Bylaws of Graduate Council
PENDING RATIFICATION BY THE UNIVERSITY FACULTY SENATE
ARTICLE I. COUNCIL MEMBERSHIP
Section A. Officers
- The officers of the Council shall be the Chair, the Vice Chair, and the Secretary to the Graduate Council. No member shall hold more than one office at a time.
- Every two years, a Chair will be elected from among the elected faculty members of the Graduate Council for the upcoming year to serve a two-year term beginning on the first day of the Fall semester. To be nominated for the office of Chair, the member must either:
- be in the second year of their first two-year term on Graduate Council and have been re-elected for an additional subsequent two-year term; or
- have served at least one two-year term as an elected faculty member of Graduate Council in the past.
- If a Council member’s term as representative of their voting unit expires while serving as Chair and the member is not reelected, the member shall be permitted to continue in the office of Chair until his or her two-year term expires. While completing the term as Chair, the officer will have all the rights and privileges of a regular member of the Graduate Council.
- The Chair shall serve as the presiding officer at Graduate Council meetings and shall perform such other duties applicable to the office as prescribed by the parliamentary authority adopted by the Council. The Chair will set the agenda of Graduate Council meetings, in consultation with the Dean of the Graduate School.
- If a vacancy occurs in the office of the Chair prior to completion of the Chair’s regular term, the Vice Chair will move immediately into the office of Chair and complete the unexpired term.
- Every year, a Vice Chair will be elected from among the elected faculty members of the Graduate Council to serve a one-year term. To be nominated for the office of Vice Chair, the member must either:
- be in the first year of their first two-year term on Graduate Council; or
- have served at least one full year as an elected faculty member of Graduate Council in the past.
- The Vice Chair shall assume the duties of the Chair in the absence of the Chair.
- If a vacancy occurs in the office of the Vice Chair, nominations will be requested within thirty days of notification of the vacancy and a vote will be held within sixty days of notification of the vacancy. Elected members of Council will be eligible to submit nominations. Nominees must consent to be added to the ballot. Elected members of Graduate Council will be eligible to vote in the election. The election will be conducted according to the procedures specified in the Standing Rules, Article I, Section J.3 and 4.
- The Director of Graduate Council Administration in the Graduate School will serve as Secretary to the Council but is not a member of Council and therefore has no voting rights.
- The Secretary shall keep the official roll, prepare and publish the minutes of Council meetings, and shall perform such other duties applicable to the office as prescribed by the parliamentary authority adopted by the Council.
- The Chair and Vice Chair of Graduate Council may be removed from their office for neglect of duty or for misconduct in office in accordance with procedures for removal in the Standing Rules, Article I, Section J.6.
Section B. Elected Members
- There shall be approximately forty-five elected Graduate Faculty members of the Council, elected by their voting units (as defined in Number 2 of this section). Each shall serve for a term of two years.
- The voting units shall be the colleges and schools of the University offering graduate programs. Additional voting units may be established by vote of the Council.
- The elected Council members shall be apportioned among the voting units as follows: one group of seats (block A), equal to the number of voting units, shall be assigned one per unit; the remaining group of seats (block B) shall be assigned in proportion to the number of Graduate Faculty members in each unit by the procedure detailed in Number 4 of this section.
- In January, the Secretary shall make an accurate summary of the number of Graduate Faculty members in each voting unit of the Graduate Council as of December 31 the prior year. On the basis of this summary, the Secretary shall compute the exact number of block B seats that must be assigned to each voting unit in order to achieve proportional representation. Numbers with fractions shall be rounded up to the next whole number if the fraction is one-half or greater and otherwise rounded down to the next whole number.
- By February 1, the Secretary shall notify the chief academic administrator of each voting unit each year of the total number of persons to be elected from that unit at the next annual election. This number shall ordinarily consist of one-half of the total number of representatives allotted to each unit. In the event that the voting unit has only one representative, that unit will select its representative every other year. In the event that the voting unit has an odd number of representatives, the Secretary will inform the presiding officer of the voting unit of the exact number to be elected for the year in question.
- The members of the Graduate Faculty within each voting unit shall elect, by secret and secure ballot, its members of the Council and a number of alternates to total at least half the number of elected members required that year. If a unit has only one representative, then at least one alternate must be elected. The voting members of the Graduate Faculty within each voting unit shall establish by a majority vote their own method of nominating candidates for election, as well as other rules for the conduct of the election. The election must be completed before April 1.
- Immediately following the election and by April 1 at the latest, the presiding officer of the voting unit shall transmit to the Secretary the names of those elected. Newly elected members and alternates shall take office at the beginning of the fall semester following the election and serve for two full years, through the end of the summer semester.
- The Secretary shall inform the chief academic administrator of each voting unit about the attendance of each member of the unit and participation in Graduate Council affairs. The chief academic administrator of the voting unit may replace an inactive Council member by an elected alternate at his or her discretion. Notice of the selection of a replacement shall be given in writing to the Secretary by the chief academic administrator of the voting unit.
- Each member of the Graduate Faculty shall be affiliated with the voting unit of his or her principal appointment. Any member of the Graduate Faculty whose principal appointment is not with an established voting unit shall be assigned to the voting unit that nominated the individual for membership in the Graduate Faculty.
- The chief academic administrator of the voting unit, or an individual designated by that administrator, shall preside over that voting unit for the purpose of conducting secret and secure elections to the Council.
- In case an elected member of Council is unable to complete the elected term, the chief academic administrator of the voting unit shall notify the Secretary which elected alternate will serve the remainder of the term. If no alternates are available, then the Graduate Faculty of the voting unit shall hold a special election to identify a new elected Council member, who will complete the unfinished term.
Section C. Qualifications of Members and Alternates
- Faculty membership in the Council shall be limited to Members of the Graduate Faculty.
- No elected member of the Council may serve more than four consecutive years.
- An elected alternate shall meet all the qualifications of an elected member of Council.
Section D. Additional Members and Participants in the Council
- The Graduate School. The Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Dean of the Graduate School shall be a voting member of the Council, ex officio. The Senior Associate Dean, Associate Dean(s), and/or Assistant Dean(s) of the Graduate School shall be voting members of the Council, ex officio. The Directors and administrative support staff of the Graduate School may attend Graduate Council meetings as participants (non-voting non-members).
- Office of Vice President for Research. The Vice President for Research and the Associate Vice President for Research and Director of Strategic Initiatives shall be non-voting members of the Council, ex officio.
- World Campus. The Assistant Vice Provost for Online and Blended Programs shall be a non-voting member of Graduate Council, ex officio. This person will serve as liaison between the Graduate Council and the World Campus.
- Other educational units. The Deans of Dickinson Law and Penn State Law may each recommend to the Chair a respective designee who is a member of the Graduate Faculty and who shall be a non-voting member of the Graduate Council, ex officio.
- University Faculty Senate. A member of the Senate Council of the University Faculty Senate designated by the Chair of the Senate in consultation with the Chair of Graduate Council shall be a voting member of the Council. The individual selected must be a Member of the Graduate Faculty.
- University Registrar. The University Registrar shall be a non-voting member of Graduate Council, ex officio.
- With the concurrence of the Council, the Chair may invite guests to attend and participate in Council meetings at any time.
- The Graduate and Professional Student Association, in its capacity as the officially sanctioned representative student organization for graduate students, shall be responsible for conducting an election to choose five degree-seeking students enrolled in the Graduate School (hereafter, "graduate students") to each serve for one year as voting members of the Council. In electing graduate students to the Council, no more than one shall be chosen from the same voting unit as defined in Article I, Section B, Number 2.
Prior to April 1 of each year, the members of the Graduate and Professional Student Association shall elect graduate student members of the Council and an equal number of graduate student alternates. The members of the Graduate and Professional Student Association shall establish their own method of nominating candidates for election, as well as other rules for the conduct of the election. The election must be completed by April 1.
Replacement of members by alternates shall be made in a manner similar to the replacement procedure for faculty members in Article I, Section B, Number 8.
ARTICLE II. COUNCIL ORGANIZATION
Section A. Committees
- Standing Committees of the Council may be established by the Council.
- Prior to May 31 of each year the Council shall elect faculty members who will be members of Council in the upcoming academic year to serve on the Committee on Committees and Procedures for a two-year period.
- Total membership of the Committee on Committees and Procedures shall consist of at least six elected faculty members of Graduate Council, and one elected graduate student member of Graduate Council. The graduate student member will be appointed by the Graduate and Professional Student Association and will serve a one-year term.
- Each year before the first Council meeting of the fall semester, the Committee on Committees and Procedures shall prepare a roster of proposed Standing Committee assignments.
- The newly elected Council at its first meeting shall review the recommendations of the Committee on Committees and Procedures and vote to appoint members to Standing Committees.
- The Chair may appoint Ad Hoc Committees of the Council for special purposes.
- Graduate students shall be eligible to serve on all committees.
ARTICLE III. COUNCIL MEETINGS
Section A. Time and Place of Meetings
- Regular meetings of the Council shall normally be held once a month during the academic year, at a regular time and place designated by the Chair in consultation with the Dean of the Graduate School.
- Special meetings of the Council may be called by the Chair upon 20 business days1 notice to its members.
- Regular meetings of the Council may be omitted upon adequate notice to the members when lack of business justifies such action.
ARTICLE IV. FACULTY LEGISLATIVE AUTHORITY
Section A. Faculty Recourse
- Actions of the Council may be revised or nullified by the Graduate Faculty in the following manner:
- Within 25 business days after the publication of the minutes of the relevant Council meeting, any member of the Graduate Faculty may challenge the action by presenting to the Secretary of the Council a petition signed by fifty members of the Graduate Faculty requesting that a review be made of the action by the Council.
- At the next regular meeting of Graduate Council, the Council shall meet with representatives of the petitioners to attempt to resolve the difficulties. A special meeting of Council may be called for this purpose as outlined in Article III. Section A.2.
- If the objection is not resolved, the Chair shall call a meeting of the Graduate Faculty as soon as feasible for the specific purpose of discussing the action that has been challenged. To become an official action, two steps must occur:
- a motion to replace, overturn, revise, or nullify the contested action of the Council must be approved by majority vote of the Graduate Faculty attending the meeting; and
- the vote must be sustained by the Graduate Faculty through ballot by mail or electronically to all members. The decision to sustain or reject the motion shall be based upon a majority vote of those voting on the issue.
Section B. Special Graduate Faculty Meetings
- Special meetings of the Graduate Faculty may be called by the Chair on his or her own initiative or upon receipt of a petition signed by fifty Graduate Faculty members. To become effective, any legislative action taken at such a meeting requires approval by the Graduate Faculty through ballot by mail or electronically. The decision to sustain or reject the legislation shall be based upon a majority vote of those voting on the issue.
ARTICLE V. IMPLEMENTATION
The Office of the Dean of the Graduate School shall promulgate Graduate School regulations to implement the policies and intent of the Council. However, the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School shall have the authority to grant exceptions in individual cases to any rule or regulation where special conditions warrant such action.
ARTICLE VI. PROCEDURE
The Council shall establish its rules of procedure.
ARTICLE VII. AMENDMENT
An amendment to the Bylaws may be adopted at any meeting of the Council by a two-thirds vote of those Council members present and voting, providing that the amendment has been presented in writing at the preceding regular meeting. Following approval, the amended Bylaws will be submitted by the Chair to the University Faculty Senate for ratification.
1 Graduate Council defines "business days" as Monday through Friday, excluding any day the University is officially closed.
Revised by Graduate Council: Sept. 16, 2015
Revised by Graduate Council: Oct. 17, 2018
Revised by Graduate Council: April 10, 2019