Skip to content

EECS Department Bylaws

Preamble

To provide a structure through which it may effectively discharge its responsibilities in the development and conduct of the Department’s programs of instruction, research, and service, the Faculty of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) at The University of Tennessee agrees to govern itself according to these bylaws.

These bylaws are intended to facilitate the internal operation of the Department, are subject to all provisions of faculty governance that appear in the University Faculty Handbook and the bylaws of the College of Engineering and shall not supersede any existing regulation of The University of Tennessee or bylaws of The University of Tennessee Senate.

Article I

The Department

Section 1: The Faculty

The definition of the Faculty is those members of the academic staff of the department who have academic rank at the three professorial levels (also called professorial faculty), instructors, and lecturers, including those holding visiting, temporary, and part-time appointments.

Section 2: Voting Members

Unless otherwise specified, the voting members of the faculty shall be members of the faculty who are either tenured or on a tenure track, and have an appointment of at least 40% time at UT. Other members of the departmental faculty may attend and participate in departmental meetings on a non-voting basis.

Section 3: Faculty Meetings

There must be a faculty meeting at least once in each semester during the academic year.

The agenda for faculty meetings must be distributed by the Department Head to the faculty at least one calendar week before the meeting. Items may be placed on the agenda by any member of the faculty.

The parliamentary rules contained in the latest edition of Robert\’s Rules of Order shall govern the faculty in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are consistent with the procedures for meetings of the Department.

The Department Head presides over meetings of the whole faculty – except meetings for the determination of retention, tenure, and promotions to various ranks, which will be chaired by the appropriate committee chair.

A quorum for faculty meetings consists of a majority of the voting faculty members.

A member of the faculty, or staff for appropriate meetings, shall be appointed by the Department Head as Secretary, with the duties of recording the minutes of the faculty meetings, distributing copies of the minutes to each faculty member, and maintaining a permanent file of minutes in the Department office. Minutes of the previous face-to-face faculty meeting shall be distributed to the faculty at least one calendar week prior to a called faculty meeting, using electronic mail.

The vote necessary to pass a motion will be a majority of voting members present.

In addition to face-to-face faculty meetings, voting can be made by the use of electronic mail (e-mail). The use of e-mail is allowed for all informational notices, and for voting on items such as faculty representation on various committees. Such electronic balloting shall always include a provision for the request by faculty to defer the item(s) under consideration to a called face-to-face faculty meeting. If five (5) of the eligible voting faculty request a face-to-face faculty meeting for such item(s), the electronic ballot under consideration shall be ruled invalid and a face-to-face meeting of the voting faculty shall be called at the first available time.

Article II

Standing Committees

The major standing committees are the Undergraduate Committee, the Graduate Committee, and the Assessment Committee. These committees report directly to the faculty at faculty meetings.

The major standing committees normally function only during the academic year and meet at least once during each of the two semesters. Additional meetings may be called by the committee chair or on petition of two committee members. A majority constitutes a quorum. Meeting dates shall be announced to the faculty in advance and shall be open to the faculty.

The committee chair, or a designated staff or faculty member, shall maintain records of all committee meetings with copies maintained in the department office.

Ad hoc committees may be formed by either the Department Head or the faculty in a regular or called faculty meeting.

The Department Head neither presides over any standing committee nor serves as a voting member of any standing committee.

Committee membership is considered a responsibility of a faculty member. All administrative work (e.g., registration, preparation of schedules, department publications, etc.) performed by a faculty member is considered a committee assignment.

Section 1: Undergraduate Committee

The Undergraduate Committee (UGC) deals with policy pertaining to undergraduate programs. These include admission, retention, graduation, curricular matters, development of interdisciplinary programs and new undergraduate programs, and any other matters of educational policy impacting undergraduate programs.

The committee shall consist of five (5) members of the voting faculty each serving one 5-year term. At the end of a term of service, a non-service period of one year shall be required to re-establish eligibility for re-election.

The service period shall be five (5) years with one UGC member elected each year.

Committee terms begin and end at the beginning of the fall semester. For each academic year, the UGC shall elect a Chair from among its members.

Nominations of UGC members may be made by the Department Head or faculty. Election of UGC members will be conducted during the spring semester preceding the academic year in which her or his service is to start.

Any proposed curriculum changes in the undergraduate catalog must be reviewed by the undergraduate committee and presented in finished form to the faculty for action.

Periodic reviews of degree requirements and course offerings must be made by the committee with the objective of adding or deleting courses or changing admission and progression requirements as deemed necessary.

Section 2: Graduate Committee

The graduate committee (GC) deals with policy pertaining to graduate programs. These include admission, retention, graduation, curricular matters, development of interdisciplinary programs and new graduate programs, and any other matters of educational policy impacting graduate programs.

The committee shall consist of five (5) members of the voting faculty approved to teach doctoral level courses, each serving one 5-year term. At the end of a term of service, a non-service period of one year shall be required to re-establish eligibility for re-election.

The service period shall be five (5) years with one GC member elected each year.

Committee terms begin and end at the beginning of the fall semester. For each academic year, the GC shall elect a Chair from among its members.

Nominations of GC members may be made by the Department Head or faculty. Election of GC members will be conducted during the spring semester preceding the academic year in which her or his service is to start.

Any proposed curriculum changes in the graduate catalog must be reviewed by the graduate committee and presented in finished form to the faculty for action.

Periodic reviews of degree requirements and course offerings must be made by the committee with the objective of adding or deleting courses or changing admission and graduation requirements as deemed necessary.

Section 3: Assessment Committee

The Assessment Committee (AC) shall oversee the assessment process of the department\’s programs in order to insure accreditation by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org.

The duties of the committee are:

  1. Maintain, operate and improve the process in which Program Educational Objectives (PEOs) are determined and evaluated based on the needs of the program\’s various constituencies.
  2. Maintain, operate and improve the system that demonstrates achievements of the PEOs through the assessment of Program Outcomes.
  3. Assess the departmental goals to ensure they are linked to the PEOs.
  4. Use the assessment processes to make appropriate recommendations to the faculty and department Undergraduate Committee.
  5. Oversee the preparation of documents necessary for ABET accreditation for the electrical engineering (EE), computer engineering (CpE), and computer science (CS) programs.
  6. Perform any additional tasks related to the goals of the committee assigned by the Department Head or his/her designee.

The committee shall consist of five (5) members of the voting faculty, each serving one 6-year term. Three terms will begin and end at the beginning of the fall semester after ABET issues its final report for the regular visit cycle. Two terms will begin and end at the beginning of the fall semester three years after ABET issues its final report for the regular visit cycle.

Nominations of AC members may be made by the Department Head or faculty. Election of AC members will be conducted during the spring semester preceding the academic year in which her or his service is to start.

The EECS Department Head appoints the Chair from among the members of the committee.

Article III

Appointment, Retention, Tenure and Promotion of Faculty

Section 1: Faculty Handbook and Guiding Principles

All actions of the department concerning appointment to the faculty, retention, tenure, promotion, and evaluation will conform to the standards and procedures set forth in the Manual for Faculty Evaluation, the Faculty Handbook, the Board of Trustees Policies Governing Academic Freedom, Responsibility, and Tenure, and the College of Engineering Criteria, Expectations, and General Procedures Relating to Annual Faculty Review, Tenure, and Promotion.

Section 2: Appointments

Regular (Tenure/Tenure Track) Faculty Appointments

All tenure track positions will be filled by the established UT search process and will be aligned with strategic directions established by the faculty. A search committee will be appointed and will be responsible for conducting the search. The committee will actively identify, and seek applications from, candidates deemed highly qualified. Once candidates have been identified and interviewed, all voting members of the department shall have an opportunity for input to the committee and approve the committee\’s recommendation before final recommendations are made. The department head, in consultation with the dean will select from the list of acceptable candidates reported by the search committee and negotiate an offer.

Other Faculty Appointments

Candidates for non-tenure track or adjunct positions will be screened and evaluated by the Department Head and voted on by the faculty.

Appointments with Tenure

The College of Engineering Guidelines for Faculty Appointment with Tenure governs the appointment with tenure process. Such appointments may be considered only for individuals who currently hold or have held a tenured position at another university. Three faculty votes are required for appointment with tenure.

  1. A vote on the appointment within the department (vote by all faculty)
  2. A vote on award of tenure (vote by all tenured faculty)
  3. A vote on appointment rank (vote by all faculty of equal or higher rank than intended for the candidate)

Where possible, the above votes will be taken during a regular faculty meeting or a special meeting called for this purpose. However, such votes are sometimes needed during periods when such meetings are not possible (e.g. summer). At such times, the Department Head, or a designated tenured full professor, may conduct votes by e-mail. If five (5) or more of the eligible faculty in any of the three above voting groups ask for a face-to-face faculty meeting, the voting rule of Article I, Section 3 (last paragraph), will apply for that voting group.

Section 3: Tenure and Promotion

The following procedure is to be used for tenure/promotion considerations by the tenured faculty as defined by the College of Engineering Bylaws.

Candidate Responsibilities

The candidate is to prepare a tenure/promotion dossier in accordance to the Manual for Faculty Evaluation, the Faculty Handbook, the Board of Trustees Policies Governing Academic Freedom, Responsibility, and Tenure, and the College of Engineering Criteria, Expectations, and General Procedures Relating to Annual Faculty Review, Tenure, and Promotion. This dossier is to be available for review by tenured faculty members for a period of not less than two calendar weeks prior to a departmental meeting to review tenure/promotion.

Review of Tenure/Promotion File

After reviewing the tenure/promotion dossier, each tenured faculty member is invited to complete, anonymously, a departmental performance evaluation form for each candidate in the areas of (a) teaching, (b) research, © scholarship, (d) service, (e) ability to work with colleagues and students as outlined in Chapter 3.2 of the Faculty Handbook, and (f) general comments on the strengths and weaknesses of the candidate. These forms are to be given to the department office supervisor in a sealed envelope. The office supervisor will record that the envelope was submitted by a faculty member eligible to vote. The sealed envelopes will be opened and reviewed by the tenure committee chair. The chair will prepare a summary of the information from the specific questions and comments, and make these available to the faculty at the tenure/promotion consideration meeting(s). Once the committee\’s recommendations are written, these materials will be destroyed.

Tenure Committee

Faculty will have a tenure committee consisting of all tenured EECS faculty.

For a person being considered for tenure, a meeting is to be called of the appropriate tenure review committee for that candidate. The faculty who are members of the committee are to be notified at least two calendar weeks in advance. This meeting is to be moderated by a tenured, full professor faculty member of the department, appointed by the Department Head. The Department Head is invited to attend this meeting.

After discussing a candidate\’s qualifications for tenure, a secret ballot will be taken consisting of all faculty of the candidate\’s review committee who are present, excluding the Department Head. Members of the review committee unable to be present may designate a proxy from membership of the committee. The results of the ballot will be announced at this meeting.

Promotion Committee

Faculty will have a promotion committee consisting of all tenured EECS faculty holding the rank at or above the promotion rank being considered.

For a person being considered for promotion, a meeting is to be called of the appropriate promotion review committee for that candidate. The faculty who are members of the committee are to be notified at least two calendar weeks in advance. This meeting is to be moderated by a tenured, full professor faculty member of the department, appointed by the Department Head. The Department Head is invited to attend this meeting.

After discussing a candidate for promotion, a secret ballot will be taken consisting of all faculty of the candidate\’s review committee who are present, excluding the Department Head. Members of the review committee unable to be present may designate a proxy from membership of the committee. The results of the ballot will be announced at this meeting.

Reporting of Recommendation

In cases of both tenure and promotion, the moderator will be responsible for informing the Department Head in writing of the positive/negative results of the ballot count. The report will also include a summary of the questions, comments, and discussion relative to the candidate.

In making recommendations to the Dean of Engineering on tenure and/or promotion of members of the Department, the Department Head shall comply with the Manual for Faculty Evaluation guidelines regarding documentation submitted to the Dean, including a summary sheet and a letter of evaluation. The Department Head shall also provide the candidate and the departmental tenure and/or promotion committee a copy of the letter of evaluation transmitted to the Dean of Engineering.

Section 4: Retention

Retention, as addressed below, refers to the annual process of continuing tenure-track faculty positions. This process is carried out each year for each non-tenured, tenure-track faculty member. The following procedure is to be used in the EECS Department with respect to consideration of retention as voted upon by the tenured faculty members.

Tenure-Track Faculty Member Responsibilities

Every year, each tenure-track faculty member shall prepare a portfolio giving information on, but not limited to, the following:
a) courses taught during the last year including supervision of undergraduate laboratories
b) supervision of graduate students
c) student evaluation forms for each course taught
d) publication of journal papers, conference papers, book chapters, books, and patents granted including samples of the work
e) invited talks or seminars
f) software produced and distributed
g) preparation of proposals
h) engagement in sponsored and non-sponsored research
i) department and university committee work
j) professional service outside of the university
k) awards received for teaching, research, or service
l) other activities relevant to the tenure-track position

This file is to be available for review by tenured members of the EECS faculty for a period of not less than two calendar weeks prior to a departmental meeting to review retention.

Review of Retention File

After reviewing the retention files, each tenured faculty member is invited to complete, anonymously, the departmental performance evaluation form. These forms are to be given to the department office supervisor in a sealed envelope. The office supervisor will record that the envelope was submitted by a faculty member eligible to vote. The sealed envelopes will be opened and reviewed by the retention committee chair. The committee chair will prepare a summary of the information from the specific questions and comments, and make these available at the retention consideration meeting. Once the committee\’s recommendations are written, these materials will be destroyed.

Retention Committee

Tenure-track faculty will have a retention committee consisting of all tenured EECS faculty.

For the tenure-track faculty, a meeting is to be called of the appropriate retention review committee for that candidate. The faculty who are members of the committee are to be notified at least two calendar weeks in advance. This meeting is to be moderated by a tenured, full professor faculty member of the department, appointed by the Department Head. The Department Head is invited to attend this meeting.

After discussing retention for each tenure-track faculty member, a secret ballot will be taken consisting of all faculty of the candidate\’s review committee, excluding the Department Head. Members of the review committee unable to be present and whose absence is approved by the Department Head may submit their vote in advance of the meeting. The results of the ballot will be announced at this meeting.

Reporting of Recommendation

The moderator will be responsible for informing the Department Head in writing of the results of the ballot count and providing a narrative that complies with the Manual for Faculty Evaluation.

In making recommendations to the Dean of Engineering on retention of tenure-track members of the Department, the Department Head shall submit the Annual Recommendation on Retention form and all appropriate supporting documentation. The Department Head shall also provide the individual faculty member and the tenured faculty copies of the report and recommendation transmitted to the Dean of Engineering.

Section 5: Evaluation of Faculty Members

The annual performance and planning review will be conducted as outlined in the Faculty Handbook and the Manual for Faculty Evaluation. Specific departmental guidelines are included in a separate document Guidelines foe Annual Evaluation of Faculty Members.

Article IV

Implementation and Amendments

Section 1: Proposals to change or amend these by-laws must be submitted to the voting members in writing at least two calendar weeks before the faculty meeting in which they are to be considered. Approval by at least a two-thirds majority of the voting members on a secret ballot is required before any proposal becomes effective.

Record of Actions Approved by EECS faculty on Aug. 28, 2012.

The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System and partner in the Tennessee Transfer Pathway.