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Min H. Kao EECS Department Bylaws

Preamble

To provide a structure through which the Min H. Kao Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at The University of Tennessee, henceforth EECS, may effectively discharge its responsibilities in the development and conduct of its programs of instruction, research, and service, the EECS faculty agrees to govern itself according to these bylaws.

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

Download a pdf of the department bylaws.

The Department

Section 1: The Faculty

The definition of the Faculty are 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

The voting members of the Faculty shall be those who are either tenured or on a tenure track, and have an appointment of at least 40% time at UT. Other members of the 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 simple majority of the voting faculty members.

As appropriate for the meeting, a member of the faculty or the staff shall be appointed by the Department Head as Secretary, with the duties of recording the minutes of the meeting and maintaining a permanent file of minutes in the Department office.

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

In addition to face-to-face faculty meetings, voting can be done by the use of 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.

Standing Committees

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

The 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 (2) committee members. A simple majority constitutes a quorum. Meetings 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 and other department, college, and university service is considered a responsibility of a faculty member.


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 six (6) members of the voting faculty each serving a three-year term. Two UGC members shall be elected each year. Current committee members shall have the option to serve a second consecutive term if re-elected. At the end of the second term of service, a non-service period of one year shall be required to re-establish eligibility for re-election.

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 the Faculty. Typically, election of new UGC members will be conducted during the spring semester preceding the academic year in which their 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 six (6) members of the voting faculty approved to teach doctoral level courses each serving a three-year term. Two GC members shall be elected each year. Current committee members shall have the option to serve a second consecutive term if re- elected. At the end of the second term of service, a non-service period of one year shall be required to re-establish eligibility for re-election.

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 the Faculty. Typically, election of GC members will be conducted during the spring semester preceding the academic year in which their 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 ensure accreditation by the Engineering and Computing Accreditation Commissions of ABET and to help ensure the University’s accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, SACS.

The duties of the committee are:

  1. Maintain, operate and improve the process by which Program Educational Objectives (PEOs) are determined based on the needs of the program’s various constituencies.
  2. Maintain, operate and improve the process that is used to continuously improve student attainment of Student Outcomes for ABET and Student Learning Outcomes for SACS.
  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 to the Department’s Undergraduate and Graduate Committees.
  5. Oversee the preparation of documents necessary for ABET accreditation for the electrical engineering (EE), computer engineering (CpE), and computer science (CS) programs.
  6. Oversee the preparation and reporting of appropriate assessment information to the university as required for the university’s SACS accreditation
  7. 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 six (6) members of the voting faculty, each serving one 6-year term. Three faculty will begin and end their terms at the beginning of the fall semester after ABET issues its final report for the regular visit cycle. Three faculty will begin and end their terms 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 the Faculty. Typically, election of AC members will be conducted during the spring semester preceding the academic year in which their service is to start.

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

Appointment, Retention, Tenure and Promotion of Faculty

Section 1: Faculty Handbook and Guiding Principles

All actions of the department concerning appointment to the Faculty including retention, tenure, promotion, and evaluation will conform to the standards and procedures set forth in the following documents:

  • Faculty Handbook
  • Manual for Faculty Evaluation
  • Tickle College of Engineering Guidelines for Tenure and Promotion Review Process
  • Tickle College of Engineering Guidelines for Faculty Appointment with Tenure
  • Tickle College of Engineering Guidelines for the Promotion of Research Faculty
  • Tickle College of Engineering Guidelines for the Promotion of Lecturers
  • Tickle Guidelines for UTK Lecturer Promotion Process
  • Tickle College of Engineering Peer Teaching Review Procedure.
  • Board of Trustees Policies Governing Academic Freedom, Responsibility, and Tenure (BT0006)

Section 2: Appointments

2.1 Tenure/Tenure Track Faculty

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 by the Department Head 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.

2.2 Other Faculty

Candidates for non-tenure track positions will be screened and evaluated by the Department Head and voted on by the Faculty. These positions include, but are not limited to, Joint Faculty, Professor of Practice, instructor, lecturer, research professor, and adjunct professor. The ability of these faculty members to teach courses, serve on departmental ad hoc committees and graduate student committees is at the will of the Department Head but following the rules and regulations of the relevant university policies. Non-tenure track faculty members cannot chair graduate student committees they serve on unless approved by the voting members of the faculty.
Joint Faculty, research faculty, and adjunct faculty must have a Tenure/Tenure Track Faculty sponsor. They may not use their status as a mechanism to seek research funding unless the proposals are submitted through the Department and involves either Tenure/Tenure Track Faculty or students from the Department.

2.3 Appointments with Tenure

The Tickle 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, when votes are needed during periods when meetings are not possible (e.g., summer), the Department Head, or a designated tenured full professor, may conduct the needed 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

3.1 Tenure/Tenure Track Faculty

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

3.1.1 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 Tickle 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

3.1.2 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, (c) 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 a designated staff member in the department in a sealed envelope. Said person 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.

3.1.3 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.

3.1.4 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.

3.1.5 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.

Tenure and Promotion Guidelines

Annual Performance Review Guidelines

3.2 Other Faculty

Non-tenure track faculty who hold positions that are eligible for promotion will be considered for such in accordance with the following documents:

  • Faculty Handbook
  • Manual for Faculty Evaluation
  • Guidelines for UTK Lecturer Promotion Process
  • Tickle College of Engineering Guidelines for the Promotion of Research Faculty
  • Tickle College of Engineering Guidelines for the Promotion of Lecturers
  • Tickle College of Engineering Peer Teaching Review Procedure.
  • Board of Trustees Policies Governing Academic Freedom, Responsibility, and Tenure (BT0006)

Section 4: Retention

4.1 Tenure/Tenure Track Faculty

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. Each tenure-track faculty member with a probationary period of four or more years shall undergo an enhanced retention review in the academic year following the midpoint in his or her probationary period (typically, the faculty member’s third or fourth year of employment).

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.

4.1.1 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 and senior design projects

b) supervision of graduate students, post-docs, and undergraduates participating in research

c) student evaluation forms for each course taught

d) peer review of teaching reports

e) publication of journal papers, conference papers, book chapters, books, and patents granted including samples of the work

f) invited talks or seminars

g) software produced and distributed

h) preparation of proposals

i) engagement in sponsored and non-sponsored research

j) department and university committee work

k) professional service outside of the university

l) awards received for teaching, research, or service

m) other activities relevant to the tenure-track position

In the year in which an enhanced retention review occurs, the faculty member shall, with the guidance and counsel of the department head, prepare and submit to the department head (for distribution to the tenured faculty) a file on her or his cumulative performance, reflecting her or his degree of progress in satisfying the requirements for tenure in teaching, research / scholarship / creative activity, and service. The file (which shall be prepared by the faculty member as a preliminary draft of the faculty member’s file in support of a tenure dossier) shall be prepared according to the Manual for Faculty Evaluation (I.B.1.a).

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.

4.1.2 Review of Retention File

After reviewing the retention files, each tenured faculty member is invited to anonymously complete 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.

4.1.3 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.

4.1.4 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.

4.2 Other Faculty

Non-tenure track faculty who hold positions that are eligible for promotion will be considered for such in accordance with the following documents:

  • Faculty Handbook
  • Manual for Faculty Evaluation
  • Guidelines for UTK Lecturer Promotion Process
  • Tickle College of Engineering Guidelines for Tenure and Promotion Review Process
  • Tickle College of Engineering Guidelines for Faculty Appointment with Tenure
  • Tickle College of Engineering Guidelines for the Promotion of Research Faculty
  • Tickle College of Engineering Guidelines for the Promotion of Lecturers
  • Tickle College of Engineering Peer Teaching Review Procedure
  • Board of Trustees Policies Governing Academic Freedom, Responsibility, and Tenure (BT0006)

Section 5: Evaluation of Faculty Members

5.1 Tenure/Tenure Track Faculty

Tenured faculty are evaluated on an annual basis by the Department Head. 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 for Annual Evaluation of Faculty Members.

Tenured faculty are also subject to a periodic post tenure performance review (PPPR) per the Board of Trustees Policies Governing Academic Freedom, Responsibility, and Tenure.

Tenure-track faculty are evaluated as described in Section 4.1.

5.2 Other Faculty

Other faculty are evaluated on an annual basis by the Department Head. 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 for Annual Evaluation of Faculty Members.


Section 6: Appointment and Evaluation of Department Head

Serving at the will of the Dean of the Tickle College of Engineering, the Department Head is appointed to a 5-year term. The Dean can reappoint the Department Head. The procedures for Department Head search will be in accordance with the Faculty Handbook.

Departmental faculty members provide annual objective and systematic evaluation of the Department Head to the Dean of the Tickle College of Engineering. Annual evaluation and reappointment of the Department Head is in accordance with the Faculty Handbook.

Financial Procedures, Management and Reporting

Per the Faculty Handbook, the Department Head provides support for the department through preparation, presentation, and management of the department budget. The Department Head is further responsible for authorization of all expenditures from the department budget.

To provide clear communication of key terminology and a general framework for how the department manages finances, the department will maintain the following document:

EECS Department Financial Procedures, Faculty Expectations, and Incentives

The department will maintain said document such that it reflects up to date information. The Department Head retains the ability to update specific procedures but must do so in consultation with the faculty to ensure transparency and allow for faculty input.

The Department Head will give an annual presentation of the financial state of the department to the Faculty.

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 May 10, 2023.