Section 1. The Faculty Senate is the legislative body of Southern Arkansas University in all academic matters relating to or affecting two or more of the colleges of the University Faculty as a whole. The Faculty Senate may consider matters referred to it by any faculty member or administrative officer; and it may, upon its own initiative, undertake the consideration and the determination of policies or procedures relating to courses, curricula, instruction, and the academic welfare of students and faculty.
Section 2. All actions taken by the Faculty Senate are subject to review by a meeting of the entire Faculty Assembly.
Article I. Membership and Organization of the Faculty
Section 1. Faculty members eligible to vote for Faculty Senators and serve as Faculty Senators shall include those full-time employees of the University who hold the rank of instructor, assistant professor, associate professor, professor, or distinguished professor, and who have tenure or tenure-track appointment. However, any faculty member may bring issues before the Faculty Senate.
Section 2. The Faculty Senate, hereinafter referred to as the Senate, shall serve as the representative and governing body of the faculty of Southern Arkansas University.
Article II. Functions of the Senate
Section 1. Within the limitations stated in the remainder of this Article, the Senate shall have the responsibility to review University policies in all areas which directly pertain to the academic function of Southern Arkansas University, including, but not limited to:
- admission requirements;
- curricula and courses;
- degrees and requirements for degrees;
- calendar and schedules;
- awards and honors;
- student affairs;
- continuing education;
- facilitation of teaching and research;
- faculty conduct and discipline;
- faculty appointment, retention, tenure, and promotion;
- freedom of expression and academic freedom;
- interpretation of the Senate’s legislation and policies; and
- the necessary and proper implementation of the foregoing powers.
Section 2. The Senate shall have the authority to make recommendations to the University’s president and the Board of Trustees on all institutional matters of direct faculty concern, including, but not limited to:
- policies regarding faculty status, including appointments, promotions, granting of tenure, retirement, non-reappointment, and dismissal;
- policies affecting the general welfare, working conditions, and the services performed by and for the faculty;
- policies relating to academic and professional research and other scholarly and creative activities;
- selection and removal of the principal administrative officers having university-wide responsibilities, as well as the creation and abolition of such offices;
- University budgets; and
- The academic calendar.
Section 3. To facilitate the timely review of the policy proposals which pertain to the academic function of the University, each Standing Committee of the University shall forward copies of its minutes to the president of the Senate. The president of the Senate shall bring before the Senate for its review those committee actions which recommend substantial changes or the creation of new policies or procedures that affect institutional matters of direct faculty concern, as identified in Article II, sections 1 and 2.
Section 4. The Senate shall establish such committees as it deems necessary to carry out its functions.
Section 5. The Senate shall consider all matters placed on its agenda by the University and Senate committees, by individual faculty members, by the vice president for academic affairs, or by the president of the University.
Section 6. The elected officers of the Senate shall serve as the Faculty Committee on Committees. Each member on the Committee on Committees shall maintain a list of faculty and endeavor to learn about their interests and abilities as regards service on Standing Committees of the University.
Article III. Membership of the Senate
Section 1. The Senate shall consist of elected members and non-voting ex-officio members as follows:
- Elected (voting)
- College Senators: Three faculty members from each of the four colleges of the University shall be elected by a secret ballot of the respective colleges in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.
- At-Large Senators: Six faculty members shall be elected by a vote of the entire faculty.
- Special Constituency Senators: The Faculty Senate may, by two-thirds of its membership, confer (and rescind) voting representation to any campus special constituency not currently represented on the Senate. The Senate is limited to a maximum of three special constituencies from this classification with one senator for each special constituency. Upon action by the Senate conferring voting representation to the campus special constituency, the membership of the special constituency will elect its representative by secret ballot. The representative will serve a three-year term. Consideration of rescinding the special constituency representation may occur only at the end of a three-year term of the Senator for that special constituency.
- Hereinafter, “Senators” refers only to College, At-Large, or Special Constituency Senators.
- Ex Officio (non-voting)
- Administration: The president, vice president for academic affairs, vice president for student affairs, vice president for administration, vice president for finance, vice president for facilities, and deans of the various colleges and school will serve as ex officio representatives of the University administration.
- Support services: An elected representative of the Staff Senate will serve a three-year term as the ex officio representative for the administrative support personnel.
- Library: The director of library and information services will serve as an ex officio representative of the University’s librarians and library staff.
- Student: The Student Government Association president will serve as an ex officio representative for all students enrolled in the University.
Section 2. No more than three senators shall be from any single department and no more than two chairpersons shall be elected from each college.
Section 3. Elected senators shall serve a term of three years. Vacancies shall be filled by a special election to fill the unexpired term. The election to fill a vacancy shall be by the constituency represented by the vacancy. However, no person shall serve more than two successive full terms.
Section 4. Vacancies for Senate positions shall be filled in three stages. By April 1, the faculty shall elect by secret ballot two senators to fill the vacancies caused by the expiration of the terms of one class of At-Large Senators and shall fill other vacancies as may be required. Subsequent to the election of the At-Large Senators, but no later than April 20, each college shall elect by secret ballot one senator to fill the vacancy caused by the expiration of the term of one class of senators and shall fill other vacancies in the ranks of College Senators as may be required. Subsequent to the election of the College Senators, but no later than April 30, each represented special constituency shall elect by secret ballot a senator as may be required to fill a vacancy.
Section 5. The term of office for newly elected senators shall begin May 1.
Section 6. By written notice to the president of Senate submitted twenty-four hours before a meeting, a member of the Senate may choose another faculty member from the member’s constituency to represent the member at a Senate meeting. Such a representative must be eligible for election to the Senate.
Section 7. In lieu of choosing a replacement representative, a member of the Senate may, by written notice to the Senate resident, give a proxy vote to another member of the Senate from that member’s constituency.
Section 8. Proxies and alternate representative shall be announced by the Senate president at the beginning of each meeting when the roll is called.
Section 9. The seat of a member of the Senate who has been repeatedly absent from Senate meetings can be declared vacant by a three-fourths vote of senators attending a meeting. The motion to remove a member of the Senate shall be considered a major item of business.
Article IV. Officers
Section 1. The officers of the Senate shall be as follows: president; vice president, who shall serve as president-elect; secretary-treasurer; and parliamentarian.
Section 2. Eligibility for the election to an office shall be restricted to elected members of the Senate.
Section 3. The term of office for any Senate officer shall be one year or until a successor has been chosen and qualified.
Section 4. The officers of the Senate shall be elected by vote of the elected members of the Senate before May 15 each year.
Section 5. The president of the Senate shall be granted one quarter “release time” so that the functions of the office may be properly carried out. The secretary-treasurer shall notify the vice president for academic affairs of the name of the person selected as Senate vice president (president-elect) so that any necessary schedule changes may be made. Additional “release time” may be granted by the Senate as approved by the vice president for academic affairs
Section 6. The president of the Senate shall:
- call for sessions of the Senate and preside over such meetings; and
- be empowered to interpret, when necessary, the Constitution, the University Catalog, and all reports issued by any of the Senate Committees.
Section 7. The vice president of the Senate shall:
- assist the president of the Senate in performing all of the responsibilities incumbent to the position of Senate president;
- serve as Chairman of the Committee on Committees which nominates faculty members to the standing committees and ad hoc committees; and
- act as Senate president at such times when the president may be unable to perform these duties.
Section 8. The secretary-treasurer of the Senate shall:
- confirm the presence of a quorum at each meeting of the Senate;
- record the minutes of each Senate meeting and distribute within seven working days a draft of the minutes to Senate members. The secretary-treasurer shall also send by e-mail a draft of the minutes to the faculty;
- aid the Senate president in election procedures and such other matters as the Senate president may deem appropriate to the office;
- file, as soon as possible, a copy of the approved minutes in the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs as the official office record. Copies shall similarly be forwarded to the university president and each member of the Board of Trustees; and
- be responsible for the Senate budget.
Section 9. The parliamentarian of the Senate shall ensure that the established guidelines described in Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised are adhered to during all regular and special sessions of the Senate.
Article V. Meetings
Section 1. The Senate shall hold regularly scheduled meetings each month of the academic year. The agenda of each meeting will be determined by the elected officers of the Faculty Senate in consultation with the vice president for academic affairs, the president of the University, or any member of the Board of Trustees.
Section 2. The third Thursday of each month shall be reserved for Senate meetings. The Senate shall establish at the May meeting the time at which the Senate shall convene during the following academic year. Senate members shall be responsible for class arrangements.
Section 3. The following order of business shall be observed in meetings of the Faculty Senate unless two-thirds of the senators present vote to change the procedures: (1) call to order, (2) approval of the minutes, (3) special orders of the day, (4) unfinished business, (5) reports of committees, (6) other new business, (7) adjournment.
Section 4. The Senate may be called into special session by the president of the Senate or upon written petition of a majority of the Senate. A notice stating the purpose of any special session must be distributed to the members of the Senate twenty-four hours prior to the meeting.
Section 5. Any faculty member may attend any regular or special session of the Senate and may participate in its deliberations with the consent of the presiding officer. Only senators shall be eligible to propose motions or to vote.
Section 6. A quorum for any meeting of the Senate shall consist of two-thirds of the voting members.
Section 7. The rules of procedure contained in Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised shall govern the proceedings of the Senate, subject to such special rules as may be adopted by the Senate.
Article VI. Standing Committees of the Senate
Section 1. The Standing Committees of the Senate shall be:
- Committee on Committees
- Handbook Committee
- Budget Committee
- Parking Appeals Committee
Article VII. Standing Committees of the University
Section 1 (a). University Committees.
- Academic Advising Committee
- Building and Grounds Committee
- Commencement Committee
- Faculty/Staff Appeals and Human Rights Committee
- Faculty Staff Professional Development Committee
- Fringe Benefits Committee
- Intercollegiate Athletics Committee
- Library Committee
- Online and Technology Services Committee
- Public Information Committee
- Scholarship and Student Financial Aid Committee
- Student Affairs Committee
- Student Media Committee
Section 1 (b). Academic Committees
- Academic Affairs Committee
- Academic Integrity Committee
- Academic Suspension Appeals Committee
- Animal Subjects Committee
- Annual Faculty Performance Review Monitoring Committee
- Assessment Committee
- Faculty Development in Teaching with Technology
- General Education
- Graduate Council Committee
- Honors College Committee
- Institutional Review Board for Treatment of Human Subjects
- Online Education Committee
- Research Committee
- Teacher Education Committee
- University and Promotion Council
Section 2. Senate Standing Committees will be elected by the voting members of the Senate.
Section 3. At the beginning of the school year, the committee on Committees will review the membership of all Standing Committees of the University and ensure that at least one member of each committee is a senator. If a committee does not have a senator, then the Senate will elect an ex officio, non-voting member to that Committee.
Article VIII. Amendments
Section 1. An amendment to this Constitution may be proposed at any regular meeting of the Senate by a majority vote of the senators, provided a copy of the proposed amendment has been presented to each senator in attendance at the immediately preceding meeting.
Section 2. Any amendment proposed by the Senate shall be submitted to a vote of the University faculty. Each faculty member shall be notified at least two weeks in advance of such a vote and at that time be furnished with a copy of the proposed amendment.
Section 3. An amendment to this Constitution shall become effective upon approval by a majority of the members of the University faculty.
The original version of the Constitution of the Faculty Senate was developed by the Faculty Affairs Committee, the Senate’s precursor. The Constitution was ratified by the Committee and responsibilities were transferred to the Senate on September 19, 1991. The Constitution was approved by the Board of Trustees on September 27, 1991, and has been amended several times.