Chapter 8

Section A. Faculty Senate Constitution

Faculty Senate Bill 00-A-08 removed “Faculty Senate and University Committee Structure” from chapter 8 and placed a revised version in section I.G.4.a. 8/28/07
Faculty Senate Bill 82-A-02 begins here.
Approved by the Faculty Senate, April 1982
Modified and Approved by President, August 1982
Amended by Faculty Senate, September 1982
Amended by Faculty Senate, April 1985
Updated August 15, 1997


Southeast Missouri State University is a complex organization composed of interrelated components, to each of which is delegated a particular function for achieving the primary ends of the University, which are the discovery and the dissemination of knowledge through teaching, research, and service.

The faculty of Southeast Missouri State University believes that the institution best fulfills its purpose when its several components act in harmony and cooperation to achieve the common goals of the educational community.

The faculty of this institution further believes that this cooperative endeavor is most likely to succeed when each component understands its proper powers and distinctive functions and at the same time views these powers and functions as shared and interdependent.

With these principles in mind, the faculty of Southeast Missouri State University, seeking to define itself accurately; to outline its rights, responsibilities, and powers precisely to describe its functions exactly; and to set forth clearly its relations to the other components of the University, hereby establishes and promulgates this Constitution of the Faculty Senate of Southeast Missouri State University.


The name of this assembly shall be the Faculty Senate of Southeast Missouri State University.

As the official representative body of the entire faculty, the Faculty Senate of Southeast Missouri State University shall uphold the principles of the collegial form of governance; encourage mutual contributions from the various sections of the University community; provide an appropriate forum for discussing matters involving the professional staff; inform all segments of the academic community of the Faculty Senate's concerns, findings, and actions; safeguard and advance the welfare and effectiveness of the University; serve as a regular channel of communication between the faculty and the administration[,] and, through the office of the University President, between the faculty and the Board of Regents[;] and review proposals and develop recommendations for changes in academic policy. The University vests in its faculty, acting through its representative body, the Faculty Senate, the ultimate authority to make formal recommendations for new University academic policy and changes in existing policy.

Membership of the Faculty Senate shall be determined by application of the formula given below.

  1. Plan of Representation.
    1. Department Units.
      1. The Faculty Senate shall by resolution establish department units with representation of faculty members as equitable as practical.
      2. Librarians shall have one representative.
      3. On or before October 1 of each year, the Provost shall certify to the Faculty Senate Membership Committee the official faculty roster of all full-time faculty members by department. On or before November 1, the Membership Committee shall recommend to the Faculty Senate for approval any necessary adjustments in representation. The committee shall strive for maximum representation for each department unit.
    2. The University President may appoint one member of the administrative staff to serve as the Administrative Liaison. The Student Government Association may appoint a student to serve as its liaison. Liaison members shall not vote.
  2. Eligibility for Membership on the Faculty Senate.
    1. All full-time faculty members who have completed one academic year of service at this University are eligible to be candidates for the position of department unit representative.
    2. In the event a member of the Senate shall lose eligibility as a result of resigning from the staff, as a result of change of status, or as a result of resignation from the Senate, the Senator shall promptly be replaced by the elected alternate.
    3. If the alternate position is vacated, a department unit election shall be conducted to replace that alternate.
    4. The Faculty Senate Membership Committee shall be the final judge, with Faculty Senate approval, of voting eligibility and the qualifications of Senate membership by procedures described in Senate Bylaws.
    5. The Faculty Senate may enact bylaws to set forth specific requirements for attendance and individual decorum during its meetings.
  3. Term of Office.
    1. The term of office for Senate members shall be three years.
    2. One-third of the membership shall be elected each year.
    3. In department units having two or more representative positions, only one representative may be elected in a given year.
  1. Eligibility for Voting for Representatives.
    1. All full-time faculty members are eligible to vote.
  2. Process of Election
    1. The Faculty Senate Membership Committee shall conduct all elections.
    2. The primary and general elections for department unit representatives shall be completed by March 31 each year.
      Amended by Faculty Senate, November 2011 by Resolution 11-07
    3. The secret ballot shall be used in all elections. In counting ballots cast in any election, over-voted or unofficial ballots shall be disqualified.
    4. The Faculty Senate Membership Committee shall send a notice of impending elections to qualified voting faculty members at least 15 days prior to the initial balloting.
    5. Faculty who wish to stand for election must give written notice of that fact to the Chairperson of the Membership Committee within seven days of the date appearing on the election notice and inform in writing all members of the department unit of this intention.
    6. If only two faculty members from a department unit declare themselves candidates, no primary election will be necessary.
    7. In a primary election, the voter shall cast a ballot for one candidate. The two candidates receiving the highest number of votes in each department unit shall be entered in the general election as nominees for the position of unit representative.
      1. In case of ties in the primary election, a member of the Membership Committee shall, in the presence of the candidates, break the tie in any manner approved by the affected candidates.
      2. Each department unit shall then vote in a general election to select its representative. The candidate receiving the highest number of votes shall serve as department unit representative, and the other candidate shall be declared the unit alternate.
  1. The Faculty Senate shall choose its officers from the elected members of the Faculty Senate. The officers shall consist of a Chairperson, Chairperson-Elect, and such other officers as the Faculty Senate may deem necessary.
    1. The term of office shall be one year.
    2. The officers of the Senate and the Chairperson of the Membership Committee shall constitute an Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate. The powers, duties, and responsibilities of this committee, if not named in the constitution, shall be established in the Faculty Senate Bylaws.
    3. The Executive Committee shall serve as the liaison between the Faculty Senate and the University President.
  2. Election of officers shall be held at the organizational meeting of the Senate-elect following the spring election. The Senate Chairperson shall call and preside over this meeting.
    1. The Chairperson shall ask for nominations from the floor for each office separately.
    2. If only two nominees are named for any office, election shall be by a simple majority of Senate members present and voting.
    3. If one candidate receives a simple majority vote of the Senate members present and voting that candidate shall be declared the winner.
    4. All elections shall be conducted by secret written ballot.
  3. The Faculty Senate may remove an officer by a three-fourths vote of its membership at a regular meeting no sooner than one week following the introduction of the removal motion.
  4. The Senate Chairperson shall appoint a parliamentarian from the Senate membership.
    1. The Faculty Senate Constitution and Senate Bylaws shall be the authority for the parliamentarian.
    2. On points of order not outlined in the Senate Constitution or Bylaws, the latest edition of Robert's Rules of Order shall be the authority.
    3. The parliamentarian shall be responsible for an annual review of Senate Bylaws and for making recommendations to the Senate for any necessary changes.
  1. Organizational, Initial, Regular, and Special Meetings.
    1. Organizational Meeting. An organizational meeting shall be held by the Senate-elect following the spring elections for the purpose of electing a Chairperson, Chairperson-Elect, a Membership Committee, and such other officers as have been deemed necessary. No other business shall be conducted at this meeting.
    2. Initial Meeting. The initial business meeting of the Faculty Senate shall be held during the first two weeks in May.
    3. Regular Meetings. At least one regular meeting of the Senate shall be scheduled during each of the months of September, October, November, February, March, and April. Other regular meetings may be scheduled by the Senate Chairperson.
    4. Special Meetings. Special meetings may be called by the Senate Chairperson on request of the Executive Committee or the University President or upon receipt of a petition signed by twenty-five or more faculty members. Senate members and alternates shall be notified of the time, meeting place, and purpose for the meeting. Discussion and action taken shall be limited to the stated purpose.
  2. Convening of Meetings.
    1. Meetings of the Faculty Senate shall be scheduled by the Senate Chairperson.
    2. The regular Senate meeting time shall be between 3:00 and 5:00 on Wednesday afternoon.
    3. Every effort should be made by each department chairperson to ensure that the Senate member's academic schedule does not conflict with the Senate meeting time.
    4. Faculty Senate meetings are open to all members of the University community and other interested persons, but without voice unless recognized by the Senate Chairperson.
    5. The Senate reserves the right to meet in Executive Session, to which liaison representatives may be invited.
    6. A simple majority of the Senate membership shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.
    7. If a Senate member is unable to attend a meeting, that Senator shall notify the department unit alternate, who shall serve in the absent member's place, having the same rights and privileges of any other Senator.
    8. The agenda for Senate meetings shall be determined by the Senate Chairperson, after consultation with the Executive Committee, and mailed to the Senate members and alternates at least two days prior to the meeting.
    9. Both Senate and non-Senate members may submit in writing items to be placed on the agenda.
  3. The Legislative Process.
    1. The Faculty Senate may adopt bylaws to regulate the legislative process.
    2. Senate Bylaws shall be approved, amended, or rescinded with one-week prior notice during a regular meeting by a simple majority of Senate members present and voting.
    3. Any member of the University community, when recognized by the Senate Chairperson, may introduce items of new business for Senate consideration.
    4. Action cannot be taken on items of new business until a subsequent meeting except when two-thirds of the Senate membership present votes to suspend the rules.
    5. Passage of legislation shall require a simple majority of Senate members present and voting. Voting shall be viva voce, by show of hands, or by the calling of the roll when requested by a Senate member.
  1. Under a collegial form of governance, all segments of the University community are involved in reviewing and making recommendations for changes in existing policies. The University vests in its faculty, acting through its representative body, the Faculty Senate, the ultimate authority to make formal recommendations for new University academic policy and changes in existing policy. Regular areas of Faculty Senate concern include, but are not limited to, the following:
    1. Responsibility for determining the position of the faculty on any matter of University policy.
    2. Development of procedures for academic freedom, tenure, and due process.
    3. Programs for faculty welfare.
    4. Representation of faculty interests to the administration in University financial matters.
    5. Form and content of the Faculty Handbook.
    6. Responsibility for the University curricula and requirements for graduation.
    7. Direct involvement in the process of selection of administrative officials by selecting and/or serving on search committees.
    8. Planning and utilization of buildings and grounds.
    9. Standards for student admission, retention, and scholastic performance.
    10. Policies governing student welfare, activities, freedoms, and discipline.
    11. Such other matters as might come to merit regular consideration by the Senate or which shall be designated as areas of Senate action by the University President or the Board of Regents, assuming Senate acceptance.
  2. Faculty Senate and University Committees.
    The Faculty Senate reviews proposals and develops recommendations for changes in academic policy through its committee system. While the function of University committees is to facilitate the administration of existing University policies, the function of Faculty Senate committees is to recommend policy in academic affairs and in all other matters involving the faculty. Recommendations must be approved by the Faculty Senate unless the authority to make such recommendations has been specifically delegated. The Faculty Senate may create such committees as it may find necessary to carry out its responsibilities and such committees may include faculty, staff, and student members. The appointment, charges, and membership of these committees shall be regulated by appropriate bylaws to this Constitution.
  3. Procedures Governing the Submission of Recommendations to the University President and the Board of Regents.
    1. Recommendations from the Faculty Senate to the University President shall be submitted along with two copies of the Faculty Senate Recommendation Form. Sufficient copies of the recommendation will be provided so that a copy can be given to the University President, each member of the Board of Regents, and the Administrative Liaison to the Faculty Senate.
    2. The University President will sign both copies of the Faculty Senate Recommendation Form and return one copy, with the appropriate box checked, to the Faculty Senate Chairperson. This action shall take place preferably within 15 days, but not later than 30 days, after receipt of the recommendation. The second copy shall be retained by the University President as a record of the President’s action.
    3. In the event the University President wishes the Faculty Senate to reconsider a recommendation, the President will make suggestions for modification in writing or refer the Faculty Senate to other sources for specific information.
    4. If it becomes clear that the Faculty Senate and the University President cannot reach an agreement on a recommendation, the Faculty Senate, has the right to submit the recommendation to the Board of Regents for its consideration. This process shall consist of two steps:
      1. Before such a recommendation can be considered for placement on the Board's agenda, it must be submitted to the Board of Regents in writing for its review.
      2. Following such a review, if the issue remains unresolved, the Senate shall request that the recommendation be placed on the Board's agenda at its earliest convenience or within 60 days. The Faculty Senate Chairperson or any other person authorized by the Senate has the right to appear before the Board of Regents to present the case for the Faculty Senate and to receive an answer with all deliberate speed.
  1. This Constitution may be amended only during the regular academic year and only in the sequential procedure herein outlined, except as provided in Article VIII. C below.
    1. Any member of the Faculty Senate may introduce an amendment in writing during a regularly scheduled meeting of the Senate.
    2. The amendment shall be referred to the committee responsible for constitutional revision for review and recommendation to the Senate. The Administrative Liaison shall be an ex officio member of this committee.
    3. An amendment must be placed on the agenda of the Faculty Senate within 30 days of its introduction.
    4. An amendment must be voted on by the Faculty Senate at a regularly scheduled meeting within 30days after being placed on the Senate agenda.
    5. Approval of an amendment by the Faculty Senate requires a two-thirds majority vote of Senate members present and voting.
  2. If it is approved by the Faculty Senate, the amendment, with ballot attached, shall be sent to all faculty members, along with any recommendations of the Faculty Senate, not more than 30 days after Step A has been completed.
    1. The amendment shall be voted on by the faculty within 15 days following its submission to the faculty.
    2. A two-thirds majority of votes cast by the faculty is required to ratify an amendment.
    3. The approved amendment shall immediately become a part of the Senate Constitution and shall be entered under the appropriate article.
  3. Editorial Modifications
    1. Without recourse to the procedure prescribed above, the Faculty Senate may, by a two-thirds vote, editorially modify the constitution’s language to reflect changes in such matters as official titles of University officers and administrators, administrative and academic units, and University and Faculty Senate committees, provided that the modified language introduces no substantive alteration in the principles or procedures governed by the article(s) so modified.
    2. Such editorial modifications shall be published to the faculty within two weeks after Senate action but shall not require formal ratification and shall take effect 15 days after such notice, unless objections in writing shall have been received from 5 percent 5% of the total faculty. In case of such objections, the modifications shall proceed through the normal ratification process prescribed in Article VIII. B above.


Comprehensively Revised, 1977
Amended, 1981
Adopted by the Faculty Senate, February 1982
Amended, April l982
Amended, May 1983
Amended, April 1993
Updated August 15, 1997

Amended, April 2012
Edited February 2014