Department of Philosophy and Religion By-Laws

Department of Philosophy & Religion By-Laws


I. Definition

The Department of Philosophy and Religion is housed within the College of Arts & Sciences at Appalachian State University. Although the programs provide majors and minors in both Philosophy and in Religious Studies, the department functions administratively as a single unit. Its operations are guided by the Faculty Handbook at Appalachian State University. Other procedural guidelines are provided in these by-laws but do not supersede the Faculty Handbook.


II. Members of the Department & Leadership

  1. The Department is comprised of all tenured and tenure-track faculty appointed by the University, all faculty working under contract, and staff persons assigned to the department.
  2. The Department shall, when charged by the Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences and/or the Provost of the University, make recommendations regarding its Chair in accordance with the procedures outlined in the Faculty Handbook.
  3. On all committees where the Faculty Handbook does not specify the specific election procedures for a chair or a coordinator, there shall be a limit of two consecutive years of service in a chair or a coordinator role. Faculty shall be eligible to serve as chair or coordinator again after a one-year break in service.
  4. Where the election or membership of committees is not specified, or in the case of a need for coordinators or liaisons, the department chair shall first issue a call to Philosophy & Religion faculty for volunteers. When the number of volunteers is insufficiently proportioned to the task(s) at hand, the chair shall appoint faculty to serve.
  5. On committees consisting of both Philosophy & Religious studies faculty (e.g. the DPC, PTC, etc.), at least one person from each side of the department shall serve.


III. Standing Committees

  1. Curriculum Committees
    1. Philosophy and Religious Studies shall maintain separate curriculum committees to conduct work directly related to the courses offered and the program of study for the major and the minor.
    2. All tenured and tenure track faculty in a program shall serve on the Curriculum Committee.  Other faculty excluding part-time faculty teaching less than six hours per semester, emeriti faculty, and adjunct faculty have the right to serve on the curriculum committee.
    3. These committees shall elect chairs who shall ensure that:
      1. the committee develops proposals, as necessary, for the addition and deletion of courses to the curriculum or making changes to existing courses, including completing all of the paperwork and guiding each proposal through the established channels;
      2. the committee makes appropriate updates to the Programs of Study and check sheets for the major and minor;
      3. the committee responds, as needed, to changes in General Education or other University initiatives.
    4. The Chair of the Department can charge the committee with specific tasks related to the curriculum.
  2. Departmental Personnel Committee (DPC)
    1. The DPC shall be elected from among eligible members every year according to the procedures outlined by the Faculty Handbook. Tenured faculty shall serve three-year staggered terms and untenured faculty shall serve one-year terms. Alternates at both levels shall serve one-year terms.
    2. The DPC assumes responsibility for certain departmental personnel matters as designated in the Faculty Handbook. These include, but are not limited to:
      1. reviewing the credentials of all applicants for new or vacant non-tenure eligible positions including special faculty appointments, interviewing selected candidates, and making recommendations to the chair of a qualified person or persons to fill the position.
      2. conducting peer teaching reviews of all non-tenure eligible and special faculty and making recommendations to the chair regarding appointments, reappointments and promotions. That schedule of teaching reviews shall happen in accordance with the Faculty Handbook.
    3. The DPC shall function according to all processes specified in the Faculty Handbook.
  3. Post-tenure review committee
    1. The post-tenure review committee shall be elected following the guidelines in the Faculty Handbook.
    2. The post-tenure review committee exists to evaluate, in accordance with the procedures outlined in The Faculty Handbook, tenured faculty members on the designated schedule and communicate its determinations to the department Chair.
  4. The Promotion and Tenure Committee (PTC)
    1. The PTC shall consist of all tenured faculty members, excluding the department chair and any persons who must be recused in accordance with the Faculty Handbook.
    2. The PTC shall make recommendations regarding contract renewal for tenure-track faculty, Emeritus status, graduate faculty status for tenure-track and tenured faculty, the granting of permanent tenure, and promotion to tenure-track or tenured ranks, either when a request for tenure is made by a faculty member, or at the automatic intervals specified in the Faculty Handbook.
    3. The PTC shall function according to the processes specified in the Faculty Handbook.


IV. Coordinators, Liaisons, and Faculty Senate Representation

  1. Advising Coordinators
    1. While all tenured and tenure-track faculty share the responsibility for advising students, Philosophy and Religious Studies shall each elect or the Chair shall appoint an advising coordinator.
    2. These coordinators shall assure every student major in the department receives appropriate advising by:
      1. assigning all tenured and tenure-track members advisees;
      2. working with the departmental staff on all issues related to advising, including maintenance of student records;
      3. working with College and University entities on advising issues at the direction of the Department Chair.
    3. The advising coordinators shall also recruit faculty for University events where potential students can pose questions related to majors and minors in the department.
  2. Assessment Coordinators
    1. While all faculty share the responsibility for program assessment, Philosophy and Religious Studies shall each elect or appoint assessment coordinators to manage work directly related to assessment for the major and the minor.
    2. The assessment coordinators shall ensure that the program faculty:
      1. develop and implement procedures for program assessment as directed by the College and University.
      2. carry out the on-going work of assessment as outlined by department protocols.
      3. periodically evaluate the utility of the assessment procedures and makes changes as appropriate.
    3. The Chair of the Department may charge the faculty with specific tasks related to assessment.
  3. Faculty Senate representation from the department shall be determined by the procedure outlined in the Faculty Handbook.
  4. Honors Coordinator
    1. The Department offers courses for students seeking University Honors as well as for students who want to earn departmental Honors.
    2. The Department shall elect or appoint a coordinator who serves as the link between the department and the University Honors Program and works with students seeking departmental Honors.
    3. The Honors Coordinator, in consultation with the Department Chair, shall develop a regular schedule of course offerings and/or "cut-outs" of seats in existing courses, with an Honors designation.
    4. The Honors Coordinator shall work with students to ensure their successful completion of departmental honors requirements and the submission of the thesis.
    5. The Honors Coordinator may be charged with other Honors-related work by the Chair of the Department.
  5. Internship Coordinator
    1. While all tenured and tenure-track faculty share the responsibility for assisting students in developing internships for credit, the department shall elect or appoint an internship coordinator.
    2. These coordinators assist the internship process:
      1. by undergoing training regarding the legal issues and data entry for generating internship contracts;
      2. by keeping informed of decisions by the Internship Council;
      3. by assisting faculty who will serve as internship supervisors with the forms and procedures, and then generating contracts for them, and
      4. by promoting internship opportunities.
  6. Library Liaison
    A Library liaison may be elected or appointed by the departmental faculty to work with the library to ensure appropriate collection development in areas related to the work of each program.
  7. Peer Teaching Review Coordinator
    The Peer Teaching Review coordinator shall be elected or appointed by the departmental faculty to maintain a schedule of peer reviews for all tenured and tenure-track faculty. That schedule will happen in accord with the Faculty Handbook. The coordinator shall notify the faculty member when a review should be conducted and makes certain all reviews are carried out.


V. Other Committees

  1. Search Committees
    1. Search committees shall be comprised of members of the faculty from the departmental discipline/field representing the area of the search: i.e. Philosophy position searches shall be conducted by a Search Committee made up of the Philosophy faculty; Religious Studies position searches shall be conducted by a Search Committee made up of the Religious Studies faculty; joint position searches shall be conducted by a Search Committee appointed by the Chair with representatives from both disciplines;
    2. The Department Chair, in consultation with the faculty from the appropriate discipline/field, shall determine the composition of search committees and appoint a chair.
    3. Search committees shall consist of an uneven number of faculty.
    4. Search committees report directly to the Chair of the Department;
    5. Search committees operate according to the guidelines in the Faculty Handbook.
  2. Department Chair Search Committees
    Searches for the department chair shall proceed in accord with the process outlined in the Faculty Handbook.
  3. Scholarship Committee
    When money is available to fund scholarships, the departmental faculty shall meet to determine how to award that funding in accord with its existing criteria.
  4. Other committees and task forces shall be established as necessary by the Chair of the Department. New coordinators and/or committees may also be proposed by the any tenured or tenure-track faculty member and established by a majority vote.


VI. Meetings

  1. All department meetings shall be noticed by their chairs one-week prior unless extraordinary circumstances apply.
  2. General department meetings shall normally take place during the fall and spring semesters on the first Wednesday of each month at 12:00 p.m. The chair may determine that an alternative date is necessary or appropriate.
  3. Additional faculty or other committee meetings may be held in the MWF noon timeframe, or at a time mutually agreed upon by the committee members.
  4. Voting-eligible faculty are defined by the Faculty Handbook.
  5. Meetings shall be conducted according to Robert's Rules of Order.


VII. Revision of By-Laws

Departmental By-Laws shall be adopted by a majority vote and may be amended by a
majority vote. Ordinarily, by-laws shall be reviewed and subject to amendment annually.


Revised January 2020

Approved March 2020

(Amended 11/3/2021)

(Amended 1/19/2022)