CONSTITUTION OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MEMPHIS FACULTY
AND THE FACULTY SENATE
Adopted December 1971, amended January 1979; October 1979; April 1981; March 1984;
September 1992; and April 1994; revised April 1998; August 2008; April 2009. (Constitution
last updated April 2013.)
THE UNIVERSITY FACULTY
Section 1. FUNCTIONS
The University Faculty shall:
- Elect representatives to the Faculty Senate, voting by and within departments, independent
units, or areas (in colleges without departments).
- Consider actions of the Faculty Senate that may be submitted to it by that body.
- Review any Faculty Senate action following receipt of a petition for such a review
signed by at least ten percent of the membership of the University Faculty.
- Refer to the Faculty Senate for investigation and action all such matters that it
may deem appropriate.
Section 2. MEMBERSHIP
The University Faculty shall consist of all full-time faculty members holding academic
appointments with the rank of instructor, assistant professor, associate professor,
or professor, whose primary duties are teaching, research, library service, or department
Section 3. OFFICERS
The Officers of the University Faculty shall be:
The President of the University or his/her designee shall be the permanent Chair of
the University Faculty.
- Vice Chair
The President of the Faculty Senate shall be the Vice Chair of the University Faculty.
He/she shall preside at the request of the Chair and shall present official Faculty
Senate business to the University Faculty.
The Secretary of the Faculty Senate shall be the Secretary of the University Faculty.
He/she shall record and maintain the minutes of University Faculty meetings and shall
serve as custodian of all official records and reports.
The Parliamentarian of the Faculty Senate shall be the Parliamentarian of the University
Faculty. He/she shall advise the Chair on parliamentary procedure.
Section 4. MEETINGS
- At least one regularly scheduled meeting of the University Faculty shall be held annually
during the academic year. Special meetings may be called by the Chair, by the Faculty
Senate, or by petition of at least ten percent of the members of the Faculty. Notice
of such special meetings shall be given in writing, to members of the University Faculty
at least fifteen days prior to such a meeting.
- A quorum for any meeting of the University Faculty shall be twenty percent of the
members of the University Faculty.
- All business of the University Faculty and the Faculty Senate shall be conducted in
accordance with the current edition of Robert's Rules of Order.
THE FACULTY SENATE
Section 1. STATEMENT OF PURPOSES
The Faculty Senate of The University of Memphis will, within the laws of the State
of Tennessee and the rules and regulations set by the Tennessee Board of Regents,
and in the spirit of shared governance and responsibility:
- Serve as the primary vehicle of faculty participation in the establishment of University
- Evaluate and make recommendations on policy in academic and closely related areas
that touch on academic matters;
- Approve graduation and general education curriculum requirements;
- Evaluate and make recommendations on University wide minimum criteria for faculty
appointment, promotion and tenure;
- Evaluate and make recommendations on policies associated with conditions of employment;
- Evaluate and make recommendations on policies for the academic use and operation of
various academic support functions including the University Library and Computer Services;
the University calendar, and other services or functions that directly affect academic
- Make recommendations on issues related to academic matters that are not specifically
academic in nature;
- Have responsibility for the maintenance of academic freedom and responsibility at
- Be the forum for the formulation of faculty opinion.
- Review and approve the Faculty Handbook of The University of Memphis.
Section 2. NOTIFICATION
The Senate and the administration shall work cooperatively to ensure orderly procedures
with respect to both Senate and administrative responsibilities. The Senate will respond
in a timely fashion to matters put before it by the administration. Where Senate actions
take the form of recommendations to the administration, the Senate may reasonably
expect a timely response.
Section 3. MEMBERSHIP
The Faculty Senate shall consist of elected members.
Eligible faculty shall hold an academic appointment, whose sole duties are teaching,
research, or library service. Further, the faculty member must have served in that
position for at least two years.
- Term of Office
The term of office for an elected member of the Senate shall be two years.
- Recognition of Service
- The President and the Secretary of the Senate shall receive from the University, not
their departments, at least one three hour course equivalent release time each semester
in order to perform Senate duties.
- Senators shall be recognized for their participation in the Senate by being relieved
of all departmental committee duties unless they voluntarily decide otherwise. Service
in the Faculty Senate shall be acknowledged as University service.
- The Faculty Senate shall consist of members elected by and within the University Libraries,
departments and schools within colleges, departments within schools, and schools and
colleges without departments. Each entity shall be entitled to one Senator.
- ROTC-Aerospace, ROTC-Army, and ROTC-Navy shall be grouped into one entity and shall
be entitled to one representative.
- Any new entity shall attain faculty Senate representation in the first Faculty Senate
election following its organization.
- Senator Responsibility
It is the responsibility of each Senator to attend meetings of the Senate and, in
the event of an absence, to ensure that the Senator's department, independent unit
or area is adequately represented.
A Senator may be recalled by her/his department, independent unit or area with twenty-five
percent of the faculty members of that department or independent unit or area signing
a petition for a recall vote, which is then filed with the Secretary of the Senate.
The Senator shall be officially recalled if two-thirds of the faculty in that department,
independent unit or area vote to do so. An election shall then proceed according
to normal guidelines.
- Elections shall be conducted by each department, independent unit or area.
- Elections shall be held in March of each year with the term of office beginning with
the late April or early May meeting of the Senate.
- Elected Senators shall meet with the outgoing Senate in April and May to prepare for
- Should a vacancy occur in a Senate seat, a new Senator shall be elected to complete
that term according to the normal guidelines, prior to the next Senate meeting. (Service
in the Senate of less than one year shall not be classified as a term.)
Section 4. OFFICERS
The Faculty Senate officers are President, President Elect, Secretary, and Parliamentarian.
The President Elect, Secretary and Parliamentarian shall be elected annually at the
first meeting of the Senate from the elected membership of the Senate.
- Officer Responsibilities
The President shall be the presiding officer of the Senate. He/she shall chair the
Executive Committee, and shall be an ex-officio member of all other Senate Committees.
- President Elect
In the absence of the President, or at her/his request, the President Elect shall
substitute for the President. The President Elect shall become the President of the
new Faculty Senate in the spring. If a person is elected as President Elect in the
final year of the second consecutive term, he/she will be eligible for election to
a third term. If a person is elected as President Elect in the final year of a senate
term and is not elected by his/her department, independent unit or area to another
term, he/she will be allowed to remain on the Faculty Senate for one more year to
complete the term as President.
The Secretary shall serve as the Secretary at the meetings of the University Faculty,
the Faculty Senate, and the Executive Committee. The Secretary shall prepare and maintain
an official membership list of the Senate. He/she shall maintain a calendar that reflects
the status of all business brought to the floor of the Senate. This calendar shall
be published each month with the minutes of the previous Senate session. The Secretary
shall maintain a permanent and public collection of all records of the Senate and
its Committees in the Faculty Senate office.
The Parliamentarian shall serve as the Parliamentarian at meetings of the University
Faculty, the Faculty Senate, and the Executive Committee. He/she shall advise the
presiding officer on parliamentary procedure.
- Election of officers
Any member of the Senate who has served at least one year in the Senate may be elected
to hold an office. No more than two officers may be from the same college.
- Term of Office
All officers shall serve a one-year term except the President Elect who makes a two
year commitment, one year as President Elect and one year as President.
Section 5. FACULTY SENATE STANDING COMMITTEES
The Faculty Senate Standing Committees shall include The Executive Committee, The
Committee on Committees and other standing committees the Senate institutes under
its standing rules.
- The Executive Committee
The Executive Committee shall consist of the President, the President Elect, the Secretary,
the Parliamentarian and two additional members elected at-large from the Senate. No
more than two members of the Executive Committee may be from the same college. The
duties of The Executive Committee are:
- to determine if there is a matter of such urgency as to require immediate Faculty
Senate action and having done so, to call a special meeting of the Faculty Senate.
Members of the Executive Committee may represent the Senate at official and unofficial
functions, but they may not, either individually or collectively, take action on behalf
of the Senate;
- to meet at least five work days in advance of regular Senate meetings for the purpose
of preparing an agenda. A copy of the agenda shall be sent to each member of the Senate
at least three working days before the Senate convenes.
- The Committee on Committees
The Committee on Committees shall consist of five members elected by and from the
Faculty Senate at its first meeting. The duties of The Committee on Committees are:
- To make appointments to non elective Senate Committees.
- To prepare a list of all eligible members of the Faculty Senate who have expressed
a willingness to serve as an officer for the forthcoming year. The list shall be presented
at least five working days prior to the first meeting of the new Senate. The list
shall note those capacities in which the member has expressed a willingness to serve.
- To make nominations to the Faculty Senate for University Standing Committees and other
Section 6 QUORUM
One half of the membership of the Faculty Senate shall constitute a quorum for the
transaction of business.
Section 7 AMENDING THE CONSTITUTION
By a two-thirds vote of those voting, the University Faculty may amend this constitution
during the academic year either at a regularly scheduled meeting of the University
Faculty, at a special meeting of the University Faculty, or through online voting,
with at least fifteen days written notice. The Executive Committee will decide the
type of the first voting attempt. If a first voting attempt fails due to a quorum
not being met then the online voting becomes the default type of voting in the second
attempt. The following sequence shall be followed in proposing amendments:
A. An amendment(s) must be recommended, and a rationale provided, by at least ten
members of the University Faculty;
B. An amendment(s) must be submitted, in writing, to the Faculty Senate for its consideration
at a regularly scheduled meeting of the Senate. University faculty may come to the
Senate meeting and provide input. Online public, non-binding discussions of the proposed
amendment(s) must occur for a period of two weeks prior to the Senate meeting mentioned
in the next Step C;
C. The amendment(s) must be considered by the Senate at its next regularly scheduled
meeting. The Senate may not modify the amendment before being authorized by the Faculty
D. The amendment(s) must be submitted, in writing, to all members of the University
Faculty, with the recommendation(s) of the Senate attached. The recommendation(s)
of the Senate (In Favor, Against, Needs To Be Modified) should include a list of suggested
amendments to each of the original amendment(s) together with their rationales. The
recommendation(s) should be accompanied by counts of the Senate recommendation(s)
tally on the original amendment(s) for each of the four possible outcomes: In Favor,
Against, Needs To Be Modified, and Abstain;
E. The original amendment(s) must be voted upon by the University Faculty. If the
vote is cast at a regular or special University Faculty meeting, an amendment so presented
to the University Faculty may be amended from the floor at a University Faculty meeting
by a majority vote of those in attendance, in accordance with regular parliamentary
procedures. For online voting, the following steps must be followed:
a. A first online vote is initiated for the originally proposed amendment to the Constitution.
University Faculty will be given a 2-week period for expressing their vote. The vote
will include three options: In Favor, Against, Needs To Be Modified. If the Needs
To Be Modified option is chosen, the voter will have the opportunity to explain the
reason and propose an amendment to the original amendment in a text box. At the end
of the voting period, assuming a quorum has been met, the original amendment passes
if two thirds of the votes are In Favor. If more than one third of the votes are Against,
the amendment is rejected and the Constitution does not get amended. Otherwise, if
the total number of votes In Favor and Needs To Be Modified are more than two thirds
the amendment is passed on to the Senate for possible amendments.
b. The Faculty Policies Committee with optional input from other Senate committees
will analyze the proposed amendments to the original amendment(s) and reword the original
amendment(s), which will be passed on to the Senate for parliamentary voting. The
Faculty Policies Committee will have to initiate this task in the first meeting of
the committee following the closing of the online voting and send the Senate the new
amendment(s) after the committee's second meeting following the closing of the online
c. The Senate must vote on the new amendment(s) at the first meeting following the
second meeting of the Faculty Policies Committee after the online voting. The Senate
may amend the new amendment(s). The Senate will have to recommend to either accept
or reject the new amendment(s). The new amendment(s) will be passed on to the University
Faculty along with senate recommendations for online voting following the rules stipulated
in Step D of this Section. The second round of voting will be preceded by a 2-week
online, public, and non-binding, discussion period.
d. The second online voting will be initiated giving University Faculty a time window
of two weeks to express their vote. The vote will only include two options: In Favor
or Against. If two thirds of those voting are in favor, assuming a quorum has been
met, the new amendment passes. Otherwise, it fails and the Constitution does not get
amended.END OF CONSTITUTION
SPECIAL RULES OF ORDER
The special orders of the Faculty Senate are those rules of order that are different
from and supersede the adopted parliamentary authority manual. Unless a rule is a
fundamental right preserved by parliamentary law, these rules may be adopted, amended,
deleted or suspended according to the will of the assembly.
The motion to reconsider may be made by any member of the assembly and is not limited
to a member from the prevailing side.
The issuance of a minority report from a committee member or members shall be considered
a right and shall follow the committee report before any action is taken on the committee
report or its recommendations.
Special Rules for Elections
In elections where there are more than two candidates for one position, and no candidate
receives a majority vote, then the candidate with the lowest vote total will be dropped
from the next ballot. This practice will continue for each ballot until a majority
vote is received.
Committee Assignments Outside Standing Authority
By a majority vote, the Faculty Senate may refer a matter to a standing or special
committee covering an area that is reserved under another standing committee's standing
Suspending Special Rules of Order
A Special Rule may be suspended by a two-thirds vote of the Senate.
Adoption or Amendment of Special Rules of Order
Adoption or amendment of Special Rules requires previous notice and a two-thirds vote
or, without previous notice, a vote of the majority of the entire membership of the
END OF SPECIAL ORDERS
The standing rules of the Faculty Senate are those operational guidelines the Senate
may adopt, change, suspend or delete to create effective and efficient management
of its business.
Section 1. MEETINGS
- Regularly Scheduled Meetings
The Faculty Senate shall hold at least nine regularly scheduled meetings; on average
one each month September through May. Regular Faculty Senate meetings shall be held
on Tuesdays beginning at 2:40 p.m.
- Special Meetings
If the majority of the Executive Committee agrees, a special meeting of the Senate
may be called. Additionally, special meetings may be called by the Senate President
upon petition of ten members of the Senate. In such cases, at least three working
days written notice or e-mail notice will be given to all members of the Senate.
Except for executive sessions, all meetings of the Senate shall be open to any member
of the University Faculty, administration, student body, or visitors as may be invited
in advance by the President of the Senate.
- The President and the President-Elect will meet jointly with the President and Provost
of the University.
- The President or her/his designee will serve on University Councils.
Section 2. FACULTY SENATE COMMITTEES
- Committee Procedures
The Senate shall establish committees to study and make reports on matters of concern
to the University Faculty. Committees created by the Senate are committees of the
Senate, receive their authority from the Senate, and shall report to the Senate.
Senate committees shall not act independently of the Senate, and reports from these
committees shall be presented to the Senate for consideration. Simple reports or progress
reports may be made verbally, but any committee recommendations must be presented
in writing. Committee work shall be done as a body and not by action of the Chair,
either alone or following consultation with individual members of the committee.
Actions taken shall be those of the committee as a whole representing a majority vote.
The chair shall be elected from and by the members of that committee unless the chair
is specified in the motion creating a special committee. The committee chair shall
provide notice of meetings to each member of the committee and shall keep a record
of those in attendance to be forwarded to the Senate office at the conclusion of each
- Committees with Standing Authority in Addition to Those Created in the Constitution
- Academic Policies Committee
The Academic Policies Committee shall review and make recommendations to the Senate
on admission and retention standards, curriculum, transfer requirements, academic
advising, academic discipline, high school relations, residence requirements, non
credit academic programs, and related matters.
- Academic Support Committee
The Academic Support Committee shall review and make recommendations to the Senate
on the academic aspects of support activities such as Computer Services, centers for
teaching excellence, writing laboratories, other similar support activities and the
allocation of fiscal resources for these activities.
- Faculty Policies Committee
The Faculty Policies Committee shall review and make recommendations to the Senate
on academic freedom and responsibility, the Faculty Handbook, faculty salaries and
benefits and on all policies and procedures, including appeals, pertaining to faculty
appointment, dismissal, promotion, and tenure.
- Research Policies Committee
The Research Policies Committee shall conduct a continuous review of faculty research
opportunities, the award and administration of University supported grants, administration
and support of grant and contract research, computer applications and utilization,
and allocation and use of over-head funds.
- Administrative Policies Committee
The Administrative Policies Committee shall conduct a continuous review of policies,
procedures and practices associated with buildings and grounds, parking, campus security,
faculty use of facilities, staff services to the academic programs of the University,
the University Calendar, areas of student life that are of academic concern and matters
of joint interest to faculty and students. Students may appear before the Administrative
Policies Committee by invitation of that Committee or at the request of the Student
- Library Policies Committee
The Library Policies Committee shall conduct a continuous review of policies, procedures
and practices associated with the libraries including support personnel, facilities,
acquisitions and related activities along with the allocation of fiscal resources.
Section 3. REPRESENTATION BY PROXY
In the event that a Senator may, because of extenuating circumstances and for good
cause, be unable to attend the Senate meeting or Senate committee meeting, the Senator
may designate a faculty member from the same department, independent unit or area
as a representative. Written notice of such designation shall be provided to the President
or the Secretary of the Senate before the appropriate meeting. This designated representative
shall have voting privileges. Senators who send representatives shall be noted as
"present by proxy" in Senate records.
Section 4. GUIDELINES FOR FACULTY SENATE ELECTIONS
- In February of each year the Faculty Senate President will notify the current senator
and the department chair or head of independent units and areas that elections are
to take place in March. The chair or independent unit and area head will give at least
a one week written notice to all faculty of the meeting in March when the election
- The current senator will serve as the election official unless the current senator
is a nominee for election.
- Nominations may be by written petition signed by at least three faculty members and
by open nomination from the floor.
- Voting shall be by secret ballot unless a nominee is uncontested.
- In elections where there are more than two nominees and no candidate receives a majority
vote, the candidate with the lowest vote total will be dropped from the next ballot.
This practice will continue for each ballot until a majority vote is received.
- Certificate of Agreement to Serve
A new Senator shall complete the Certificate of Agreement to Serve and return it to
the Office of the Faculty Senate no later than the first Tuesday in April.
Section 5. SUBMITTAL DEADLINE FOR POLICY AND PROCEDURE CHANGES
Administrative proposals for any change to the Faculty Handbook, other than grammatical,
format, or spelling changes, must be submitted for approval to the Faculty Senate
prior to the first senate meeting of the spring term preceding the academic year in
which the proposed change would take effect.
Section 6. SPEAKING PROTOCOL
Before addressing the assembly, the speaker will clearly speak his/her name and area
Section 7. REPRESENTATIVE OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MEMPHIS TO THE FACULTY SUBCOUNCIL OF
THE TENNESSEE BOARD OF REGENTS
The Representative of The University of Memphis to the Faculty Sub-Council of the
Tennessee Board of Regents shall be the President-Elect of the Senate. The Representative
of The University of Memphis to the Faculty Sub-Council of the Tennessee Board of
Regents shall attend all Sub-Council meetings and represent the views of the Faculty
of The University of Memphis and shall report all activities, decisions, and concerns
of the Sub-Council to the Faculty Senate.
Section 8. SUSPENDING STANDING RULES
A Senate standing rule may be suspended for any specific main motion by a simple majority
vote of the Senate.
Section 9. AMENDING STANDING RULES
An amendment to the Senate standing rules may be proposed by any member of the Senate
and becomes effective with a two-thirds affirmative vote of the Senate.
Section 10. FACULTY SENATE INFORMATION OFFICER
An Information Officer, who is a technology-savvy faculty member, shall be appointed
by the President of the Faculty Senate to serve as an ex-officio member of the Faculty
Senate Executive Committee. The Information Officer is charged with developing and
organizing periodic surveys of the faculty and reporting the results to the Faculty
Section 11. FACULTY SENATE ACTIONS DURING SUMMER MONTHS
The Faculty Senate Executive Committee shall act on behalf of the Faculty Senate during
summer months when the Faculty Senate is not in session. Ratification of any action(s)
of the Faculty Senate Executive Committee during this period will be required at the
first Faculty Senate meeting of the academic year.
Section 12. PAST PRESIDENT AS MEMBER OF EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
The immediate past president of the Faculty Senate shall serve as an ex-officio member
of the Faculty Senate Executive Committee.
END OF STANDING RULES