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Background

Senate Bylaws were last revised in academic year 2015–16. The changes proposed here reflect corrections and concerns raised over the past six years. These have been developed with the input of the Steering Committee in advance of upcoming elections for the next Senate term.

Noteworthy changes include:

  • addition of a Parliamentarian position
  • addition of a non-voting Staff Council member
  • shifts in duties among the Executive Officers
  • provisions for distributed leadership, which allow co-leaders to hold positions
  • updates to Board and Faculty Trustee nominees that reflect recent practice
  • requirement for at least one member of the chairs category on Steering Committee
  • provisions for temporary vacancies, such as sabbaticals and leaves
  • various terminological and typographical edits
The current process for amending Bylaws requires that any revisions approved by the Senate be sent to all constituents for ratification. If ratified, they are sent to the Board of Trustees for approval.
If these proposed Bylaw revisions pass, further amendments to Standing Rules and the Senate Compensation Policy (part of the Faculty Handbook) would be considered to align with the changes.

Download a PDF version of proposed revisions

Bylaws

I. Name

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

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, and ranking faculty and chair candidates for members of Board non-standing Committees of the Corporation, appointed at the discretion of the Board of Trustees;
j. nominating, along with other Institute bodies, and ranking 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 title 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 titles rank at Pratt or teach degree-seeking students 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 to degree-seeking students 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 elected by and from the members of Staff Council;
e. one member selected by the student government;
f. up to one alternate for each of the voting and non-voting members specified above, with the exception of the Senate President; and
g. 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; and
h. the Parliamentarian of the Senate.

 

III.B.iii. Duties of Senators and Alternates

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.

Alternates should be prepared to serve in this capacity by remaining aware of Senate activities and communicating regularly with their senator.

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, students government, staff, and the Board of Trustees;
b. acting as official spokesperson of the Senate;
c. supervising student assistants, unless delegated to another officer or committee chair;
d. ensuring coordination of nominations and elections with the Steering Committee;
e. providing periodic reports to the Senate; and
f. 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, maintaining financial records of the Senate, and furnishing them upon valid request;
b. processing promptly all stipends and valid reimbursement requests within ten business days;
c. coordinating Senate purchasing;
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;
e. providing periodic reports to the Senate; and
f. 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. updating Senate rosters and recording attendance at Senate meetings;
b. recording attendance and minutes at meetings in the absence of a designated minute-taker;
c. coordinating technologies for Senate communications, nominations, and online voting supervising Senate media;
d. maintaining Senate calendars and meeting information;

e. providing periodic reports to the Senate; and
f. 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 through communications, events, or resources;
b. fostering dialogue among constituents on issues related to education and shared governance;
c. coordinating Senate Plenary meetings in consultation with the Senate President;
d. recruiting maintaining Senate rosters, supervising nominations and elections, and coordinating recruitment of new members through nominations
;
e. providing periodic reports to the Senate; and
f. 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.

 

III.E. Parliamentarian

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

a. maintaining awareness of the most recent edition of Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised; national and regional shared governance organizations and issues; and Institute governance and policies, including the faculty union contract and Faculty Handbook;
b. advising the Senate and its committees, upon their request, regarding issues of governance and parliamentary procedure; and
c. serving as a non-voting ex-officio member of the Senate and each of its committees, and being ineligible to serve as a voting member of any of them.

III.F. Distributed Leadership

Two eligible individuals may jointly serve in the position of any office or committee chair. The following special rules shall apply to nominations, elections, and service:

a. Both individuals must confirm their nomination as co-candidates and may not run individually for that seat in the same election.
b. Each set of co-candidates will be listed as one choice on the ballot, along with any other sets of co-candidates and any individual candidates. Any vote cast for a set of co-candidates shall count only once toward their total.
c. If elected, the co-leaders will share the duties of their position in a mutually agreeable manner and split any compensation for the position equally.
d. In any vote, co-leaders shall jointly have only one vote, to be cast by mutual agreement: if both agree, their vote shall be cast accordingly; if one abstains, the other may decide; if they disagree or if both abstain, their vote shall count as an abstention.
e. Co-leaders may be recalled on an individual or joint basis.
f. If one of the co-seats is vacated due to reasons other than the natural end of a term, the remaining co-leader shall have the option to declare the co-seat vacant (to be filled by normal procedures), or to serve the remainder of their term as an individual officer or committee chair.

 

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

IV.B.i. Eligibility

a. President

Only Any faculty constituents are is eligible to serve as for the office of President.

b. Other Officers

Only Any voting members of the Senate are is eligible to serve as for the offices of the Financial Officer, Information Officer, or and Outreach Officer.

c. Parliamentarian</mark<

All constituents are eligible to serve as Parliamentarian, provided they vacate any voting seats on the Senate and its committees during their term as Parliamentarian.

IV.B.ii. Nominations

a. President

Any constituent voting member of the Senate may nominate any eligible constituent for the office of President, or self-nominate, if they are eligible.

b. Other Officers

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

c. Parliamentarian

Any constituent may nominate any constituent or may self-nominate for the office of Parliamentarian.

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, they that person shall accede to the at-large seat for President and vacate the seat to which they were 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 voting members of the Executive Committee, the chairs of all standing committees, and other delegates elected by the Senate. At least one voting member shall come from the chairs category. Chairs of special committees shall be non-voting members of the Steering Committee, along with . 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 elected 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, and, jointly, those departments not associated with a school. A majority of the voting members shall be faculty, at least one shall routinely teach graduate courses, at least one shall routinely teach undergraduate courses, 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 at the next meeting of the Senate.

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 its their own standing rules, requiring joint approval by the Senate and the Provost.

V.D. Institute Curriculum Committee

V.D.i. Purposes

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.D.ii. Membership

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 elected 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, and, jointly, those departments not associated with a school. A majority of the voting members shall be faculty, at least one shall routinely teach graduate courses, at least one shall routinely teach undergraduate courses, 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 two one members 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 at the next meeting of the Senate.

V.D.iii. Duties

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 and reviewing their guidelines and standards, as specified in the Curricular Review Policy; and
d. conducting periodic assessment of the quality of curriculum review across the Institute; and
d. consulting with other committees and students, staff, and administrators as appropriate.

V.D.iv. Standing Rules

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

V.E. 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.F. 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.G. 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. Unless otherwise noted, the terms of non-voting members shall be no more than one year, commencing July 1 or the date of their election or appointment, and ending June 30. There shall be no limit on the number of terms a senator, or alternate, or non-voting member 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, according to procedures specified in standing rules of the Senate 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 Information 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. If no nominations are received during the special election process, the seat shall be deemed dissolved, and may be re-established at any time 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.B.v. Temporary Vacancies

Seats held by faculty members on sabbatical or constituents on leaves of absence, as defined in the Faculty Handbook, shall be considered vacant only during the period of absence, not to exceed one academic year, and the constituent shall resume their seat(s) upon returning. Any compensation for the position shall be prorated to the dates of service and shall not include the period of temporary vacancy.

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. A special meeting may be convened for this purpose.

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 during months with more than 10 calendar days when classes are in session. 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, or, in the case of a committee, a simple majority of the committee. 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

At least once each Fall and Spring semester, the Senate shall convene a plenary, or “meeting of the whole,” with Senate constituents and the President and Provost of the Institute.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 Plenary meetings may include reports on Senate activities and discussion of discuss education and shared 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 or any of its committees may seek the advice of the Parliamentarian regarding procedures, whose opinions shall not be binding. 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.

14 Comments

Charles Rubenstein 2 weeks ago

As I noted when I was first ‘sworn in’ as a Senator, I feel that it is the /sitting/ Senate that should elect the incoming officers as they have the closest knowledge of the best probable candidates for leadership positions.

I propose that the first sentence of Section IV.B. Officers:

“The senators-elect shall elect their officer within (six) weeks of their own election.”

be changed to:

“The current senators shall, at the last meeting of the Senate prior to inducting the incoming senators-elect, elect the officers for the next Senate.”Reference

Damon Chaky 6 days ago

I respectfully disagree, and see no need for a change to the proposed language.

I reject the assumption that the sitting Senate would have “the closest knowledge” of all probable leadership candidates from the newly elected Senate. At best, their knowledge of incoming candidates is likely as fragmented and incomplete as that of the incoming Senate-elect.

There are developmental pathways for leadership at Pratt that have no direct connection to the bulk of Senate membership. How many course coordinators and curriculum chairs at Pratt are not known by sight or by reputation to the bulk of current Senate membership? How many in the sitting Senate are familiar with the “leadership potential” of every senate-endorsed faculty observer or member of a BoT committee? Are individual members of the Senate standing committees known by all who currently occupy seats in the elected senate?

I suggest not.

The candidate statements are, de facto, just as much a candidate introduction to the incoming Senate as the outgoing.

Perhaps it could be argued that the sitting Senate could be more aware of the responsibilities that a specific leadership post may hold… but our bylaws are meant to be transparent enough such that the responsibilities are apparent to all who read them.

We should be able to trust the newly elected, incoming Senators to do their due diligence in assessing candidates. I see no defensible justification to alter the wording from that which is proposed.

Charles Rubenstein 2 weeks ago

Likewise, I feel that the officers nominations process should require candidates for office to present their credentials not less than ten days prior to the election meeting.Reference

Charles Rubenstein 2 weeks ago

Section VII.E. Parliamentary Procedure has a new sentence which makes the advice of the Parliamentarian non-binding. It would seem that there may be more than one type of advice. Indeed, if the advice is an interpretation of the Rules of Order or other Governing Document, I can understand why it might be considered ‘non-binding’ but there needs to be an appeal process added to make sure that there is transparency of the advice and its rejection. However, if it is a clear advising of the existence of a Rule of Order or Governing Document, such advice should be binding, again subject to an appeal process.Reference

Charles Rubenstein 2 weeks ago

Typo” in Section VIII.A. Ratification – shows the date as 2016 rather tan updating to 2022.Reference

Chris Alen Sula 2 weeks ago

The exact nomination & election procedures are in Standing Rule 1.3, and we can certainly consider amending that, following the Bylaws https://prattsenate.org/standing-rules/#13-OfficersReference

Chris Alen Sula 2 weeks ago

This is the original effective date of the document, which would not change, as a matter of fact. The next paragraph covers amendments, which are effective upon approval by the Board (my aim is to have these changes enacted before the next Senate officers are elected)Reference

Suzanne Verderber 2 weeks ago

Faculty at Pratt are defined by “status” (Full-time tenured, Full-time tenure-track, Adjunct w/CCE, Adjunct, Visitor) and “rank” (Instructor, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor). The word “title” is vague. Should this read: “faculty, as defined by status and rank…”? Or is this change being made because the word “title” is used in the Faculty handbook? In my opinion, there is a lot of confusion around the issue of faculty status and rank…the word “title” confuses the issue.Reference

Chris Alen Sula 2 weeks ago

Thanks, Suzanne. There is a list of titles given in the Faculty Handbook, as well as explanations of rank and status.

I think it might be simpler here to just say “as defined in the Faculty Handbook”Reference

Sheryl Kasak 1 week ago

I question the change to “degree-seeking” as eligible faculty may be teaching to non matriculating students as well as degree- seeking. Perhaps “to enrolled students”.Reference

Sheryl Kasak 1 week ago

in iii. should it read from “the chair” category” as in i. and ii. rather than “chairs”Reference

Sheryl Kasak 1 week ago

if “chair” is changed to singular in other instances then it should here as well.Reference

Damon Chaky 6 days ago

Re: The two members from the Office of the Registrar.

Throughout the recent transition between Registrars, the presence of the Assistant Registrar as an invited guest has been valuable in assuring continuity on the ICC. With the unanimous support of last year’s ICC (which I chaired), we seek to make official that possibility of a second advisory position.Reference

Damon Chaky 6 days ago

I think there is a need to recognize that outside of meetings of the Senate, our primary roles are those of individual faculty/chairs/teaching staff. The Parliamentarian is a *person* (or Distributed Leadership team of two if III.F is accepted), and that person may have relationships outside of the domain of the Senate that could have real consequence if “binding” advice is given. If a junior member of the part time faculty in the role of Parliamentarian were to procedurally push back against their chair or a tenured member of their department’s ARPT committee, there may— conscious or not, intended or not— be potential repercussions unique to our academic setting. This is quite distinct from advice from a group (such as the Steering Committee or Executive Committee) which acts as a collective in exerting influence. In the context of Pratt’s Academic Senate, I would be uncomfortable with putting someone who is not on the executive committee in a role where they are so personally exposed if they issue a judgement that is “binding”.

(I would be equally uncomfortable restricting the role only to those who are most removed from possible conflicts of interest because of tenured faculty or administrative chair status, also.)

If someone/ANYONE wants to step up and become an expert on Roberts Rules, more power to them. The Senate should be glad to have such a resource.

I welcome the addition of this position as described: an advisory position only, but a position that is open and welcoming to all.Reference