Department of Sociology, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Amended January 13, 2016
Formally adopted November 16, 1994
Article I: Relationship to the college and the university
These bylaws exist under the authority of the bylaws of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Statutes of the Board of Governors, and the AAUP-WSU Agreement of Wayne State University. In case of inconsistency between these bylaws and the bylaws of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the statutes of the Board of Governors, and the AAUP-WSU Agreement, the latter documents supersede these bylaws.
Article II: The Department Assembly
Section 1: Membership
Members of the Departmental Assembly during any year include (1) those who have been recommended through department procedures and approved by the university as regular faculty with a 50 percent or more appointment in sociology and (2) the duly elected student representative(s) (as defined in Article V).
The Departmental Assembly, or committees of that assembly when such authority has been delegated, shall be responsible for all departmental policies and procedures.
The Departmental Assembly shall meet at least three times each semester during the academic year at the call of the chair, the request of the Coordinating Committee, or at the request of at least one-third of the members of the Assembly. In the absence of the chairperson and the chairperson's delegated substitute, the Assembly shall, by a majority vote, select a substitute to preside. The meetings shall be governed by the current edition of Robert's Rules of Order.
Necessary records shall be kept concerning matters discussed and votes taken at these meetings by a secretary or by an elected faculty member for reference at the following Assembly meeting. The secretary's minutes are to be distributed no less than four days before the next regular Assembly meeting to the members of the Departmental Assembly.
The Departmental Assembly shall be the final decision-making body of the department. Issues submitted to or raised by the Assembly shall be decided by a majority vote of a quorum of the Departmental Assembly unless otherwise specified. A quorum is defined as a majority of the Assembly members, excluding the student representative, visiting professors, and persons on leave. Persons on leave and fractional-time faculty (50 percent or over) may vote if present at an Assembly meeting. There shall be no vote by proxy, but Assembly members who attend the discussion and must leave before the vote may leave their vote on the motion on the floor with the chairperson. In the case of a vote on the chairperson and amendments to these bylaws, members will be polled by secret mail ballot. The Departmental Assembly shall not poll non-attending members on other matters by mail ballot unless a two-thirds vote of those present deem it necessary.
Article III: Departmental chairperson position
Section 1: Eligibility
Any full-time tenured member of the Departmental Assembly with the rank of associate professor or professor of sociology who is a member of the graduate faculty shall be eligible for the office of chairperson. The same qualifications shall apply to any person not on the departmental faculty but who might be considered for appointment to this office. These qualifications shall apply to the person upon assuming office.
Section 2: Length of term
The term of the chairperson shall be mutually agreed upon by the college administration and the chairperson and shall be consistent with the AAUP-AFT contract.
Section 3: Selection, removal, and reappointment
The selection or removal of a departmental chairperson shall follow procedures established by the bylaws of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the AAUP-WSU Agreement.
The year prior to the end of the term for the chair, a review committee shall be formed consistent with the articles of the AAUP-AFT contract. This committee shall evaluate the progress of the department and the effectiveness of the chairperson and shall forward a report to the president or his/her designee.
Section 4: Duties
The duties of the chairperson shall include but shall not be limited to the following:
- Preside at meetings of the Departmental Assembly and establish the agenda which shall have been distributed to members of the Departmental Assembly at least four days prior to the meeting.
- Select a member of the Assembly to serve as acting chairperson in the event of the absence of the chairperson from an Assembly meeting.
- Chairperson the departmental Coordinating Committee with vote and the Tenure and Promotion Committee without vote, and be an ex-officio, non-voting member of all other departmental committees.
- Appoint part-time faculty as needed from available qualified applicants. Qualified applicants for sociology courses will generally have a minimum qualification of a masters of arts degree in sociology except under unusual circumstances as approved by the Coordinating Committee.
- Be responsible for selecting an academic services officer or administrative assistant, as permitted, selecting office or other non-teaching staff as needed, and supervising their performance.
- Select departmental graduate assistants jointly with the Graduate Committee.
- Be the official representative of the department to the administration of the college and the university as well as the representative of the college and the university to the department.
Article IV: Departmental structure
Section 1: Administrative structure
The administrative structure of the department shall consist of the department chairperson.
Section 2: Committee structure
There shall be five major committees: the Coordinating Committee, the Budget Committee, the Graduate Committee, the Undergraduate Committee, and the Tenure and Promotion Committee. In addition to the major committees, there shall be a Salary Committee. Any other ad hoc committee shall be appointed as needed by the department chairperson with the approval of the coordinating committee.
- The Coordinating Committee shall consist of five faculty members and one student representative. Faculty members shall consist of the department chairperson, the Graduate Committee chairperson, the Undergraduate Committee chairperson, and two faculty members elected by the Departmental Assembly. The department chairperson shall serve as chairperson of this committee.
- The Budget Committee shall consist of four members, including the two elected members of the Coordinating Committee. The other two members will be elected by the Faculty Assembly. At their option, the Department Assembly may elect the two ex-officio members of the Coordinating Committee (directors of the undergraduate and graduate programs) to serve on the budget committee. The department chairperson shall serve as chairperson of this committee.
- The Graduate Committee shall consist of a committee chair, three elected members of the department faculty (all of whom must be members of the graduate faculty), and a graduate student representative. The committee chairperson will be the Director of Graduate Studies and will be nominated by the departmental chairperson, prior to the elections of other committee members. The Graduate Committee chairperson (Director of Graduate Studies) shall be a tenured member of the department faculty. The proposed appointee for director of graduate studies must be approved by a majority of the Faculty Assembly.
- The Undergraduate Committee shall consist of a committee chair, three elected members of the department faculty and a student representative. The committee chairperson will be the director of undergraduate studies and will be nominated by the departmental chairperson, prior to the elections of other committee members. The Undergraduate Committee chairperson (director of undergraduate studies) shall be a member of the department faculty. The proposed appointee for director of undergraduate studies must be approved by a majority of the Faculty Assembly.
- The Tenure and Promotion Committee shall consist of all tenured faculty members with vote in addition to the departmental chairperson who shall be the chairperson of this committee without vote.
- A Salary Committee shall be constituted according to the specifications of the current AAUP-WSU Agreement.
- All committee chairs and committee members shall be elected at the last Departmental Assembly meeting of the winter semester. Committee chairpersons will be elected for a three year period, beginning the following September. Committee members will be elected for a two year period, beginning the following September. Committee members will have staggered terms. Initially, one member of the undergraduate and graduate committee will be elected to a three year period, and two members will be elected for a two year period. The Graduate chairperson and Undergraduate chairperson shall be elected before members of the respective committees are elected. All members shall serve until the election of their successors. All elections shall be by secret ballot. A simple majority of the voting members of the Assembly at a meeting where a quorum is present shall be sufficient for election to a given committee.
If a committee chairperson is unable to fulfill her/his responsibilities for a short period of time (one semester or less), the department chairperson will appoint an interim committee chairperson for that period from one of the existing committee members. If a committee chairperson is unable to fulfill her/his responsibilities for a longer period, the department chairperson will nominate a new committee chairperson for a full three year period, which must be affirmed by secret ballot of a simple majority of the voting members of the Assembly at a meeting where a quorum is present.
Section 4: Function of the coordinating committee
The functions of the Coordinating committee shall include but are not limited to the following:
- Organize and direct the work of the directors and chairpersons of all programs, committees, task forces that may be formed, and any other business of the department.
- Determine priorities for hiring new faculty, and initiate the search for, invitation to, and recommend the hiring of new faculty members. To assist in this process, the Coordinating Committee may appoint appropriate ad hoc faculty committees to screen applicants and submit a list of the most promising applicants for a specific faculty position. Following consultation and input from the faculty, the Coordinating Committee will make recommendations on extending letters of appointment.
- Promote and facilitate research activities in the department and make recommendations about research opportunities, policies, and procedures.
- Identify priorities for the department.
- Engage in long-range planning.
Section 5: Functions of the Tenure and Promotion Committee
Any tenured member of the faculty who is a candidate for promotion shall not be eligible to serve on this committee. The committee shall elect a spokesperson from among its members. The committee may vote to require its spokesperson, together with the chairperson, to report the committee's decisions and the reasons for these decisions to the individuals subject to the review. The Tenure and Promotion Committee shall discharge the following responsibilities in accordance with the university, college, and departmental criteria for excellence in scholarship, teaching, and service:
- Receive applications, evaluate and recommend persons for promotion and tenure.
- Prepare recommendations to the chairperson about contract renewal for non-tenured faculty.
- Review annually the non-tenured academic staff (as defined in the AAUP-WSU Agreement).
Section 6: Functions of the Graduate Committee
The Graduate Committee shall be responsible for the activities related to the degrees of master of arts and doctor of philosophy and other graduate programs in sociology. Responsibilities include but are not limited to the following:
- Promote the recruitment of graduate students.
- Process graduate admission applications and make admission decisions (recommendations to the graduate college).
- Deal with and respond to graduate student petitions.
- Select departmental graduate student assistants jointly with the departmental chairperson.
- Coordinate and oversee the advising and evaluation of graduate students.
- Recommend graduate students for financial aid, fellowships, housing stipends and the like.
- Administer the Ph.D. preliminary examinations.
- Evaluate and review curriculum changes for all courses at the 6000 level and above, and work with the Undergraduate Committee for 5000 level courses; make recommendations on these issues to the Coordinating Committee.
- Oversee the development and change of graduate programs.
- Recommend policy matters and procedures to the Coordinating Committee for review.
- Revise and update a student guide or handbook for graduate education in sociology.
- Submit a written report to the Departmental Assembly every April summarizing the above.
Section 7: Functions of the Undergraduate Committee
The Undergraduate Committee shall be responsible for activities related to the undergraduate program. Responsibilities include but are not limited to the following:
- Organize, direct, and coordinate the undergraduate advising for all undergraduate programs in the department of sociology.
- Promote the recruitment of students to the major and minor programs in the department of sociology as well as the Honors program in sociology.
- Examine ways to increase course enrollment in undergraduate programs.
- Evaluate and recommend curriculum changes for all courses at the 4000 level and below, and work with the Graduate Committee for 5000 level courses.
- Review and make recommendations concerning the content and subject matter to be covered in introductory Sociology (Understanding Human Society, SOC 2000) and other required courses.
- Consider petitions from undergraduate students regarding course requirements for majors, language requirements and the like.
- Establish procedures to increase the effectiveness of teaching assistants and faculty (e.g. teaching resources, workshops, training sessions, visual aids, etc.).
- Develop interdepartmental undergraduate programs and/or relationships with other departments, institutes, or organizations.
- Revise and update a student guide for the major in sociology.
- Recommend policy matters and procedures to the Coordinating Committee for review.
- Submit a written report to the Departmental Assembly every April summarizing the above.
Section 1: General
One student representatives or their alternate shall be voting members of the Departmental Assembly. Students will be excused from the discussion and will not vote on sensitive issues including matters dealing with promotion, tenure, personnel, progress or concerns about specific students, departmental committee elections, and recommendations for compensation. A student representative shall be invited to become a member of the Graduate Committee and Undergraduate Committee with vote.
The student representative(s) and any alternate(s) to the Faculty Assembly and the Graduate Committee shall be full-time graduate students as defined by the university. The student representative to the Undergraduate Committee should be a full-time undergraduate student as defined by the university.
The student representative and any alternate to the Departmental Assembly may attend all meetings of the Departmental Assembly, participate in the discussion of nonsensitive issues as defined in Article V, Section 1A, shall represent student views and opinions, and shall exercise their voting rights as provided in Article V, Section 1A. The student selected to meet with the designated major committees shall participate in the discussion of the committee and shall have one vote.
The method by which student representatives are selected shall be determined by the Undergraduate and Graduate Student Organizations, or in the absence of such an organization, by the tenured faculty.
Article VI: Amendments or changes to these bylaws
Proposed amendments to these bylaws shall be submitted in writing and signed by at least three members of the Departmental Assembly to a meeting of the Departmental Assembly.
Copies of any proposed amendment(s) shall then be distributed to all members of the Departmental Assembly for consideration at its next scheduled or special meeting and voting shall be held not less than 28 days after this Assembly meeting.
A two-thirds vote of those voting, as long as those voting constitute a quorum of the Departmental Assembly, shall be required for the adoption of any proposed amendments.
Nothing in these bylaws is intended to be inconsistent with present or future Board of Governor's statues, or executive orders, or other university policies or regulations that have been duly issued, or any applicable collective bargaining agreement.
Where there may be inconsistency between these bylaws and present or future Board of Governors Statutes, other university policies or regulations or policies that have been duly issued, or any applicable collective bargaining agreement the latter shall prevail.
Peer evaluation of teaching as described in the collective bargaining agreement between Wayne State University and the AFT-AAUP will be carried out on a regular schedule for all represented faculty according to the process adopted by the Department of Sociology Faculty Assembly. The process is described and posted on the department's website.
This amendment was approved by the Department of Sociology Faculty on March 10, 2015, by secret ballot according to the procedures described in the departmental bylaws.
Process for peer evaluation of teaching in the Department of Sociology
Adopted by the Faculty of the department on February 4, 2015
1. Peer evaluation is a formative process, intended to assist faculty in enhancing both student success and each faculty member's own professional development and teaching effectiveness.
2. Peer evaluation will be carried out on a regular schedule for all represented faculty.
3. Peer evaluations will be conducted in the second, fourth and tenth year of a faculty member's service at WSU. Other periodic reviews will occur as determined by the Department of Sociology Faculty Assembly.
4. Faculty may request a peer evaluation at any other time.
5. Peer evaluation reports are confidential and will not be provided to the chairperson of the Department of Sociology or other administrators.
6. Peer evaluation reports will not be a part of either the Promotion and Tenure process or the Selective Salary process.
Having been reviewed, faculty may include the written products of the review in their P&T documents or include them in the materials submitted as part of their annual reports for selective salary review if they choose to do so. Including or omitting peer review documents in a P&T dossier or annual reports should not have any positive or negative implications on those processes and decisions at any level.
7. The only information to be provided by the peer evaluator to the chairperson of the Department of Sociology will be that the peer evaluation process has been completed and the date of completion. The faculty being reviewed will acknowledge that the evaluation has been completed and confirm the date of completion.
8. At the beginning of each academic year, department chairpersons or their designees should compile a list of faculty members scheduled for or requesting review. The chairperson or designee should also ask the faculty for volunteers willing to serve as reviewers that year if asked. Faculty being reviewed should provide the chairperson with a list of up to three possible reviewers from those willing volunteers within the department or in another department if that results in a more comfortable fit. The chairperson will contact the reviewers to ask if they will serve as the peer reviewer. Possible peer reviewers may decline the review, in which case the chairperson will contact other volunteers from the list submitted by the faculty member being reviewed.
9. The steps in the peer evaluation of teaching will include:
- Initial review of course materials by peer evaluator.
- Pre-observation consultation between the faculty member and peer evaluator.
- Observation of teaching by peer evaluator.
- Post-observation consultation and feedback between the faculty member and peer evaluator.
10. Documentation: Soon after the post-observation consultation, the peer evaluator should provide the faculty member with a final set of notes, checklists, and recommended actions.