Matters of Department Governance and Related Procedures

  1. Goals and Mission of the Department

    The Department’s mission integrates teaching, the advancement of knowledge through research, and public service. In teaching, the mission includes both the education of specialists and the general education of students who will become decision-makers in society. To accomplish this, the Department has a strong, modern, professional program for its majors and a series of courses which broaden the human experience for non-majors. A core curriculum of fundamental courses for the majors is supplemented by a wide range of specialty courses emphasizing applied geology. The Department also serves a large number of students through the general education requirements and through providing courses ancillary to other degree programs. These courses develop in the student an understanding of the scientific method and provide examples of geological problems and their solutions to prepare the students to be informed citizens. Faculty members are expected to remain current in their areas of expertise, to attempt to anticipate future societal needs from the geologic standpoint, and to assure that the graduate and undergraduate programs are responsive to these needs.

    To assure attainment of the educational mission, faculty members are actively engaged in the advancement of knowledge through research. The graduate program is an integral part of this research effort and every attempt is made to provide an atmosphere which stimulates the research growth of faculty and students. The results of these efforts are disseminated regularly by oral presentations at professional meetings and by publication in refereed journals.

    Faculty and students of the Department provide continuing public service through speaking engagements, the dissemination of technical advice and information, and membership activities in various civic and professional organizations. This service aspect is a direct function of the strong research and graduate programs in the Department.

    The Department has an important mission in providing education, research expertise, and public service to all citizens to help increase their awareness of the natural surroundings so that reasonable decisions may be made regarding resource and environmental problems. The program, which has developed in response to this need, emphasizes the application of geology to the solution of societal problems and at the same time provides a very broad and strong theoretical base.

  2. Structure and Organization of the Department

    1. Definition of the Faculty

      The terms "Faculty", "members of the Faculty", and "Faculty members" used in this handbook are defined as full-time faculty of academic rank who hold tenured or tenure-track appointments at the University and who, therefore, are members of the bargaining unit as defined in the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). Unless otherwise specified, voting rights on departmental matters are restricted to the Faculty.  The CBA provides that the tenured and tenure-track Faculty of the Department may decide whether and to what extent full-time non-tenure track (NTT) faculty shall be represented on the Faculty Advisory Committee. 

    2. Administrative and Service Positions

      1. Department Chair

        The Department Chair is the chief administrative officer of the Department and reports directly to and is accountable to the Dean of the College. The Chair provides leadership, gives direction, and oversees planning for the future of the Department. The Chair manages the budget and financial affairs of the Department and is responsible for the attraction and retention of outstanding faculty and staff for the Department. The Chair is responsible for recording, maintaining, and implementing the policies and procedures stated in this Handbook through regular and thorough consultation with the Department faculty and the Department’s various committees as provided in the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

        The Chair is an ex officio, non-voting member of all Department committees and may make appointments as necessary and permitted to Department committees and to the various administrative and service positions in the Department, in consultation with the Faculty Advisory Committee.

        The selection, review, and reappointment of the Chair are the responsibility of the Dean, who consults with the Department faculty on such matters. Procedures for the selection, review and reappointment of the Chair are included in the applicable Collective Bargaining Agreement.

      2. Assistant to the Chair

        The Assistant to the Chair is appointed by the Chair after consultation with the FAC. The assistant prepares academic year and summer teaching schedules; assists the Chair with faculty search activities, compilation of data, and other matters as needed; and represents the Chair at meetings or before groups when the Chair is unable to do so. These duties shall be referenced in the description of workload equivalents contained in this handbook.

      3. Graduate Coordinator

        The Graduate Coordinator is appointed by the Chair after consultation with the FAC. The Graduate Coordinator must be a full member of the Graduate Faculty holding the rank of Associate Professor or Professor. The Graduate Coordinator serves as the initial advisor for entering graduate students, chairs the Graduate Studies Committee, and oversees the operation and development of the Department's graduate programs.

      4. Additional Administrative Appointments

        Appointments to other administrative positions are made by the Chair after consultation with the FAC. Additional appointments and their duties include:

        Graduate Preceptors: supervise teaching assistants; conduct weekly meetings with them regarding the functioning of the introductory labs; provide the Chairperson with periodic assessment of the teaching assistants for the purpose of their retention and reappointment.

        Undergraduate Advisors: advise all undergraduate majors and minors and monitor their progress; report to the Chair on problems in scheduling or undergraduate curriculum.

        Internship and Employment Coordinator: manage and promote the Department’s Internship Program; maintain contact with employers; recruit, evaluate, and place students with employers. 

        Library Representative: oversee the placement of book and map orders and journal subscriptions.

      5. Non-Academic Staff

        The Department's non-academic staff includes all classified and unclassified staff positions within the Department including, but not limited to, the Administrative Assistant and secretarial staff. Each position has specific duties as defined in the applicable position description.

    3. Department Committees

      All Department committees are advisory and recommendatory to the Chair. The membership, structure, and function of some of the Department's committees are governed by University, Administrative, and Operational Policies and the applicable Collective Bargaining Agreement. Except for the FAC, members of all other committees are appointed annually by the Chairperson in consultation with the Faculty Advisory Committee. The Chair may establish ad hoc committees in consultation with the FAC. All committees have a minimum of three members in addition to the Chairperson who serves ex officio on all committees. Committee chairs are appointed by the Chairperson with the exception of the Faculty Advisory Committee, chaired by the Chairperson.

      1. The Faculty Advisory Committee (FAC)

        The FAC is structured and operates as described in the applicable Collective Bargaining Agreement.  The FAC is elected directly by the full-time Faculty of the Department as defined in subhead III A Definition of the Faculty above. The FAC serves as an advisory group to the Chair in all Departmental matters; performs duties requested by the Chair; is involved in the preparation of material and agenda for faculty meetings; and makes recommendations to the Chairperson regarding individual merit raises for the faculty. The Committee is composed of three TT faculty from the Kent Campus and one from one of the Regional Campuses. The Committee elects from its membership a Chair of the FAC who will serve as the Department’s representative to the College Advisory Committee (CAC).  The terms of the FAC members are for two years. Elections are conducted in the Spring Semester, and the FAC members assume office at the beginning of the Fall Semester. The FAC is convened and chaired at least two times per term by the Chair who, in consultation with the FAC, sets the agenda for its meetings.  FAC members may request that items be added to the agenda.  Additional meetings of the FAC may be called by the Chair as needed or upon a request by at least one-half of the members of the FAC.

      2. The Graduate Studies Committee (GSC)

        The GSC assists the Graduate Coordinator with the oversight and development of the Department’s graduate program. The GSC reviews proposals for new graduate courses and changes in course content and related curricular matters, and it conducts periodic reviews of the Department’s graduate program as a whole. The GSC may also assume the role of Curriculum Committee for graduate curriculum. The GSC is responsible for graduate recruiting, evaluating applications for admission, evaluating and recommending candidates for graduate appointments, and monitoring the progress and academic performance of graduate students in the Department. The members of the GSC are appointed by the chairperson from the Full Members of the Graduate Faculty.

      3. The Undergraduate Curriculum Committee (UGCC)

        The UGCC assists the Chair in supervising and coordinating the Department’s curricular programs. The UGCC makes recommendations on any and all matters which affect the academic programs of the Department including but not limited to faculty proposals for new courses, changes in course content, major requirements, and other curricular matters. The chair and members of the UGCC are appointed by the chairperson. Membership should include a senior undergraduate major in good standing. The UGCC Chair serves as the department representative on the College Curriculum Committee

      4. Student Academic Complaint Committee

        The Student Academic Complaint Committee is composed of FAC faculty members and one student appointed by the FAC. The faculty Chair of the FAC chairs the SACC. The policies and procedures of this committee are governed by University Policy 3342-4-02.3. In the event that a member of the Student Academic Complaint Committee is the subject of or may otherwise be involved with a student complaint, the Chairperson will appoint a replacement from the full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty. If the Chair of the SACC is the subject of or may otherwise be involved with a student complaint, the department Chair will appoint a member of the Student Academic Complaint Committee to chair the committee and appoint an additional member to the committee from the full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty. 

      5. Reappointment, Tenure, and Promotion Committee

        The policies and procedures which govern the Department’s Ad Hoc Reappointment, Tenure and Promotion (RTP) Committee are included in University Policy.  Procedural and operational guidelines for this committee are provided annually by the Office of the Provost. This committee reviews materials relevant to the professional performance of faculty who are candidates for reappointment, tenure, or promotion in rank, and makes recommendations to the Chair on each of these personnel decisions.  The recommendations of this committee and the Chair, together with the materials assembled for the committees, are forwarded to the Dean of the College. 

      6. Graduate Faculty Committee

        The Graduate Faculty Committee of the Department of Geology consists of the Chairperson and all Faculty Advisory Committee members who are full members of the graduate faculty and who are approved to direct doctoral dissertations. In the case that a member of the Faculty Advisory Committee does not meet these criteria, the Chairperson shall appoint another member of the faculty who meets the necessary criteria to serve on the Graduate Faculty Committee. The Committee's role is to evaluate the faculty and recommend appropriate graduate faculty status for each member of the Department.

      7. Other Departmental Committees

        The Chairperson may establish, charge, and appoint the membership of additional departmental committees as required by the Department. In establishing departmental committees, naming members, and designating a committee chair, the Chairperson shall consult with the FAC. 

    4. Faculty Meetings

      Faculty meeting attendance includes the Chairperson and all full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty in the department. All full-time tenured and TT faculty have a vote on motions presented to the faculty. Faculty meetings are scheduled at least twice each semester. Additional meetings can be initiated by the Chairperson or may be requested by the Faculty Advisory Committee or a minimum 1/3 faculty, as necessary. Meetings are preceded by written announcement of the agenda and followed by minutes which are distributed to the faculty on the Main and Regional Campuses. Conduct of meetings is in accordance with Robert's Rules of Order. Voting procedure is as follows:

      1) Voting on all issues requires a quorum consisting of three-fourths of the faculty.  Absentee ballots relative to a particular motion will count as part of the quorum except in cases involving amended motions.

      2) Motions concerning curriculum, Departmental policies, petitions, changes in course credits, and new courses must be submitted in writing to the faculty at least one week prior to the meeting and must pass by a two-thirds majority. Abstaining votes will count as negative votes since faculty members should be convinced pro or con on matters of such importance to the Department.

      3) Motions regarding other matters may be passed by a simple majority.

  3. Faculty Grievance and Appeal Procedures

    1. 1.  Informal Procedure

    It is policy that grievances be resolved at the lowest possible level, within the Department. It should be noted that an attempt at informal resolution, through consultation of the faculty member with the Departmental Chairperson, is required before the filing of a contractual grievance. Complaints about matters other than those of a contractual nature should be resolved within the Department. Faculty members who believe that they are being treated unfairly should consult with the Department Chairperson. The Chair may seek the advice and recommendation of individual faculty members or faculty advisory groups in seeking informal resolution of a dispute or complaint.

    2.  Formal Procedure

    Formal procedures for addressing grievances affecting the terms and conditions of employment of faculty are described in the applicable Collective Bargaining Agreement. Disputes involving substantive academic judgments are subject to a separate academic appeals process governed by the applicable Collective Bargaining Agreement.

    Faculty grievances that are not directly related to the terms or conditions of employment and are not academic appeals are appropriately addressed within the Department, whenever possible. The Chair and/or faculty members will initiate an informal dialogue with all parties involved in a dispute and strive to reach a resolution agreeable to all parties.

  4. Handbook Modification, Amendment and Revision

    The implementation, modification, amendment and revision of this Handbook are governed by the applicable Collective Bargaining Agreement.  The Department Chair and FAC will review and update this Handbook as needed, but at least every five (5) years. Suggestions for modifications or amendments to the Handbook may be initiated at any time by the Chair or by any faculty member. Proposed modifications or amendments are subject to discussion, revision, and recommendation by the FAC. When a proposed modification or amendment involves a major change in Department policy or practice, the Chair may seek the recommendation of the entire faculty. If the Chair concurs with a proposed modification, amendment or revision, he/she will recommend the change(s) to the Dean. All modifications, amendments and revisions of the Handbook require the approval of the Dean. In reviewing this Handbook, the Dean may request revisions before lending final approval. If these revisions are not adopted by the Department, the Dean shall consult the CAC with regard to the provision(s) in dispute before making a final determination and certifying final approval of the Handbook. Further, the Dean may direct that the Handbook be modified, amended or revised to reflect changes in College or University policy.