Academic Senate Bylaws

Bylaws of the Academic Senate of Northern Michigan University, (Revised September 2020)

Article 1. Authority and Purpose

1.1 The Academic Senate of Northern Michigan University is established in accordance with the Agreement between the Board of Trustees, NMU, and the American Association of University Professors, NMU Chapter, and derives its authority from that Agreement, hereinafter referred to as the "Agreement."

1.2 The function of the Academic Senate shall be to advise and make recommendations to the Vice-President for Academic Affairs on matters of faculty-wide concern, communicate items of concern to respective constituencies, and inform the academic community of issues under consideration.

Article 2. Membership

2.1 A department is defined in article I of the master agreement.  Article 3 in the Master agreement defines Senate membership. 

Article 3. Elections and Term of Office

3.1 Elected representatives to the Academic Senate shall be for two-year terms, in accordance with the Agreement, terminating on the last day of an academic year. The student representative shall be appointed for a one-year term by ASNMU.

3.2 Election of Senate representatives shall be conducted by the appropriate constituencies during the 9th or 10th week of the second semester.

3.3 The Chair of the Senate shall call the organizational meeting of the incoming Senate  three weeks prior to the close of the academic year for the purpose of electing new Senate Officers, electing the Executive Committee of the Senate, and approving membership of standing committees for the next academic year.

3.4 The newly-elected Senate representatives shall take office after the close of the academic year.

3.5 In the event of the resignation of a departmental representative, the Secretary of the Senate shall inform the appropriate constituency for the purpose of electing a representative to fill the unexpired term of Senate office.

3.6 The term of office for the Senate representative of the following units shall expire in even-numbered years: LIS, Biology; Business; School of Clinical Sciences; Counseling and Consultation Services; Criminal Justice; Economics; Engineering Technology; History;  Languages, Literatures and International Studies; Military Science; School of Nursing; Political Science; Communication and Media Studies; and Social Work. The term of office for the Senate representative of the following units shall expire in odd-numbered years: School of Art and Design; Center for Native American Studies; Chemistry; School of Education, Leadership & Public Service; English; Earth, Environmental, and Geographical Sciences; School of Health and Human Performance; Mathematics and Computer Science; Music; Philosophy; Physics; Psychological Science; Theatre and Dance; and Sociology and Anthropology. Departments with more than one representative are exempt from this provision and shall provide for non-coterminous appointments.

3.7 The term of office for the Department Heads representative for the Colleges of Arts and Sciences and Health Sciences & Professional Studies shall expire in even-numbered years. The term of office for the Department Heads representative for the College of Business shall expire in odd-numbered years.

Article 4. Officers of the Senate

4.1 At its organizational meeting (as specified in 3.3), the incoming Senate shall elect from its membership, a Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, and at-large members of the Executive Committee. Election of officers and other Executive Committee members shall be by plurality.

4.2 Eligibility for the Chair requires membership on the Executive Committee of a previous Senate.

4.3 The outgoing Chair shall remain a voting member of the Executive Committee and a non-voting member of the Senate for one year. If the past chair is currently serving as the departmental representative, they have voting rights in that capacity.   

4.4 The Chair shall preside at Senate meetings, and shall be responsible for keeping a log of pending Senate business. The Vice-Chair shall assume duties of the Chair in his/her absence. If the Chair should resign or be unable to fulfill the duties of the Office for a prolonged period, the Vice-Chair shall succeed her/him. The Vice-Chair shall serve as a liaison between the chairs of Senate committees and the Senate.  The Secretary shall be responsible for the recording and distributing minutes of meetings of the Senate and the Executive Committee. 

4.5 Senate Officers may be recalled by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Senate membership.

Article 5. Executive Committee of the Senate

5.1 The Executive Committee of the Senate shall consist of nine (9) members: the Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, Past Chair of the Senate, other members elected by the Senate from among its members, and others as specified by the Agreement.

5.2 The Executive Committee, in discharging its responsibilities, shall:

5.2.1 establish a regular date and time for the Senate meetings;

5.2.2 determine matters requiring the attention and consideration of the full Senate (including establishing the agenda for Senate meetings);

5.2.3 refer matters to Senate committees for study and development of policy recommendations;

5.2.4 receive, review, and compile the minutes of the various Senate committees. The approved minutes of the Executive Committee shall be posted in an area near the Senate office, and shall be distributed upon request;

5.2.5 provide for the conducting of routine correspondence;

5.2.6 distribute minutes of Senate meetings to members of the Senate;

5.2.7 establish ad hoc committees as it deems necessary.

5.3 The Chair of the Academic Senate shall preside as Chair of the Executive Committee.

5.4 The term of office for Executive Committee members who are not Officers of the Senate shall be two years or until termination of Senate membership, whichever is shorter, or as specified by the Agreement.

5.4.1 For purposes of continuity, the term of office of no more than one-half of the Executive Committee members shall expire in any given year. If necessary, Executive Committee members may be elected for a period of time less than two years in order to fill an unexpired term.

5.5 A quorum of the Executive Committee shall consist of a majority of its members.

5.6 Between academic years, the Executive Committee is empowered to act on behalf of the Academic Senate. All such actions shall be reported for review during the first Fall meeting of the Academic Senate.

Article 6. Meetings of the Academic Senate

6.1 The Senate shall meet biweekly during the academic year. Additional Senate sessions may be held at the call of the Chair or upon petition of one-third (1/3) of the membership, in which case the Chair must call a meeting within five (5) days of receipt of such petition.

6.2 A quorum shall consist of a majority of the membership.

6.3 The agenda for Senate meetings shall be distributed in advance of the meetings.

6.4 Individuals who are not members of the Academic Senate may be recognized by the Senate Chair only with the consent of the Senate. However, if such recognition would clarify and facilitate the work of the Senate, the Chair may recognize nonmembers during the reports section of the meeting without prior consent of the Senate.

6.5 A member of the Executive Committee will serve as Senate parliamentarian.

Article 7. Committees

7.1       The standing committees of the Senate shall be the Executive Committee, Library & Instructional Support Advisory Committee, Admissions and Academic Policies Committee, Committee on Elections and Committees, Committee on Internationalization, Committee on Undergraduate Programs, Educational Technology Resources and Policy Committee, Faculty Grant Committee, General Education Council, Graduate Programs Committee, Teaching and Learning Advisory Council, and University Honors Board. Each standing Committee of the Senate shall adopt a set of Operating Procedures. Adoption of and changes to committee Operating Procedures require a 2/3 affirmative vote of the Senate. The Senate or Executive Committee of the Senate may, by a majority vote, require Committees to review their Operating Procedures or portions thereof.

7.2 The Committee on Elections and Committees shall be responsible for presenting to the Senate prepared slates of candidates for committees other than the Executive Committee, and the Educational Technology Resources and Policy Committee. The Committee on Elections and Committees shall also be responsible for conducting elections as directed by the Executive Committee.

7.3 Each member of the Academic Senate must be prepared to serve on one standing Senate committee or to assume an equivalent assignment at the discretion of the Senate.

7.4 Every Senate committee should, when possible, have at least one member who is also a member of the Senate; however, the reporting member of the committee need not be a Senator.

7.5 Senators shall serve on no more than two standing committees.

7.6 Standing committees of the Senate with the exception of the Educational Technology Resources and Policy Committee and the Senate Executive Committee shall include no more than nine (9) voting faculty members. This does not preclude ex officio members, alternates, and students; nor does it preclude their right to be voting members. Committee terms of faculty members shall be three-year terms, one-third (1/3) of which shall expire each year.

7.6.1 Ex officio members may be included in the membership of committees with the approval of the Senate. Ex officio members may have all the rights and duties of any other member, including the right to vote. Their appointment shall specify the office(s), the limitations of participation and the voting rights, which such membership will carry.

7.6.2 Those committees desiring to include alternate faculty members shall request such membership of the Academic Senate. The request shall specify the number of alternates and the limitations of participation and voting rights that such membership will carry. An alternate does not increase the number of voting faculty members for purposes of determining a quorum.

7.6.3 Standing committees of the Senate may remove committee members for cause. Removal for cause may include non-participation in committee business, not attending committee meetings, continued or willful neglect of duties of office, or other valid reasons as determined by standing committees. Committee members must be provided adequate notice of removal for cause, a fair hearing, and a reasonable opportunity to present a defense.

7.7 Each standing committee of the Senate shall elect from its present or past members a Chair and Secretary. The Chair must have served at least one year as a regular member of the committee. Any deviation from this policy will require Senate approval.

7.8 Generally, organizational meetings of the committees shall be held before the end of the academic year. In the interim between the close of the academic year and the opening of the Fall semester, standing committees of the Senate, in order to insure sufficient membership, may at the discretion of their chairs include outgoing members of the committee to help meet contingencies that come up in the summer.

7.9 A quorum for a Senate committee meeting shall be a majority of its voting membership.

7.10 Student Membership on Committees of the Academic Senate:

7.10.1 Those committees desiring to have student members shall request such membership of the Academic Senate. The request shall specify the number of students and the limitations of participation and voting rights which such membership will carry. A student who is a voting member, he/she will count as one of the quorum in paragraph 7.9.

7.10.2 Student membership on committees shall be reported to the Senate. Committees will consult first with the Associated Students of Northern Michigan University in their efforts to find appropriate members. If this procedure is not productive, the committee may seek student members elsewhere.

7.10.3 All students appointed to Senate committees shall serve for one academic year.

7.10.4 Committees shall have the prerogative of designating one alternate for each student appointed to a standing committee.

7.11 Business originated by, or allocated to, the committees of the Academic Senate should be completed within the tenure of that Senate. Business not so completed lapses and must be reintroduced in the succeeding Senate if the interested parties still seek completion.

Article 8. Rules and Procedures

8.1 Communications from nonmembers of the Senate pertaining to the responsibilities of the Senate shall be directed to the Chair of the Senate who will consult with the Executive Committee to determine proper disposition.

8.2 Introduction and Disposition of Business:

8.2.1 Main motions may be introduced to the Senate during that portion of the meeting set aside for reports or for new business. Individual Senators may inform the Senate of their intent to introduce business during the time set aside for the informal discussion; however, such statement of intent is not to be considered as a formal introduction of a motion.

8.2.2 All main motions require two readings before a vote may be taken, and the two readings must occur at different meetings of the Senate. Discussion arising from the first reading of a main motion shall be brief and shall consist only of explanatory statements by the maker and clarifying questions by members of the Senate. Debate on substantive issues shall be reserved until after the second reading of the motion. Main motions on second reading shall be brought before the Senate under that section of the Orders set aside for unfinished business in the order in which they were advanced to the second reading. A main motion may be put to a vote only after the second reading unless the rules are suspended.  Rules should be suspended when compelling reasons exist.

8.2.3 Specific committee recommendations for action by the Senate shall be clearly delineated in the committee's report. A supporting rationale shall be included for each recommendation. Reports shall bear committee name, committee chairperson, and the date of the Senate meeting at which they are presented for first reading.

8.2.4 Should the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs find reason to take exception to an Academic Senate recommendation, pursuant to of the Master Agreement, the written statement of the Provost and Vice President’s concerns will be sent to the Executive Committee of the Senate. The Executive Committee of the Senate will act on the matter at its next meeting, placing the matter in question on the agenda for the next Academic Senate meeting as new business.  The Senate Executive Committee shall also inform all involved parties, including standing Senate committees and academic departments when appropriate, of the written reasons for the Provost and Vice President’s rejection. Involved parties will be invited as guests to the next Senate meeting to answer questions relating to the above issue.

8.3 Any member of the Academic Senate may authorize another member to cast votes on his/her behalf at any meeting of the organization and may direct that member's vote. Such proxy must be presented to the Secretary in writing prior to the meeting and must identify the person who is authorized to vote on his/her behalf.

8.4 A roll call vote may be called by ten percent (10%) of the members present.

8.5 The Senate by majority vote may refer any question to the faculty for a written ballot.

8.6 The current edition of Sturgis' Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure governs this organization in all parliamentary situations that are not provided for in the law, Agreement, or these Bylaws.

Article 9. Amendments

9.1 Adoption of amendments to Senate Bylaws require a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of the full membership of the Senate.