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Faculty Senate Bylaws
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Contents of Page:

 

Preamble

The basic functions of Great Basin College are to preserve, augment, criticize and transmit knowledge; to develop skills; to foster creative capacities; and to establish the opportunity for the community at large to be exposed to these functions. These functions are performed by a community of scholars who must be free to exercise independent judgment in the planning and execution of their educational responsibilities. The government of an institution of higher education should be designed to allow these individuals to select and carry out their responsibilities with maximum effectiveness and integrity.

Because the operation of Great Basin College is the joint responsibility of the Board of Regents, the Chancellor of the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE), the President of the College and the Faculty which performs the primary tasks for which the school is organized, the Faculty should be recognized as an essential participant in both making and implementing education policy decisions.

Therefore, to insure the orderly development of educational programs and policies, to facilitate communication and cooperation among officers of administration and the Faculty, and to promote the stable growth and continued improvement of higher education in the State of Nevada, we, the President and the Faculty of Great Basin College, do hereby subscribe to this document as a constitutional organization, authority and responsibilities.

 

Article I. Name

The organization herein defined shall be known as the Faculty Senate of Great Basin College. The organization will be referred to as the Senate in these bylaws.

 

Article II. Authority and Functions of the Senate

The authority, purpose, and objectives of the Senate are established within the traditional concept of faculty organization in American colleges. These shall be as defined in Title 2, Chapter 1, Section 1.4.7* of the Board of Regents (BOR) Handbook. The Senate is authorized to act on any questions and issues properly brought before it by members of the faculty of Great Basin College and actively participates in the establishment and implementation of policies and procedures at the College, recommending whatever rules and regulations as are desirable to promote the interests and policies of the College.

The Senate has the authority and responsibility to take all appropriate actions that are not in conflict with these bylaws, with the GBC institutional bylaws, with the NSHE Code, and with the laws and statutes of the State of Nevada and the United States. In particular, in accordance with the BOR Handbook, Title 2, Chapter 1, Section 1.4.9* of the NSHE Code, the Senate shall make a recommendation to the President whenever there is a reorganization of administrative units within the College; through the Senate, the faculty will participate in the selection of administrative officers and (in the event that the office of President becomes vacant) in the selection of a new president. The Senate is further authorized to form any committees that might assist in performing its functions. In accordance with Title 2, Chapter 1, Section 1.4.8* of the NSHE Code, actions of the Senate shall be reported to the President and shall be subject to appeal and review by the faculty.

*Reference: BOR Handbook, Title 2, Chapter 1

 

Article III. Definitions
  • Faculty means all Professional Academic and Administrative Faculty.
  • Executive Faculty means the President and Vice Presidents of the College.
  • Code means the latest revision of the Nevada System of Higher Education Code.
  • 0.50 FTE means a teaching load of at least 50 percent of a full-time work load, as defined by current college policy.
  • Part-time Faculty means persons who are instructing one or more classes and whose total teaching workload is less than 0.50 FTE.

 

Article IV. Membership
  1. All Faculty who are not Executive Faculty (as defined in Article III) shall be eligible to be representatives in the Senate. These representatives are called "senators" in this document.
  2. Senators shall be selected from established units of the institution. These units and their membership shall be defined by the Executive Committee, and must be approved by the Senate.
  3. The number of senators from each unit shall be one, except units with more than ten members, which shall have two. For part-time faculty representatives, see section 7.
  4. Senators from each unit shall be selected by election within the membership of that unit prior to the first Senate meeting of each academic year. The term of each senator shall be for one year, with no limit to the number of reelections for any individual.
  5. The term of office for full-time Faculty senators shall start and end on the date of the first Senate meeting of the academic year.
  6. In the event that a senator from a designated unit cannot attend a Senate meeting, that representative shall find an individual from within the same unit to serve as proxy for that meeting. A written proxy of votes on the issues addressed on the current agenda is also an acceptable substitute. Senators represented by proxy are considered present for the meeting, if there is good cause (as judged by the Chair).
  7. The Senate may elect two at-large senators from the part-time Faculty. Senators who are part-time Faculty shall have full voting rights, but shall not hold any Senate office. Candidates may be nominated by any Faculty member or by any part-time Faculty member. Candidates must express a commitment to attend Senate meetings and participate in its affairs. Elections will be held during the first Senate meeting in the fall semester. Terms of office will start October 1 and end September 30.
  8. Three absences from Senate meetings without good cause will be considered reason to terminate the term of a senator. The Personnel Committee will recommend appropriate action to the Senate for consideration.
  9. If for any reason, including excessive absences, a senator is unable to complete a term, the unit which that member represents shall select another Senator as soon as practicable.
  10. The composition of the Senate is subject to change by amendment of these bylaws to accomodate changes in the organization of the Faculty.
  11. All officers and senators are uninstructed representatives. It is their responsibility, however, to seek the views and opinions of their unit colleagues and to report back to their unit colleagues. Having exercised such responsibility, the members shall be free to make decisions and vote on matters according to their own judgments.

 

Article V. Officers and Election Procedure
  1. The officers of Faculty Senate shall be one Chair, one Chair Elect (also called Vice Chair), and one Secretary, to be placed into office according to the provisions of this article. The immediate Past Chair is not considered an officer for the purpose of organization but is a member of the Executive Committee (as defined in Article VII).
  2. All Faculty eligible to be senators, as defined in Article IV, shall elect from their numbers a Chair Elect by simple majority of those voting. In cases where the election is contested, the current Chair may determine that the election shall be held by secret written ballot; otherwise, a voice vote or show of hands shall be acceptable.
  3. Nominations for the position of Chair Elect shall be opened during the second to last regular meeting of the Senate during an academic year and shall remain open through the Executive Committee meeting just prior to the last spring semester Senate meeting. The Executive Committee will close the nominations and prepare ballots for the eligible Faculty to use when voting. To avoid conflicts of interest, no Executive Committee members running for office shall be present during those portions of the Executive Committee meetings which deal with the election. In cases where the election is contested, voting for the Chair Elect shall be held during the four working days prior to the last regular meeting of the Senate in the spring semester of each year. Provisions for the time(s) and date(s) of the election shall be made so that all Faculty may vote. The Executive Committee shall close the voting in time to count the ballots and shall announce the election results at the last regular meeting in the spring semester.
  4. The Chair Elect shall serve a one (1) or two (2) year term starting and ending with the last regular meeting in the spring semester. The Chair shall serve a one (1) or two (2) year term, also starting and ending with the last regular meeting of the spring semester. During the last meeting, if a majority of the Senate voting believe it important for the terms of the Chair and Chair Elect to be extended by one year, then these officers will serve for one additional year -- for a total of two years; otherwise, their terms of office will expire during that meeting. As the concluding item of the Senate Chair Report of the last meeting, the Chair Elect shall become the Chair for the next year (amendment approved 05/13/05). At the same time, The Chair shall become the Past Chair and shall stay a member of the Executive Committee for the next year. If [prior to the last annual meeting] at least 25% of the total number of Faculty have petitioned that the Chair Elect should not become Chair, a vote shall be taken instead. If 60% of those senators/officers present and voting determine that the Chair Elect should not become Chair, then a special election will be held in order to elect a new Chair.
  5. A Secretary shall be elected from the Senate membership by the Senate membership at the first Senate meeting of each academic year. The nominations shall be made at that meeting and in cases where the election is contested, the current Chair may determine that the election shall be made by secret written ballot; otherwise, a voice vote or show of hands shall be acceptable. The Secretary shall be in office for a term that ends with the election of a new secretary on the first meeting of the next academic year.
  6. No officer shall serve more than one (1) consecutive term in the same office.
  7. The Senate Chair, upon taking office, may appoint an Executive Secretary to keep track of and circulate committee reports, agendas, and minutes. The role of Executive Secretary is not a senate office and my be held by any GBC employee.

These officers shall perform the duties prescribed by these bylaws.

 

Article VI. Meetings
  1. Regular and Special Meetings
    1. The regular meetings of the Senate will be held at least once each month throughout the academic year with the time to be the responsibility of the Senate Chair. Special meetings may be called at any time during the calendar year by the Senate Chair, by a majority vote of the Senate, or by any five members of the Senate through petition to the Chair.
    2. The regular and special meetings of the Senate are open to all members of the Faculty and to visitors, unless a meeting or a portion of a meeting is declared to be in executive session by a vote of the Senate. An executive session is open only to officers, senators, and the Executive Secretary. If mentioned on the agenda, the Chair allows for a period of public comment, during which visitors are allowed to generate and enter discussion.
  2. Agenda
    1. At least three (3) days prior to a regular or special meeting, the Senate Chair will have an agenda published and distributed to the Faculty. The agenda will also be posted on the Internet (or its successor) and/or be available via e-mail. The Chair must place on the agenda of the next regular meeting all items which are submitted by petition signed by at least ten (10) percent of the Faculty, and may place any item on the agenda which has been submitted by any member of the Faculty prior to or at the Executive Committee meeting that immediately precedes the Senate meeting. Items intended for information only may be given at the meeting without prior notice if the Senate permits. Action may not be taken on items not on the agenda of a given meeting, but this does not preclude discussion items.
    2. Order of Business:
      1. Welcome and Introductions
      2. Call to Order/Announcement of Quorum
      3. Visiting Speaker, if any
      4. Approval of minutes of the previous meeting
      5. Senate Chair Report Committee Reports
      6. Unfinished Business
      7. New Business
      8. Informational Items, if any
      9. Public Comment, if any
      10. Adjournment
    3. Rules

      The Senate is empowered to make rules governing its own internal organization and procedure subject to the following:

      1. A majority of Senate members will constitute a quorum.
      2. All actions of the Senate shall be by simple majority of the members present and voting except as specified otherwise in these bylaws.
      3. The minutes of Senate meetings shall be distributed regularly to the Faculty and College President and on the Faculty Senate Web Page. These will also be made available to the members of the public upon request.

      The rules contained in the current edition of Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised shall govern the Senate in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with these bylaws and any special rules of order the Senate may adopt, and any regulations Great Basin College or the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents may adopt, and any statutes applicable to this organization.

 

Article VII. Faculty Senate Committees

All faculty, with the exception of Executive Faculty, must perform work on a Senate standing committee, a Senate ad-hoc committee, or on a recognized non-Senate committee (see below). Senate members shall serve on a maximum of one committee, unless they should volunteer for more. Committee chairs must not necessarily be senators, but shall report to the Senate. Each committee will generate a written report of each meeting, called the committee report. The report shall indicate when meetings were held, which members were present, what discussion was made, and what action (if any) was taken. Committee reports requiring action by Faculty Senate will be submitted to the Senate Chair prior to or at the Executive Committee meeting that precedes an upcoming Senate meeting.

Process for Creating and Dissolving Committees:

  1. Any member of Senate may propose the creation or dissolution of a Senate committee. The process for forming or dissolving ad hoc committees is found below in section 2; the process for standing committees is found in section 3.
  2. Provided that the Chair places the committee creation/dissolution on the agenda (see Article VI), a simple majority of those present and voting will serve to take the action necessary to create/dissolve an ad hoc committee. Immediately prior to committee creation, the Chair must specify the duties and tasks of the committee. These duties and tasks are approved by the Senate along with the existence of the committee. If it is the intent of the Senate that an ad hoc committee be dissolved at a certain time in the future, that time must be specified when the committee is created.
  3. Because standing committees are listed in these bylaws, the creation/dissolution of a standing committee (or the moving from ad hoc status to standing status or vice versa) requires an amendment to these bylaws and must be accomplished according to the process in Article VIII.
  4. The Senate may decide to recognize non-Senate committees as meeting the requirement for faculty committee work. At least once per year, at the last meeting of the academic year, the Executive Committee shall review faculty participation on college-wide committees, system-wide committees, state committees, and other committees that require extensive work. In each case, the Executive Committee shall forward a finding to the Senate, indicating whether there is an ongoing need for a committee to assist in maintaining or improving the general good of Great Basin College – one that warrants a faculty commitment for the coming school year. The Executive Committee will provide the Senate with a list of non-Senate committees which may satisfy the committee workload requirement. The Senate may amend this list based on discussion. Upon the approval of the list, membership and participation on approved committees shall be deemed to meet the requirements outlined herein.

    Committees that might meet the criterion for ongoing need include: college-wide accreditation committees; committees to improve student performance; committees to encourage campus community; system-wide committees; and city, county, state, and national committees on which a faculty member represents Great Basin College as an institution. Committees which, while important, do not meet the criterion include: department-level committees; tenure committees; committees that exist only due to a specific event; ad-hoc committees that exist for one semester’s time or less; and non-College committees on which a faculty member represents himself/herself or his/her chosen profession (but not the college). The Senate has the discretion both to make and to amend its determination.

Faculty Senate Committees:

  1. Academic Standards. This committee recommends policies regarding admissions, transfers, and general academic regulations, including policies pertaining to student academic performance and graduation. The committee reviews departmental recommendations regarding requests for nontraditional credit. The Vice President for Academic Affairs shall be an ex-officio member of this committee.
  2. Adjunct Faculty. This committee addresses issues relating to adjunct faculty and presents these matters to Faculty Senate seeking action where it might be useful.
  3. Assessment. Appointment to this committee extends for two years. This committee serves to periodically review and make recommendations relevant to the standards, educational quality, implementation, oversight, and assessement of the academic programs at the College. This committee maintains any items necessary to assess learning outcomes. The administrator who oversees institutional assessment shall be an ex-officio member of this committee.
  4. Budget and Facilities. This committee communicates the current budget status and process to the Faculty; designs, implements, and participates in a process ensuring full Faculty participation in budget preparation and disbursement; provides recommendations for the priority of capital expenditures; provides budgetary input into the College Master Plan; and distributes the funds accumulated through the Technology Fee. In addition, this committee receives input from staff, faculty, students and interested persons concerning the plans for or problems with proposed and/or existing campus buildings, parking, and landscaping.
  5. Compensation and Benefits. In accordance with BOR Handbook, Title 2, Chapter 5, Section 5.6.1, this committee defines and maintains criteria for placement and movement on the salary schedule; distributes faculty development and out-of-state travel monies; makes recommendations on policies and priorities for equity adjustments and matters related to intellectual property (see BOR Handbook, Title 4, Chapter 12); establishes criteria and makes recommendations on this distribution of available merit monies; serves as a grievance committee for Faculty on all salary and benefits matters. For the purposes of approving salary schedule variances, this committee constitutes the Senate's variance committee (BOR Handbook, IV, 3.24.3). In accordance with BOR Handbook, Title 2, Chapter 5, Section 5.6.2 and in the event of a grievance, administrators shall grant to this committee access to professional staff members' payroll files.
  6. Curriculum and Articulation. This committee studies existing GBC curricula and those of other NSHE institutions and considers new elements of curricula, including the creation of new degrees, new degree requirements, inclusion in the general education matrix, changes related to course numbering at other state institutions, and specific courses; recommends full transferability, or B status for new courses; considers all matters concerning articulation of course content and transferability of credit.
  7. Distance Education. This committee addresses the impact, technology, and problems of distance education. It studies the addition of electronic means of delivery to the teaching process from the point of view of instruction. The areas to be discussed by the committee include the use of online, audio, video, Interactive Video techniques, and other emergent technologies used in an extended classroom environment. The committee also recommends to the Compensation and Benefits Committee remuneration policies for the development of materials for distance education courses, for the conversion of course to distance education modes of instruction, for travel to remote sites, and for the instruction of distance education courses.
  8. Department Chairs. This committee hears, discusses and resolves interdepartmental issues encountered by department chairs and program and site directors in carrying out their assigned administrative duties. Also, this is a forum where intradepartmental issues may be brought up by department chairs, especially in seeking possible solutions consistent with other departments. Open discussion will also occur. This committee is a liasion between GBC administators and GBC faculty (among those full-time and adjunct instructors within their department). (Amendment passed 11/24/05 making Department Chairs a Senate Standing Committee)
  9. Faculty and Administrative Evaluations. This committee formulates cirteria for and monitors the evaluation of supervisory and executive faculty and prepares and maintains forms and procedures for student, peer, and all other evaluations of teaching and administrative faculty.
  10. Library. The committee serves to advise the Library Faculty in matters of Library Policy, to review Library budget requests, and to make recommendtions for acquisitions. The committee will receive reports from the Library faculty and represent faculty and student interests in maintaining Library resources and services. The director of the library shall be an ex-officio member of this committee.
  11. Personnel. The committee shall consider and give recommendations in all matters concerning appointments, tenure (consistent with BOR Handbook, Title 2, Chapter 4), sabbaticals (BOR Handbook, Title 4, Chapter 3, Section 3.11.7b), academic freedom, and termination of Faculty members; shall recommend policies in regard to grievances either of a personal or professional nature. These duties include assisting with changes to the tenure policy in the GBC institutional bylaws in accordance with BOR Handbook, Title 2, Chapter 1, Section 1.3.4 and Chapter 4, Section 4.4.3. In accordance with BOR Handbook, Title 2, Chapter 5, Section 5.6.2 and in the event of a grievance administrators shall grant to this committee access to professional staff members' personnel files. The Senate grants authority to the Personnel Committee to form search committees in order to fill open positions. Whenever possible, the chair of each search committee shall be a member of the Personnel Committee.
  12. Student Relations. This committee meets with the student body officers on a monthly basis to encourage both groups to work closely together in promoting college functions, and brings student concerns before the Senate for consideration. It also works systematically to build up and distribute scholarship funds. The president of GBC's student government organization shall be an ex-officio member of this committee.
  13. Executive. This committee is composed of elected Senate officers and the chairs of standing committees. The committee meets at least once before each Senate meeting to set the agenda, with matters of educational policy having highest priorty. The committee may also act on specific items as deemed necessary. Since committee membership is determined at the first Senate meeting of the Fall Semester, the outgoing committee chairs from the previous year will serve together with the incoming officers to set the agenda for the first Senate meeting of the Fall Semester. Program Supervisors are invited to participate in Executive Committee meetings in an ex-officio fashion.
  14. General Education. The committee will study and review the GBC general education program on an ongoing basis. The committee will review the general education programs, courses, and matrix for new developments, changes, assessment, and continual program improvement.

Membership on Committees:

The Chair shall appoint faculty members to standing and ad hoc Senate committees after July 1st of a given year but prior to the first Senate meeting of the Fall semester. Committee members will represent diversified interests. With the exception of the Assessment Committee, membership on standing committees shall be for an annual term, beginning with the first Senate meeting of the Fall Semester.

At the request of the Senate and with the agreement of the persons appointed, Senate committees may include Executive Faculty (recommended by the College President), students (recommended by the student government), and/or classified staff (recommended by Classified Council). These members shall be non-voting, ex-officio members of the committees to which they have been appointed.

At the recommendation of the committee chair, any member of any Senate committee who is absent without a proxy from more than two scheduled meetings of the committee may be dismissed from the committee, with the approval of the Senate Chair. If the committee chair is absent without proxy from more than two scheduled meetings, the Senate Chair shall replace him/her with a new committee chair.

The Chair of Compensation and Benefits shall serve at any NSHE meeting dealing with salary and benefits. If other faculty representatives to NSHE Committees are required, they shall be appointed from among the faculty by the Senate Chair, subject to Senate confirmation.

 

Article VIII. Amendment of the Bylaws

The bylaws may be amended by a two-thirds majority of the Senate present and voting, provided the amendment has been circulated to the Faculty by the Secretary of the Senate at least one (1) week before it is placed on the agenda. Amendments to these bylaws are subject to Faculty review, and may be vetoed by a majority vote of the total membership of the Faculty. A majority of those present and voting at a Faculty meeting may call for a written ballot of the entire Faculty.

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