Bylaws of Graduate Council
Note: In the following articles, the term "Chair" signifies the Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Dean of the Graduate School, who serves as the permanent chairperson of the Council (see Art. II). The term "Dean" signifies the Dean of the Graduate School.
ARTICLE I. COUNCIL MEMBERSHIP
Section A. Elected Members
- There shall be approximately forty-five elected Graduate Faculty members of the Council. Each shall serve for a term of two years.
- The elected Council members shall be apportioned among the voting units (as defined in Number 8 of this section) 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 3 of this section.
- As of December 31 of each year, the Chair shall make an accurate summary of the number of Graduate Faculty members in each voting unit of the Graduate School. On the basis of this summary, the Chair 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.
- The Chair 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 Chair will inform the presiding officer of the voting unit of the exact number to be elected for the year in question.
- Prior to March 1 of each year, the members of the Graduate Faculty within each voting unit shall elect its members of the Council and at least half the number of elected members as alternates. 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 by April 1.
- Immediately following the election, the presiding officer of the voting unit shall transmit to the Chair the names of those elected. Newly elected members shall take office at the beginning of the fall semester following the election.
- The Chair shall inform each voting unit about the attendance of each member of the unit and participation in Graduate Council affairs. The voting unit may replace an inactive Council member by an elected alternate at its discretion. Notice of the selection of a replacement shall be given in writing to the Chair by the presiding officer of the voting unit.
- The voting units shall be the colleges and schools of the University offering graduate programs, including Great Valley School of Graduate Professional Studies and the School of International Affairs. Additional voting units may be established by vote of the Council.
- 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 elections to the Council.
- In case an elected member of Council is unable to complete the elected term, the voting unit shall notify the Chair which elected alternate will serve the remainder of the term. If no alternates are available, then the University faculty of the voting unit shall hold a special election to identify a new elected Council member, who will complete the unfinished term.
Section B. 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 C. Additional Members and Participants in the Council
- The Graduate School. The Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Dean of the Graduate School (the "Chair") 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, as appropriate, shall be voting members of the Council, ex officio.
- 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 Associate Vice Provost for Online Programs shall be a non-voting member of Graduate Council, ex officio. The person must be a member of the Graduate Faculty and will serve as liaison between the Graduate Council and the World Campus.
- Other educational units. The Deans of the Dickinson School of Law and Penn State Law will 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 Council of the University Faculty Senate designated by that body shall be a voting member of the Council. The individual selected must be a Member of the Graduate Faculty.
- 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 all 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 A, Number 8.
Prior to March 1 of each year, the members of the Graduate and Professional Student Association shall be called together by their President to 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 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 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 A, Number 7.
ARTICLE II. COUNCIL ORGANIZATION
Section A. Officers
- The officers of the Council shall be the Chair and the Secretary to the Council.
- The Dean of the Graduate School shall serve as the permanent chairperson (the "Chair") of the Council. In his/her absence, a Council member or a member of the administrative staff of the Graduate School may be designated by the Chair to preside.
- The Secretary to the Council shall be appointed by the Chair.
Section B. Committees
- Standing Committees of the Council may be established by the Council.
- Prior to May 31 of each year the Council shall elect persons who will be members of Council in the upcoming academic year to serve on a Committee on Committees and Procedures for a two-year period.
- Total committee membership shall consist of seven persons, including one graduate student. One half of the faculty members shall be elected each year. The graduate student 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 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 at a regular time and place designated by the Chair.
- 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 any action of the Council, 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.
Within 10 business days of receipt of the petition, the Council shall meet with representatives of the petitioners to attempt to resolve the difficulties.
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, a motion to replace, overturn, revise, or nullify the contested action of the Council passed at such a special meeting by majority vote must be sustained by the Graduate Faculty by means of a ballot mailed 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 petitions signed by fifty Graduate Faculty members. To become effective, any legislative action taken at such a meeting requires approval by the Graduate Faculty through a mail ballot. 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 shall promulgate Graduate School regulations to implement the policies and intent of the Council. However, the Office of the Dean 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, providing that the amendment has been presented in writing at the preceding regular meeting.
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