Constitution and Bylaws

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Constitution and Bylaws

TAFT COLLEGE ACADEMIC SENATE CONSTITUTION

ARTICLE I. Name and Purpose

Section 1. Name

The name of this body is the Taft College Academic Senate.

Section 2. Purpose

(a) The Academic Senate serves as the official body representing the faculty of Taft College to make recommendations to administration and the Board of Trustees on academic and professional matters as delineated in Title 5 §53200, and to ensure the roles of faculty in processes and policymaking as addressed in Education Code §70902, §87359, §87360, §87458, §87610, §87663, §87743, and elsewhere.
(b) Per Title 5 §53200, the ten plus one areas that the Academic Senate is charged with making recommendations on are as follows:
1. Curriculum, including establishing prerequisites.
2. Degree and certificate requirements.
3. Grading policies.
4. Educational program development.
5. Standards or policies regarding student preparation or success.
6. College governance structures, as related to faculty roles.
7. Faculty roles and involvement in accreditation processes.
8. Policies for faculty professional development activities.
9. Processes for program review.
10. Processes for institutional planning and budget development.
11. Other academic and professional matters as mutually agreed upon.

ARTICLE II. Structure

Section 1. Electorate

The electorate of the Taft College Academic Senate is the Senate-of-the-whole, as defined below.

Section 2. Senate-of-the-whole and Academic Senate Council Membership

The Taft College Academic Senate is made up of two bodies: the Senate-of-the-whole and the Academic Senate Council. The Senate-of-the-whole consists of all full-time faculty and any adjunct faculty who volunteer service through the procedure delineated in Article II, Section 2 of the Bylaws. The Academic Senate Council consists of all officers (president, vice-president, and secretary), the immediate past-president, the CTE liaison, one representative from each division, and the Academic Senate Council adjunct faculty representative.

Section 3. Functions of the Academic Senate Council

The Academic Senate Council meets in advance of the Senate-of-the-whole to initiate and review proposals, recommendations, policies, resolutions, and other potential action items of the Academic Senate. Officers and representatives bring requests for such action to the Academic Senate Council and relay information from Academic Senate Council meetings back to their areas in advance of Senate-of-the-whole meetings. Members of the Academic Senate Council are charged with staying apprised of actions of the Chancellor’s Office, legislature, California Community Colleges Board of Governors, accrediting agency for California community colleges, and the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges (ASCCC).

Section 4. Functions of the Senate-of-the-whole

The Senate-of-the-whole convenes to receive updates on academic and professional matters and to discuss, approve, reject, or refer back to the Academic Senate Council recommendations, documents, policies, proposals, and resolutions brought forth by the Academic Senate Council.

ARTICLE III. Subcommittees of the Academic Senate and Other Committees with Academic Senate Representation

Section 1. Subcommittees of the Academic Senate

The Academic Development Committee, Academic Policies and Procedures Committee, Career and Technical Education Committee, Curriculum and General Education Committee, Distance Education Committee, and Student Learning Outcomes Assessment Steering Committee are subcommittees of the Academic Senate, designed to ensure ample faculty representation, reporting back to the Academic Senate. Their charters are listed on the Taft College Committees Webpage.

Section 2. Other Committees Addressing Academic and Professional Matters

Other Taft College Committees that do work involving the ten plus one also have representatives of the Academic Senate as members.

TAFT COLLEGE ACADEMIC SENATE BYLAWS

ARTICLE I. Scheduling and Posting of Public Meetings

Section 1. Meetings

The Academic Senate Council and the Senate-of-the-whole each meet at least once a month. The President of the Academic Senate schedules these meetings and may call special meetings, provided at least seventy two hours notice is given. A special meeting of either body may be called when a written petition to the president signed by one-fifth of either body requests such a meeting at least ninety six hours in advance of the special meeting.

Section 2. Posting of Agendas

Agendas of all meetings will be posted publically, both physically and electronically, at least seventy two hours in advance of meetings, in accordance with the Ralph M. Brown Act.

Section 3. Open Meetings

All, including members of the community, students, administrators, and trustees, are legally permitted to attend meetings of either body.

ARTICLE II. Terms of Service & Election, Appointment, and Removal Procedures

Section 1. Full-time Faculty Membership of Senate-of-the-whole

All full-time faculty are members of the Senate-of-the-whole and entitled to all rights and responsibilities as such.

Section 2. Adjunct Membership of Senate-of-the-whole

Adjunct faculty currently employed by the West Kern Community College District who wish to become members of the Academic Senate must express their desire to do so prior to the end of the second week of each academic term that they desire service. An email or verbal request to the current academic senate president from the adjunct faculty member will indicate a desire to serve. All adjunct faculty who follow this procedure will be granted full membership and all of the rights and responsibilities of full membership of the Senate-of-the-whole for one semester.

Section 3. Officer Election Procedures and Terms of Service

Officers (president, vice-president, and secretary) will be elected to serve terms of two years. Any member of the Academic Senate can nominate any faculty member currently employed by the West Kern Community College District (including herself/himself) for these positions. Nominations will be accepted for any officer position expiring at the end of the current academic year until the February meeting of the Senate-of-the-whole. Nominations can be made through email to any existing officer or at a meeting. The individual being nominated must accept the nomination to be considered a candidate. Elections will take place at the February meeting of the Senate-of-the-whole. The candidate with the most votes, by a simple majority, will be appointed. In the event of a tie, a run-off election will be held immediately following the vote count. If the run-off election is also a tie, the Academic Senate Council will appoint the officer, choosing only from those with a tied vote.

Section 4. Adjunct Academic Senate Council Representative Election Procedures and Terms of Service

The adjunct academic senate council representative will be elected to serve a term of up to two years, provided that he or she is employed in an academic faculty position by the West Kern Community College District for the duration of the term. Any member of the Academic Senate can nominate any adjunct faculty member for this position until the February meeting of the Senate-of-the-whole. The individual being nominated must accept the nomination to be considered a candidate. Elections will take place at the February meeting of the Senate-of-the-whole. Only adjunct faculty who are members of the senate-of-the-whole can vote for this position. The candidate with the most votes, by a simple majority, will be appointed. In the event of a tie, a run-off election will be held immediately following the vote count. If the run-off election is also a tie, the Academic Senate Council will appoint the representative, choosing only from those with a tied vote.

Section 5. CTE Liaison Election Procedures and Terms of Service

The CTE liaison will be elected to serve a term of two years, provided that he or she is employed by the West Kern Community College District in an academic faculty position that involves CTE (courses and programs of study with SAM Codes A-D) for the duration of his or her term. Any member of the Academic Senate can nominate any faculty member for this position until the February meeting of the Senate-of-the-whole. Only faculty who work in CTE and are members of the Senate-of-the-whole may vote for this position. The candidate with the most votes, by a simple majority, will be appointed. In the event of a tie, a run-off election will be held immediately following the vote count. If the run-off election is also a tie, the Academic Senate Council will appoint the representative, choosing only from those with a tied vote.

Section 6. Division Academic Senate Council Representatives Election Procedures and Terms of Service

Division representatives of the Academic Senate Council will be elected to serve terms of two years. Any member of the Academic Senate can nominate any faculty member who works in the division he or she is nominated to represent and who is currently employed by the West Kern Community College District for these positions until the February meeting of the Senate-of-the-whole. Only faculty who work in the respective area of the division representative may vote for these positions. The candidate with the most votes, by a simple majority, will be appointed. In the event of a tie, a run-off election will be held immediately following the vote count. If the run-off election is also a tie, the appropriate division chair will appoint the representative, choosing only from those with a tied vote.

Section 7. Unopposed Positions

In the event that only one individual is nominated to any of the above positions, that individual will automatically be appointed to the position, without election, provided that he or she is a member of the Academic Senate and works in the division or capacity that the position represents (as adjunct, in CTE, or in appropriate division).

Section 8. Term Limits and Re-election

The term of all officers and Academic Senate Council representatives is two years. Officers and representatives may seek re-election in subsequent years. Beginning with the adoption of these bylaws, no individual shall hold the same position as officer or Academic Senate Council representative for more than three consecutive terms (six years), unless no other qualified member of the Academic Senate seeks appointment to the position and he or she holding the position is willing to assume duties for an additional term. If an officer or representative has already held three terms in his or her office and another member of the Academic Senate accepts a nomination for the same position within an election cycle, the incumbent will be given no consideration for the appointment. Prior officers and representatives may seek re-election, despite previous service, if another individual has held the same position since the prior officer’s or representative’s last term in that office.

Section 9. Removal of Officers and Representatives

Officers and representatives may be removed by a two-thirds vote of the Senate-of-whole at a Senate-of-the-whole meeting. An effort to remove an officer or representative requires a written petition, including rationale, forwarded to the Academic Senate Council. The petition must include the signature of at least one-fifth of the body which the officer or representative represents and must be approved by a simple majority of the Academic Senate Council prior to consideration of the Senate-of-the-whole (See V.3.e, V.3.f). In the event that an officer or representative is removed from office, an emergency election shall be held to replace him or her. He or she shall continue to perform his or her assigned duties until the emergency election is concluded.

ARTICLE III. Duties of Officers

Section 1. President of the Academic Senate

The president sets agendas for the Academic Senate Council and the Senate-of-the-whole; presides over both bodies; determines meetings of both bodies; represents the interests of the Academic Senate to outside parties; conveys the position of the Academic Senate to administration and the Board of Trustees; shares relevant information regarding the legislature, the ASCCC, the Board of Governors, the Chancellor’s Office, local administration, the Board of Trustees, and other organizations influencing academic and professional matters with the Academic Senate; acts as the voting delegate of the Taft College Academic Senate at ASCCC fall and spring plenaries; finalizes appointments of Academic Senate representatives to classified and management screening committees; works with local administration to ensure a dialogue between faculty and other stakeholders on academic and professional matters; serves as the co-chair of the Governance Council; serves on the Faculty Service Area Committee; attends Division Chairs meetings; finalizes committee assignments of faculty members, in consultation with the vice-president of instruction; signs certain institutional documents and reports sent to relevant authorities; respects and honors the expertise of faculty; organizes and executes the ranking of new faculty position requests within the Academic Senate; and endeavors to facilitate broad faculty participation in the Academic Senate. The president is a voting member of the Senate-of-the-whole and the Academic Senate Council.

Section 2. Vice-President of the Academic Senate

The vice-president assumes the duties of the president in the president’s absence, co-chairs the Curriculum and General Education Committee, oversees the Curriculum and General Education Committee’s Technical Review Committee, reports curricular developments to the Academic Senate, stays abreast of statewide pressures on curriculum and reports them to the Curriculum and General Education Committee and the Academic Senate, and serves on the Academic Senate Council. The vice-president is a voting member of the Academic Senate Council and the Senate-of-the-whole.

Section 3. Secretary of the Academic Senate

The secretary assumes the duties of the president in the absence of both the president and the vice-president. The secretary publically posts agendas and materials of Senate-of-the-whole and Academic Senate Council at least seventy two hours in advance of meetings; takes detailed minutes of meetings of both bodies, including a roster of those present, materials presented, and specific actions; makes public all minutes and presented materials from meetings of both bodies; and oversees, edits, and distributes any official materials of the Taft College Academic Senate. The secretary remains thoroughly apprised of actions of local and external parties pertaining to academic and professional matters. The secretary is a voting member of the Academic Senate Council and the Senate-of-the-whole.

Section 4. Immediate Past President of the Academic Senate

The immediate past president acts as a resource to the president for the duration of his or her term, directing the president to relevant documents, procedures, and precedents as needed. The immediate past president is a voting member of the Academic Senate Council and the Senate-of-the-whole.

Section 5. President-Elect of the Academic Senate

From election until assuming duties as president, the president-elect attends meetings of the Academic Senate Council, the Senate-of-the-whole, Division Chairs, and Governance Council. The president-elect attends the ASCCC spring plenary. The president-elect assumes all duties and responsibilities immediately following graduation day at the end of the term of the president that the president-elect is replacing.

ARTICLE IV. Duties of Representatives of Academic Senate Council

Section 1. CTE Liaison

The CTE liaison identifies local, regional, and statewide CTE concerns; reports as needed to both bodies about issues of concern regarding CTE; communicates opportunities for CTE faculty to participate in CTE-related statewide initiatives, workgroups, committees and taskforces to ensure that CTE interests are represented; communicates the Board of Governors Task Force on Workforce, Job Creation, and a Strong Economy recommendations and participates in conversations to implement system-wide policies and practices that may significantly affect career technical education programs; ensures a mechanism to communicate with CTE faculty at Taft College about issues of common concern; serves as a conduit between the local CTE faculty, the Academic Senate, and administration; identifies CTE faculty at Taft College to serve locally and statewide on committees and taskforces; as funding permits, attends state-level events (CCCCAOE, ASCCC) and regional consortia meetings; and brings CTE-related policies, actions, resolutions, and proposals to the Academic Senate Council and the Senate-of-the-whole. The CTE liaison is a voting member of the Academic Senate Council and the Senate-of-the-whole.

Section 2. Academic Senate Council Division Representatives

The division representatives ensure a transparent and efficient workflow between the faculty in their areas and the Academic Senate by bringing forward to the Academic Senate Council concerns, potential agenda items for the Senate-of-the-whole, proposals, draft policies, and draft resolutions; voting on items brought to the Academic Senate Council by other members; and by reporting out to their constituents, in advance of meetings of the Senate-of-the-whole, actions taken by the Academic Senate Council and information presented in the Academic Senate Council. Division representatives stay apprised of external and internal pressures and trends that affect academic and professional matters within their divisions. Division representatives are voting members of the Academic Senate Council and the Senate-of-the-whole.

Section 3. Academic Senate Council Adjunct Representative

The adjunct representative acts as the voice of adjunct faculty in the Academic Senate Council. As such, he or she communicates as broadly as possible to all adjunct faculty on the work of the Academic Senate, seeking input for prospective action items, sending information on the status of the senate, and endeavoring to boost involvement of adjunct faculty in the Academic Senate. The adjunct representative to the Academic Senate Council brings forth prospective agenda items to the Council and is a voting member of the Academic Senate Council and the Senate-of-the-whole.

ARTICLE V. Procedures of the Academic Senate

Section 1. Workflow of the Academic Senate

(a) Local need, accreditation concerns, changes to legislation, actions of the Chancellor’s Office, actions of the Board of Governors, and work of the ASCCC provoke action of the Taft College Academic Senate on academic and professional matters enumerated in the ten plus one. Any faculty member may propose action of the Academic Senate or propose an informational item by placing a request to any officer of the Academic Senate or to the appropriate division representative, Academic Senate Council adjunct representative, or CTE liaison.
(b) The officer or representative to whom the request was placed will work with the Academic Senate president to place the request on an upcoming Academic Senate Council agenda based on the request’s relevance to the ten plus one, timeliness, other agenda items for upcoming meetings, and urgency. At minimum, these requests should reach the president one week prior to the next Academic Senate Council meeting.
(c) The Academic Senate Council will examine, discuss, and/or vote on informational items, documents, policy recommendations, Academic Senate subcommittee charters and charter revisions, draft resolutions, amendments to the Taft College Academic Senate Constitution and Bylaws, and any other academic or professional items in advance of bringing them to the Senate-of-the-whole.
(d)The Senate-of-the-whole will act as the definitive voice of the Academic Senate, voting to approve, reject, or refer back to the Academic Senate Council, division, smaller body, or authoring individual any of the action items listed above in V.1.c.
(e) When the Senate-of-the-whole votes to approve any action through the procedures delineated in Article V of its bylaws, the appropriate officer or representative of the Academic Senate Council will inform those parties whom the action affects and take next steps, appropriate to the nature of the action, to implement any professional or academic activities within the jurisdiction of the Academic Senate as warranted by the vote of the Senate-of-the-whole.
(f) Except for those procedures specifically delineated in its bylaws, the Taft College Academic Senate will use the most current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order.
(g) Per California Governance Code, all members of either body must be present to act, and the actions of each member will be reported out publically (§ 54953).

Section 2. Procedures of the Academic Senate Council

(a) Members of the Academic Senate Council represent their areas and advance the work of the Academic Senate by assisting in determining the agenda of the Senate-of-the-whole; providing updates to the Academic Senate Council from their areas on academic and professional matters; voting on first readings of documents, policy recommendations, charters and charter revisions, amendments to the Taft College Academic Senate Constitution and Bylaws, and draft resolutions; and reporting these actions back to their respective areas in advance of subsequent Senate-of-the-whole meetings.
(b) To propose adding an agenda item to the Academic Senate Council agenda, a member of the Academic Senate Council must consult the president no less than seven days prior to the meeting of the Academic Senate Council to discuss the matter’s relevance to the ten plus one, other items slated for the next meeting, and urgency. The Academic Senate Council member and the president will determine the appropriate placement of the item on an upcoming Academic Senate Council agenda.
(c) A quorum of the Academic Senate Council is 50% of all members, plus one.
(d) Addition of informational items to the Senate-of-the-whole agenda does not require a vote by the Academic Senate Council.
(e) To allow a policy recommendation, subcommittee charter or charter revision, amendment to the constitution or bylaws, removal of officer, or other document or item excluding a resolution but requiring action of the Academic Senate to come before the Senate-of-the-whole, the Academic Senate Council must vote in favor of the item with a simple majority of those present, provided quorum is met. The Academic Senate Council may also vote to reject the item, table the item, or refer the item back to its author with requested changes or clarifications.
(f) To allow a resolution to come before the Senate-of-the-whole, the Academic Senate Council must vote in favor of the item by a two-thirds vote simple majority. The Academic Senate Council may also vote to reject the resolution, table it, or refer it back to its author with requested changes or clarifications.

Section 3. Procedures of the Senate-of-the-whole

(a) The Senate-of-the-whole acts as the definitive voice for making recommendations on academic and professional matters. The Senate-of-the-whole votes on items after they have been vetted through the Academic Senate Council. The Senate-of-the-whole also receives informational updates on academic and professional matters and relays concerns of individual members of the Academic Senate to officers and representatives of the Academic Senate Council.
(b) Senate-of-the-whole meetings will include an agenda item for public commentary, reserved for individuals who are not members of the Academic Senate. Senate-of-the-whole meetings will also include an “other” or “open forum” item, at the end of the agenda as time allows, for non-voting items which any member of the Academic Senate may present without adhering to the provisions of Article V, Sections 1 and 2.
(c) The quorum for the Senate-of-the-whole is defined as one-third of the total membership of the Academic Senate for a given semester. Total membership equals the number of all full-time faculty plus the number of those adjunct faculty who indicate to the president of the Academic Senate by the end of the second week of the semester their willingness to serve as members of the Senate-of-the-whole (see II.2).
(d) Except for those actions delineated in V.3.e and V.3.f below, the Senate-of-the-whole only requires one reading or meeting to act, and an action passes with a simple majority.
(e) Removal of officers or representatives of Academic Senate Council, actions which reverse previous positions of the Taft College Academic Senate, votes of no confidence, and adoptions of resolutions require at least a two-thirds majority of the Senate-of-the-Whole.
(f) Revisions to the Constitution or Bylaws and adoptions of actions listed in V.3.e above, except those which only reverse a previous position of the Taft College Academic Senate, removal of officers or representatives of the Taft College Academic Senate, and votes of no confidence require approval at two meetings of the Senate-of-the-whole unless after first approval and initial action of the Senate-of-the-whole a motion to suspend rules on the grounds of urgency is carried by a vote of at least two-thirds or in the case of revisions to the constitution and/or bylaws as indicated in a motion to authorize a different, related action as stated in VII.2.c.

Section 4. Procedure for Drafting and Adopting Resolutions

(a) Draft resolutions should only be entertained (1) for important academic and professional matters that require that the Taft College Academic Senate make recommendations, to itself or outside parties, or take positions on matters, internal or external, which approval of a policy recommendation, revision to the constitution or bylaws, or other existing procedure of the Academic Senate cannot accommodate
OR
(2) for matters that demand the highest attention of the Academic Senate or the parties it informs.
(b) Draft resolutions can be authored by any member of the Academic Senate, but should abide by the guidelines laid out in the ASCCC Local Senates Handbook: Make clear the actions to be carried out; Use no more than four “Whereas” or “Resolved” statements; Be as direct and to the point as possible; Limit to one reason in support of each “whereas” statement; Be professional; Limit action to Academic Senate—though the Academic Senate “may request or recommend actions from other entities or . . . endorse or support particular positions of other entities,” it “does not have the authority to direct or require action from any other group or individual”; Title resolutions appropriately to reflect the content of the resolution; and Focus on facts.
(c) Draft resolutions can be submitted to any officer or member of the Academic Senate Council for consideration.
(d) If the officer/representative bringing the draft resolution forward and the Academic Senate president agree that the resolution falls within the ten plus one and meets the letter or spirit of V.4.a above, the draft resolution will appear before the Academic Senate Council, who will discuss the draft resolution’s adherence to V.4.a and V.4.b above, the conditions motivating the resolution as discussed in its “whereas” statements, and the possible effects of adopting the resolution before voting to approve the resolution and send it forward to the Senate-of-the-whole, table the resolution for further discussion of the Academic Senate Council, refer the resolution back to its area for further clarification or modification, or reject the resolution.
(e) if the draft resolution is approved by the Academic Senate Council, it will be brought before the Senate-of-the-whole and dealt with according to V.3.e and V.3.f above.

Section 5. Procedure for Determining Screening Committee Service

The president of the Academic Senate will make appointments of Academic Senate representatives to classified and management screening committees by taking the below steps: 1) alerting the entire Academic Senate of the need for a committee representative, 2) in the event that two or more members of the Academic Senate indicate a willingness to serve, first asking all interested if they are willing to rescind their commitment to service or defer their request to others who expressed interest, 3) sending the same questions seeking to ascertain the potential representatives’ desire to serve, assessment of the position being screened for, and/or other qualities as the president sees fit to all interested, and 4) making a final determination based on the above. the need for diversity in screening committees, volunteers’ willingness to serve, and the relationship between the volunteers’ positions and the position being screened for.

ARTICLE VI: Subcommittees of the Academic Senate and Committees with Academic Senate Representatives

Section 1. Subcommittees of the Academic Senate

(a)Official subcommittees of the Academic Senate, as delineated in III.1 of the Taft College Academic Senate Constitution, are authorized to take action, in accordance with each committee’s respective charter, on matters outlined in the ten plus one as the official voice of the Academic Senate without prior approval of the larger body.
(b) Subcommittees of the Academic Senate follow the Ralph M. Brown Act

Section 2. Protocol of Academic Senate Representatives on Other Committees

Representatives of the Academic Senate who serve on committees that are not subcommittees of the Academic Senate are charged with informing members of any committee, and the Academic Senate itself, when that committee seeks to implement action that falls within the ten plus one without consultation with the Academic Senate.

Section 3. Review of Committee Charters

(a) Subcommittees of the Academic Senate shall update their charters at least every three years, using the procedure outlined in V.2 and V.3. Prior to submitting a charter revision to the Academic Senate Council, the subcommittee should evaluate its own effectiveness and use that evaluation as a basis for revision.
(b) Academic Senate representatives on committees that are not subcommittees of the Academic Senate should inform their committee and the Academic Senate when their committee revises or discusses revising their committee charter in a manner that gives said committee authority into matters contained within the ten plus one.

ARTICLE VII: Review and Amendment of the Taft College Academic Senate Constitution and Bylaws

Section 1. Review of the Constitution and Bylaws

The Taft College Academic Senate Constitution and Bylaws are reviewed by the electorate at least every three years to ensure that they reflect recent action and events that affect the documents’ content. The review includes an evaluation of the Academic Senate’s effectiveness in representing faculty in academic and professional matters outlined in the ten plus one.

Section 2. Amendment and Approval of the Constitution and Bylaws

(a) As noted in Article V, amendments to the Constitution or Bylaws may occur upon ratification of the Academic Senate Council and two approvals of the Senate-of-the-whole.
(b) Approval of actions which alter the Constitution and/or Bylaws for more pressing reasons but which are not presented as such (e.g. new committee proposals) should be identified by the Academic Senate Council. Actions taken on these items and language of motions should indicate, in addition to the essential action, the intent to revise the Constitution and/or Bylaws to reflect the action.
(c) In the event that an action described in VII.2.b above is approved by the Senate-of-the-whole, the Constitution and/or Bylaws shall be updated to reflect the change without further deliberation.