We, the General Faculty of Southern Methodist University,
hereby establish the Faculty Senate and delegate to the Senate the
responsibilities vested in the General Faculty by the University Bylaws.
This delegation to the Faculty Senate is subject to Article VI (Protests of
Senate Actions) and Article VII (Amendments) of this Constitution.
The Faculty Senate of Southern Methodist University bears the responsibility
of speaking and acting for the General Faculty in matters affecting the University
as a whole. The Senate possesses and exercises the powers of the General Faculty
of the University in all matters that are not reserved by the Bylaws of the
University to the faculty of a single school. The Senate seeks to further
the University's dedication to the pursuit of truth and the preservation,
dissemination, and extension of knowledge. To that end, the Senate has among
its principal concerns the preservation of academic freedom in the University
community, the promotion of creative and responsible inquiry, thought, and
expression in an atmosphere of scholarly excellence, and the protection of
a vital balance among the various programs of the University, free of prejudice
or undue partiality. The Senate is responsible for fostering the professional
development and economic well-being of the faculty. The Senate exercises its
power through legislative, investigative, and advisory functions appropriate
to this Constitution.
(a) All full-time faculty members are eligible to vote in elections
of members of the Senate. As used in this Constitution, the phrase
"full-time faculty members" excludes adjunct professors
and scholars (writers, composers, artists, executives)-in-residence.
Persons who hold both faculty appointments and administrative appointments
"full-time faculty members" if the administrative position
is a rank equivalent to or higher than assistant dean. Retired faculty
members who teach full-time are "full-time faculty members."
Except as provided in subsection (d) below, all full-time faculty
members are eligible for election to the Senate.
(c) Each senator shall
serve for a three-year term. Terms shall be staggered so that approximately
one-third of the elected Senators shall be elected each year.
(d) A senator may be re-elected to a second consecutive three-year
term but thereafter is not eligible for election as senator for one
There shall be twelve senators elected at large by the General Faculty.
The terms of office shall be staggered, with four senators elected
each year. The term of service for each senator elected at large shall
be three years.
(a) The president, the president-elect, and the immediate-past president
of the Senate shall be ex officio members of the Senate. These officers
shall be voting members of the Senate.
(b) The president and provost
of the University shall be ex officio, non-voting members of the Senate.
(c) A retired faculty member who is either President of the Retired
Faculty Association or named by the President of the Retired Faculty
Association shall be an ex officio non-voting member of the Senate.
The faculty of each School of the University constitutes one electoral
unit except for Dedman College where each Division constitutes an
electoral unit. The faculty of a division unaffiliated with a School
constitutes an electoral unit if it has eleven or more faculty members.
Each electoral unit is entitled to elect one senator for every twenty
full-time faculty members with appointments in that electoral unit
and for any remaining fraction of eleven or more members, provided,
however, that each electoral unit having 21 or more faculty members
shall have no fewer than three senators. An electoral unit having
20 or fewer faculty members shall have one senator.
(a) The Senate shall conduct elections in accordance with procedures
prescribed in the Senate's Bylaws.
(b) An unexpired term shall be filled as soon as possible after a
vacancy occurs. The absence of a senator from service in the University
for more than one semester shall create a vacancy.
(a) The Senate officers shall include a president, a president-elect,
and immediate-past president, and a secretary. The terms
of office of these officers shall normally begin at the
first meeting of a new session of the Senate, shall be for
one year, and shall end at such time as their successors
(b) Full-time faculty members shall elect a
president-elect by ballot each year from a slate nominated
by the Senate following procedures prescribed in the Senate
By-laws. The president-elect shall be a tenured, full-time
(c) The president elect shall serve for one
year as president-elect, followed by one year as president
and one year as immediate-past president.
(d) The Faculty Senate shall elect a secretary from its
membership at its first meeting each year to serve for one
(a) The president shall be an ex officio member of the
Senate and of its Executive Committee.(b) The president
shall represent the Senate to the University community,
shall be the Senate's nominee to the Board of Trustees,
and shall chair meetings of the Senate and of its Executive
(c) If there is a vacancy in the position of president,
the president-elect shall serve as both president-elect
and president, and shall continue as president in the succeeding
session of the Senate.
(a) The president-elect shall be an ex-officio member of
the Senate and its Executive Committee.(b) The president-elect
shall carry out the responsibilities of the president when
the president is unable to perform them.
(c) If there is a vacancy in the position of president-elect,
full-time faculty members shall promptly elect a president-elect
by ballot following procedures prescribed in the Senate
(a) The immediate-past president shall assist the president
and the Senate in providing continuity to the leadership
of the Senate and shall be an ex-officio member of the Senate
and of its Executive Committee.
(b) If there is a vacancy in the position of immediate-past
president, the position shall not be filled.
(a) The secretary shall be a member of the Executive Committee.
(b) The secretary shall record the minutes of meetings
of the Senate and of its Executive Committee, and shall
preserve the Senate's records.
(c) The secretary of the Senate shall serve as secretary
to the General Faculty and record the General Faculty's
minutes of meetings and preserve its records.
(a) There shall be an executive committee of
the Senate comprised of the president, the president-elect,
the immediate-past president, the secretary, and
four or more senators. If there is a vacancy in
the position of immediate-past president, the
Senate shall elect an additional senator to serve
on the Executive Committee.
(b) The senators elected by the Senate shall
serve for one-year terms. If there is a vacancy
among those elected committee members, the Senate
shall promptly elect a replacement.
(c) The Executive Committee is empowered to
act for the Senate between meetings, but all
actions taken by the committee shall be reported
to the Senate at its next regularly scheduled
meeting and are subject to revocation by the
(a) The Senate may appoint standing and ad
hoc committees to carry out the responsibilities
delegated to the Senate by the General Faculty.
(b) Normally, each senator shall serve on at
least one Senate committee or subcommittee or
as a faculty representative on a University-wide
(c) Membership on most Senate committees is
not limited to Senators, but at least one member
of each committee shall be a senator, and the
chair of each Senate committee shall normally
be a senator.
(d) The standing committees of the Senate shall
be created by the Senate Bylaws.
(a) Normally, the Senate shall hold
at least one regular meeting each month
of the academic year from September
through May, except January.
(b) The first regular meeting of each
new Senate session shall be held in
(c) Senate meetings shall be open to
all faculty members, including those
with administrative appointments, except
in the rare circumstances where the
Senate must meet in executive session
to maintain confidentiality, as in the
case of decisions to recommend honorary
(d) Meetings shall be convened and
conducted in accordance with the Senate
The Senate shall meet in special session
at the direction of the Senate's
president, on the order of the Senate
or its Executive Committee, or on the
written request of six senators.
The jurisdiction of the Senate
shall extend to all matters
of interest to the General
Faculty of the University
as distinguished from those
specifically reserved by University
Bylaws to the Particular Faculties.
The Senate shall consider
in addition any matters referred
to it by the president of
the University or by the Board
of Trustees through the president
of the University.
Acting in the name of the
General Faculty in accordance
with University Bylaws, the
Senate shall have all powers
and duties residing in the
The powers of the Senate
shall be exercised through
and resolution. Its powers
and duties shall specifically
include, but are not limited
to, the following:
(a) Exercise leadership to
achieve and maintain a high
quality of intellectual life
for the University;
(b) Monitor the general education
academic programs, university
libraries, information technology,
university research subventions,
university support for scholarly
publications, and the activities
of non-School academic institutes
(c) Assist in formulating
and enforcing general admissions
requirements to the undergraduate
programs and general graduation
(d) Speak by resolution through
the president of the University
to the Board of Trustees on
any issue of general University
interest or on any issue of
specific concern to the Senate;
(e) Consult with the Board
of Trustees in the selection
of the president of the University;
(f) Consult with the president
of the University in the selection
of persons for high administrative
positions, the functions of
which affect more than one
school of the University;
(g) Consult with the president
of the University on the development
of the University budget,
and receive from the administration
timely information about the
tentative annual budget;
(h) Select faculty members
to serve on appropriate committees
of the Board of Trustees;
nominate or select faculty
members to serve as appointed
faculty representatives on
all-University task forces
and committees; and administer
elections for all faculty
positions on University bodies
whose elected membership includes
(i) Defend the exercise of
academic freedom throughout
the University, investigate
any matter endangering such
freedom, and recommend remedies
as these are warranted;
(j) Recommend criteria and
procedures for granting and
protecting academic rank and
tenure; investigate any matter
endangering the established
rank or tenure of a faculty
member and make appropriate
recommendations to the president
of the University and to the
Board of Trustees;
(k) Provide guidance concerning
the professional behavior
of members of the University
faculties and make recommendations
for action to appropriate
officials of the University
in instances where professional
ethics are found to have been
(l) Assist in formulating
and enforcing University policies
and standards pertaining to
assist in preparing and implementing
the Athletic Department budget;
assist in selecting administrative
personnel and head coaches
in the Athletic Department;
control the eligibility of
all participants in athletics;
control scheduling of games;
provide appropriate guidance
and assistance in all other
matters embraced within the
rules of those extramural
athletic associations in which
the University has membership;
(m) Nominate to the Board
of Trustees all candidates
for honorary degrees;
(n) Edit and publish
the Faculty Handbook in consultation
with the provost;
(o) Establish the academic
calendar of the University.
(p) Make any Bylaws it deems
necessary to facilitate the
transaction of its business
so long as such Bylaws are
consistent with provisions
of this Constitution and the
Bylaws of the University.
(q) Perform any and all other
functions and any and all
other acts reasonably necessary
or incidental to the exercise
of the powers and duties implied
or set forth above.
Full-time faculty members may submit individually signed
protests concerning action taken or not taken by the Senate. If protests
are signed by thirty full-time faculty members, the president of the
Senate must present the protest for consideration no later than the next
regularly scheduled meeting of the Senate.
Amendments may be proposed to the General Faculty by a
majority of senators voting at a regular or called meeting of the Senate
or by a petition signed by at least thirty full-time faculty members.
Amendments to the Constitution may be presented only at a meeting of the
General Faculty. Written notice of the meeting and the text of the
proposed amendment or amendments shall be sent to each full-time faculty
member at least twenty days prior to the date of the meeting. Amendments
may be adopted only by action taken at a faculty meeting by at least a
majority vote of those full-time faculty members present and voting.