Rules and By-Laws of the Graduate Assembly
Handbook of Operating Procedures 2-1210-PM
Rules and By-Laws of the Graduate Assembly
The University of Texas at Austin
Executive Sponsor: Executive Vice President and Provost
February 12, 2007
The following rules and by-laws of the Graduate Assembly have been agreed to by the Graduate Assembly and approved by the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies, the Executive Vice President and Provost, and the President. (See HOP 9-1240 of the Handbook of Operating Procedures for rules and regulations of the Graduate School.)
RULES OF THE GRADUATE ASSEMBLY
- For purposes of election and representation and for other purposes as detailed below, the Graduate Assembly shall be divided into three groups as follows:
Only members of Graduate Studies Committees are eligible for election to the Graduate Assembly. Elected members of the Graduate Assembly will number thirty-one faculty representatives, divided proportionately among the three groups. The terms of the faculty representatives will be for three years, one-third of each (or as near as possible) being elected each year. The elections shall take place annually in the Spring. Faculty members are limited to two consecutive terms on the Assembly. Elected members of the Graduate Assembly shall be chosen as Members of the Graduate Studies Committees of their respective college or school.
Additionally, in order to facilitate communication and cooperation with the Faculty Council, the Chair (or designated alternate) of the Faculty Council shall be appointed to a one-year term, with voting rights, on the Graduate Assembly and shall serve on the Agenda Committee.
Six graduate students will be chosen for one-year terms of membership on the Graduate Assembly. Graduate student representatives will be selected by the officers or executive committee of a graduate student organization or association recognized by the Assembly as representing graduate student interests on the campus of The University of Texas at Austin. The Dean of the Graduate School or the Dean's designee will serve as a faculty adviser for the organization or association so recognized. In the absence of a recognized representative graduate student organization or association, the Dean of the Graduate School, in consultation with the officers of the Graduate Assembly, will select the graduate student representatives to the Assembly. At least one graduate student representative must be selected from each of the groups (Group A, Group B or Group C) listed above. No more than three representatives may come from any one of the groups. A list of graduate student representatives will be submitted to the Graduate School at least two weeks prior to the first Assembly meeting of the school year.
- The apportionment of the members among the three groups is based on the number of members of Graduate Studies Committees and on the number of graduate degrees awarded. The electoral component of each group is the sum of:
- the number of members of Graduate Studies Committees
- the number of doctoral degrees granted over the preceding three years, and,
- one-third of the number of Master's degrees granted over the preceding three years.
The thirty-one faculty representative seats in the Assembly shall be divided among the three groups in proportion to their electoral components.
- In electing the Graduate Assembly, only members of the Graduate Studies Committees are eligible to vote. No member shall be entitled to more than one vote even though that member holds a joint appointment or serves on more than one Committee on Graduate Studies; the member's vote shall be cast in the group of the member's principal appointment.
Elections of faculty representatives within each group shall involve a nominating stage and a general election stage. The general election shall be subject to the following conditions:
- each school or college within the group shall be entitled to at least one seat on the Assembly, and
- no more than one member of any single Committee on Graduate Studies may serve as a regularly elected member of the Graduate Assembly at any one time. No one in a retirement status (including modified service and phased retirement) may be elected to the Assembly. The Assembly may, by appropriate by-laws, provide for the necessary rules of procedure for conducting the elections.
- The following administrative officers shall be ex-officio members of the Graduate Assembly without vote: the President, the Executive Vice President and Provost, the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies, the Vice President for Research, and the deans of the schools and colleges in which graduate work is given. Deans who hold ex-officio membership are not eligible for election as voting members.
The Chair will preside over the Assembly. In the absence of the Chair, the Chair-Elect will preside.
If the Chair should cease to be a member of the Graduate Assembly or resign as Chair, the Chair-Elect shall immediately succeed as the Chair, select a Nominating Committee to provide nominations for a new Chair-Elect, and hold an election at the next meeting of the Graduate Assembly. If the Chair-Elect shall cease to be a member of the Graduate Assembly or resign as Chair-Elect, the Chair shall select a Nominating Committee to provide nominations for a new Chair-Elect and hold an election at the next meeting of the Graduate Assembly. If both the Chair and the Chair-Elect should cease simultaneously to be members of the Graduate Assembly or resign their positions, the remaining Chairs of the Standing Committees shall serve as a Nominating Committee for both positions and an election for both positions shall be held at the next meeting of the Graduate Assembly.
Each year in the Spring, the Assembly will elect a Chair-Elect who will serve in that capacity, and also will serve as Chair of the Academic Committee for one year; in the ensuing year the Chair-Elect will serve as the Chair. Prior to the Spring election of the Chair-Elect, the Current Chair shall appoint a three-person Nominating Committee to suggest nominees for the Chair-Elect. Nominations may also come from members of the Graduate Assembly at the time of the election. If the term of a Chair-Elect expires before he or she has served as Chair, the member's term shall be extended one year to allow the member to serve as Chair.
- In the Spring of even-numbered years, at the same time the Chair-Elect is elected, the Assembly shall elect a Secretary for a two-year term. The Secretary must be a member of the Graduate Studies Committee but need not be a Member of the Assembly; if not a member of the Assembly, the Secretary shall become an ex-officio member, with vote, upon election as Secretary.
- The duties of the Secretary shall include those normally associated with the secretarial office. In particular, the Secretary shall keep all records of Assembly proceedings, distribute the agenda, maintain a detailed record of action taken by the Assembly and disposition of Assembly measures by the administration of The University of Texas at Austin and The University of Texas System Board of Regents, and report periodically on the disposition and status of recent and pending Assembly actions.
- The terms of the Chair, Chair-Elect, and Secretary shall begin on September 1 following their election.
- There shall be at least two scheduled meetings of the Graduate Assembly each semester. Additional meetings may be called on vote of the Administrative Committee (see Section 14) or a written request of five members.
- Meetings of the Assembly are open unless, by majority vote of the Assembly in attendance, the Assembly decides to go into executive session.
- The agenda of the Assembly and the minutes of its previous meeting shall be distributed in advance to all members of the Graduate Assembly. Any member of the Graduate Studies Committee not scheduled to receive the agenda or minutes of the Assembly may receive them on request to the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies.
- The Graduate Assembly has power to legislate on all matters having to do with the academic character of the graduate program of The University of Texas at Austin. In particular, however, it is charged with the following:
- determining minimum criteria for admission and continuation,
- approving new graduate programs, and evaluating existing graduate programs at the request of the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies,
- recommending the abolition or substantial modification of existing graduate programs,
- setting policy concerning student programs and student welfare, including teaching and research appointments, and
- setting policy concerning graduate student support.
In addition, the Graduate Assembly may advise the deans of the colleges or schools, the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies, and the Vice President for Research on research support policies and other matters it deems appropriate or on which advice is requested by any of the above.
- The work of the Assembly shall be carried out by means of three standing committees whose function is to study proposed legislation and bring any other matters to the Assembly for discussion and vote at its regular meetings. The committees and areas of responsibility of each are as follows:
- Administrative Committee
- Flow of work of the Assembly
- Relations with the Graduate School and the Administration
- Graduate Catalog
- Rules and regulations for Teaching Assistants and Assistant Instructors
- Student work loads
- Rules and procedures for the Graduate Assembly
- Academic Committee
- Quality of graduate programs
- Evaluation of existing graduate programs
- Development and adoption of new graduate programs
- Abolition or substantial modification of existing graduate programs
- Student programs
- Faculty work loads
- Admission and Enrollment Committee
- Minimum standards for admission of students to the Graduate School as candidates for the Master's degree and the doctoral degree, and as non-degree candidates
- Minimum standards for admission to the doctoral degree for continuing students admitted for a lower degree
- Management of enrollment
- Continuation of graduate students
After the election in the spring, members of the Graduate Assembly will be asked to rank order their preferences for Administrative Committee, Academic Committee, Admission and Enrollment Committee, and no committee assignment. The incoming Chair of the Assembly, with the advice of the Secretary, will appoint the committees.
Committees may vary in size, but, in addition to faculty members of the Assembly, each will include:
- At least one student
- The Chair of the Assembly (ex officio)
- The Secretary of the Assembly (ex officio)
- The Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies, or a designated representative (ex officio)
Committee appointments will be for one year. All members, including ex-officio, will have one vote. Except for ex-officio appointments, members may serve on only one of the three Assembly committees at any one time. In special cases, a member may be asked to serve on an ad hoc committee for a particular purpose. Not all members of such ad hoc committees need be members of the parent committee or members of the Assembly. Ad hoc committee reports will be brought to the parent committee. A committee may delegate work to a subcommittee.
- The Chair of the Assembly, the chairs of the three standing committees, the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies, and representatives of the Graduate School are especially charged with coordinating the work of the committees and with setting the agenda for Assembly meetings.
- Proposals may be originated by any of the following: any voting or ex-officio member of the Assembly, any standing or special committee of the Assembly, or the petition of five or more members of the Graduate Studies Committees. All proposals must be filed with the Secretary.
- Except as otherwise noted herein, the meetings of the Graduate Assembly shall be conducted according to Robert's Rules of Order. A quorum is one-third of the voting membership. Upon demand of three voting members, a record vote shall be taken.
- Ordinarily, no matter may be presented to the Graduate Assembly for action unless it has previously been considered, and a recommendation presented thereon, by one of the standing committees. The agenda of the meeting shall include not only an appropriate notice of matters to be considered or acted upon but also the supporting data and documents necessary to an understanding of and decision on the matters to be presented.
- Any member may present a proposal for discussion at any meeting. The Assembly may, by a two-thirds vote of those present, agree to consider for action a matter not listed on the agenda.
Legislation adopted by the Assembly shall be classified by the Secretary as major, minor or emergency. The classification is subject to review by the Assembly.
When the Graduate Assembly approves major legislation, the Secretary shall distribute summaries of it to members of each Graduate Studies Committee and a copy of the complete document to all deans and departmental chairs to whom it directly pertains.
If, within 14 days (holidays and official vacation periods excluded) of the Secretary's distribution of the legislation, ten members of Graduate Studies Committees file with the Secretary a formal protest of the action, stating their reasons therefore, the Assembly shall reconsider its action promptly.
Members of the Graduate Studies Committees filing these protests may appear to present other arguments concerning the legislation. If, within that same 14-day period, thirty members of the Graduate Studies Committees file with the Secretary a formal protest of the action and request that the Graduate Studies Committees be convened to consider the matter, then the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies and the Secretary shall promptly convene a plenary meeting of the Graduate Studies Committees to consider the major legislation and the protests.
If the members of the Graduate Studies Committees in attendance approve the major legislation, either with or without amendments, the Secretary shall transmit the approved Legislation to the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies for such additional approvals and action as may be necessary.
Members of the Graduate Studies Committees may take final action on the matter, or they may refer the matter back to the Graduate Assembly for final action. If fewer than 105 members are in attendance at the meeting, no action may be taken and, in that case, the matter is automatically referred back to the Graduate Assembly for final disposition. The Assembly shall then promptly reconsider the matter, taking account of the protests that have been filed; if it determines upon reconsideration to approve the major legislation, either with or without amendments, the Secretary shall forthwith transmit the legislation to the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies for such additional approvals and action as may be necessary.
Both major and minor legislation, when adopted by the Assembly, are transmitted by the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies with his or her recommendation to the Executive Vice President and Provost. The legislation takes effect when final administrative approval has been given.
If the Secretary or the Assembly, by a two-thirds vote, declares the legislation to be emergency legislation, it becomes effective immediately upon the approval of the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies, subject to appropriate administrative review.
If any parliamentary ruling by the presiding officer is appealed, a majority or tie vote sustains the decision of the chair.
BY-LAWS FOR NOMINATION AND ELECTION OF THE GRADUATE ASSEMBLY
- The Secretary shall make arrangements for conducting the annual elections to the Assembly.
- Nominations: Each Member of the Graduate Studies Committee shall be invited to nominate two members of the Graduate Studies Committees from within that member's own group. No member of a Committee on Graduate Studies is eligible for nomination if another member of the same committee is presently serving an unexpired term on the Assembly. The nominations shall be tallied by the Secretary and the names of those with the greatest number of nominations entered on the final ballot. The final ballot for each group shall contain twice as many names as there are seats to be filled. However, the Secretary shall increase the number of names if necessary to ensure that the ballot contains the names of two persons from each School or College within the group that is not already represented by a sitting member whose term is not then expiring. No more than two names of individuals from the same Graduate Studies Committee shall appear on the final ballot.
- Final Election. Only Members of Graduate Studies Committees are eligible to vote. Members of the Graduate Studies Committees of a college or school vote only to elect the representatives of their own college or school. Each voter will vote for as many individuals as there are vacancies to be filled.
- Counting the Vote. If, when all votes have been counted, there is within the group any school or college that would not have an elected member, either sitting or just elected, the Secretary shall first declare elected the nominee from the unrepresented school or college who received the most votes, and then fill the remaining seats
- Vacancies shall be filled from the original panel in the order of the preferential ranking in the election of the member whose seat is being filled. A leave of absence for more than one semester, in the case of an elective position, shall create a vacancy.
- Member Absences: No member of the Graduate Assembly may have more than two unexcused absences in any academic year. If a member exceeds this limit, that member's position will be declared vacant and the individual who received the next higher number of votes in that group in the original election will be appointed to fill the remainder of the member's term.
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