Constitution of the UAB Faculty Senate
Mindful of our centrality to the teaching, research, and service missions of this university and with the support of the President, the members of the faculty of the University of Alabama at Birmingham have come together as a community of scholars in order to consider their responsibilities and needs, represent them to the administration and trustees of the university, and provide advice to the President. The faculty members are committed to the principles of shared governance (inclusive and transparent decision-making, open communication among all members of the UAB community, accountability and mutual respect and trust) and recognize the interdependencies of all governance entities of the university as essential to achieving the defined mission, vision, values, goals, and objectives of the university. For these purposes, we adopt this constitution of the faculty and its representative senate.
ARTICLE I. MEMBERSHIP OF THE FACULTY
I.1. A faculty member, hereinafter referred to as faculty, is defined in the UAB Faculty Handbook (Section 2.3) as one who holds a primary academic appointment (on nine or twelve month contract) in one of the constituent units of the university and is eligible to participate in the Alabama State Teacher’s Retirement Program through the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Only faculty may vote and hold offices as defined in this constitution.
I.2. The constituent units of the university are the Lister Hill Library, Mervyn Sterne Library, the Schools of Business, Dentistry, Education,Engineering, Health Professions, Medicine, Nursing, Optometry, Public Health, the Joint Health Sciences Departments and the College of Arts and Sciences Excluding the School of Education.
ARTICLE II. PURPOSES AND POWERS OF THE FACULTY
II.1. To represent its interests, the faculty establishes and elects its officers and a senate.
II.2. The faculty may meet from time to time to consider the welfare of the university.
II.3. There must be at least one such meeting in each academic year at a time appointed by the Chair of the Faculty. The President of the University will be invited to present a state of the university address at this meeting.
II.4. The Chair of the Faculty may call additional meetings of the faculty at his or her discretion and must do so when asked by any one of the following: a petition from 100 or more members of the faculty, a resolution of the senate, a majority vote of the Senate Executive Committee, the Provost, or the President of the University.
ARTICLE III. OFFICERS
III.1. The officers of the faculty are a Chair, a Chair-Elect, a Secretary, and an immediate Past-Chair.
III.2. Any faculty member is eligible for these offices and to vote in the election of officers.
III.3. Officers serve one-year terms as provided in the bylaws. The Chair of the Faculty succeeds the previous Past-Chair at the end of his or her term, and the Chair-Elect succeeds the Chair. The Secretary of the Faculty may serve a maximum of three successive one-year terms.
III.4.a. The Chair of the Faculty presides over all meetings of the faculty and the senate. The Chair prepares the agenda for meetings of the faculty, appoints the Parliamentarian for the year, chairs the Senate Executive Committee, and serves as the faculty representative to university-wide executive-level committees.
III.4.b. The Chair-Elect presides over meetings of the faculty and the senate during the absence of the Chair. When the position of Chair becomes vacant before the expiration of a term, the Chair-Elect assumes the duties of Chair. In the event that the Chair-Elect fails or is unable to perform his or her duties, the senate must elect an individual to serve as Chair-Elect.
III.4.c. The Secretary must keep minutes of the meetings of the faculty and senate which must be placed in the University Archives. The Secretary circulates announcements of meetings of the faculty and senate, conducts all referenda regarding proposed amendments to the constitution, keeps the official copy of the constitution and bylaws, takes the roll of senators at each meeting, oversees the election of senators in the constituent units, and chairs the Election Committee. In the event that the Secretary fails or is unable to perform his or her duties, the Chair must appoint an Acting Secretary to finish the term.
III.4.d. The immediate Past-Chair will continue to support the Faculty Senate as the Chair requests. These actions could include serving on university committees, coordinating speakers for monthly meetings, acting in the Chair’s role if he or she cannot, and assisting with tracking logs. In the event that the immediate Past-Chair fails or is unable to perform his or her duties, the senate must elect an individual to serve as Past-Chair.
ARTICLE IV. THE SENATE
IV.1. There will be a senate of the faculty of the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
IV.2. The senate is the representative body for the faculty in the constituent units (school, Joint Health Sciences Departments, libraries) and the College of Arts and Sciences excluding the School of Education. Senators are apportioned based on faculty number per constituent unit (school, Joint Health Sciences Departments, libraries) based on units with fewer than 25 faculty to elect one senator and one alternate senators and units with 25 to 199 faculty to elect two senators and two alternate senators. Constituent units having 200 to 399 faculty shall elect three senators and three alternate senators and those units with 400 or more faculty shall elect four senators and four alternate senators. The College of Arts and Sciences faculty, excluding the School of Education faculty, shall elect six senators and six alternate senators.
IV.3. The faculty of each constituent unit elects as many alternate senators as it elects senators.
IV.4. The term of office of senators and alternate senators is two years, beginning as provided in the bylaws, except that in the first senate, as near as may be, half the senators’ and alternate senators’ terms will be limited to one year so that thereafter approximately half will be chosen each year. No senator may serve more than two consecutive terms.
IV.5. Senators and alternate senators must be primary faculty members of the constituent units which they represent. Currently elected officers of the Faculty Senate and persons with administrative appointments at or above the level of dean are ineligible for election as senators.
IV.6. Senators have voice and vote in meetings of the senate and must serve on at least one standing committee of the senate. Alternate senators have voice and vote in meetings of the senate only when serving in a senator’s absence. Alternate senators must serve on at least one standing committee of the senate.
IV.7. The Chair, the Chair-Elect, the immediate Past-Chair, and the Secretary of the Faculty are members of the senate with voice and vote during their terms in office. The Chair will vote only in the case of a tie.
IV.8. The President of the University, the Provost, and the Parliamentarian are ex-officio members of the senate without vote.
ARTICLE V. PURPOSES AND POWERS OF THE SENATE
V.1. The senate’s authority derives from the faculty. Its purpose is to represent faculty viewpoints on matters of general interest and concern to the faculty and the university to the President and to advise the President, other administrative officers of the university, and members of the Board of Trustees on such matters.
These matters include but are not limited to the following:
- Creating, maintaining, and protecting an environment conducive to the promotion and growth of teaching, learning, research, and service
- Informing faculty with respect to institutional and general issues in higher education
- Sharing responsibility with administration and students for improving the stature and effectiveness of the university
- Sharing responsibility with the President and the administration for strategic planning
- Improving collective working conditions
- Assisting in the definition of university policies and procedures
- Providing a forum for the effective presentation of faculty viewpoints
- Providing advice about new or revised degree programs, academic requirements for degrees, or admission policies
- Reviewing the actions and performance of committees charged with matters concerning academic or faculty affairs
- Considering such matters as the administration, school faculties, or any member of the faculty may propose
- Ensuring adequate and appropriate faculty participation in the selection of university, school, and departmental administrative officers
V.2. The senate must seek information from administrative officers of the university and from appropriate faculty bodies regarding pending policy decisions and must determine through independent study whether these policy decisions appear to be appropriate.
V.3. Whenever possible, the President, the Provost, and the appropriate administrative officials must notify the senate of pending policy decisions and other matters of interest and concern defined in Section 1 of this article. Additionally, the senate must, whenever possible, seek the opinion of the faculty and selected administrators on pending recommendations to the President and other administrative officials.
V.4. The senate must communicate the results of its deliberations as advice to the faculty, the President of the University, and any other administrative officers it deems appropriate.
V.5. The President or the Provost or the appropriate administrative office should inform the senate of the disposition of any recommendations it makes.
ARTICLE VI. ORGANIZATION AND PROCEDURES
VI.1. The senate must meet annually to organize itself for the next year.
VI.2. The Chair of the Faculty serves as Chair of the Senate and the Secretary of the Faculty serves as Secretary of the Senate.
VI.3. The proceedings and actions of the senate are governed by its bylaws. During its first year of operation, these must be the bylaws approved by the President and the President’s Ad Hoc Committee on Faculty Governance and distributed to the faculty at the time of the referendum on the adoption of this constitution. After the first year, the senate may amend these bylaws. Every such amendment must be proposed in writing at a meeting of the senate and its adoption considered at a subsequent meeting. Adoption requires the affirmative votes of two-thirds of the members of the senate.
VI.4. The Senate Executive Committee, Faculty Policies and Procedures Committee, and the Committees on Curriculum, Research, Faculty Affairs, Finance, and Governance and Operations are the standing committees of the senate. The senate or its Chair may also establish special committees at any time.
VI.5. The Chair, Chair-Elect, the immediate Past-Chair, Secretary of the Faculty, two senators elected by the senate, the Chairs of the Curriculum, Research, Faculty Affairs, Finance, and Governance and Operations Committees of the senate, and ex-officio and without a vote, the Parliamentarian and the Chair of the Faculty Policies and Procedures Committee are the Senate Executive Committee.
ARTICLE VII. ELECTION OF OFFICERS AND SENATORS
VII.1. The Secretary and the Governance and Operations Committee of the senate, with the Secretary as Chair, shall serve as the Elections Committee to supervise and certify the nomination and election of officers of the faculty and members of the senate, and for other purposes, as provided in the bylaws.
VII.2. After nominations are solicited, the election must be conducted by secret ballot as provided in the bylaws.
VII.3. Persons holding a joint appointment involving more than one constituent unit are eligible for election and to vote in the unit of their primary appointment.
ARTICLE VIII. ADOPTION
VIII.1. Adoption of this constitution requires a favorable vote by the majority of the faculty casting ballots in a referendum called for this purpose as well as the final approval of the President.
VIII.2. The date of the referendum is to be set by the President, and the referendum is to be conducted by the Ad Hoc Committee on Faculty Governance which reports the results to the President and the faculty.
ARTICLE IX. AMENDMENT
IX.1. Amendments to this constitution may be proposed by either a two-thirds affirmative vote of the members of the senate or by a petition to the Secretary of the Faculty signed by five percent of the faculty. The Secretary must submit proposed amendments to the faculty for their vote.
IX.2. To be adopted, amendments must receive an affirmative vote of the majority of the faculty voting on them. Final approval of amendments is given by the President.
IX.3. Under certain circumstances, when the constitution should be revised because of the reorganization of constituent units or a reorganization of administrative offices, minor changes in the wording of the constitution referring to specific administrative offices or constituent units may be accomplished by a three-fourths vote of approval by the members of the senate along with the approval of the President.
THIS CONSTITUTION WAS ADOPTED
by the faculty of the university and approved by the President in May 1995. It was amended by the senate and the amendments approved by the President in April 1996. It was amended by the senate and the amendments approved by the President in May 1997. It was edited with minor corrections of punctuation and capitalization by the Secretary of the Faculty in June 2002. It was amended by the senate and the amendments approved by the President and Provost in March 2009. The constitution was last amended March 2014 following approval of the Senate, the full faculty vote and the President.