Bylaws, Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
To define the rules and regulate the affairs of the Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.
Faculty and staff within the Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.
The purpose of these bylaws is to establish recognized methods of procedure for the conduct and operation of the Department of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies (hereafter referred to as the Department or as WGSS). The Department recognizes that it is bound in its actions by University regulations and that these bylaws are supplementary to these regulations, in particular the Handbook for Faculty and other Unclassified Staff.
- Voting Members. Voting members of the Department shall be faculty holding tenured/tenure-track, visiting, and continuing appointments in the Department (hereafter referred to as Core Faculty).
- Tenure and Promotion. In matters pertaining to tenure and promotion, voting is limited to tenured faculty members who hold an academic rank or a professional position equal to or higher than the rank for which the candidate is being considered.
- Faculty Hiring. In matters pertaining to faculty hiring, voting is limited to tenured and tenure-track faculty members. Graduate students serving as the graduate representatives on the hiring committee may be invited to participate in the phone interviews. However, students do not have a vote in the ultimate hiring decision and are not permitted to participate in the faculty meetings regarding hiring decisions.
- Decisions. All decisions concerning Department business shall be made by a majority vote of the voting members of the Department who are present and voting, except in the case of tenure and promotion, as described below.
- Meetings. The Department shall be operated with monthly meetings of the core faculty.
- Standing Committees. The standing committees of the Department are the Undergraduate Committee, the Graduate Committee, the Diversity/Equity/Inclusion Committee (DEI), and the Personnel Committee.
- Chairperson.The chairperson of each standing committee shall be selected in consultation with the Chair and will normally be a member of the core faculty. Directors of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies who are not core faculty members will still serve as Chairpersons of their respective standing committees.
- Membership. It shall be the responsibility of the department chair, in consultation with faculty, to select committee members from the core faculty. Graduate students may appoint one member each to the Graduate and DEI Committees. The Chair, in consultation with faculty, will appoint one undergraduate student to the DEI Committee.
- Committees shall report to Department meetings when necessary.
- Committee Functions and Duties.
- Undergraduate Committee
- This committee shall oversee curriculum matters pertaining to the undergraduate program. It is charged with review and recommendation of changes in the major, minor, and certificate requirements; adoption or revision of cross-referenced and cross-listed courses; and all other modifications in the Department’s undergraduate curriculum.
- This committee shall oversee the adequacy of the Department’s participation in the general education program of the College.
- The chairperson of this committee shall serve as Director of Undergraduate Studies.
- The chair will also select an Honors Coordinator for the undergraduate program, who may serve on the Undergraduate Committee.
- Graduate Committee
- This committee shall oversee curriculum matters pertaining to the graduate program. It is charged with review and recommendation of changes in the degree requirements, adoption or revision of cross-referenced courses, and all other modifications in the graduate program’s curriculum. This committee is also responsible for the review and selection of graduate students into the PhD program and the mentoring program for graduate teaching assistants.
- This committee shall oversee the adequacy of the Department’s participation in the College Office of Graduate Affairs and the Office of Graduate Studies.
- The chairperson of this committee shall serve as the Director of Graduate Studies.
- Diversity/Equity/Inclusion Committee
- The goal of this standing committee is to continually incorporate diversity, equity, and inclusion within WGSS programs and practices. This committee is tasked with two primary initiatives: 1) Recruit and retain students from traditionally underrepresented groups; 2) Fostering an anti-racist, anti-homophobic, anti-transphobic, feminist, climate throughout the department for students, staff, and faculty. The DEI committee is also responsible for administering a bi-annual DEI survey to graduate students and undergraduate students; the data collected from this survey will assist the committee with creating the agenda in subsequent years and making recommendations for other committees to strengthen their commitment and approach to DEI issues.
- At the beginning of each academic year, the DEI committee will set a short-term agenda for the academic year and a longer-term agenda for facilitating the two primary initiatives. The DEI committee will produce an annual report documenting its activities for the year, including survey results, and providing recommendations for items to include on the committee’s agenda the following year. This report will be presented to the department chair and disseminated to faculty for discussion at a faculty meeting each year. The DEI committee is chaired by a tenured faculty member and populated with a minimum of one other faculty member, one graduate and undergraduate student representative.
- Personnel Committee
- This committee shall take responsibility for the preparation of third-year reviews of tenure-track faculty, and post-tenure review, preparation of tenure and promotion cases, and sabbatical recommendations. The membership in this committee shall be determined by the task required and membership may vary even within a given academic year.
- For joint appointments in the Department, this committee will coordinate with the Chair and the appropriate parallel committee in the joint department/program of the candidate for review.
- Undergraduate Committee
- Duties and Functions of the Chair. (The Chair is appointed by and serves at the pleasure of the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.)
- Term of Office. The term of office is determined by the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Typically, the Chair shall serve a five-year term. This appointment shall be made following the regular procedures for appointing heads of departments and programs in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Incumbents are eligible for reappointment to a five-year term. If the Chair desires to be considered for reappointment, procedures for review are set out by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
- The Chair shall represent the Department in relation to other units and the administrative offices of the University. The Chair shall attend College Chair and Director meetings and any other meetings designated for chairs and directors. The Chair shall represent the Department to other universities. The Chair shall represent the Department as a member of the advisory board of the Emily Taylor Women’s Resource Center and serve as a liaison to the Center for Sexuality and Gender Diversity and the Sexual Assault Prevention Education Center.
- The Chair shall set in a timely fashion monthly departmental meetings and act as presiding officer. The Chair shall coordinate the new faculty women’s reception and the annual banquet, both of which are annual functions of the Department.
- The Chair shall take central responsibility for the day-to-day running of the Department and shall perform the functions necessary to implement all phases of Department operation, including space allocation, equipment procurement, administrative staff, personnel decisions, and the overall functioning of the office.
- The Chair shall assume responsibility for administering the Department budget.
- The Chair shall be responsible for the scheduling of courses and the preparation of the course timetable.
- The Chair is responsible for the timely publicizing of available scholarships, the selection of committee member(s), and the setting of meeting times for decisions.
- The Chair shall appoint chairs of all other standing committees in consultation with core faculty.
- The Chair, or a committee appointed by the Chair, shall conduct annual reviews of all faculty members according to the Department’s annual review policy.
- The Chair shall be responsible for salary recommendations to the Dean. In the Spring of each year, as part of annual review, it shall be the responsibility of the Chair to solicit complete merit information from core faculty members, to review this information, and to make salary determinations based on a merit allocation system approved annually by the core faculty.
- In case of resignation, the Chair shall inform the core faculty and Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
- Duties and Functions of the Director of Undergraduate Studies.
- In consultation with appropriate faculty, make decisions regarding course substitutions and transfer credit
- Approve student petitions
- Adviser for Study Abroad Program
- Coordinate department undergrad advising and work with advising specialist
- Coordinate department undergrad curriculum (such as course changes/additions, KU core courses)
- Advising for course registration
- Chair Undergraduate Committee
- In consultation with the Chair and undergraduate committee, determine agenda for each year
- Coordinate with the CLAS undergraduate staff advising specialist
- Attend Undergraduate Coordinator Meetings
- Oversee recruiting efforts (outreach to high schools; hosting field trips)
- Oversee the WGSS web presence for the undergraduate program
- Coordinate the KU Majors Fair (early fall)
- Meet with prospective students/families
- Policy & Procedures:
- Maintain policy in accordance with the College Undergraduate Studies Office
- Handle undergrad Academic misconduct charges
- Handle undergrad grade appeals
- Coordinate department assessment of undergraduate learning outcomes
- WGSS Student Recognition:
- Coordinate department scholarships and award ceremony (spring banquet)
- Participate in department senior banquet (call out names of undergrads and blurb about each student)
- Duties and Functions of the Director of Graduate Studies
- Oversee Graduate Committee
- Attend Graduate Coordinator meetings.
- In consultation with chair and graduate adviser, approve course substitutions and curricular changes.
- Approve student petitions.
- Approve internal applications for WGSS graduate certificate.
- With graduate adviser and graduate committee members, coordinate admissions process for each new entering class of Ph.D. students.
- Oversee recruiting efforts, including prospective students’ visits to campus.
- With graduate adviser, communicate with interested students.
- Policy & Procedures:
- Maintain policy in accordance with the College Office of Graduate Affairs and the Office of Graduate Studies.
- Handle graduate Academic misconduct charges
- Handle graduate grade appeals
- Coordinate department assessment of graduate learning outcomes
- Professional Development:
- Oversee teaching mentoring program for Ph.D. students.
- In consultation with chair and graduate adviser, work on scheduling of graduate teaching assistants.
- Coordinate job market orientation and placement efforts.
- Appointment of New Staff. New staff positions shall be filled at the full-time/salaried lecturer level and higher by the approval of the voting members of the Department who are present and voting or who have cast an absentee ballot prior to the vote.
- Procedures for Faculty Evaluation. Core faculty in the Department are evaluated on an annual basis. Information about Faculty Evaluation is set forth in the Department’s Faculty Evaluation Plan, approved by the Provost of the University of Kansas.
- Procedures for Third-Year Review of Non-Tenured Faculty. In addition to annual faculty evaluations, non-tenured faculty will be reviewed in the spring of their third year. A Personnel Committee (composed of tenured faculty members of the Department chosen by the Chair) will ask the candidate to provide them with the required candidate documents the comprise the Progress Toward Tenure Review dossier. The candidate shall have the opportunity to consult with the Personnel Committee. These documents are available from the Provost Office website. The Personnel Committee will make the candidate’s vita available to core faculty members who wish to participate in the process by contributing their observations and comments to the committee. The Personnel Committee will then prepare the Initial Review Evaluation Documents of the non-tenured faculty member and present it to the voting members of the Department, excluding the candidate, for approval. The candidate will have the opportunity to respond in writing to this review. Copies of these documents will be retained by the Department, the originals, along with the candidate’s documents, will be sent to the College for review by the College Committee on Appointments, Promotion, and Tenure.
- Procedures for Tenure and Promotion. The detailed guidelines for tenure and promotion are set forth in in the Department’s Promotion and Tenure Procedures document located in the Policy Library.
- Grievances Procedures. The Department follows the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences procedures for grievances (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). See the Department’s Grievance Procedures document formally located in the Policy Library.
- Post-Tenure Review. The Department articulates its criteria and procedures for post-tenure review in its Post-tenure Review Policy formally located in the Policy Library.
- Grade Appeal Policy. The Grade Appeal policy at the Department of Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies is governed by the University Senate Rules and Regulations, which limits appeals to the “improper application of the grading procedure announced for the course by the instructor” (U.S.R.R. 2.3.5).
The Grade Appeal process is as follows:
- Prior to submitting a grade appeal, a student should contact the instructor to ensure that miscalculations have not occurred and with a view to resolving any misunderstanding.
- Grade appeals pertain only to the course grade; appeals are not considered for particular exams, papers, assignments, etc.
- Grade appeals are accepted for consideration only if the student makes the case that the course instructor failed to apply grade standards consistently across students or did not follow through on announced or written standards of grading. The grade cannot be appealed on the ground that the student simply disagrees with the grade.
- A student who decides to pursue a grade appeal after communicating with the course instructor must submit all of the following:
- Statement in writing to show communication with the course-instructor and the results of those contacts/communications.
- Statement in writing clearly describing the way(s) in which the course instructor failed to follow announced or written standards of grading or failed to apply grade standards consistently.
- All class exams, assignments, papers, quizzes, etc., that may serve as evidence in support of the preceding statement.
- Student should be sure to include current contact information (mailing address, phone number, and email address).
- No appeals will be considered without all of the above materials. All materials for the appeal may be mailed or submitted to the Department Chair.
- The Department Chair will assess the situation and communicate with the course instructor and student to mediate a solution or provide a decision.
- If the student is dissatisfied with the Department Chair’s decision, the student may submit a written appeal to the Department Chair for a hearing before a WGSS committee. At that time, the Department Chair will assemble an Undergraduate Studies Committee. Both the course instructor and the student will submit materials in writing for the hearing. The Department Chair shall schedule and chair the committee during the hearing but will not be a voting member. If any member of the hearing committee has a conflict of interest, they will be replaced by another member of the department chosen by the Chair of the department.
- At the conclusion of the department’s Undergraduate Studies Committee hearing, both instructor and student will be informed of the result and their right to appeal to the Judicial Board. The departmental process for grade appeal is exhausted here. In accordance with the University Senate Rules and Regulations (U.S.R.R. 2.3.1), only the instructor on record may submit a grade change unless exceptional circumstances pertain.
- Parliamentary Practice. The rules contained in the most recent edition of Roberts Rules of Order Revised shall govern the conduct of the Department meetings, Advisory Board meetings, and Committee meetings in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with these Bylaws.
- Amendments to the Bylaws. Amendments and revisions to the bylaws are by majority vote of the Department faculty and can take place at a meeting or by email ballot. In the event that these bylaws are revised, decision-making processes will change accordingly.
Department of Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
University of Kansas
1541 Lilac Lane
Room 318, Blake Hall
Lawrence, KS 66045
05/05/2021: Reviewed and updated.
06/02/2017: Fixed broken link.
05/19/2015: Changed date format of review, approval & change history dates, created hyperlinks, and made links open in new tabs.
05/18/2015: Added the duties and functions of the undergraduate director.
11/20/2014: Revised committee structure for WGSS department; updated Table of Contents.