement of the President or President-Elect


Should the president resign, go on leave, or become unable to serve for other reasons, the Senate Executive Committee shall effect a replacement. Should the vacancy occur after the election of the president-elect, the president-elect shall serve out the remainder of the incomplete term and the term to which he or she was elected. Should the vacancy occur prior to the election of the president-elect, a new president shall be elected at the next faculty meeting for which a fifteen-day nomination period is available.  Prior to this election, the first vice-president shall perform the duties and responsibilities of the president. The completion of a vacated term is not considered a full term for determination of eligibility to be elected to two successive terms.


Should the president-elect resign, go on leave, or become unable to serve for other reasons, a replacement shall be elected at the first faculty meeting for which a fifteen-day nomination period is available.  If an election cannot be held prior to July 1, the outgoing president shall continue to serve until the election.



As an elected spokesperson of the faculty, the president shall:

  • Preside at all meetings of the Senate and the full faculty, and shall be bound by the Faculty Handbook, these bylaws, and Robert's Rules of Order, Newly Revised (latest edition).
  • Prepare the agenda in cooperation with the Senate Executive Committee and others as appropriate.
  • Meet with the chancellor at the earliest opportunity following Senate meetings to report on deliberations by the Senate.
  • Receive on April 1 the annual written reports from chairs of Senate standing committees.
  • Serve as counselor to the president of The University of Tennessee.
  • Serve as a non-voting representative of the faculty to the academic affairs committee of the Board of Trustees.
  • Carry the University mace at all official functions.
  • Receive three hours released time from teaching in the fall and spring semesters.
  • Appoint, in case of the death of a current or previous faculty member, an individual to contact the family and arrange for a campus memorial service should the family desire it.


Section 2.  Vice-President and President-Elect of the Senate


The president of the Senate will choose a vice president from among members of the Senate. If the president is unable to preside at a Senate meeting, the first available officer in the following order shall preside: president-elect, vice president, past president. The vice president shall serve as a voting member of the Executive Committee of the Senate. They  will be subject to confirmation by the full Senate at the organizational meeting of the Senate.  If a vice president is not confirmed, the Senate president will entertain nominations for the position from the floor, and the Senate will vote on any candidates nominated.



The president-elect and vice president shall serve as chairs of the Committee on Committees and Handbook Committee respectively.  If the president is unable to preside at a Senate meeting, the first available officer, selected in the following order, shall preside:  president-elect, vice president, past president. .  The president-elect and vice president shall serve as voting members of the Executive Committee of the Senate.


The vice-president, as chair of the faculty handbook committee, with the concurrence of the Executive Committee of the Senate, and the chancellor, may make recommendations on editorial, technical, and other housekeeping changes, including but not limited to changes to the university’s mission, titles of administrative offices, academic units, other descriptive material, or other positions and units named in the Faculty Handbook, followed by appropriate action on these changes by the university and its officers, the chief academic officer for the system, the UT system president, or the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees.  The chancellor shall submit these recommendations to the appropriate officer for the system, who will forward them, with his or her recommendation, to appropriate vice presidents, the General Counsel, and the UT system president.  Final approval lies with the UT system president.


Section 3.  Secretary


The president of the Senate will nominate the Senate secretary from among members of the full faculty for confirmation at the organizational meeting of the Senate.  If the candidate is not confirmed, then nominations for the position will be accepted from the floor of the Senate.



The duties of the secretary shall include: (a) distributing the agenda of Senate meetings; (b) keeping the minutes of Senate and Executive Committee meetings, including summaries of the debates and a record of all votes; (c) distributing Senate minutes no later than 48 hours before the next meeting; (d) maintaining an ongoing record of Senate representatives and division apportionments; (e) coordinating the nomination process for the adjunct faculty member of the Senate; and (f) maintaining the Senate’s webpage which includes posting agendas, minutes, related documents, list of senators, and committee assignments. The secretary shall have 3-hours of release time or equivalent per semester for these duties. If the Secretary is an elected member of the Senate then he or she will be a voting member of the Executive Committee of the Senate.  If the secretary is not an elected member of the Senate, then he or she shall serve as an ex-officio member on the Executive Committee of the Senate.


Section 4.  Parliamentarian

There shall be a parliamentarian appointed by the president of the Senate each year to assist in the conduct of the business of the Senate.   


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 Article 5 - Amendments


The Senate shall have the power to make, amend and repeal these bylaws by a vote of two-thirds majority of those members present at regular or special meetings of the Senate, provided that any proposed changes shall have been submitted to the members of the Senate at least twenty-eight (28) days before the meeting at which the vote on them shall be taken.


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Article 6 - Policies and Processes

Section 1. Faculty Inclement Weather Policy

In the event of inclement weather when the university remains open, all faculty are expected to make every reasonable effort to maintain their regular work schedules but are advised to avoid undue risks in traveling. Faculty who anticipate arriving late or not arriving at all should notify their immediate supervisors. No member of the faculty is expected to endanger himself or herself traveling to or from work.  In some cases, the work of some faculty member is considered non-deferrable, and faculty members performing duties deemed non-deferrable may make arrangements through their department head or the Provost  to report to or to remain at work regardless of administrative closings or delayed openings. At no point, should faculty members be made to feel that they are required to stay at work or come into the office, especially if they feel their safety is at risk. Although campus may be closed due to inclement weather classes can continue in an online, virtual manner through the use of UTC Learn, our learning management system, while making reasonable provisions for students who endure weather-related power outages.


Section 2. Process for Annual Salary Recommendations

In general, annual salary recommendations are made by the department head after consultation with the dean. The department head or the dean must make departmental faculty aware of the general principles used in determining salary
recommendations. The Faculty Senate will be informed of proposed increases for annual salary adjustments.

Deans/director and the chief academic academicfficers will review and approve/alter/reject recommendations for salary adjustments. Communication of alteration or rejection of salary adjustments at any level will occur through the administrative line to the head. All faculty members will receive timely notification of their salary adjustments.

At the time of hiring, salaries for tenure-track and non-tenure-track faculty members are set by terms of their appointment letters. Salaries reflect faculty qualifications and the work that faculty perform. Tenured and tenure-track faculty members may appeal salary determinations using procedures found in Chapter 5. Non-tenure-track faculty may exercise the appeal procedures outlined in Chapter 5, except those applicable to the termination of tenured or tenure-track faculty appointments.

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