Standing Rules of Graduate Council
ARTICLE I. RULES OF PROCEDURE
- A quorum for the transaction of business shall consist of twenty-five Council members.
- The rules of procedure in the meetings of the University Graduate Council, except as may be otherwise specified in the Articles of Authority, Bylaws, and Standing Rules, shall be those of Robert's Rules of Order, Newly Revised 1990. 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.
The order of business at each regular meeting of the Council shall be as follows:
- Minutes of the preceding meeting.
- Communications to the Graduate Council.
- Announcements by the Chair.
- Remarks of the Vice President for Research [as appropriate].
- Reports of Standing Committees.
- Reports of Special Committees.
- Special reports.
- Unfinished business.
- New business.
- 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 at any special meeting by decision of the Chair.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- A standing or special committee may also introduce a motion to Council. 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. 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 B, Number 5.
- 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.
- Only members of the Council may introduce new business.
- 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.
- The Chair shall have the authority to place a time limit on the remarks of any nonmember of the Council.
- The rules of this section may be suspended only by a two- thirds vote of the Council members present.
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.
The Council shall send minutes of its meetings to those specified in Section D.
Duties of Council Members:
- Attend Council meetings.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Attend their assigned standing and special committee meetings.
- Communicate the activities of the Graduate Council to the Graduate Faculty in their home unit.
- 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.
Graduate Council Meetings:
- Graduate Council meetings are open to elected members of Graduate Council and the Additional Members and Participants in the Council as specified in the Graduate Council Membership List. 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.
ARTICLE II. GRADUATE COUNCIL COMMITTEE STRUCTURE
Committees may be created according to the provisions of Article II, Section B, 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.
The Chair and the Chair's designated representatives are ex officio members of all Standing Committees. Ex officio members of committees may vote in committee meetings if they are voting members of Council. 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.
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.
All Standing Committees must be chaired by Elected Members (i.e., Graduate Faculty) of Graduate Council. The other appointed members of the committees should be representatives of the graduate community and need not be members of the Graduate Council.
All committee positions, except those of the Committee on Committees and Procedures, are tenable for one year, from the first meeting of the fall semester in a given year to the first meeting of the fall semester of the next year. Positions on the Committees and Procedures are tenable for two years, with the exception of the graduate student member, who will serve a one-year term. No member of a given committee may serve longer than four consecutive years. Exceptions may be approved by the Graduate Council.
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.
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.
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 secret ballot.
- It shall recommend appointment of members of all other Committees.
- It shall assist the Chair in reviewing proposed changes in procedures and make recommendations for Council action thereon.
- It shall assist the Chair in the appointment of special Ad Hoc Committees.
- It shall elect its own presiding officer and it shall serve as the nominating Committee for new members to be elected to the Committee on Committees and Procedures.
- It shall periodically review these Articles, Bylaws, and Standing Rules including committee structure of the Council and recommend changes as necessary.
- Policy Making Committees
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 Senior Associate Dean of the Graduate School; plus three members from the Graduate Council as recommended by the Committee on Committees and Procedures.
- Assist the Chair in setting the Agenda for Council meetings.
- Provide advice and counsel as requested by the Chair.
Membership: It shall consist of seven members.
Duties: It shall be responsible for standards of quality of graduate programs and research and is authorized to select Subcommittees for the following activities:
- Admissions: Studies admission and evaluation techniques and recommends to the Graduate Council standards and policies for the admission of students.
- Membership of the Graduate Faculty: Recommends criteria for membership in the Graduate Faculty.
- Theses: Considers general policy, objectives, standards, regulations, procedures, and requirements relating to theses.
- Languages and Communications: Works with and advises on problems of graduate training and professional development in the area of instrumental languages and communication skills.
Membership: The Committee shall consist of at least nine members.
Duties: The Committee duties are as follows:
- Suggest policy related to programs and courses.
- Undertake, as appropriate, review of existing graduate programs.
- Review all new graduate program proposals that have been submitted for degree consideration.
- Review all requests for extended degree programs submitted through the established protocols of the University.
- Review and comment, in consultation with the Dean of the Graduate School, on other issues that have impact on the quality of graduate education.
- Be responsible for and authorized to select standing Subcommittees:
Membership and Duties of Standing Subcommittee: Twelve members 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.
Membership and Duties of Standing Subcommittee: One representative from each academic college and school (Penn State Great Valley School of Graduate Professional Studies and School of International Affairs) 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.
Membership: It shall consist of at least seven members, one of whom shall be a graduate student. The Graduate Faculty membership shall be selected so as to include representation from the health and life sciences; the basic and applied physical sciences and engineering; the social and behavioral sciences; and the arts and humanities. The Associate Vice President for Research and the Assistant/Associate Dean of the Graduate School shall be ex officio members of this Committee.
Duties: The Committee's responsibilities are as follows:
- Advise the Graduate Council on policies and procedures that affect graduate research.
- 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.
- Support efforts, at all University levels, to enhance the funding of graduate research.
- Support efforts to attract and retain excellent graduate students.
- 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.
- Recommend to the Graduate Council appropriate policies or actions on emerging political, budgetary, and academic issues related to graduate research.
Subcommittee on Graduate Exhibition
Membership and Duties of Standing Subcommittee: It shall consist of at least four members. 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.
Membership: It shall consist of six faculty members, three graduate student members of Council, and five ex officio members: the Director of the Office of Graduate Educational Equity Programs, the Assistant/Associate Dean of 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 for the following activities:
- Review existing and proposed policies and make recommendations concerning the welfare and ethics of the Graduate Faculty and graduate students.
- Promote the intellectual development and social welfare of an inclusive graduate community by fostering an awareness and appreciation of cultural and social differences.
- Keep the Dean of the Graduate School apprised of issues of concern to graduate students.
- 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.
- Implementation Committee
Membership: It shall consist of one representative from each academic college and school (Penn State Great Valley School of Graduate Professional Studies and School of International Affairs) of the University that offers graduate programs.
Duties: It shall consider policies on awards; examine and judge applications for grants-in-aid, scholarships, and Graduate School fellowships; and make recommendations to the chair for awards.
Ad Hoc Committees may be appointed from time to time by the Chair and the Committee on Committees and Procedures 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.
Revised by Graduate Council: Oct. 17, 2018