Matters of department governance and related procedures | Department of Biological Sciences Handbook | Kent State University

Matters of department governance and related procedures

This handbook contains the operational policies and procedures for the Department of Biological Sciences.  It has been compiled by the Department Chairperson and an ad hoc committee composed of the Faculty Advisory Committee and the Graduate Studies Committee.  It is derived from the University Policy Register, the Collective Bargaining Agreement, existing documents and policy statements of the Department, and various unstated but established Department standards and guidelines.

            In cases of conflict between this handbook and other policy statements, the policies of the College of Arts and Sciences, the University, and of present or future Collective Bargaining Agreements have precedence over the handbook.

STRUCTURE AND ORGANIZATION OF THE DEPARTMENT:

  1. Administrative and Service Positions

    1. Department Chairperson

      The Department Chairperson is the chief administrative officer of the Department (Appendix I) and is directly accountable to the Dean of the College.  The Chairperson is responsible for recording, maintaining, and implementing the policies and procedures stated in this handbook, in regular and thorough consultation with the faculty and its committees. Among the Chairperson's duties are the following:

      1. Enforce University regulations.
      2. With appropriate consultation, develop and carry out administration and educational policies in the Department.
      3. With appropriate consultation, develop Departmental budget.
      4. Recommend new staff appointments to the Dean and recommend the promotion or placement on tenure of members of the Department who are eligible and qualified.
      5. Recommend, with documentation, the severance of individuals deemed not worthy of permanent appointment. (Final official notification to the individual is conveyed in writing by the President after consultation and review through appropriate procedures.)
      6. Appoint and direct the nonacademic staff of the Department.
      7. Recommend leaves of absence.
      8. Supply prompt notification to the office of the Dean of absence or resignation of a faculty member.
      9. Recommend course changes always through the appropriate Dean or Deans if more than one College is intimately involved.
      10. Distribute teaching assignments, schedule class hours and rooms within allocation, and prepare and supervise reports to appropriate University officials.
      11. Maintain custody of University property charged to the Department.
      12. Supervise the academic counseling of student majors in the Department.
      13. Notify the President's Office, through channels of needs of the Department for which gifts or bequests should be sought or are being sought.
      14. Perform other tasks, all of which cannot be cataloged, such as noting the progress of graduates, maintaining relationships with the Regional Campuses, inducting new faculty, developing brochures of course syllabi, etc.
      15. Maintain good communications and morale within the Department with special attention to the several biological disciplines and to the Regional Campuses.
      16. Represent the Department and communicate the general views of its faculty in College and University affairs.
      17. Keep the Department informed of the views and policies of the College and University administrations.
      18. Maintain appropriate balance and emphasis among the various subdisciplines of the Department.

      The Department Chairperson is an ex officio, non-voting member of all Department committees, and makes appointments as necessary to the committees and to the various service positions in the Department.

      The selection, review, and reappointment of the Department Chairperson are the responsibility of the Dean of the College, who consults with the Department on such matters. The procedures are governed by the University Policy Register (UPC) and the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

    2. Assistant to the Chair

      The Assistant to the Chair is appointed by the Department Chairperson after consultation with the Faculty Advisory Committee. The term of service is indefinite and may be terminated by the Assistant to the Chair or the Chairperson.  The primary duties of the Assistant to the Chair are:

                           a.      Chair (votes only to create or break a tie) the Department's Undergraduate Curriculum Committee. 

                           b.     Prepare the schedule of classes.

                           c.      Assist in developing the Departmental budget.

                           d.     Advise and counsel students.

                           e.      Serve as liaison to program counselors in the various colleges and schools.

                           f.      Approve course substitutions, individual investigation and transfer or transient credit.

                           g.      Serve as chief administrative officer in the absence of the Chairperson.

    3. Graduate Coordinator

      The Graduate Coordinator is appointed by the Chairperson after consultation with the Graduate Studies Committee and the Graduate Faculty.  The appointment is for a three year term and is renewable. The Coordinator must be a full member of the Graduate Faculty holding the rank of Associate or Full Professor.  The Graduate Coordinator chairs (votes only to create or break a tie) the Graduate Studies Committee and oversees the operation and development of the Department's graduate programs.  Among the duties of the Graduate Coordinator are:

      1. Supervise and coordinate admissions into the Department's graduate programs.
      2. Recommend to the Chair, with the advice of the Graduate Studies Committee, the awarding of graduate assistantships and teaching fellowships.
      3. Serve as a Departmental representative to the College of Arts & Sciences, Graduate Council and University Graduate Faculty.
      4. Serve as liaison to the School of Biomedical Sciences.
      5. Conduct performance evaluations of graduate student teaching.
      6. Implement the current policies of the Department's graduate programs and of the College of Arts and Sciences.
      7. Maintain and process graduate student records and inform students of their standing and progress toward degrees.
      8. Conduct reviews and make recommendations on Graduate Faculty membership.
      9. Initiate and coordinate changes and improvements in graduate curricula, requirements, and programs.
      10. Chair meetings of the Graduate Faculty.
      11. Act as advisor for the Department's Graduate Student Council.
      12. Approve individual investigations and special topics at the graduate level.
    4. Additional Appointive Positions

      Appointments to these positions are made by the Chairperson after consultation with the Faculty Advisory Committee.  The specific requirements of the position and the qualifications of the individual are of paramount importance in making the appointments.

    5. Non-academic Staff

      The Department's non-academic staff includes the Administrative Assistant, secretarial staff, the Business Manager, the Scientific Supply Clerk, the Director of Horticultural Facilities, Herbarium Assistant, and the animal complex staff. Each position has specific duties in the ongoing operation of the Department.

  2. Committees

    All committees are advisory and recommendatory to the Chairperson.  The membership, structure, and functions of some of the Department's committees are mandated by the UPR and CBA while others are established and organized by the Chairperson in consultation with the Faculty Advisory Committee.  The Chairperson will welcome faculty member's requests for positions on the various committees.  The Chairperson, when making appointments to committees, will be mindful of the diversity of disciplines encompassed by the life sciences, and will attend the kinds of expertise and interests necessary for the effective functioning of specific committees.

    1. The Faculty Advisory Committee

      The FAC is structured and operates according to the mandates of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.  The FAC is elected directly by the entire regular full time faculty of the Department; the committee consists of seven members with the following distribution:

      1. Elected from and by the Kent Campus faculty members: five representatives, at least three of whom must be tenured and at least one of whom is a full professor.
      2. Elected from and by the faculty serving on the Regional Campuses: two representatives, at least one of whom must be tenured.

      These terms are for one year.  The elections are conducted in the Spring Semester and the members assume office at the beginning of the Fall term.

      The FAC is convened and chaired at least once per term by the Department Chairperson who sets the agenda for the committee’s meetings.  Additional meetings of the FAC may be called by the Chairperson as necessary or upon the written request of one-fourth of the Department faculty members.  Agenda items may be requested by any member of the FAC.  The FAC elects one member, who must be tenured, to act as a representative on the College Advisory Committee. 

    2. The Graduate Studies Committee

      The GSC consists of five members:

      1. Four members elected from and by the graduate faculty.  There should be two members for each graduate study concentration within the department (Ecology/ Evolutionary Biology/Systematics and Neurobiology/ Molecular & Cellular/ Physiology). 
      2. The President of the Biology Graduate Student Council.
      3. The Graduate Coordinator, who serves as Committee Chair.  He/she votes to create or break a tie and on graduate admissions and recommendations for awarding assistantships.

      The graduate student member of the committee has voting rights on policy issues, but does not have voting rights on graduate admissions and awarding of assistantships. 

      This committee assists the Graduate Coordinator with the oversight and development of the graduate program.  Evaluating applications for admissions and evaluating and recommending candidates for graduate appointments are the responsibility of this committee.  This committee is responsible for monitoring the progress and academic performance of graduate students.  Proposals for new graduate courses, changes in course content, and related curricular matters are dealt with by the committee.  The GSC serves as the Student Academic Complaint Committee for graduate students (See Section III, B4).

    3. The Undergraduate Curriculum Committee

      The UGCC consists of five members with the following distribution:

      1. Three members elected from and by the Kent Campus Faculty.
      2. One representative elected from and by Regional Campus Faculty.
      3. The Undergraduate Coordinator, who serves as the Committee Chair and votes only to break a tie.

      The UGCC assists the Undergraduate Coordinator in supervising and coordinating the undergraduate program.  This committee makes recommendations on any matter affecting the undergraduate program of the Department such as faculty proposals for new courses, changes in course content, major requirements, and similar curricular matters.  The committee serves as the appellate unit for student appeals regarding course substitution.  The committee elects one member with full graduate faculty status to serve on the College Curriculum Committee.  If no member has full graduate faculty status, the candidate with full status having the next highest vote total will serve as an additional UGCC member and as a representative to the College Curriculum Committee.  Also, the UGCC serves as the Student Academic Complaint Committee for undergraduate students. (See Section III, B4).

    4. Student Academic Complaint Committees

      The UGCC serves as the Student Academic Complaint Committee for the undergraduate program.  The Assistant to the Chairperson serves as the Committee Chair.  A student member is selected as per University policy.  In the event a member of the UGCC is the respondent or otherwise may have a direct conflict of interest in the complaint, the UGCC will select a replacement from the full time, tenure-track faculty.  If the Assistant to the Chair is the respondent or otherwise may have a direct conflict of interest in the complaint, the Department Chair will appoint a member of the UGCC to serve as Committee Chair and will appoint an additional member to the committee from the full time, tenure-track faculty.  This procedure is governed by university policy (UPR 3342-4-16).

      The GSC serves as the Student Academic Complaint Committee for the graduate program.  The Department Chairperson appoints two additional members to the committee from the graduate faculty membership.  The Graduate Coordinator serves as the Committee Chair.  In the event a member of the GSC is the respondent or otherwise may have a direct conflict of interest in the complaint, the GSC will select a replacement from the graduate faculty membership.  If the Graduate Coordinator is the respondent or otherwise may have a direct conflict of interest in the complaint, the department Chair will appoint a member of the GSC to serve as Committee Chair and will appoint an additional member to the committee from the graduate faculty membership.  The procedure is governed by university policy.  (See Section V; Appendix II; UPR 3342-4-16; UPR 3342-6-06; UPR 3342-6-08).

    5. Reappointment, Tenure, and Promotion Committee

      The structure, membership, and procedures of these committees are specified in the Collective Bargaining Agreement and the University Policy Register.  Procedural and operational guidelines for these committees are provided by the Provost and Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs each year.  The central functions of these committees are to gather and review materials relevant to the professional performance of faculty candidates for reappointment, tenure, or promotion in rank, and to make recommendations to the Chairperson on each of these personnel decisions.  The recommendations of these committees and the Chairperson, together with the materials assembled by and for the committee, are forwarded to the Dean of the College.  The Chairperson gives each candidate for reappointment, tenure, or promotion a copy of his/her recommendation or a letter summarizing the recommendation, and a summary of the committee's deliberations.  Confidentiality and anonymity must be observed in the deliberative processes.

    6. Animal Care Committee

      This committee consists of those faculty members whose professional activities involve an interest in the operation of the Animal Care Facility.  Membership is by request of the faculty member or appointment by the Chairperson.  The Director of the Animal Complex chairs this committee, calls meetings when needed, and serves as the Departmental representative on the University Animal Care and Use Committee.

    7. Ad Hoc Committees

      The Chairperson may establish, charge, and appoint the membership of additional committees as required in Departmental operations; in naming members and designating a committee chairperson, the Department Chairperson should consult with the FAC.  The Chairperson may solicit requests and preferences from the faculty before making such appointments.