Faculty Handbook 2021-2022 
    Jun 18, 2024  
Faculty Handbook 2021-2022 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Section 2: Organization of the Faculty

 2.1     Faculty Meetings

The first meeting in the fall is typically held on the first Friday of classes; later meetings, four or five a semester, are held on Thursdays at 4:30 p.m. The last meeting of the year is held on the Friday morning preceding Commencement. There are also occasional evening discussion meetings. All faculty members are expected to be present at all sittings. Part-time faculty may attend faculty meetings but may not vote.

Minutes of faculty meetings are placed on the web a few days after each session. If not amended at the next sitting of the Faculty, they are considered approved. Items of major import must be read at two separate sittings

2.2     Faculty Moderator

The Moderator of the Faculty will be a faculty member elected by a vote of the Faculty for a three-year term. The Moderator will preside at all faculty meetings. All full-time faculty members are eligible to serve as Moderator.

The election procedure will make use of an approval voting method as follows: In the first round voters will be presented with a list of eligible faculty. They may vote for any number of candidates. Based on the results of the initial round of voting, a final ballot listing three names will be prepared. Again, Faculty will be directed to vote for as many of the candidates as they wish.

The Moderator will be responsible for working with chairs of the standing committees, the President, and other administrators to determine and distribute in a timely fashion the agenda for each meeting. The Moderator will accept faculty requests made prior to each meeting to speak on any agenda item, and will actively solicit participation in the debate of faculty who possess the expertise and points of view which he or she believes will enrich the quality of the discussion. All remarks made during debate will be addressed to the Moderator.

The Moderator will have sole responsibility for recognizing speakers and otherwise managing debate. Committee chairs and others introducing proposals for faculty consideration will have no role in recognizing speakers, although members of the committee responsible for the measure being discussed will normally be given preference by the Moderator when they request the floor.

2.3     Secretary of the Faculty

The Secretary of the Faculty will be a Faculty member nominated by the Faculty Council and elected by the Faculty. In nominating a Secretary, the Council will take into account seniority and/or record of contribution to the College.

The Secretary represents the Faculty at the Commencement Ceremony by participating in the awarding of degrees and affixing his/her signature to all diplomas. For meetings of the Faculty, the Secretary advises the Moderator in setting the yearly schedule; solicits items of business for each meeting, creates the agenda in consultation with the Moderator, and calls all meetings through advance distribution of the agenda; provides for the distribution of handouts and attachments relevant to the agenda (and the retrieval of unused copies) as necessary; serves as Parliamentarian of the Faculty by ruling on matters relevant to faculty tradition and the order of debate; records the proceedings of each meeting (except executive sessions) in the form of Minutes, posts them along with relevant attachments on the College’s website or at the appropriate venue and signs and deposits an official copy for each meeting in the College archives.        

Fall 2002)

2.4     Faculty Council

The Faculty Council is an elected committee with the functions to advise the President and the Provost in the development of general college policies, advise the President on Honorary Degrees, serve as the Committee on Committees, and consider and deal appropriately with issues brought to it by any member of the college community. See Section 3.6 for the complete charge and description of Faculty Council.

2.5     Standing Committees

Allegheny College is distinguished by its commitment to shared governance. This commitment rests upon three principles:

  1. We are a community dedicated to a common project:  engaging with our students in a liberal education. 
  2. We believe that this common project is best advanced when we draw upon the broad competencies of all members of our community. 
  3. We think that the general direction of the college should be determined by democratic practices and habits. 

The commitment to shared governance imposes certain responsibilities and burdens on members of the Allegheny community.  It also conveys great benefits.  Among the most important are faculty leadership and participation in shaping our common future.  The committee system is the principal means through which we realize this commitment.

Faculty members of standing committees are either faculty-elected positions (Faculty Review, Faculty Council) or are appointments that are nominated by Faculty Council and approved by the faculty.  Student members are appointed by the Student Government from a list of student applicants. Faculty members usually are not asked to serve on committees during their first two years at the College, but are expected to be available thereafter. Additional information on committees and their membership is available on-line at the College Committees webpage.  

General Rules

  1. The Faculty Council will serve as the “Committee on Committees” and will nominate for Faculty consideration and approval persons eligible to fill vacancies on the Standing Committees. Faculty members who have completed at least two years of teaching may be considered eligible for service on a Standing Committee. Faculty in their second year of service will not normally be asked to serve on Standing Committees.
  2. Faculty members will normally serve three-year terms on committees. Faculty completing three consecutive years of service on either appointed or elected committees (Faculty Review Committee, Faculty Council) will not normally be appointed to a committee for two years. Generally, sabbatical and other leaves will count towards a faculty member’s hiatus from standing committee service. If sabbatical or other leaves prevent a faculty member from serving a full, three-year term on a committee, upon return, the faculty member will be eligible for appointment to a committee. Eligibility does not indicate that a faculty member will automatically be appointed to a committee. Council will consider institutional need and the faculty member’s service record in determining whether to appoint a faculty member to committee service directly after a leave. Committee service on appointed committees will not affect eligibility for elected committee positions (Faculty Council, Faculty Review). Members of an elected committee are ineligible for service on another elected committee and may not appear on any ballot for committee election. Persons serving a full, three-year term on an elected committee (Faculty Review Committee, Faculty Council) shall be ineligible for election to either elected committee for three years following the expiration of their terms. Persons serving fewer than three years on an elected committee (Faculty Review Committee, Faculty Council), due to sabbatical or other leaves, will be eligible for election to either committee upon their return from leave.
  3. Nomination for elected committee service is an expression of trust and respect. This is especially true for the Faculty Review Committee, as “the award of tenure is the single most important personnel decision the College makes; it must be awarded with the gravest care” (Faculty Handbook Section 5.2.37). Faculty nominated for election in the first round of voting for an elected committee (Faculty Council and Faculty Review) should recognize the institutional importance and professional responsibility of serving on these important committees. Individuals may decline to have their names appear on the first ballot, but faculty whose names appear on the first ballot are expected to serve if elected.
  4. Elections for elected committees (Faculty Council and Faculty Review) and the Faculty Moderator position shall be conducted by Faculty Council using an approval voting procedure described as follows: in the first round, eligible faculty will be asked if they would accept nomination; voters will then be presented with a list of faculty willing to serve one week prior to the faculty meeting at which the first round of voting is conducted. At the designated faculty meeting, faculty may vote for any number of candidates. Based on the results of the initial round of voting, a final ballot (listing double the number of names to fill the vacancies will then be mailed to all eligible voters. The final FRC ballot shall not contain more than two faculty from any single department or program. The second round of voting will close no earlier than one week after final ballots have been mailed.
  5. When not specified, faculty membership on standing committees should, whenever possible, reflect affiliation with all academic divisions of the College. In cases where divisional representation is specified, at least one faculty member from each division will be nominated. In the exceptional circumstance of there being no eligible faculty from a particular division to serve, Faculty Council will nominate faculty from outside that division to fill the vacancy. This exception will not apply to the Faculty Review Committee.
  6. If faculty are appointed in departments or programs that have a divisional affiliation (Humanities, Natural Sciences, Social Sciences), they will normally be considered to be of that division for the purposes of committee assignments. If faculty are appointed in multiple departments with different divisional affiliations, they may choose which division they will represent. If faculty are formally appointed in departments or programs without divisional representation (e.g., interdivisional departments or programs), they may choose which division they will represent. For faculty who are choosing a divisional affiliation, it should be based upon their epistemological point of view as a scholar and teacher. New faculty in the position of choosing a divisional affiliation should do so prior to first commencing committee service, which usually begins in the third year of service. Continuing faculty appointed in departments or programs without divisional affiliation who wish to change their divisional affiliation, may do so during a hiatus from committee service. i.e., they may not do so while serving on a committee. If a Memorandum of Understanding assigns a divisional affiliation to a member of the faculty, that affiliation will be honored. In all cases where a declaration of divisional affiliation needs to be made, it must be made via the Committee Preference Form distributed by Faculty Council at the end of the Spring semester.
  7. Students will normally serve two-year terms on committees, but seniors will not be excluded from consideration for committee vacancies.
  8. No faculty member may serve simultaneously on more than one standing committee.
  9. Faculty terms on appointed standing committees begin and end at the start of the Fall Semester. While committee terms do run through the summer months, committee members should be expected to deal only with essential business electronically. Non-essential business should be delayed until the start of the new semester.
  10. When a faculty member resigns from a committee, the chair of the committee and the chair of Faculty Council should be notified in writing. In the event that a member of an elected committee cannot complete his/her term and that time constraints make a new election infeasible, Faculty Council will revisit the voting results from the most recent appropriate election to identify the next eligible faculty member with the highest number of votes and will ask that person to serve the remainder of the vacated term.
  11. Exceptional matters that any committee wishes to call to the attention of the President and/or the Faculty should be brought to the Faculty Council.
  12. All committees, except the Faculty Review Committee, will hear and consider related issues brought to them by any member of the college community.
  13. All committees are responsible for periodically reviewing and updating the charge for their committee. Any changes will be brought to Faculty Council for review and presentation for a vote of the Faculty.
  14. Unless otherwise stated, the reporting frequency and procedures are:
    1. An agenda will be established for each meeting and distributed to Committee members in advance of the meeting.
    2. The Committee will appoint a Secretary who will keep minutes of the meeting. Minutes will be submitted electronically to the Merrick Archives to be posted on the committee web site for distribution to the college community.
    3. An annual report will be filed with Faculty Council by May 30th and presented in a fall faculty meeting attachment.
    4. An annual agenda to outline anticipated committee business for the year will be filed with Faculty Council prior to the September faculty meeting.
  15. In extenuating circumstances, committee chairs may request a course release as compensation for chair duties and responsibilities. To be considered for a course release, the faculty member must submit in writing the rationale to the Provost and Faculty Council. After initial consideration of department and program staffing needs, the decision is at the discretion of the Provost in consultation with Faculty Council.

(Revised 28 January 2016, 28 April 2018, 14 November 2019)

2.6     Department Chairpersons: Responsibilities

For the purposes of this discussion the word ‘department’ refers to an academic department or program that oversees a curriculum of study taken by students as a major.

The Chair of a department is the chief academic and administrative officer for that department and is accountable directly to the Provost. (S)he is responsible for the proper functioning of the department/program with respect to curriculum, facilities, budgets, hiring, faculty development, student concerns, and engagement in the broader community.

The Provost, following consultation with all continuing full time faculty in the department, appoints the Chair for a four-year term, which may be renewed for up to one additional four-year term. Selection criteria include: experience in leadership positions; the point in a person’s career with respect to sabbaticals, research plans, etc.; placement of sabbaticals within the department; and tenure status—under normal circumstances only tenured faculty will be asked to serve as Chair of a department. Chairpersons serve at the pleasure of the Provost, who will evaluate the Chair’s work regularly, and assist when appropriate. Near the end of the first four-year term the Provost, after meeting with continuing full time faculty, will determine if reappointment is mutually desirable.

Under ordinary circumstances, the Chair is relieved of one course per year as compensation for Chair duties and responsibilities. In rare cases, this allowance may increase, at the discretion of the Provost. To be considered for a second course release, the Department Chair must submit in writing the rationale to the Provost. A second course release is not automatically renewed from one academic year to the next, which means the Chair must write each year he or she believes circumstances warrant a second release. Factors to be considered for increasing the course allowance include departmental size, sabbatical leaves, departmental searches, personnel matters, or other issues that may result in large departmental time demands placed upon the Chair.After initial consideration of department and program staffing needs, the decision is at the discretion of the Provost. If circumstances prohibit a Chair from taking a course reduction, a stipend can be negotiated.

Outlined below is a list of the specific duties of the department Chairperson. This list is meant to provide direction in administering the responsibilities of this position, which may vary somewhat from department to department. Departments should maintain a list of specific job duties to ensure the smooth operation of departmental business.

  1. Leadership:  The Chair is responsible for fostering a climate of respect, collegiality, and interaction within and among departments so that student learning, faculty development, and programmatic and interdisciplinary successes are fostered and encouraged. Facilitating an ongoing program for long-range planning and innovation, including curriculum, within the department is also the Chair’s responsibility. This plan should reflect balance between departmental goals/mission/needs and those of the college.
  2. Departmental Representative and Liaison:  The Chair acts as the spokes­person in all official transactions with department members, as well as with other members of the college and community-at-large (off-campus contacts). (S)he oversees department policies and practices, guides planning, and serves as the “certifying officer” of the department on official matters. The Chair also facilitates communication with other academic departments and programs where concerted efforts would be of mutual benefit.
  3. Personnel:  The Chair has oversight responsibility for department staff, including building coordinators, technicians, program assistants, and all other personnel whose duty lies within the department. The Chair is the first point of contact and has primary responsibility for mediating conflicts among department staff as well as handling student and parental concerns or complaints. The Chair has principal responsibility for all department personnel searches and serves as the chief coordinator for recruitment into the department; (s)he may delegate this responsibility where appropriate. The Chair should work closely with new faculty to ensure proper orientation to departmental policies. First-year faculty should not be expected to provide academic advising for students or serve as a first reader on senior projects. Exceptions may be made for the senior project, in consultation with the Chair and the Provost. A first-year faculty member may be asked to serve as second or third reader on a small number of senior projects.
  4. Handling and Keeping of RSE Narratives: All narratives will be sent to the chair of the faculty member’s home department/program. In the event that there is no home department/program, a department/program chair will be designated upon consultation between the faculty member, the Provost, the Registrar, and the chair in question. The chair should provide copies of narrative evaluations to untenured faculty but must retain the original narratives. Copies of narratives should be provided to tenured faculty upon their request. Narratives should only be destroyed under one of the following circumstances:
  • The instructor has left the college and is not expected to return, or
  • The instructor has achieved the rank of full professor and at least five years have elapsed since the course was taught.
  1. Faculty Development and Evaluation:  The chair ensures that the faculty are aware of the department’s expectations and that each faculty member’s own expectations and concerns are addressed when appropriate. Chairs provide opportunities for ongoing conversation with department colleagues about their professional responsibilities and development and shall hold such conversations with tenure-track faculty members annually. The chair will coordinate all departmental evaluations; and when the college considers faculty for promotion or tenure, the chair (with contributions from other faculty members as appropriate) will be the primary author of department faculty evaluations.
  2. Departmental Meetings:  Chairs are responsible for calling regular department meetings; a minimum of three meetings per semester is required. The Chair insures that agendas are made available to department members and that department business is recorded as appropriate.
  3. Course Scheduling:  The Chairperson is responsible for organizing class schedules, subject to approval by the Provost. Although the task of actually coordinating schedules may be delegated, untenured faculty members should not be asked to perform this task. It is the Chair’s right to ensure that scheduling burdens are equitably shared by department members, who must be aware that it may be necessary to teach a five-day schedule one semester per year.
  4. Certifying Minors and Transfer Credit Approval:  It is the Chair’s responsibility to certify that requirements for minors have been met and to approve credit for transfer and off-campus courses. Although the task of certifying minors or approving transfer credits may be delegated, primary oversight belongs to the Chair.
  5. Physical Operations:  The Chair is responsible for the general management and oversight of departmental facilities, including office-class­room-lab-studio space and equipment. The Chair should be aware of department needs with respect to facilities, and represent those needs to the administration.
  6. Budget:  The Chair is responsible for planning and maintaining the department operations budget.
  7. Classroom Observation Policies:
    Every academic department and program at the college is expected to establish a written policy by which the regular classroom observations of untenured faculty will be conducted. Reasons for such a policy are manifold.  For the evaluative work tenured faculty must do, direct observation of colleagues’ teaching is an irreplaceable feature of the accurate and fair assessment of pedagogical practice.  Formalizing such policies in writing ensures their routine implementation and demonstrates an institutional commitment to teaching that is both thorough-going and equitable. 

Each department’s and program’s specific classroom observation policy should be designed to fit its particular nature—its size, its culture, its pedagogies—but all such policies should be consistent with the following expectations:

  • Frequency. Every tenure-track colleague should be observed teaching by at least one tenured colleague each year, for formative or summative purposes (depending on when the observations take place in the observed faculty member’s review schedule);
  • Sequence. Classroom observations should happen on two sequential classes or as close together in the calendar as circumstances allow;
  • Scheduling. The observed faculty member should help determine the dates of the visits at least a week ahead of time (no surprise visits).  If the observed faculty member is visited by more than one tenured colleague in a semester, every effort should be made to avoid having more than one or two faculty observing the same class meeting;
  • Before-and-after meetings.  The observer should meet with the observed colleague both before the class observation sequence to put those classes into context, and afterwards (one day or at most a week after the last observed class).  These before-and-after meetings should be understood as occasions during which the colleague getting observed can inform the observer about the course in general, what he or she is trying to accomplish in these particular class meetings, and what he/she would like the observer to look for.  After the classroom visits, the observing faculty member should describe what he or she observed in the areas the observed faculty member designated beforehand and in other areas where the observer discerned noteworthy strengths and challenges.  A written report of classroom observations must be placed annually in both the Department’s and the Provost’s file.

Each classroom observation policy should represent the consensus of the department or program creating them and should be reviewed by the department/program every five years. A copy of a department’s or program’s new policy should be sent to the Provost’s Office. In the spirit of making these documents consistent with the college’s minimum expectations described above, the Provost or Associate Provost may on occasion discuss possible revisions in a department’s or program’s guidelines. Each department/program’s guidelines will also be posted on the Faculty Resources website when available.

Additional resources related to classroom observations can be found on-line at
http://sites.allegheny.edu/facultyresources/principles-of-classroom-observation/ and

(Spring 2002, Revised Spring 2004, Spring 2011. 2 March 2012, 14 November 2019)

2.7     Faculty Input into the Reappointment of the Provost and Dean of the College

The Provost and Dean of the College serves at the pleasure of the President and may be reappointed for one or more subsequent terms. If the Provost is to be considered for reappointment, faculty input about her or his performance shall be collected by Faculty Council during the fall of the final year of the Provost’s current appointment. By September 15, Council shall solicit written input from all department chairs and program directors and also invite letters from any other faculty members, including non-tenure track and part-time faculty. All faculty input into the review process must be submitted to Council by October 1. Council shall then review, discuss, and share its findings during a meeting with the President by October 15. The contents of all letters and other communications will be treated as confidential by both Council and the President. This process shall be discontinued if the Provost indicates that she or he does not wish to be considered for reappointment.

(Created 9 March 2012)

2.8     Faculty Input into the Reappointment of Deans, Associate Deans, and Associate Provosts of the College

The President or the Provost and Dean of the College will consult with Faculty Council before reappointing a Dean, Associate Dean, or Associate Provost of the College.

(Created 9 March 2012, Revised Spring 2019)