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Standing Rules of Graduate Council

PENDING RATIFICATION BY THE UNIVERSITY FACULTY SENATE

 

ARTICLE I. RULES OF PROCEDURE

Section A

  1. A quorum for the transaction of business shall consist of twenty-five Council members.
  2. The rules of procedure in the meetings of the Graduate Council, except as may be otherwise specified in the Articles of Authority, Bylaws, and Standing Rules, shall be the current edition of Robert's Rules of Order, Newly Revised. All motions, except as may be otherwise specified in these documents, shall be determined by a majority of the votes cast. Roll Call votes may be initiated by the decision of the Chair or by five or more of the Council members present and voting.

Section B

The order of business at each regular meeting of the Council shall be as follows:

  1. Minutes of the preceding meeting.
  2. Communications to the Graduate Council.
  3. Announcements by the Chair.
  4. Announcements by the Dean of the Graduate School.
  5. Announcements by the University Faculty Senate Liaison to Graduate Council.
  6. Remarks of the Vice President for Research [as appropriate].
  7. Reports of Standing Committees.
  8. Reports of Special Committees.
  9. Special reports.
  10. Unfinished business.
  11. New business.
  12. Comments and recommendations for the good of the graduate community.

The order of business may be changed by the Chair prior to any meeting. Any or all items in this section may be suspended at any regular meeting of the Council by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the members present and voting and at any special meeting by decision of the Chair.

Section C

The order of business for any special meeting of the Council as outlined in the Bylaws, Article III, Section A, Number 2, shall be determined by the Chair.

Section D

An agenda and appendices shall be distributed at least four (4) business days1 before the regular meeting to which they pertain to all members of the Council and to all non-Council members of Council Committees. Each academic and principal administrative unit of the University and the Graduate and Professional Student Association shall be sent a copy. The organizations shall receive the aforesaid agenda with appendices on the same time schedule as do Council members.

Section E

  1. To introduce new business, a Council member may address a request to the Chair indicating the item of business that the Council member wishes to be considered. This request must be made to the Chair, in writing, through the Secretary to the Council, at least ten (10) business days before the regular meeting to be considered for that meeting agenda. Items of new business introduced in this way may be discussed and referred to committee at the meeting, but a vote to consider a main motion must be postponed until the next regular meeting of Council unless the Chair calls a special meeting to consider this item before the next regular meeting as outlined in the Bylaws, Article III, Section A, Number 2.
  2. A Council member may also introduce, by a direct motion from the floor, new business that he or she considers to be of exceptional urgency. When such a motion has been made and seconded, it shall be laid on the table until the next regular meeting of the Council unless the Chair calls a special meeting to consider this item before the next regular meeting as outlined in the Bylaws, Article III, Section A, Number 2.
  3. The chair or another member of a standing or special committee may also introduce a motion to Council on behalf of the committee. When such a motion has been made, a vote to consider the motion must be postponed until the next regular meeting of Council unless the Chair calls a special meeting to consider this item before the next regular meeting as outlined in the Bylaws, Article III, Section A, Number 2. This provision does not apply to the motion from the Committee on Committees and Procedures to appoint members to the Standing Committees, which must take place at the first Council meeting of the fall semester, as outlined in the Bylaws, Article II, Section A, Number 5.
  4. At the discretion of the Chair, any member of the Graduate Faculty, graduate education administration, or graduate student body not a member of the Council may be granted the privilege of the floor on any item of business already before the Council. Such a request must be made to the Chair, in writing, through the Secretary to the Council, at least four (4) business days before the meeting at which the faculty member, administrator, or graduate student wishes to speak.
  5. Only members of the Council may introduce new business.
  6. At the discretion of the Chair, any member of the Board of Trustees, faculty, administration, student body, or staff not a member of the Council may be granted the privilege of the floor to make comments and recommendations relevant to and for the good of the graduate community. Requests shall be made to the Chair, in writing, through the Secretary to the Council, at least four (4) business days prior to the meeting at which the individual wishes to speak.
  7. The Chair shall have the authority to place a time limit on the remarks of any nonmember of the Council.
  8. The rules of this section may be suspended only by a two-thirds vote of the Council members present and voting.

Section F

New Standing Rules of the Council and amendments to these rules may be acted upon only after they have been presented in writing to all Council members at least six days before a regular meeting of the Council, except that this requirement may be suspended by a two-thirds vote of the Council members present and voting. Following approval, the amended Standing Rules will be submitted by the Chair to the University Faculty Senate for ratification.

Section G

The Council shall send minutes of its meetings to those specified in Section D.

Section H

Duties of Council Members:

  1. Attend Council meetings.
    1. Graduate Council members are expected to attend all meetings of Graduate Council. Although in-person attendance is preferred, Graduate Council members may participate in Graduate Council meetings remotely via videoconference using appropriately equipped University videoconferencing facilities or University-supported web-conferencing technology from a non-public and quiet location.
    2. If an elected Graduate Council member is unable to attend a meeting of Council, s/he must notify the Secretary in advance. The member must also notify their voting unit to provide an elected alternate to replace them at the meeting. If an elected alternate is available to attend the meeting, either the member or the voting unit must notify the Secretary at least 4 hours prior to the meeting start time to allow the alternate to receive the same voting privileges as the Council member for whom he/she is substituting for the day. The elected alternate must have been previously identified by the voting unit as eligible to serve as an alternate. The elected alternate may also substitute for the Council member at the Council member’s committee meeting being held on the same day.
    3. If a Council member is absent from three or more Council meetings in an academic year without advance notice to the Secretary and has not resigned from his/her elected seat on Graduate Council, the Council will remove the member and require the voting unit to replace that member with a duly elected alternate representative. This provision does not pertain to sabbatical, medical, or other leaves of absence, or other absences related to professional responsibilities. It is the member’s duty to notify the Secretary of the reason for an absence.
  2. Attend their assigned Standing and Ad Hoc committee meetings.
    1. Committee members may participate in committee meetings remotely via videoconference using appropriately equipped University videoconferencing facilities or University-supported web-conferencing technology from a non-public and quiet location.
    2. If a committee member is unable to attend a committee meeting that is not on the same day as Council, an elected alternate may attend the committee meeting in their place. The elected alternate must have been previously identified by the voting unit as eligible to serve as an alternate. The committee member must notify the Secretary at least 4 hours prior to the meeting start time to allow the alternate to receive the same voting privileges as the committee member for whom he/she is substituting.
  3. Communicate the activities of the Graduate Council to the Graduate Faculty in their home unit.
  4. In considering legislation, Council Members must balance the needs of their academic unit with the overall goal of maintaining and improving the quality of graduate education across the University.

Section I

Graduate Council Meetings:

  1. Graduate Council meetings are open to elected members of Graduate Council and the Additional Members and Participants in the Council as specified in the Bylaws, Sections B and D. Members of the University community who are not members of Graduate Council may request the privilege of the floor as outlined in Article I, Section E above.

Section J

Nominations, Elections, and Removal of Officers:

  1. The Secretary will request nominations for the Chair and Vice Chair as needed from elected members of Council in April. Nominees must consent to be added to the ballot for election. Nominations must be received by 5:00 p.m. on the day of the May Graduate Council meeting. The election must be concluded by May 31.
  2. Only elected members of Graduate Council for the upcoming academic year, including continuing and incoming members, are eligible to vote in the election of the Chair and Vice Chair.
  3. Election of the Chair and Vice Chair shall be electronically by secret preferential ballot, with the preferred candidate for each office being designated by “1,” the next by “2,” and so on. In counting votes, a Borda count system shall be used to determine the winner. In the event of a tie, the results of the election shall be determined by drawing lots among the tied candidates.
  4. Votes shall be counted and verified by the Secretary, who will immediately report the results of the election to the current officers and candidates. The full Graduate Council will be notified in a timely fashion.
  5. The Chair has the discretion to undertake a recount of the ballots at any time before the first day of the fall semester when the terms of office officially begin. An elected faculty member of Graduate Council wishing to contest the election results may request that the Chair conduct a recount within 30 days after the notification of the election results is sent. The Chair has the authority to decide whether or not to grant the request.
  6. At any meeting of Graduate Council, a petition may be presented to the Chair requesting that the Chair or Vice Chair be removed from office for neglect of duty or misconduct in office. The petition must be signed by at least five elected faculty members of Graduate Council. The Executive Committee of Graduate Council after appropriate investigation and discussion shall vote on whether the Graduate Council shall be polled to consider the removal of the officer. A majority vote of the members of the Executive Committee present and voting shall be required. If the Committee votes to poll the Graduate Council, a ballot by mail or electronically will be sent to all Council members allowing at least ten business days for voting. A two-thirds majority vote of Council members voting shall be required for removal of the officer.

ARTICLE II. GRADUATE COUNCIL COMMITTEE STRUCTURE

Section A

Committees may be created according to the provisions of Article II, Section A, of the Bylaws of the Graduate Council. A roster of Graduate Council members, as well as membership on Standing and Ad Hoc Committees, shall be made available to the University community on the Graduate Council section of The Graduate School's website.

Section B

The Chair is an ex officio member of all Standing and Ad Hoc Committees and may authorize the Vice Chair to be a representative at any committee meetings. The Chair of Graduate Council has full authority to decide which Committee has responsibility for considering and proposing legislation and/or consultation on any item which may overlap the responsibilities of more than one Committee.

Section C

All Standing Committees except the Committee on Committees and Procedures may add to their membership with the approval of the Committee on Committees and Procedures.

All Standing Committees are encouraged to invite individuals to render testimony or advice on particular questions as circumstances might indicate. All Standing Committees may appoint Ad Hoc Subcommittees as needed.

Section D

All Standing Committees must be chaired by elected faculty members of Graduate Council. The other appointed members of the committees should be representatives of the graduate community (Graduate Faculty, students enrolled in the Graduate School, or graduate education administrators) and need not be members of the Graduate Council. Ex officio members of committees may vote in committee meetings if they are voting members of Council as specified in the Bylaws Section D.

Section E

All committee positions, except those of the Committee on Committees and Procedures, are tenable for one year, from the day of the first Graduate Council meeting of the fall semester in a given year to the day before the first Graduate Council meeting of the fall semester of the next year. Term lengths for the Committee on Committees and Procedures are stated in the Bylaws, Article II, Section A. No member of a given committee may serve longer than four consecutive years. Exceptions may be approved by the Graduate Council.

Section F

Standing Committees of the Graduate Council:

Preamble: In addition to the Committee on Committees and Procedures, there are Policy-Making Committees, Implementation Committees, and Ad Hoc Committees of the Graduate Council.

Policy-Making Committees: The Policy-Making Committees of the Graduate Council shall be knowledgeable in the major areas of intellectual pursuit, i.e., health and life sciences, basic and applied physical sciences, social and behavioral sciences, and the arts and humanities. All presiding officers of Policy-Making Committees must be members of the Graduate Council. A substantial proportion of the members of these Committees shall be Graduate Council members, and the membership shall be divided approximately equally among the major intellectual areas of knowledge. Subcommittees of Policy-Making Committees are not themselves policy-making committees.

Implementation Committees: The chair of all Implementation Committees shall be a member of the Graduate Council, but the committee membership may be from the Graduate Faculty at large.

  1. Committee on Committees and Procedures

    Membership: It shall consist of six elected Graduate Council faculty members, plus one graduate student representing the Graduate and Professional Student Association. One-half of the membership normally shall be elected each year. The Dean, Senior Associate Dean, and Director of Graduate Council Administration of the Graduate School shall be ex officio members of this committee.

    Selection: By the Graduate Council. No fewer than six nominees will be submitted to the Council every year by the Committee on Committees and Procedures. Additional nominations may be made from the floor. The Council will elect the Committee members by secure and secret ballot.

    Duties:

    1. It shall recommend appointment of members of all other Committees.
    2. It shall assist the Chair in reviewing proposed changes in procedures and make recommendations for Council action thereon.
    3. It shall assist the Chair in the appointment of special Ad Hoc Committees.
    4. It shall elect its own presiding officer.
    5. It shall periodically review these Articles, Bylaws, and Standing Rules including committee structure of the Council and recommend changes as necessary.

  2. Policy Making Committees
    1. Executive Committee

      Membership: It shall consist of the presiding officers of the Committees on Academic Standards, Committees and Procedures, Fellowships and Awards, Programs and Courses, Graduate Research, and Graduate Student and Faculty Issues; the liaison member from the University Faculty Senate Council; the Dean and the Senior Associate Dean of the Graduate School; plus at least three elected faculty members from the Graduate Council appointed by Graduate Council.

      Duties:

      1. Provide advice and counsel as requested by the Chair.
    2. Committee on Academic Standards

      Membership: It shall consist of at least seven elected faculty members of Graduate Council. The Dean, Senior Associate Dean, Associate Dean, Director of Graduate Council Administration, and Director of Graduate Student Services of the Graduate School shall be ex officio members of this committee.

      Duties: It shall be responsible for standards of quality of graduate programs and research and is authorized to select Subcommittees as needed for the following activities:

      1. Admissions: Studies admission and evaluation techniques and recommends to the Graduate Council standards and policies for the admission of students.
      2. Degree Requirements: Recommends standards and policies for degree requirements and assessment, registration, and satisfactory academic progress of students.
      3. Membership of the Graduate Faculty: Recommends criteria for membership in the Graduate Faculty.
      4. Theses and Dissertations: Considers general policy, objectives, standards, regulations, procedures, and requirements relating to theses and dissertations.
      5. Languages and Communications: Works with and advises on problems of graduate training and professional development in the area of instrumental languages and communication skills.
    3. Committee on Programs and Courses

      Membership: The Committee shall consist of at least nine elected faculty members and one graduate student member of Graduate Council. The Dean, Senior Associate Dean, Associate Dean, Director of Graduate Council Administration, and Director of Graduate Student Services of the Graduate School shall be ex officio members of this committee.

      Duties: The Committee duties are as follows:

      1. Suggest policy related to programs and courses.
      2. Undertake, as appropriate, review of existing graduate programs.
      3. Review, evaluate, and approve or reject all graduate program and course proposals that have been submitted for curricular review.
      4. Review all requests for extended degree programs submitted through the established protocols of the University.
      5. Develop criteria for evaluating program and course proposals and recommend procedures for handling these proposals.
      6. Review and comment, in consultation with the Dean of the Graduate School, on other issues that have impact on the quality of graduate education.
      7. Be responsible for and authorized to select standing Subcommittees:
        1. Subcommittee on Program Review and Evaluation

          Membership and Duties of Standing Subcommittee: One Graduate Faculty representative from each academic college and school of the University that offers graduate programs responsible for review of quality indicators of existing graduate programs, recommendations to the Dean of the Graduate School on those, and other activities authorized by the Programs and Courses Committee related to graduate program review and evaluation. The Dean, Associate Dean, and Director of Graduate Council Administration shall be ex officio members of this subcommittee.

        2. Subcommittee on New and Revised Programs and Courses

          Membership and Duties of Standing Subcommittee: One Graduate Faculty representative from each academic college and school of the University that offers graduate programs responsible for evaluation and review of new and revised program and course proposals and for recommendations on those to the Committee on Programs and Courses. The Dean, Senior Associate Dean, and Director of Graduate Council Administration shall be ex officio members of this subcommittee.

    4. Committee on Graduate Research

      Membership: It shall consist of at least seven elected faculty members and one graduate student member of Graduate Council. The Associate Vice President for Research, and the Dean and Senior Associate Dean of the Graduate School shall be ex officio members of this Committee.

      Duties: The Committee's responsibilities are as follows:

      1. Advise the Graduate Council on policies and procedures that affect graduate research.
      2. Foster graduate research at The Pennsylvania State University by aiding the Graduate Council in recognizing and rewarding outstanding graduate research performed by faculty and students of The Pennsylvania State University.
      3. Support efforts, at all University levels, to enhance the funding of graduate research.
      4. Support efforts to attract and retain excellent graduate students.
      5. Inform and advise the Graduate Council on issues and opportunities associated with industrial-academic-related research areas, particularly as they affect graduate research and graduate study.
      6. Recommend to the Graduate Council appropriate policies or actions on emerging political, budgetary, and academic issues related to graduate research.
      7. Be responsible for and authorized to select the standing Subcommittee:
        1. Subcommittee on Graduate Exhibition

          Membership and Duties of Standing Subcommittee: It shall consist of at least four elected faculty members of Graduate Council. Additional participants may be invited to attend based on their expertise. The Associate Dean for Graduate Student Affairs is an ex officio member of this Committee. This committee helps to implement the annual Graduate Exhibition, and makes recommendations to the Dean of the Graduate School concerning the Graduate Exhibition.

    5. Committee on Graduate Student and Faculty Issues

      Membership: It shall consist of at least six elected faculty members, and three elected graduate student members of Graduate Council, and five ex officio members: the Assistant/Associate Dean for Graduate Educational Equity and the Associate Dean for Graduate Student Affairs in the Graduate School, and one representative each from the Division of Student Affairs, the University Office of Global Programs, and the Office of Student Aid.

      Duties: It shall be responsible for and is authorized to select Subcommittees as needed for the following activities:

      1. Review existing and proposed policies and make recommendations concerning the welfare and ethics of the Graduate Faculty and graduate students.
      2. Promote the intellectual development and social welfare of an inclusive graduate community by fostering an awareness and appreciation of cultural and social differences.
      3. Keep the Dean of the Graduate School apprised of issues of concern to graduate students.
      4. Assist the Dean of the Graduate School in the review of appeals concerning the violation of accepted norms of professional behavior of Graduate Faculty members and graduate students with authorization to review and make recommendations to the Dean when it is charged that individual rights have been violated and responsibilities unfulfilled.

  3. Implementation Committee
    1. Committee on Fellowships and Awards

      Membership: It shall consist of one Graduate Faculty representative from each academic college and school of the University that offers graduate programs. The Director of Graduate Fellowships and Awards Administration is an ex officio member of this committee.

      Duties: It shall consider policies on awards; examine and judge applications for Graduate School fellowships; and make recommendations to the Dean of the Graduate School for awards.

  4. Ad Hoc Committees

    Ad Hoc Committees may be appointed from time to time by the Chair to examine and recommend action concerning specific problems. Membership shall depend upon the subject matter of the Ad Hoc Committee.

1 Graduate Council defines "business days" as Monday through Friday, excluding any day the University is officially closed.

 

Revision History

Revised by Graduate Council: Oct. 17, 2018
Revised by Graduate Council: April 10, 2019

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