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Bylaws, Department of Communication Studies


The purpose of these by‑laws is to establish recognized methods of procedure for the conduct and operation of the Communication Studies Department. This department shall be a collegium in which the source of power and authority rests with the faculty and elected student representatives, unless directed otherwise by any section of this document.

Applies to: 

Faculty and staff within the Department of Communication Studies.

Policy Statement: 

The purpose of these by‑laws is to establish recognized methods of procedure for the conduct and operation of the Communication Studies Department. This department shall be a collegium in which the source of power and authority rests with the faculty and elected student representatives, unless directed otherwise by any section of this document.


A.  Regular Faculty: This group constitutes the voting membership and includes those faculty members whose primary or joint appointment is in Communication Studies. However, only tenure‑track faculty and unclassified academic staff shall vote on the appointment of new faculty and other personnel issues.

B.  Courtesy and Adjunct Faculty: This category of membership includes those faculty members whose primary appointment is in another academic unit at the university (Courtesy Faculty) or at another institution (Adjunct Faculty), but their relationship with the department is such that they teach courses relevant to the undergraduate or graduate curriculum, conduct collaborative research with faculty members, and/or mentor graduate students in the program. Courtesy faculty may be granted full voting privileges by the voting membership of the department. Appointment of courtesy and adjunct faculty members will require a credential review and approval by the department chair and advisory committee.

C.  Student Representatives: At least 20% of the voting membership shall be graduate or undergraduate students, except on issues relating to their peers and personnel issues.  The Communication Studies departmental policy on soliciting input from graduate students is as follows:

1.  A number of graduate student representatives sufficient to equal at least 20% of the voting membership, elected by graduate students in the department, serve as graduate representatives and attend faculty meetings, except for meetings focused on faculty evaluation. These graduate representatives provide feedback to the faculty on hiring decisions and other departmental policies. 

2.  On hiring issues, all interviews include a meeting with the graduate students.  Graduate representatives solicit input from all graduate students and then report to the faculty graduate sentiment on all faculty candidates brought in for an on-campus interview. 

3.  Graduate student input on promotion and tenure cases is considered by the departmental advisory committee and chair in filling out the appropriate forms.  The primary input considered is student evaluation data. 

D.  Authorizations for new positions:

1.   Future faculty staffing needs shall be formulated by the department chair in consultation with the Advisory Committee.

2.   The departmental faculty will discuss and vote upon the recommendations of the department chair or appointed search committee.

3.   The department chair will submit the recommendation to the College Dean’s Office.

E. Recruiting and hiring for tenure-track faculty positions, tenured faculty positions, and unclassified academic staff positions.

1.   Recruitment, credential review, and preliminary evaluation of candidates’ qualifications shall be undertaken by the department chair and search committee in consultation with the faculty. All procedures shall be consistent with Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity guidelines of the University of Kansas.

2.   The department Chair shall arrange for invitations and scheduling for the visits of the candidates. Each member of the department faculty shall be given a reasonable opportunity to meet and interview candidates.

3.   After the visit, the department chair will consult with the department in the most appropriate manner concerning the candidate(s). When a 2/3 majority of faculty eligible to vote is obtained in favor of appointing a candidate, the department chair shall recommend the appointment to the College. 

F.  Recruiting and hiring for non-tenure track faculty positions.

      1. The search, review, and hiring process for full-time non-tenure track faculty positions will follow the procedures described in sections D. and E. above.  

      2.   The search, review, and hiring process for part-time non-tenure track faculty positions will be conducted by the chair and advisory committee or, with the approval of the voting faculty, delegated to a subcommittee of three faculty members with expertise in the instructional area of the position.

G.  Promotion and Tenure

      The Department of Communication Studies articulates its standards and procedures for promotion and/or tenure in its Promotion and Tenure Procedures formally located in the Policy Library at: http://www.policy.ku.edu/CLAS/promotion-tenure-communication-studies.



A.  Designation

1.   The Department Chair shall be elected to a 5-year term, and serves at the pleasure of the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

2.   Nominations for Department Chair shall originate with the voting membership.

3.   All Department Chair candidates shall be required to make a formal, oral presentation to the faculty about their candidacy.

4.   To be designated Department Chair, a candidate must be approved by a majority vote of the voting membership.

5.   The Department Chair shall have the privilege of consultation with the faculty prior to a vote.

6.   Any candidate approved by this method shall be recommended to the Dean of the College for appointment.

B.  Reappointment

1.   An incumbent Department Chair may be re‑elected for one additional 5‑year term through the same procedures as the original appointment.

2.   At the conclusion of two consecutive complete or partial terms, the Department Chair must leave office.

3.   Following one term out of office, a person may again become a candidate for the Department Chair.

C.  Duties

1.   The Department Chair shall represent the department to the higher administration.

2.   Shall coordinate departmental activities:

a.   Call meetings as needed and act as presiding officer.

b.   Appoint the following departmental officers, subject to approval of the majority of the voting membership. 

  1. Associate Chairperson
  2. Director of Graduate Studies
  3. Members of the Graduate Academic Affairs Committee
  4.  Director of Undergraduate Studies
  5. Members of the Undergraduate Academic Affairs Committee
  6. Members of special committees as required
  7. Departmental grievance committee and departmental grievance panels in the case that a grievance is brought against one or more members of the faculty or staff in the department. 
  8. Other appropriate assignments

        3.   Shall perform the functions necessary to implement all phases of departmental operations as set forth in this document.

4.   Shall appoint appropriate ad-hoc committees whenever necessary for conducting and implementing departmental affairs.

5.   Shall be responsible for the hiring, assigning of duties, and supervision of all support staff personnel.  Supplies and support staff services shall be available to departmental members as they are needed, on the basis of a reasonable distribution of resources among the faculty and programs.

6.   Shall prepare the annual maintenance and equipment budget requests concerning the department and shall assume responsibility for administering the departmental budget.

7.   Shall make annual salary recommendations, when appropriate, to the College Dean (in consultation with the Advisory Committee).

8.   Shall appoint graduate assistants upon the recommendation of the Coordinator of Graduate Studies.

9.   Shall exercise leadership and initiative in the development of the department in such areas as:

a.   Faculty development

b.   Curriculum development

c.   Summer session offerings

d.   Liaison with other departments and programs

D.  Resignation

In the case of resignation, the Chair shall inform the departmental faculty immediately upon informing the Dean of the College.



A. The Associate Chairperson shall be appointed by the Department Chair for a three‑year term.

            B. Duties

  1.  Shall monitor enrollment in all classes and work to ensure, at the very least, they meet minimum standards (Currently 12 for undergraduate and 6 for graduate)
  2.  Shall keep a record of enrollment trends for all classes
  3.  Shall assist the Chairperson with class scheduling
  4.  Shall work with faculty to identify and support nomination for awards
  5.  Shall work with faculty to promote grant and fellowship applications
  6.  Shall assist the Chairperson with departmental outreach
  7.  Shall assist with other needs as occasionally necessary, such as filling in for the Chairperson in the event of illness or absence



A.  Membership

1.   The Advisory Committee shall consist of three tenured faculty members, one of whom is to be the department chair who shall chair the committee.

2.   The other two members of the Advisory Committee shall be (1) nominated, and (2) elected by a majority vote of the department.

3.   The Advisory Committee members shall be elected for a rotating three-year term.

4.   In the Chairperson’s absence, the Associate Chairperson will serve as chair of the committee.

B.  Duties

1.   They shall meet regularly with the department chair.

2.   They shall evaluate and approve suggested new programs at their inception and before they are brought to the departmental faculty for discussion and approval.

3.   They shall serve in an advisory capacity to the department on such important questions as research, teaching, and service.

4.   They shall assist the department chair in the annual performance evaluation of faculty and the recommendation for the awarding of merit (when appropriate) salary increases, promotion and tenure recommendations, and post tenure review.



A.  The Director of Graduate Studies shall be appointed by the Department Chair for a three‑year term.

B.  Duties

1.   Shall be a member of the Graduate Academic Affairs Committee and shall chair the group.

2.   Shall assume the responsibility of soliciting applications of new graduate students to the program.

3.   Shall act as the admissions officer for new graduate students entering the program, in consultation with the Graduate Academic Affairs Committee.

4.   Shall implement the procedures for the academic advising of graduate students.

5.   Shall oversee graduate curriculum and degree requirements

6.   Shall be responsible for certifying eligibility for comprehensive exams.

7.   Shall serve as the departmental liaison with the Graduate School.

8.   Shall recommend to the Departmental Chair the appointment of graduate teaching assistants in consultation with the Graduate Academic Affairs Committee. S/he may wish to seek recommendations from the Basic Communication Program and other appropriate program directors.



A.  Membership

1.   The committee shall consist of three or more members: The Director of Graduate Studies, who shall act as chairperson, and other departmental faculty members who have achieved regular membership in the graduate faculty of the University.

2.   The faculty members of the committee shall be appointed for three‑year terms by the Department Chair in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies.

B.  Duties

1.   The Committee shall advise the Director of Graduate Studies on such items as:

a.   Admissions

b.   Appointments

c.   Graduate student progress

d.   Comprehensive examinations

2.   Appeals of graduate students on any matter shall go to this committee.

3.   When the committee deems it desirable, it may bring any matter to the full faculty for final decision.

4.   The graduate student shall have the right to appeal any adverse decision of the committee to the departmental faculty.

5.   Consider and make recommendations to the Advisory Committee regarding graduate level course proposals.



A.  Shall be appointed by the Department Chair to serve as Director of Undergraduate Studies for a three-year term.

B.  Duties.

  1. Shall work with the department Advising Specialist in advising Communication Studies majors and minors and certifying students for graduation
  2. Shall oversee the development of new curriculum, curriculum changes, and major and minor requirements
  3. Shall work with students interested in completing Departmental Honors or external internships
  4. Shall act as a liaison with the College Student Academic Services Office, the College Committee on Undergraduate Studies and Advising, the Office of Student Success, and the Office of Admissions, University Career Center, and other relevant units.
  5. Shall serve as chair of the Undergraduate Committee
  6. Shall coordinate assessment of Department Undergraduate Learning Outcomes and assessment for KU Core.



  1. The Undergraduate Studies Committee shall consist of at least three faculty members, appointed by the Department Chair for three-year terms (one of these members shall be the Director of Undergraduate Studies).
  2. The Undergraduate Committee shall concern itself with the adequate progress of majors, the transfer of college credits, exercise leadership in the dissemination of information to and recruitment of prospective undergraduate majors, and generally handle other problems involving the affairs and curriculum of the undergraduate program.
  3. Consider and make recommendations to the Departmental Advisory Committee regarding undergraduate level courses.



  1. The departmental membership is responsible for general educational policy, including the formulation and change of graduate and undergraduate requirements and the introduction of new courses or programs or the change or removal of existing courses or programs.
  2. Joint appointments, the development of cooperative research, teaching, and other relationships with other units of the university and the community will normally be encouraged. Formal programs of collaboration, however, will require the approval of the departmental faculty. The planning for such programs will ordinarily be carried out by ad-hoc committees composed of departmental members whose interests lie in the area under concern.
  3. It is the policy of the department to encourage excellence in teaching. The department will cooperate in efforts to obtain meaningful student evaluation of its faculty and will make additional efforts to evaluate in the most effective manner possible the teaching of faculty members desiring promotion.



A.  For decision-making purposes, normal parliamentary practices will be followed in departmental meetings.

B.  Amendments of these by-laws may be made at any official departmental meeting by a 2/3 vote of the voting membership.

C.  Major items such as curricular change, major requirements, by-law changes, personnel changes, etc., involving departmental policy shall be communicated to the faculty at least three working days prior to the faculty meeting.



Pursuant to Article XIV of the University Senate Code and Articles V and VI of the University Senate Rules and Regulations of the University of Kansas, Lawrence, the Communication Studies Department has established procedures to hear grievances arising within the Communication Studies Department. These procedures are formally located in the policy library at: http://www.policy.ku.edu/CLAS/grievance-procedure-communication-studies.


The faculty evaluation procedures are described in the Communication Studies Department Faculty Evaluation Plan formally located in the Policy Library at: http://www.policy.ku.edu/CLAS/faculty-evaluation-plan-comm-studies.


The Department of Communication Studies articulates its criteria and procedures for post-tenure review in its Post-tenure Review Policy formally located in the Policy Library at: http://www.policy.ku.edu/CLAS/post-tenure-review-communication-studies.


Department of Communication Studies
University of Kansas
Bailey Hall
1440 Jayhawk Blvd, Room 102
Lawrence, KS  66045-7575

Department Chairperson

Approved by: 
The faculty of the Communication Studies Department
Approved on: 
Wednesday, October 4, 2017
Effective on: 
Wednesday, October 4, 2017
Review Cycle: 
Annual (As Needed)
COMS, BYLAWS, Standing Committees, Program Review
Change History: 

10/29/2018: Updated policy. 
10/04/2017: Reviewed and Approved by the Faculty of the Communication Studies Department 

School/College Policy Categories: 
Code of Conduct/By-Laws

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