English Department By Laws


For the purposes of English department governance, membership will include all tenured and probationary faculty, all term faculty, two representatives elected by the part-time faculty, and two representatives elected by the graduate students.


All members vote on all matters, except personnel matters, on which only tenured and tenure-track faculty members may vote.


Time of Meetings. The department shall establish a regular time and day for its meetings.

Quorum. Quorum shall be one more than one-half the number of eligible voters.

Annual Meeting. The department shall meet annually during the week before fall term classes begin to hear the reports of the chair and the program directors.

Called Meetings. At other times, the department shall meet at the call of the chair, who shall establish the agenda and order of business. The agenda of any called meeting shall be published five class days in advance of the meeting date. New business brought forward by any member may be considered at the end of a called meeting if time permits. New business brought forward but not considered shall be entered on the agenda of old business for the next called meeting.

Special Meetings. The chair shall call a special meeting of the department when five voting members petition the chair in writing for an item of business to be submitted for the department’s consideration. The chair shall issue the call within five working days of the petition. The agenda of the special meeting shall be limited to the business named in the petition, and no other business shall be considered at that meeting.

Emergency Meetings. With twenty-four hours notice, the chair may call an emergency meeting to discuss business.

Rules of Order. Business shall be conducted under the tenth edition of Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised, with the following exceptions:

The department chair shall preside at all meetings except when the business of the meeting is evaluation of the chair. The department chair may name another member to preside at any meeting or portion thereof.

The meeting chair may participate in discussions and vote on any issue without leaving the chair.

Discussion of a motion may proceed informally under the direction of the chair while members are orderly. Given the floor, any member may move to follow strict rules of debate (as, e.g., Robert’s Rules, §3, "Obtaining and Assigning the Floor"). This motion is not debatable.

Only those present and eligible may vote on any item of business at a meeting unless the meeting specifies some other extent of franchise or means of voting.

In the event of a tie vote, the chair having already voted, the motion fails.

If the agenda of a meeting is not completed in the time available, the meeting shall recess to the next available regular time of meeting.

Minutes. A member of the department shall take minutes of each meeting. The minutes shall be circulated electronically to members. Unless corrections are proposed within five working days, the minutes as circulated shall be forwarded to the dean of the college and archived in hard copy in the department.

Standing Committees

The only standing committee of the English department is the Personnel Committee. Each October, representatives of the Personnel Committee will meet with any faculty members who are new to the department in order to clarify personnel policies and procedures. The department chair shall constitute other committees as necessary to conduct departmental business. Any search committee constituted by the chair will include a representative elected by the graduate students. This representative will participate in all aspects of the committee’s work except as precluded by department policy.

Amendment of Bylaws

These Bylaws can be amended only at a meeting of the English department, provided that the amendment has been submitted in writing at least one week prior to the previous meeting and discussed at that meeting. Approval requires an affirmative vote of a majority of the entire voting membership of the English department.

Effective Date

These Bylaws and any amendment hereto shall be effective upon approval by the English department.


The invalidation of any portion of these Bylaws shall not affect the validity of any other portion of the Bylaws.