Bylaws

Approved by the Senate on February 23, 2016, ratified by constituents on March 8, 2016, and approved by the Board of Trustees on March 9, 2016. These Bylaws are effective July 1, 2016. See also Previous Bylaws (1991–2016).

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I. Name

The name of this organization shall be the Academic Senate of Pratt Institute (hereafter, “Senate”).

II. Purposes

The purposes and responsibilities of the Senate shall include but not be limited to:

a. acting as an advisory body to the Board of Trustees and the administration, making direct recommendations to the President and Provost without review by any intermediary;
b. reviewing academic policies and procedures;
c. reviewing curricula and academic programs and structures;
d. reviewing course additions and changes when those additions and changes impact the requirements of existing or proposed programs;
e. providing support and advice for department- and school-level curriculum committees on curriculum development and review;
f. reviewing academic services;
g. establishing committees on appropriate subjects;
h. assisting with the formulation of the structure and procedures of search committees for deans, vice-presidents, the provost, and the president; nominating faculty and chair membership of those committees; and interviewing finalists for those positions;
i. nominating, along with other Institute bodies, faculty and chair members of Board non-standing committees;
j. nominating, along with other Institute bodies, faculty and chair candidates for faculty trustee positions; and
k. electing faculty and chair members of Institute committees.

III. Structure

III.A. Constituents

The Senate shall represent three groups at Pratt Institute:

a. faculty, as defined by rank in the Faculty Handbook, excluding those who simultaneously hold administrative titles at Pratt;
b. chairs, assistant chairs, and equivalent academic-administrative titles specified in the Faculty Handbook (hereafter, “chairs category”);
c. administrative staff who simultaneously hold faculty rank at Pratt or teach at Pratt.

III.B. Membership

III.B.i. Voting Members

The voting members of the Senate shall consist of:

a. one senator from each academic department, the Library, and each academic unit that offers credit-bearing courses and is not designated as a department (hereafter, all referred to as “department”), with one additional senator for each department with more than half of the faculty and staff constituents of the largest department but not fewer than 60 total;

b. senators at-large:

i. five senators from the full-time faculty, with no more than one senator from each department,
ii. five senators from the part-time faculty, with no more than one senator from each department,
iii. five senators from chairs category, with no more than one senator from each school, and
iv. one senator from staff; and

c. the President of the Senate.

III.B.ii. Non-Voting Members

The non-voting members of the Senate shall include:

a. any Senate committee chair who is not a voting member of the Senate;
b. one member selected by the President of the Institute;
c. one member selected by and from the members of Provost’s Council;
d. one member selected by the student government;
e. up to one alternate for each of the voting and non-voting members specified above, with the exception of the Senate President; and
f. other participants from relevant areas of the Institute invited by a two-thirds majority vote of the Senate, whose memberships shall lapse on June 30 of each year.

III.B.iii. Duties of Senators

It is the duty of senators to discover and further the interests of their constituents. To this end senators shall:

a. solicit the opinions of their constituents on matters affecting education and governance;
b. inform their constituents of significant events, dates, and deadlines announced by the Senate, and of its actions;
c. attend Senate meetings at which they have a vote or, if unable to attend, request that their alternate(s) attend; and
d. serve routinely on Senate committees.

III.C. Officers

III.C.i. President

The duties of the President shall include but not be limited to:

a. acting as primary liaison to constituents, administration, the faculty union, student government, and the Board of Trustees;
b. acting as official spokesperson of the Senate;
c. supervising student assistants, unless delegated to another officer;
d. providing periodic reports to the Senate; and
e. serving as a non-voting ex-officio member of every Senate committee unless otherwise elected, appointed, or specified.

III.C.ii. Financial Officer

The duties of the Financial Officer shall include but not be limited to:

a. verifying and monitoring the Senate budget;
b. processing all stipends and valid reimbursement requests within ten business days;
c. preparing and maintaining all financial records of the Senate and furnishing them upon valid request;
d. preparing a preliminary proposal for the annual budget of the Senate;
e. coordinating regular Senate and Executive and Steering Committee meeting locations and materials;
f. providing periodic reports to the Senate; and
g. serving as a non-voting ex-officio member of every Senate committee unless otherwise elected, appointed, or specified.

III.C.iii. Information Officer

The duties of the Information Officer shall include, but not be limited to:

a. maintaining Senate archives and furnishing records of the Senate upon valid request;
b. recording attendance and minutes at meetings in the absence of a designated minute-taker;
c. supervising Senate media;
d. providing periodic reports to the Senate; and
e. serving as a non-voting ex-officio member of every Senate committee unless otherwise elected, appointed, or specified.

III.C.iv. Outreach Officer

The duties of the Outreach Officer shall include but not be limited to:

a. facilitating outreach to constituents, senators, and committee members;
b. fostering dialogue among constituents on issues related to education and governance;
c. maintaining Senate rosters, supervising nominations and elections, and coordinating recruitment of new members;
d. providing periodic reports to the Senate; and
e. serving as a non-voting ex-officio member of every Senate committee unless otherwise elected, appointed, or specified.

III.D. Committee Chairs

The duties of committee chairs shall include but not be limited to:

a. convening and chairing meetings of their respective committees;
b. soliciting membership for their respective committees in accordance with Senate Bylaws and standing rules of the Senate and its respective committees;
c. providing periodic reports to the Senate; and
d. performing other duties as described in standing rules of the Senate and its respective committees.

IV. Elections

IV.A. Members

Regular elections for voting members of the Senate shall be conducted every three years.

IV.A.i. Eligibility

a. Departmental Senators

Faculty and staff constituents in each department shall elect their own representative(s). These constituents shall be eligible to nominate faculty and staff constituents in their respective department(s), to self-nominate, and to vote for senator(s) for their departments(s). Constituents belonging to more than one department shall be allowed to participate in the election of each department in which they hold teaching appointments.

b. At-Large Senators

Constituents in each category of at-large senators shall elect their own representatives. Full-time faculty shall be eligible to nominate members of the full-time faculty, to self-nominate, and to vote for full-time at-large senators, up to the maximum number allowed. Part-time faculty shall be eligible to nominate members of the part-time faculty, to self-nominate, and to vote for part-time at-large senators, up to the maximum number allowed. Constituents in the chairs category shall be eligible to nominate members of the chairs category, to self-nominate, and to vote for chairs category senators, up to the maximum number allowed. Staff constituents shall be eligible to nominate staff constituents, to self-nominate, and to vote for staff senator.

IV.A.ii. Nominations

In regular elections, nominations shall be conducted at least one semester before senators’ terms expire, remain open for at least 20 business days when classes are in session, be announced at least three business days in advance, and follow procedures specified in standing rules of the Senate. If a person is nominated for more than one seat and accepts more than one nomination, that person’s name shall appear on multiple ballots, except in the case of departmental seats where a person’s name may appear on only one departmental ballot of that person’s choice. No seat shall exist until a nomination has been accepted during the nomination process, with the first acceptance creating the first seat and each additional acceptance creating the additional seat(s), up to the maximum number allowed.

IV.A.iii. Elections

In regular elections, voting shall be conducted by secret ballot, remain open for at least 20 business days when classes are in session, and follow procedures specified in standing rules of the Senate that include independent third-party observers. The runners up in each election shall be the alternates for those seats. The number of alternates shall not exceed the number of seats in each category.

IV.B. Officers

The senators-elect shall elect their officers within four weeks of their own election. The President shall be nominated and elected first, followed by the other officers, whose nominations and elections shall open simultaneously and close simultaneously.

IV.B.i. Eligibility

a. President

Any faculty constituent is eligible for the office of President.

b. Other Officers

Any voting member of the Senate is eligible for the offices of the Financial, Information, and Outreach Officer.

IV.B.ii. Nominations

a. President

Any voting member of the Senate may nominate any eligible constituent for the office of President.

b. Other Officers

Any voting member of the Senate may nominate any eligible constituent or may self-nominate for the offices of the Financial, Information, and Outreach Officer. One person may accept nomination for multiple offices.

IV.B.iii. Elections

The election of officers shall be conducted by secret ballot and follow procedures specified in standing rules of the Senate, with no more than two officers coming from the same department. If the President is chosen from among the senators, that person shall accede to the at-large seat for President and vacate the seat to which that person was elected as senator.

V. Committees

V.A. Executive Committee

V.A.i. Membership

The voting members of the Executive Committee shall consist of the President and the Financial, Information, and Outreach Officers.

V.A.ii. Duties

The duties of the Executive Committee shall include but not be limited to:

a. making interim decisions for the Senate when timely action is required, such emergency actions being consistent with previous Senate actions and being subject to review and, if so desired by any member of the Senate, approval at subsequent Senate meetings;
b. representing the Senate and its constituents to the administration and other bodies, such representation being consistent with previous Senate actions;
c. reporting to the Senate relevant activities of the Board of Trustees, Senior Staff, Institute committees, and all other entities that affect its constituents;
d. drafting and reviewing actions, minutes, resolutions, reports, and other documents in coordination with relevant parties;
e. chairing Senate and Steering Committee meetings on a rotating basis, with no one person acting as chair for more than two consecutive meetings, unless agreeable to a majority of those present;
f. taking minutes at Senate and Executive and Steering Committee meetings on a rotating basis;
g. consulting and seeking the advice of the Senate on the Steering Committee members’ duties;
h. substituting for the President, upon request of the President and in an order established by simple majority vote of the Senate; and
i. establishing whatever special committees are deemed necessary to discharge its responsibilities.

V.B. Steering Committee

V.B.i. Membership

The voting members of the Steering Committee shall number no fewer than nine and include all members of the Executive Committee, the chairs of all standing committees, and other delegates elected by the Senate. Chairs of special committees shall be non-voting members of the Steering Committee. At least twice per semester, the Steering Committee shall invite to its meeting one non-voting member selected by the Provost in consultation with the President of the Senate.

V.B.ii. Duties

The duties of the Steering Committee shall include but not be limited to:

a. making interim decisions for the Senate, such actions being consistent with previous Senate actions and being subject to review and, if so desired, approval at subsequent Senate meetings;
b. hearing the reports of all Senate committees and taking actions in accordance with the purposes of the Senate;
c. reviewing the structure and operation of the Senate and making recommendations to the Senate regarding these issues;
d. convening and preparing agenda for Senate meetings;
e. recommending an annual budget to the Senate in consultation with the appropriate committees and based on the budget proposal submitted by the Financial Officer;
f. conducting nominations, elections, and other votes with constituents; and
g. establishing whatever special committees are deemed necessary to discharge its responsibilities.

V.C. Academic Policy Committee & Institute Curriculum Committee

V.C.i. Purposes

The Academic Policy Committee shall facilitate the Senate’s responsibility for reviewing academic policies and procedures, making its recommendations to the Senate. The Institute Curriculum Committee shall fulfill the Senate’s responsibilities for curriculum review, making its recommendations to the Provost and reporting them to the Senate at the next regular Senate meeting, and for curriculum support.

V.C.ii. Membership

The Academic Policy Committee shall consist of no more than nine voting members. The voting members shall be Senate constituents from both graduate and undergraduate programs, with no more than one member from each department and, to the extent possible, with at least one member from each school and the Library. A majority of the voting members shall be faculty, at least two shall be from the chairs category, and no more than five shall be senators. One non-voting member shall be appointed by and from the Office of the Provost. The Academic Policy Committee shall be chaired by a faculty member elected by secret ballot by the committee, unless another person is selected by a two-thirds majority vote. The chair shall be confirmed by the Senate by simple majority vote.

The Institute Curriculum Committee shall consist of no more than thirteen voting members. One voting member shall be selected by and from the members of Provost’s Council, and the others shall be Senate constituents from both graduate and undergraduate programs, with no more than one member from each department and, to the extent possible, with at least one member from each school and the Library. A majority of the voting members shall be faculty, at least two shall be from the chairs category, and no more than seven shall be senators. The non-voting members of the Institute Curriculum Committee shall serve in an advisory role, be selected by the Provost, and consist of up to two members from the Office of the Provost and up to one member from the Office of the Registrar. The Institute Curriculum Committee shall be chaired by a faculty member elected by secret ballot by the committee. The chair shall be confirmed by the Senate by simple majority vote.

V.C.iii. Duties

The duties of the Academic Policy Committee shall include but not be limited to:

a. reviewing and recommending for or against the adoption of proposals for new or revised academic policies and procedures, including recommending changes to those proposals and recommending for approval contingent on the completion of those changes;
b. maintaining the Faculty Handbook or equivalent document(s) in coordination with the Office of the Provost;
c. examining the quality, content, and educational goals of academic policies and procedures;
d. recommending the development of new academic policies and procedures and assisting, as requested, in their formulation; and
e. consulting with other committees and students, staff, and administrators as appropriate.

The duties of the Institute Curriculum Committee shall include but not be limited to:

a. reviewing and recommending for or against the adoption of proposals for new or revised credit-bearing programs, including recommending changes to those proposals and recommending for approval contingent on the completion of those changes;
b. reviewing and recommending for or against the adoption of proposals for course additions and changes when those additions and changes impact the requirements of existing or proposed programs, including recommending changes to those proposals and recommending for approval contingent on the completion of those changes;
c. advising and supporting department- and school-level curriculum committees;
d. conducting periodic assessment of the quality of curriculum review across the Institute; and
e. consulting with other committees and students, staff, and administrators as appropriate.

V.C.iv. Standing Rules

The Academic Policy Committee and Institute Curriculum Committee shall establish their own standing rules, requiring joint approval by the Senate and the Provost.

V.D. Other Standing Committees

The Senate shall have other standing committees as established in its standing rules, which shall specify the purposes, membership, and duties of each committee, as well as the person to convene the first meeting. Unless otherwise specified, the Senate shall elect the committee chair, who shall submit an annual report on the activities of the committee no later than the final Senate meeting of each year. This report shall be deposited with the Information Officer no later than June 30.

V.E. Special Committees

The purposes and membership of special committees, as well as the person to convene the first meeting, shall be specified at the time of their formation. All special committees shall expire on June 30 of each year unless otherwise specified. Unless otherwise specified, the Senate shall elect the special committee chair, who shall submit an annual report on the activities of the committee no later than the final Senate meeting of each year. This report shall be deposited with the Information Officer no later than June 30.

V.F. Sub-Committees

Each standing and special committee shall have the authority to create subcommittees pertaining to any issue within the committee’s purview. The voting members of any subcommittees shall be limited to the members of the committee that established it. The committee shall elect a subcommittee chair from among the members of the subcommittee. The chair of the committee shall serve as a non-voting ex-officio member of all its subcommittees unless otherwise elected, appointed, or specified. All subcommittees shall expire on June 30 unless otherwise specified. Subcommittees and their members shall be subject to all provisions of the committees that create them. Subcommittee chairs shall submit annual reports to their respective committee chair at least ten business days before the final Senate meeting, and that report shall be included in the committee’s annual report.

VI. Terms, Vacancy, and Recall

VI.A. Terms

VI.A.i. Members

The terms of senators and alternates shall be three years, commencing July 1 following regular elections and ending June 30 following the next regular election. Senators or alternates elected in special elections shall serve the remainder of the current term. There shall be no limit on the number of terms a senator or alternate may serve.

VI.A.ii. Officers

The terms of officers shall be three years, commencing July 1 following regular elections and ending June 30 following the next regular election. Officers elected in special elections shall serve the remainder of the current term. A person who serves two consecutive terms, or major part thereof, in one office shall be ineligible for that office for a period of one term. A President who has served two consecutive terms shall be ineligible for any office for a period of one term.

VI.A.iii. Committee Chairs

The terms of committee chairs shall be no more than one year, commencing July 1 or the date of their election, whichever is later, and ending June 30. There shall be no limit on the number of terms a committee chair may serve, unless otherwise specified in standing rules of the Senate or its respective committees.

VI.A.iv. Committee Members

The terms of committee members shall be no more than one year, commencing July 1 or the date of their appointment, whichever is later, and ending June 30. There shall be no limit on the number of terms a committee member may serve, unless otherwise specified in standing rules of the Senate or its respective committees.

VI.B. Vacancy

VI.B.i. Members

After nominations have closed during regular elections, constituents in a department or at-large category without representation may petition to establish one or more senator seats at any time, up to the maximum number allowed, by sending a request to the Steering Committee with the name of their pro tempore senator(s), signed by the lesser of 15 or one-quarter of the constituents in that department or at-large category.

In the event that a senator seat is vacated due to reasons other than the natural end of a term, the Outreach Officer shall attempt to fill that seat within 30 business days according to the following procedures. The person receiving the next highest number of votes in the preceding election for that position shall be asked to serve out the remainder of the term. This method shall be carried out until a candidate accepts the position or until the list is exhausted. In the case of exhaustion, a special election shall be held according to procedures specified in standing rules of the Senate.

VI.B.ii. Officers

Whenever an office is vacated due to reasons other than the natural end of a term, the Executive Committee may appoint an interim replacement, whose appointment shall lapse at the next scheduled Senate meeting when a special election by secret ballot shall be held.

VI.B.iii. Committee Chairs

Whenever a committee chair is vacated due to reasons other than the natural end of a term, the Executive Committee may appoint an interim replacement, whose appointment shall lapse at the next scheduled Senate meeting when a special election by secret ballot shall be held, or, in the case of chairs elected by their committees, at the next scheduled committee meeting when a special election by secret ballot shall be held.

VI.B.iv. Committee Members

Whenever a committee membership is vacated due to reasons other than the natural end of a term, the Steering Committee may appoint a replacement by a simple majority vote. This appointment shall be announced at the next Senate meeting.

VI.C. Recall

VI.C.i. Members

Senate members are subject to recall by their respective constituencies. Upon the presentation to any member of the Executive Committee of a petition signed by one-quarter of the member’s constituency requesting a special recall election, the Steering Committee shall initiate said election according to procedures specified in standing rules of the Senate.

VI.C.ii. Officers

Any Senate officer may be recalled from office by a two-thirds majority vote of the Senate. A recall motion for a particular officer shall not be voted upon until seconded by at least four senators. A senator cannot move to recall an officer unless that senator notifies the officer in writing, copied to a member of the Executive Committee, at least five business days before the Senate meeting at which the motion may be made.

VI.C.iii. Committee Chairs

Any committee chair elected by the Senate may be recalled from office by a two-thirds majority vote of the Senate, and any committee chair elected by a committee may be recalled from office by a two-thirds majority vote of that committee. A senator or committee member cannot move to recall a chair unless that person notifies the chair in writing, copied to a member of the Executive Committee, at least five business days before the meeting at which the motion may be made.

VI.C.iv. Committee Members

Any non-ex-officio committee members, with the exception of the Executive Committee, may be removed by a two-thirds majority vote of the Senate, provided they have been notified in writing, copied to a member of the Executive Committee, at least five business days before the meeting at which the motion may be made.

VII. Meetings

VII.A. Regular Meetings

The Senate and its Steering Committee shall hold monthly meetings during the Fall and Spring semesters. The Executive Committee, standing committees, and any special committees shall meet at least once each semester during the Fall and Spring semesters, unless otherwise specified in standing rules of the Senate or its respective committees. In all cases, notice of meetings shall be provided to all voting and non-voting members of the respective committees at least seven calendar days in advance.

VII.B. Special Meetings

Special meetings of the Senate or any of its committees may be called by a written petition presented to a member of the Executive Committee stating the issue to be discussed and bearing the signatures of either the entire Executive Committee, one-fifth of the senators, or 5% of constituents. A member of the Executive Committee shall convene the special meeting within ten business days of receipt of the petition. Within seven calendar days, that member shall both send an agenda to each member of the respective body for which the meeting has been called and make public notice of the meeting through the Information Officer.

VII.C. Plenary Meetings

The Senate shall convene at least once, after the eighth week of the Fall and Spring semesters, a joint meeting with constituents and the President and Provost of Institute to report on Senate activities and discuss education and governance.

VII.D. Quorum

At any meeting of the Senate or its committees, quorum shall require more than 50% of the voting members.

VII.E. Parliamentary Procedure

The rules contained in the most recent edition of Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised shall govern meetings of the Senate and its committees in all cases where they are not inconsistent with these Bylaws or any rules of order the Senate or its respective committees may adopt. The Senate may elect a Parliamentarian from among its members by a simple majority vote, whose appointment shall lapse on June 30 of each year.

VIII. Ratification and Amendment

VIII.A. Ratification

These bylaws shall be distributed to constituents and considered ratified, unless rejected. Rejection shall require a simple majority vote with at least 20% of constituents responding within 14 calendar days during Fall or Spring semester when classes are in session. If ratified, these bylaws are effective July 1, 2016, upon approval by the Board of Trustees.

VIII.B. Amendments to Senate Bylaws

A proposed amendment to these bylaws may be considered by the Senate upon written presentation to it by any member thereof or via the terms of referenda specified above. Written notice of the proposed amendment shall be sent to every member of the Senate at least ten business days before the Senate meeting at which it is to be considered. An amendment may be passed by a two-thirds majority vote by secret ballot. Any amendment adopted by the Senate shall be distributed to constituents for ratification, and a provisional notice of intent shall be sent to the President of the Institute and Chair of the Board of Trustees. The amendment shall be considered ratified, unless rejected. Rejection shall require a simple majority vote, with at least 20% of constituents responding within a minimum of 14 calendar days during Fall or Spring semester when classes are in session. Ratified amendments become effective upon approval by the Board of Trustees.

VIII.C. Amendments to Standing Rules

A proposed amendment to the standing rules of the Senate or its committees may be considered by the Senate upon written presentation to it by any member thereof. The proposed amendment shall first be read at a Senate meeting. At the following Senate meeting, the proposed amendment shall be considered and may be passed by a two-thirds majority vote. Amendments to the standing rules of the Academic Senate as well as of the Academic Policy Committee and the Institute Curriculum Committee shall require joint approval by the Senate and the Provost.

IX. Reservation of Rights

No provisions herein shall, nor shall be deemed to, derogate from or supersede any rights, powers or duties of the Board of Trustees or the rights, powers or duties designated to the President under the Charter and Bylaws of Pratt Institute, it being understood that such rights, powers and duties are expressly and fully reserved hereby.