By-Laws of the Interfaculty Council
- ARTICLE 1 : Name of Body
- ARTICLE 2 : Purpose and Responsibilities
- ARTICLE 3 : Membership
- ARTICLE 4 : Officers of the Council
- ARTICLE 5 : Meetings
- ARTICLE 6 : Committees
- ARTICLE 7 : Amendments and Adoptions
The body shall be known as the Interfaculty Council (hereinafter known as the IFC).
The purpose of the IFC shall be to investigate, assess, deliberate and recommend action on matters important to the several faculties of UTHealth, emphasizing, but not limited to the following areas:
Section 1. Faculty Governance and Academic Affairs
The IFC will assess the scope of faculty responsibility over governance and academic matters within the UTHealth and each of the schools at least every five years, and when necessary, recommend that the President re-establish or reaffirm these responsibilities in cases where they are not currently being fully assumed. The criteria for such assessment will be drawn from the UTHealth Statement on Governance - appearing as Appendix 1 to this document - that affirms primary faculty authority in curriculum, the subject matter and methods of instruction, research, faculty status, and aspects of student life related to the educational process. The IFC will maintain an active liaison with the faculty governance organizations of the schools and exchange information on their respective activities and initiatives.
At the institutional level, the IFC serves as the primary agency for faculty participation in governance. The IFC shall be the primary representative of faculty interests and communicate directly with the President of UTHealth. It may elaborate a position or positions on matters referred to it by the President, on matters generated within any of the constituent schools or their faculties, or on matters generated within the IFC. Its recommendations, if any, shall be forwarded to the President in writing.
Section 2. Faculty Status, Rights, and Responsibilities
The IFC will investigate instances of curtailment of faculty prerogatives, infringement on faculty rights, interference in the discharge of faculty responsibilities, and/or attenuation of faculty status and welfare in the schools and recommend measures to the President and appropriate faculty governance organizations for their protection and restoration.
Section 3. Administrative Affairs
The IFC will serve as a liaison between the faculty and the administration for disseminating and exchanging information on institutional strategic planning, operational budget planning and priorities, institutional management and effectiveness, and other UTHealth-wide administrative activities. The IFC will monitor, and when appropriate, represent faculty interests in the deliberation over UTHealth-wide administrative policies and priorities.
Section 1: Composition of Membership
Each UTHealth school, except the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, shall have a minimum of four representatives, excluding the members on the IFC Executive Committee, serving on the IFC. Of these four, at least two shall be elected at-large and at least one, but no more than two, shall be elected officers or designees of each school's faculty-elected governance organization. Schools with more than 200 FTE faculty shall elect one additional at-large representative for each 200 FTE faculty beyond 200. The Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences shall have two representatives elected by the Graduate Student Education Committee of UTHealth from among its membership.
Section 1.a: Transition of School Representation Numbers as a Result of Bylaw Change
In the circumstance that the number of at-large members allowed from each school decreases due to a relevant change in the Bylaws, reduction in number of at-large members from each school to meet new Bylaw criteria will occur as incumbent at-large members reach the completion of their current term. At-large positions whose current term are to expire the soonest will be eliminated at the end of the current term,until the appropriate total number of at-large members, according to the Bylaws, from each school is achieved.
Section 2: Eligibility for Membership
All full-time faculty members at the rank of instructor and above shall be eligible for membership on the IFC except for those holding major administrative appointments at or above the rank of department chair or equivalent. In the event that a faculty member has joint appointments with two operating units of UTHealth, he/she is eligible to represent only the institution with which he/she is primarily associated.
Section 3: Election Procedure
Prior to September of each year, the appropriate number of at-large IFC representatives shall be elected by the faculty governance organization of each school in UTHealth. The Secretary, on behalf of the IFC Chair, shall notify the chair of each school's faculty governance organization when this election should be held and indicate the appropriate number of at-large representatives to be chosen. The nominating and election process shall be monitored by the incumbent IFC members, and shall follow the established election procedures within each school's faculty governance organization. The chair of each school's faculty governance organization shall inform the IFC Secretary of the election results and any other changes in the school's delegation prior to the September IFC meeting.
Section 4: Term of Office
Term of office for at-large IFC members shall be three years commencing in September of the year they were elected. Term of office for IFC members serving as officers of their respective faculty governance organizations will be set in the applicable bylaws of the school's governance organization, but they shall begin their IFC duties in September of the year elected. IFC members may serve a maximum of two consecutive 3-year terms, and may be elected to subsequent terms after an interval of at least one year. When an IFC member is elected into the Chair-elect leadership, their position and remaining term as a representative with their school on the IFC ceases and shall be filled in accordance with the IFC Bylaws, Article 3, Membership, Section 5:Vacancies.
Section 5: Vacancies
Unexpired terms of at-large IFC members and unexpired terms of school faculty governance organization officers shall be filled using the applicable selection mechanisms designated in the school's faculty governance organization bylaws. IFC members finding that they are not able to fulfill their term must contact the Chair of the IFC in advance of their last day served on the Interfaculty Council.
Section 6: Loss of IFC Appointment
Any member of Interfaculty Council, other than ex officio, who is absent from three consecutive or four total regular/special meetings during an academic year shall forfeit their position and be replaced by another representative of the school using the procedures for filling vacancies in Section 5 of these bylaws. The Secretary of the IFC shall monitor attendance and implement loss of appointment procedures on behalf of the Chair. A member may select another faculty member to represent him/her at a meeting; however, an alternate representative may be used for no more than three IFC meetings per year.
Section 7: Ex Officio Membership
- The Immediate Past Chair shall continue to serve on the IFC as an ex officio member and advisor for one year after expiration of his or her term as chair. The Immediate Past Chair shall have privileges of the floor, but shall not have the right to vote.
- The Executive Vice President and Chief Academic Officer (EVP/CAO) shall serve on the IFC as an ex officio member, but shall not have the right to vote. The EVP/CAO shall assist in providing liaison with the President, Vice Presidents, Deans, and other administrators pursuant to facilitating IFC business.
- The Associate Vice President of Faculty Affairs and Development shall serve on the IFC as an ex officio member, but shall not have the right to vote.
- Members of the University Classified Staff Council and the Student InterCouncil shall act as liaison with their respective bodies. One ex officio representative each shall be elected from the membership of his/her respective council. These individuals shall have privileges of the floor, but shall not have the right to vote.
- The President of UTHealth shall appoint a representative from the staff of the EVP/CAO to serve as the Secretary of the Interfaculty Council. The Secretary may serve for an indefinite number of terms until replaced by the EVP/CAO office. The Secretary shall have privileges of the floor, but shall not have the right to vote. The function of the Secretary shall be to assist with the preparation and distribution of minutes, agendas, and other documentation as well as to provide administrative support as required to facilitate the work of the IFC.
- In the event a UTHealth faculty member is elected to serve as an officer (Chair-Elect, Chair, Past-Chair, or Secretary) of the UT System Faculty Advisory Council (UTFAC), during the term of such service, he or she may choose to serve as an ex officio member of the UTHealth IFC. As such, this member shall have the privileges of the floor, but shall not have the right to vote. The UTFAC officer, regardless of whether he/she is also serving as ex officio member of the IFC, will be invited to give periodic reports to the IFC.
Section 1: Definition of the IFC Executive Committee
The IFC Executive Committee is identified as the Chair, Chair-Elect, and Past-Chair leadership positions, further described in these Bylaws under Article 4, Section 2: Chair and Article 4, Section 3: Chair-Elect and Past-Chair.
Section 2: Chair
The duties of the Chair shall include presiding at meetings, chairing the Executive Committee of the IFC, calling meetings, appointing IFC members to standing and ad hoc committees, approving the minutes prior to distribution, preparing a year-end report, and otherwise facilitating and directing the affairs of the IFC, including representing the IFC at other forums. The Chair shall not participate in voting, except in the circumstance that there is a tie vote. In the circumstance of a tie vote, the Chair shall cast the tie-breaking vote. The term of office shall be for one year. A chair may be elected to a subsequent term after an interval of one or more years after completing his/her term as immediate Past Chair.
Section 3: Chair-Elect and Past-Chair
The duties of the Chair-Elect shall be to serve as parliamentarian, participate in voting on the IFC, and on the IFC Executive Committee. In the absence of the Chair, the Chair-Elect will preside at meetings, and otherwise carry out the duties of the Chair. The Chair-Elect will assume the Chair position of the IFC after completion of a one year term. The Chair will assume Past-Chair position of the IFC after completion of a one-year term.
Section 4: Election of Officers
The Chair-Elect shall be elected by IFC members at or before its July meeting for a term of one year. Nominees for Chair-Elect shall be chosen by self-nomination or from nominations from among the current members. All current IFC members in good standing are eligible for nomination.
Nominations from the floor will also be entertained at the June meeting. Each nominee will provide a short description of his/her proposed role and future plans for the IFC. The nominee receiving the majority of votes cast shall assume the Chair-Elect position. All members of the IFC, both incoming and outgoing, are encouraged to attend the September meeting at which officers are installed.
In the event the Chair does not complete his/her term of office, the Chair-Elect shall succeed to that office to complete the Chair's unfinished term. In addition, the Chair-Elect will then serve his or her complete term as Chair. In the event the Chair-Elect does not complete his/her term of office, the IFC shall elect a member to serve as Chair-Elect.
The UT System Faculty Advisory Council representatives will be the immediate past Chair and Chair of the IFC. The Chair-Elect will serve as the alternate. If one of these representatives cannot serve, an alternate will be chosen by the IFC membership.
Section 1: Regular
There shall be at least nine regular meetings of the IFC in each calendar year. These shall be scheduled by the Chair.
Section 2: Special
Special meetings may be called by the Chair or on the written request of four or more members of the IFC. Special meetings must be scheduled at least 72 hours in advance and on a regular working day.
Section 3: Agenda
The agenda for regular meetings shall include a call to order, determination of a quorum, approval of minutes of previous meeting(s), old business, new business, committee reports, and adjournment.
Section 4: Quorum
A quorum shall be at least one-third of the IFC members representing at least four of the UTHealth schools.
Section 5: Voting
Matters requiring a vote will typically occur at meetings of the IFC. At the discretion of the Executive Committee, electronic voting can be used in place of or in conjunction with in-person voting at IFC meetings.
Section 6: Minutes
The Secretary of the IFC, appointed by the President, will provide for recording the minutes of all IFC meetings.
Standing committees shall be established that are functionally related to the purpose and responsibilities of the IFC as delineated in Article 2.
Section 1: Governance and Academic Affairs Committee
The Governance and Academic Affairs Committee will deliberate on issues of governance and academic affairs. From time to time, the committee will assess the scope of faculty responsibility over governance and academic matters in UTHealth and in each of the schools. When necessary, the committee will recommend to the President and the IFC and/or individual school governance organizations that appropriate faculty-elected governance organizations be charged with assuming primary responsibility over designated areas that currently appear outside of their jurisdiction. The criteria for such assessment will be drawn from UTHealth Statement on Governance. Academic matters that the committee will review include educational goals, curricula and procedures of student instruction in each of the schools.
Section 2: The Faculty Status, Rights, and Responsibilities Committee
The Faculty Status, Rights, and Responsibilities Committee will deliberate on issues of faculty status, rights, and responsibilities, and when necessary, investigate instances of curtailment of faculty prerogatives, infringement of faculty rights, interference in the discharge of faculty responsibilities, and/or attenuation of faculty status and welfare in the several schools and will recommend measures to the IFC, the President, and faculty governance organizations for their support, protection and restoration.
Section 3: Administrative Affairs Committee
The Administrative Affairs Committee will deliberate and make recommendations to IFC as well as serve as a liaison between the faculty and the administration for dissemination and exchange of information on institutional strategic planning, operational budget planning and priorities, institutional management and effectiveness, performance appraisal of administrators, and other UTHealth-wide administrative activities. The committee will monitor, and when appropriate, represent faculty interests in deliberations over UTHealth-wide administrative policies and priorities.
Section 4: Executive Committee
The Executive Committee shall be composed of the Chair, Chair-Elect, Immediate Past Chair leadership positions. The function of the Executive Committee shall be to determine the agenda of IFC meetings, develop operating procedures and/or bylaws as required, establish rapport and coordinate with external agencies or individuals to facilitate the work of the IFC, and to provide guidance and direction to the IFC.
Section 5: Ad Hoc Committees
The Chair shall be empowered to appoint from time to time ad hoc committees to deliberate and make recommendations on issues of special interest to the IFC. Ad hoc committees shall remain empanelled only until their business is completed.
Amendments shall be submitted in writing, must be presented at two consecutive meetings, and may be adopted at a regular or special meeting by a two-thirds vote of voting members provided that a quorum is present. Amendments will take effect immediately upon adoption.
Updated 07/04, 03/07, 08/08, 12/13, 06/17, 06/18