BYLAWS of the Geology Department
(As approved November 2020)
The following bylaws apply to the full-time faculty hereafter referred to as “the Faculty”. Students, part-time faculty, and professional staff are referred to only as is necessary to define the Faculty’s responsibilities and privileges.
These bylaws exist within the context of the Policies of the Board of Trustees of SUNY, the University at Buffalo’s Bylaws of the Voting Faculty, and the Bylaws of the College of Arts and Sciences. To the extent that parts of Department of Geology’s Bylaws are in conflict with any provisions of these bodies of legislation, those parts of the bylaws are null and void.
The purpose of the Department of Geology Bylaws is to provide a structure for departmental governance within the framework of the College of Arts and Sciences. The Faculty of the Department of Geology affirms its commitment to collegiality as the most effective basis upon which to manage the affairs of, and maintain excellence within, the Department.
I. The Faculty
The Department Chair is appointed by the President upon recommendation by the Dean after consultation with the department’s voting Faculty. The Chair normally serves a term of three years and may be reappointed after consultation by the Dean with the department’s voting Faculty.
The officers of the department include the Chair and other officers determined as described in sections II.A. and III. (e.g., Associate Chair, Director of Graduate Studies, Director of Undergraduate Studies). The Chair may also create ad hoc committees to deal with specific and temporary tasks, such as searching for new faculty or staff.
The Chair shall guide the department’s teaching, research, and services and conduct its administrative operations. The Chair shall represent the department to the College and the University, report promptly to the Dean on matters affecting the department’s welfare, and report and recommend actions regarding its programs, activities, and Faculty, including faculty appointments, promotions, and the terms and conditions of appointments.
The Faculty shall normally meet at least once a month during the academic year, at the behest of the Department Chair, with the Chair or a representative designated by the Chair presiding. The Chair may call a special meeting whenever necessary, giving at least 24-hour notice. For a meeting of any kind to be legitimate, a quorum of 50% or more of the voting faculty members, excluding those on official leave, is necessary. Part-time faculty, adjunct faculty, faculty with joint appointments where the primary appointment is in a department other than Geology, office staff, and professional staff are invited to attend and participate in discussions, where appropriate, but they cannot vote. Clinical faculty hold the same voting rights as ladder faculty, except they cannot participate or vote on any action related to ladder faculty, including hires, tenure actions and promotions. The student body may choose representatives to attend open faculty meetings, but their representatives cannot vote.
Meetings, elections and ballots of the Department and its committees shall be conducted according to Robert’s Rules of Order, latest edition, except as otherwise provided by these bylaws and the College of Arts and Sciences standing orders. No substantive issue may be voted on at the regularly scheduled meetings without written notice to the Faculty at least twenty-four hours in advance.
Minutes of each faculty meeting will be recorded by someone at the behest of the Chair. The minutes will be distributed before the next faculty meeting. The Faculty present at the next meeting will have an opportunity to correct any errors and insert omitted items. Finally, the voting faculty will or will not approve the minutes of the previous meeting.
The Faculty may call a faculty meeting if 40% or more of the full-time faculty members not on official leave agree to hold a meeting.
C. Faculty Membership
The Faculty is subject to the Policies of the Board of Trustees and the Bylaws of the College of Arts and Science, both of which provide for proper notice and faculty consultation; therefore, the Chair may not make a recommendation for or against a new appointment, a reappointment, the granting of tenure, or a promotion without first seeking the advice of the Faculty of the appropriate rank, by means of a secret ballot, following informed discussion and review of the candidate’s dossier. In cases of new appointments, the Faculty shall also consider the recommendation of the search committee.
D. Affiliated Faculty
Individuals with appropriate professional qualifications may be appointed as faculty affiliates of the Department through a volunteer appointment. Volunteer faculty members are appointed in two titles that serve two different purposes. The title Research (Assistant, Associate, or Full, as merited) Professor is used for affiliates who will seek extramural funding through UB and typically work on joint research related to the nominating faculty member's area of expertise. The title Adjunct (Assistant, Associate or Full, as merited) Professor is used for affiliates who will not seek funding through UB but will be involved in matters more academic in nature, such as serving on MS or PhD student committees. The term for either appointment is usually three years but can be of shorter duration as appropriate for the specific case, and is renewable. Affiliated faculty members enjoy the full public use of their titles but are not voting members of the Faculty.
Any voting faculty member may nominate an affiliate. Nominations consisting of a paragraph of support explaining the candidate’s research or academic affiliation and experience with their CV shall be submitted to the Faculty, discussed at a regular faculty meeting, and approved by a simple majority in a secret ballot. The nominating faculty member will be listed as a supervising faculty on the volunteer’s appointment form and will be directly overseeing the faculty affiliate during their appointment. The Faculty may, by a majority vote, terminate an affiliate appointment before the end of its term or a termination decision may be made at the discretion of the chair in consultation with the supervising faculty member.
To serve on a graduate student committee, affiliate faculty members must be appointed to the Graduate Faculty of UB, which is accomplished in a process similar to that described above. Nominations consisting of a paragraph detailing the academic affiliation and advisement experience of the candidate with their CV shall be submitted to the Faculty, discussed at a regular faculty meeting. If supported at the departmental level by a simple majority in a secret ballot, the nomination is forwarded to the appropriate academic units for final approval.
At the Chair’s discretion, these votes can occur by mail or email subject to the following conditions: faculty are provided complete nomination materials and given no less than one week to vote. A ‘majority’ is considered a majority of all full-time faculty members not on leave during balloting.
E. Emeritus Faculty
Upon retirement, faculty receive Emeritus status which continues an affiliation with the University. However, Emeritus status does not provide access to space, storage or campus services needed for grants research or student advisement. If a faculty member expects to be engaged in research or graduate student advisement, a volunteer appointment with the qualifying title of Research is needed for grants (and covers student advisement) or Adjunct if only student advisement is involved. It is College Policy that Emeritus status does not entitle faculty to stand-alone office or lab space. Prior to retirement, faculty must engage in discussions with the chair to reach an understanding about resources and needs if they are seeking phased release of spaces where research and student advisement continue while they have active grants or students to graduate.
II. Standing Committees
A. Regular Committees
The Faculty, as a whole, is the regular legislative body of the Department. The committees specified below report to the Faculty at least once each semester. While the committees may make routine decisions, departmental policy matters must be referred to the whole Faculty. Appointments to vacancies on committees are nominated by the Chair and/or the Faculty for a specified term and confirmed by secret ballot (a simple majority) of the attending Faculty. This is done during the last faculty meeting in the spring semester for the following academic year, or as needed when vacancies arise. The Department Chair is an ex-officio member of each standing committee. Members can be appointed to any permanent committee at the Chair’s discretion for defined periods and specific identified tasks.
1. Executive Committee: The composition of this committee includes the Chair, the Associate Chair, the Director of the Graduate Studies Committee, and the Director of the Undergraduate Studies.
2. Graduate Studies Committee: There are three members of this committee, each with a three-year term, nominated and voted upon by the Faculty. Except when circumstances are disadvantageous, it is expected that the committee will be composed of faculty members from different research groups and includes an assistant professor. The committee is responsible for the design and implementation of the graduate educational program, admission and expulsion of graduate students, appointment of teaching assistants, oversight of the teaching assistant’s duties, and evaluating their performance, and graduate program assessment.
3. Undergraduate Studies Committee: There is a single member of this committee (the Director), with a two-year term, nominated and voted upon by the Faculty. The committee is responsible for the undergraduate educational program’s oversight, admission of students as majors or minors, participation in the honors program, approval or denial of student petitions, student advisement, certification of students for graduation, and undergraduate program assessment.
4. Awards Committee: This is a three-person committee including the Director of Undergraduate Studies and two additional members, one serving as chair of the committee, elected by a vote of the Faculty. The committee is charged with identifying, with the Faculty and Department Chair’s help, deserving undergraduate and graduate students for all of the department’s awards and scholarships. The Director of Undergraduate Studies compiles undergraduate student data and guides the discussions on the awards and scholarships for undergraduate students presented at the spring graduation. The committee chair organizes and guides the discussions for all other departmental awards and scholarships. The term of the appointments is two years.
B. Ad Hoc Committees
The Chair may establish ad hoc committees with specified duties and specified fixed terms of existence. Members of ad hoc committees are appointed at the discretion of the Chair. The most important ad hoc committees are the search committees whose tasks are to identify and evaluate potential new department members.
III. The Executive Functioning of the Department
The President appoints the Chair after a recommendation from the Dean. In addition to those mentioned above, the Chair is responsible for the followings:
1. The Chair is responsible for all fiscal matters and for sharing fiscal information with the Faculty.
2. The chair determines Faculty teaching assignments in consultation with the Faculty.
3. The Chair shall be an ex-officio, non-voting member of every departmental committee, and shall be informed of committee meetings, their agenda, and results of such meetings.
4. The Chair may appoint an Associate Chair for a one-year term, renewable as desired. This appointment will be subject to the same confirmation method by the Faculty as are other administrative appointments. The responsibilities of the Associate Chair will be communicated to the Faculty each Fall at the earliest reasonable opportunity.
5. In cooperation with the various committee chairs, the Chair shall annually make available all policies and regulations resulting from the exercise of these bylaws to the Faculty.
IV. Grievance Procedures
Should any matters arise either from the Faculty or the student body that cannot be resolved by collegial discussion between the parties involved, the normal grievance procedures of the University will be followed.
The bylaws of the Department may be reconsidered at any time, as determined by the Chair. At the limit, the bylaws must be reviewed every five years, determined from the date of adoption of the bylaws or the most recent revision. Adopting changes to the bylaws shall be accomplished by a majority vote of the voting faculty, as specified in section I.B.
VI. Separability and Compatibility
If any portion of these bylaws is adjudged by any court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, such judgment shall not invalidate the remainder of these bylaws.
These bylaws shall be compatible with and subordinate to the College of Arts and Sciences Bylaws, The University at Buffalo’s Bylaws of the Voting Faculty, the authority and policies of the Trustees of the State University of New York, the authority and policies of the Council of the State University of New York at Buffalo, and the laws of the State of New York and the United States of America.
2020-2021 Executive Committee:
Bea Csatho, Professor and Department Chair
Greg Valentine, Professor and Associate Chair
Chris Lowry, Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies
Margarete Jadamec, Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies
2020-2021 Graduate Studies
Chris Lowry, Director, Associate Professor
Kristin Poinar, Member, Assistant Professor
Greg Valentine, Member Professor
2020-2021 Undergraduate Studies
Margarete Jadamec, Director, Associate Professor
2020-2021 Awards Committee
Tracy Gregg, Committee Chair, Associate Professor
Kristin Poinar, Member, Assistant Professor
Erasmus Oware, Member, Assistant Professor