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About the Department


(As Amended Jan 29 2016)

Section I.                    Composition of the Department

Members of the Department are all of the following:

All full-time professors, associate professors, assistant professors, and instructors with appointment in the Department of Philosophy.

Section II.                   Meetings

Meetings of the Department shall be held at least once a semester. Either the chair or a majority of departmental members in residence shall have authority to call special meetings of the Department. Whenever possible the agenda for all meetings shall be circulated in advance. Notice of meetings shall be given to all members by e-mail.

The chair shall preside over all departmental meetings at which he/ she is present. At all meetings an actual quorum shall be present. A quorum shall consist of a majority of the members in residence. No votes shall be cast by proxy. In the absence of specific rules adopted by the Department, the proceedings shall be conducted according to Robert's Rules of Order. Minutes of Departmental Meetings shall be distributed to all members of the Department.

Section III.     Chair of the Department

The chair is the administrative officer of the Department. He/ she represents the Department in its relations with other units of the University. He / she is responsible for administering the affairs of the Department in accordance with the policies determined by the Department, the College, and the University.

The term of office shall be for three years beginning the Fall semester following election in the Spring.

The chair shall elected according to the procedure specified in the College bylaws.

Section IV. Tenure, Promotion and Reappointment

Recommendations as to reappointment, tenure and promotion shall be decided by the Personnel Committee. For reappointment of non-tenured faculty, tenure, and promotion to associate professor, the Committee shall consist of all tenured members of the Department. For promotion to full professor, the Committee shall consist of all full professors. In cases of tenure or promotion, the Department Chair shall be ineligible to vote or to chair the Committee.

Non Tenured members of the Department shall be formally reviewed by the Personnel Committee during their third year for purposes of determining whether their contracts for the fourth year shall be terminal or nonterminal. At the end of their fourth year they will be entitled to informal review by the committee in order to apprise them of their prospects for tenure.

Among the considerations to be used by the Committee are the following: Quality and quantity of research, publications and other related scholarly activities; teaching performance; and service to the Department, College, University and profession. The Department adopts the American Philosophical Association's Statement on Research in Philosophy, two paragraphs of which follow:

Philosophical research is carried on and communicated in many ways, including seminars, colloquia, informal discussion, and now electronic exchanges as well as publication in print. Some philosophers write both essays ("papers" and reviews) and books, and a few write books exclusively; but many more write essays exclusively. Philosophical essays vary greatly in length. Some may be brief discussion notes, while others may approach monograph dimensions. In either event, they rarely have the character of the reports on empirical studies that are common in some disciplines. They typically involve the careful examination of difficult and complex issues; and what generally is taken to matter most in them is the quality of the reasoning set forth and the greater understanding of the matter under consideration to which it contributes.

Some doctoral dissertations in philosophy lend themselves readily and appropriately to publication in book form; but it is neither expected nor typical that dissertations will be published as books. It is more common for portions of dissertations to appear in the form of extracted articles. At any stage of a philosopher's career, the development of a substantial essay of sufficient quality and interest to be published in a good philosophical journal requires considerable time and effort. Substantial essays of high quality and promise, either published or accepted for publication in good journals or anthologies, supplemented by other evidence of involvement and recognition in the life of the profession, are generally regarded as a strong showing for philosophers during the early

years of their careers prior to tenure decisions. [Proceedings and Addresses of the APA, 70:2, Nov., 1996]

Section V.                  Grievance Procedure

Case I: If one faculty member has a grievance against another, the normal procedure will be to take the problem to the Chair. If the Chair is unable to mediate the dispute successfully and either party requests a formal hearing, each will select one other Department member (not a party to the dispute) to hear the case together with the Chair. If there is a subsequent appeal, the report of this ad hoc committee will be forwarded to the College level.

Case II: If a faculty member has a grievance against the Chair, or against a committee that includes the Chair (such as a committee deciding merit recommendations), a two-person ad hoc committee shall be convened consisting of one Department member selected by the person with the grievance and one selected by the Chair (neither to be a party to the dispute). These two will be responsible for resolving the grievance. Should they be unable to reach agreement, they must choose a third member of the department to break the tie. If there is subsequent appeal, the report of this ad hoc committee will be forwarded to the College level.

A grievance that cannot be satisfactorily resolved at the department level can be appealed to the Dean of the College in accordance with College procedures.

Section VI.     Amendment

These by-laws may be amended at any meeting of the Department by the vote of a majority of all members in residence, providing that three days’ notice of the proposed section has been given.

Section VII. Enabling Clause

These by-laws shall go into effect upon acceptance by a majority of all members of the Department.