Approved by a majority of faculty: July, 2007
Revised: Feb 2013, Feb 2014, May 2015, Nov 2015, Jan 2018, Dec 2018, Nov 2019, April 2021
Department of Sociology By-Laws
Preamble: The mission of the Department of Sociology centers on providing excellence in undergraduate and graduate teaching, in research, in scholarly publication, and in public service to the community and discipline. An effective and smooth-running department facilitates the accomplishment of this mission. The purpose of the bylaws is to outline organizational and operating procedures for the Department of Sociology that will be in keeping with these academic and administrative needs. The authority of the Department shall reside it its voting membership.
A. Faculty and Graduate Students
1. The Department of Sociology classifies faculty positions into the following categories:
(a) Tenure and tenure-track professorial rank positions (namely Professors, Associate Professors, and Assistant Professors).
(b) Non-tenure-track faculty consisting of individuals in faculty classifications that are not tenured and not earning time creditable towards tenure. These faculty are appointed as full-time employees of the department on a non-temporary basis.
2. Appointment of affiliated faculty positions in the department must be made with the approval of departmental faculty through a secret ballot. Individuals should not be appointed to a higher rank (even if temporarily) than that for which they would be given serious consideration if it were a tenure-earning position.
3. Only faculty in the ranked professor category (i.e., those listed in 1 [a] above) are eligible for appointment with voting rights to the Personnel Committee, the Departmental Policy Committee, and the Promotion and Tenure Committee. Faculty in category 1(a) and (b) are eligible to serve on all other departmental committees and as Faculty Senate representatives (with Senate elections conducted by the Dean’s office).
4. The sociology graduate student body consists of all currently enrolled sociology graduate students.
B. Departmental Meetings
1. Departmental meetings will be held at least once a year. Additional meetings may be called by the Chair or upon the request of two faculty members.
2. A majority of the faculty constitutes a quorum for departmental meetings, and a majority of those present carries a motion. All faculty and graduate students will be notified of Departmental meetings, and an agenda will be provided at least 48 hours in advance. Minutes will be kept and made available to all departmental members as soon as possible.
3. Three graduate student representatives elected by the Sociology graduate student body shall have voting privileges at Departmental meetings.
4. When electronic voting (e-mail or web-based) is used, relevant materials will be e-mailed or posted on a web site and announced by e-mail at least 48 hours before votes are cast.
C. Faculty Meetings
Faculty may deem it appropriate to convene to discuss issues regarding professional or scholarly matters that are unrelated to student rights and concerns. Such a meeting may be called by the chair or by two faculty members. Minutes will be made available to all faculty.
1. The Chair will serve as the chief executive officer of the Department and is responsive to the faculty of the Department and represents the Department to the University.
2. Appointment of the Chair will be made by the Dean of the College of Social Sciences with the advice of Department faculty as determined by secret ballot.
3. The Chair is appointed for a three-year renewable term, at which time the DPC will conduct a review of the incumbent chair.
4. Procedure for removing a Chair from office: At the request of three or more faculty members, a secret ballot on the continuation of the Chair’s service will be held following a faculty meeting called by the Departmental Policy Committee [DPC]. The results of this vote will be submitted as a recommendation to the Dean and announced to the Department.
5. The Chair will be an ex-officio, non-voting member of all departmental committees, except that s/he may cast the deciding vote in the event of a tie.
6. The Chair’s annual evaluation will be conducted by the Dean, with input from the faculty.
E. Associate Chair
1. The Chair may appoint an Associate Chair to assist in the administration of the Department. The role of the Associate Chair shall include carrying out some of the administrative responsibilities of the Chair, under the latter’s direction, as well as assisting in handling student affairs. The Chair shall continue to have authority with regard to all decisions affecting the Department.
2. If an Associate Chair is appointed, the choice must be ratified by a majority of the faculty and approved by the Dean. The terms of appointment of the Associate Chair will be at the discretion of the Chair and the consent of the Associate Chair.
F. Graduate Director
1. The Chair will appoint a Graduate Director. This appointment must be ratified by a majority vote of the faculty and the three graduate student representatives to Departmental meetings (see B3).
2. If the Chair appoints a Director of Graduate Recruitment and Admissions (see G below), the Director of Graduate Studies shall be a voting member of the Graduate Recruitment and Admissions Committee and an ex-officio, non-voting member of the Graduate Program and Evaluation Committee. The Graduate Director would be responsible for the general administration of the graduate program, including program development, assistantships, academic counseling, comprehensive exams, annual evaluations, and job market preparation.
3. If the Chair does not appoint a Director of Graduate Recruitment and Admissions, the Director of Graduate Studies shall be a voting member of the Department’s Graduate Program Committee and an ex-officio, non-voting member of the Graduate Admissions and Financial Aid Committee. The Graduate Director would be responsible for graduate recruitment, admissions, and fellowships, as well as the aforementioned tasks related to the administration of the graduate program.
G. Director of Graduate Recruitment and Admissions
1. The Chair may appoint a Director of Graduate Recruitment and Admissions. The appointment must be ratified by a majority vote of the faculty and the three graduate student representatives to Departmental meetings (see B3).
2. The Director of Graduate Recruitment and Admissions shall be an ex-officio, non-voting member of the Graduate Admissions Committee and shall be responsible for activities related to graduate recruitment, admissions, and fellowships for incoming graduate students.
H. Director of Undergraduate Studies
1. The Chair may appoint a Director of Undergraduate Studies. The choice must be ratified by a majority vote of the faculty.
2. The Director shall be responsible for implementing Departmental policies with respect to the Undergraduate Program.
3. The Director shall be a voting member of the Department’s Undergraduate Program Committee.
I. Departmental Policy Committee
1. The nine-member elected Departmental Policy Committee [DPC] shall function as an advisory body to the Chair. The Committee is comprised of two graduate students and seven faculty as defined in A1 (a).
2. The Chair serves as chair of the Committee and as an ex-officio, non-voting member.
3. All faculty (as defined in A1 [a] and [b]) are eligible to vote in the election of faculty members representing them on this committee.
4. Two graduate student members will be elected by the sociology graduate student body.
5. Election of faculty members will occur each Spring term. The Chair shall prepare a ballot containing the names of all eligible faculty members and distribute it to all faculty members to return by secret ballot. Only faculty who have been members of the Department for at least one academic year upon assuming office are eligible to serve on the Committee. The newly elected Committee will take office in the Summer term following the election.
6. Meetings of the DPC may be called at any time by the Chair or by any member of the committee.
7. A simple majority of members present carries a motion, provided at least 7 members are present.
8. All members of the Department, both graduate students and faculty, shall be informed of all DPC meetings at least 48 hours prior to the meeting and may attend in a non-voting capacity. Minutes will be distributed to all department members.
J. Personnel Committee
1. The Personnel Committee is advisory to the Chair and is responsible for (1) reviewing faculty performance and making merit pay recommendations and recommendations regarding increased teaching assignments, using criteria specified in the appended “Criteria and Procedures for Annual Evaluations, Merit Pay Increase Recommendations and Teaching Assignment Recommendations” document, (2) discussing faculty members’ progress towards tenure and/or promotion and providing general feedback regarding their progress to the Chair, (3) recruiting faculty, and (4) any other issues requiring access to faculty files.
2. The committee consists of the seven faculty members elected to the DPC.
3. Annual performance evaluations should be scheduled when all members can be present. A quorum consists of five members.
4. The Committee will annually solicit faculty views on the Chair’s performance to provide advice to the Dean.
K. Promotion and Tenure Committee
Formal recommendations for promotion and tenure are made by the Promotion and Tenure Committee. The committee will meet during the Spring semester to provide the Chair feedback to be given to each faculty member eligible for promotion or tenure in the next academic year. The Promotion and Tenure Committee will vote in the fall on the tenure and promotion binders put forward. The Promotion and Tenure Committee is comprised of tenured and tenure-track Associate Professors and Full Professors. For ballots involving tenure, only tenured Associate Professors and Full Professors vote. For ballots involving promotion to Associate Professor, only Associate Professors and Full Professors vote. For ballots involving promotion to Full Professor, only Full Professors vote. Committee meetings to discuss promotion and/or tenure recommendations are closed to persons ineligible to vote.
L. Other Departmental Standing Committees
1. In addition to the above-named committees are the following: the Graduate Program Committee, the Graduate Admissions and Financial Aid Committee, the Undergraduate Program Committee, Core Area Committees, and other committees established by the Chair as needed.
2. The Chair, in consultation with the DPC, is responsible for committee appointments and designating the responsibilities and procedures of committees, except where such responsibilities and procedures are already specified in these bylaws.
3. The Chair appoints a minimum of three faculty members to each of the Department’s core substantive areas and to other substantive committees such as Methods and Theory. Core area committees also function as core-area examination committees.
4. Two graduate Sociology students, elected by the graduate student body, are voting members of the Graduate Program Committee.
5. Two undergraduate Sociology majors, appointed by the Chair in consultation with the Director of Undergraduate Studies, are voting members of the Undergraduate Program Committee.
M. Assignment of Responsibilities (AOR)
1. Each faculty member will receive annually a written assignment of responsibilities from the Chair. This assignment will be developed by the Chair in consultation with the faculty member. The completed assignment form will reflect the mix of teaching, research and service and/or administrative assignments upon which the faculty member will be evaluated.
2. Because of changing needs of the department and the college, changes to the initial assignments may be necessary. Faculty will be informed in writing of these changes prior to their occurrence, and these changes will be reflected in an amended AOR.
N. Faculty Performance Report
Every spring semester, all faculty members will complete a Faculty Performance Report covering the preceding three calendar years. Evidence relating to performance in teaching, scholarship, and service (described in the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Faculty Handbook, and the Department of Sociology’s “Criteria and Procedures for Annual Evaluations, Merit Pay Increase Recommendations and Teaching Assignment Recommendations” document) will be included in this report, as well as other performance information the faculty member deems important.
O. Promotion and Tenure
1. Departmental recommendations for promotion and tenure follow University-wide policies detailed in the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) and the Faculty Handbook (FH).
2. Informing Faculty of Progress toward Promotion or Tenure: The Chair will inform all faculty eligible for promotion or tenure of their progress annually in writing. In assessing progress toward promotion or tenure, the chair will give substantial weight to Personnel Committee discussions and general feedback as well as the detailed feedback from the Promotion and Tenure Committee’s deliberations during Spring semester.
3. Recommendation for promotion to the rank of Associate Professor and/or tenure at the Associate Professor rank is based on recognition of demonstrated effectiveness in teaching, service, definite scholarly accomplishments, and recognized standing in the discipline of Sociology. Tenure must be granted within seven years unless an extension of the tenure-earning period has been granted.
(a) Research: The overall assessment of research considers the quantity and quality of a candidate’s publications and other contributions to knowledge. No specific number of publications guarantees tenure nor does the Department require publications in particular journals or by particular presses. Rather, the Department is interested in promoting candidates who display a vigorous and promising program of research that contributes to knowledge in the discipline.
Quantity: Candidates for promotion are expected to have published or have had accepted for publication a reasonable number of refereed articles, books, and/or book chapters, with refereed articles and monographs being weighted more heavily than book chapters or edited volumes. Attention also will be given to papers presented at academic conferences, as evidence that the faculty member is actively participating in the discipline.
Quality: More important than the quantity of publication is its quality. The status of the publication outlet is one indicator of quality, along with the assessments of senior colleagues and outside evaluators. The Department will consider a candidate’s academic promise in addition to her or his record, and thus a steady and continuing stream of research over the early career is desirable.
(b) Teaching: Assistant Professors are expected to teach courses that range from introductory to advanced, and high-quality teaching is expected. Service on MA and PhD committees and extraordinary out-of-class contact with students also figure into the evaluation.
(c) Service: The Department expects Assistant Professors to contribute to professional organizations, to participate in college and university service, and to contribute to the operation of the department. Excessive involvement in non- departmental service is discouraged because it can take effort away from the tasks required to earn distinction in research and teaching.
4. A faculty member may request an extension of the tenure-earning period for one year from the Chair, with the approval of the Dean, due to qualifying circumstances, before being considered for tenure. Personal circumstances include, but are not limited to: childbirth or adoption, personal injury or illness, care of ill or injured dependents, elder care, or death of a closely-related family member resulting in the need for extended dependent care.
5. Recommendation for promotion to the rank of Professor and/or tenure at the Professor rank is based on recognition of superior teaching, service, and scholarly accomplishments of high quality and recognized standing in the discipline of Sociology.
(a) Research: The Department seeks to promote to the level of Professor candidates who have attained national and/or international distinction for their research and contributions to the discipline. Thus, the whole of a candidate’s career is taken into account, although attention is concentrated on the period since the last promotion.
Quantity: Candidates for promotion are expected to have published or have had accepted for publication a reasonable number of refereed articles, books, and/or book chapters and other contributions to knowledge. Articles and other publications that have gone through a process of peer review are generally given greater weight than are non-refereed publications. Attention is given to papers present at academic conferences, as doing so indicates active participation in the discipline.
Quality: The quality of a candidate’s research is the most important criterion in the Department’s evaluation of his or her candidacy. The expectation is that the candidate is making or has made a significant and lasting contribution to the field.
(b) Teaching: Candidates must meet the Department’s expectations for good teaching.
(c) Mentoring: Candidates must meet the Department’s expectations for good mentoring through consistent, active engagement with graduate students.
(d) Service: Candidates are expected to be active in professional organizations and to have performed important roles in departmental, college and university life.
6. Standards for Non-Tenure Track Promotions: Faculty members in non-tenure track positions qualify for promotion to the next higher rank based on satisfaction of the minimum College and University requirements for that rank and on demonstrated performance above the minimum satisfactory level in their areas of assigned duties during at least the three years preceding the promotion.
7. Specialized Faculty Promotion Committee: The Specialized Faculty Promotion Committee consists of the Personnel Committee together with one Specialized Faculty member elected for this purpose by the department faculty. The committee reviews binders of prospective candidates, recommends action on the nomination of each candidate by secret vote, and prepares a report of the committee’s recommendations.
P. Appointment to the Graduate Faculty and Award of Masters and Doctoral Directive Status
1. Normally all tenured and tenure-earning Department faculty are appointed to the graduate faculty and teach at that level as well as at the undergraduate level.
2. The determination to recommend a faculty member for Masters and Ph.D. directive status will be made by the Chair, consistent with the policy of the College of Social Sciences.
Q. FSU Substantive Change Policy
Faculty and staff members are expected to be familiar with and follow the Florida State University Substantive Change Policy as found on the university website: http://sacs.fsu.edu/substantive-change-policy/
The Department Chair or any other faculty member may propose an amendment to the bylaws. A proposed amendment must be available to the voting membership at least two weeks prior to the vote. To be adopted, a proposed amendment must receive an affirmative vote by a two-thirds majority of the voting membership (all faculty and the three graduate student representatives to departmental meetings) by secret ballot.
Criteria and Procedures for Annual Evaluations, Merit Pay Increase Recommendations and Teaching Assignment Recommendations
This document describes the criteria and procedures to be used by the Department of Sociology for the annual evaluation of tenure-track, tenured, and specialized faculty, for the distribution of merit salary, and for the determination of differential teaching loads. The criteria and procedures comply with and are supplemented by the provisions of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) and the Faculty Handbook (FH).
Section 1: Annual evaluations
The Personnel Committee will meet annually to read faculty files (including the vita and the annual performance statement) and make recommendations to the Chair, who must take these recommendations into account and who must report to the Personnel Committee her/his evaluations if they differ from the Committee’s recommendation.
Section 2: Criteria for evaluation for purposes of merit pay increase recommendations
The Collective Bargaining Agreement and the Faculty Handbook present specific information and standards for evaluating teaching, scholarship/research, service and/or administration. The following criteria for merit pay increases are based on those documents.
Teaching performance will be evaluated on the following items for the preceding three calendar years, which faculty will include in their annual evaluation folders:
1. A list of all courses (including regular sections, special topics, tutorials, and DIS’s) with enrollment data. Faculty may choose to include information about new preparations, major revisions to a course, or other instructional information regarding teaching that they deem relevant, including materials from peer reviews of teaching.
2. Standardized student ratings such as SUSSAI and SPOT.
3. Evidence of advising activity will come from a list of memberships and directorships of theses, dissertations, masters and doctoral committees, including extra-departmental committees. Each student’s name and home department should be specified.
4. A list of awards or other recognition (e.g., nominations) for teaching or advising activities.
Research performance will be evaluated on the following items for the preceding three calendar years, which faculty will include in their annual evaluation folders:
1. A list of submitted grant and contract proposals, with indication of P.I., project title, funding source, amounts of request, date of project, and current status of award decision.
2. A list of completed books, monographs, edited volumes, texts and other similar publications, with full bibliographic details including date of publication, page length, and coauthors’ names and order of authorship.
3. A list of published and forthcoming articles and chapters, with full bibliographic detail, including order of authorship for coauthored pieces.
4. A list of book reviews, comments, encyclopedia articles, reports, proceedings, and similar publications.
5. A list of work in progress, including incomplete work under contract or accepted pending revision, completed work under review (include name of journal or publisher), and work in preparation (including progress toward completion). A brief narrative on progress during the review period, current status of project, and expected completion date may be provided.
6. A list of presentations of research, including title and venue.
7. A list of research awards or other recognition for professional research activities.
Service performance will be evaluated on the following items for the preceding three calendar years, which faculty will include in their annual evaluation folders.
1. A list of all offices, committee memberships, and other activities in the department, university, and community.
2. A list of offices and committee memberships in academic professional associations.
3. A list of performances/public lectures/interviews, including title (where appropriate) and venue.
4. A list of consulting and professional service, indicating whether work was paid or volunteer.
5. A list of awards or other recognitions of service activities.
Section 3: Annual Evaluation Ratings
Each tenure-track, tenured, and specialized faculty member’s three-year performance will be evaluated annually based on the evidence of performance relative to his or her assigned duties. The Personnel Committee will rate each faculty member’s overall performance and place him or her in one of the following categories. No restrictions exist as to how many faculty members can be placed in a given category. The Personnel Committee ratings will be submitted as recommendations to the department Chair and Dean.
1. Substantially Exceeds FSU’s High Expectations. This describes a faculty member whose accomplishments during the evaluation period far exceed performance expectations according to his or her assignment of responsibilities. These accomplishments may include the following: highly significant research or creative activity; very highly effective teaching; recognition as an authority in the field as evidenced by attaining significant professional achievements, awards, or recognitions; and excellence in service to the department, college, university, or discipline.
2. Exceeds FSU’s High Expectations. This describes a faculty member whose accomplishments during the evaluation period exceed performance expectations according to his or her assignment of responsibilities. These accomplishments may include the following: significant research or creative activity; highly effective teaching; professional recognitions; leadership in professional associations; and highly engaged and effective service to the department, college, university, or discipline.
3. Meets FSU’s High Expectations. This describes a faculty member whose accomplishments during the evaluation period meet performance expectations according to his or her assignment of responsibilities. These accomplishments may include the following: research or creative activity; effective teaching; active participation in professional associations; and service to the department, college, university, or discipline.
4. Official Concern. This describes a faculty member who has difficulty in completing assigned responsibilities during the evaluation period in a manner that is consistent with the high standards of the university.
5. Does Not Meet FSU’s High Expectations. This describes a faculty member who fails to meet expectations during the evaluation period according to his/ her assignment of responsibilities.
Section 4: Evaluation Procedure for Purposes of Merit Pay Increase Recommendations
1. Each faculty member’s performance will be evaluated relative to his or her assigned duties. The Personnel Committee will rate each faculty member on a 0-9 scale independently for teaching, research, service, and overall. Zero indicates no priority for merit pay, and 9 indicates highest priority for merit pay.
2. No restrictions limit the number of faculty who can be placed in a given category.
3. The recommendations of the Personnel Committee will be submitted to the department Chair, who must consider them in determining merit salary increases.
4. In determining merit salary increases, the Personnel Committee and the Chair will rely on the most recent annual evaluation (which covers the preceding three calendar years). For faculty with fewer than three years at FSU, merit assessment will be based on the years available.
5. In making salary increase recommendations, the Personnel Committee and the Chair should not discriminate between faculty members based on whether or not they are in non-tenure-earning faculty positions. To further this goal, the Department shall allocate merit increases from separate pools, one for tenured and tenure-earning members of the faculty and one for other members of the faculty, the size of each funding pool being proportional to the sum of the base salaries of the corresponding group.
Section 5: Procedures for Recommending an Increased Teaching Assignment
The Department of Sociology endorses the principle of differential faculty assignment.
1. Faculty with higher teaching assignments will be equally eligible for merit salary increases as faculty with higher research assignments.
2. Any tenured faculty member may choose to teach above the standard assignment.
3. The Personnel Committee, based on the best professional judgment of its members, may recommend an increase in the teaching assignment of any tenured faculty member whose vita and statement of professional activity indicate research activity that is incommensurate with her/his Assignment of Responsibilities. If a faculty member receives an “official concern” or “does not meet FSU’s high expectations” rating for research in an annual evaluation, the Chair shall meet with her/him to offer appropriate support in accord with Article 10 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. If a faculty member receives an “official concern” or “does not meet FSU’s high expectations” rating in three consecutive annual evaluations, the Chair, in consultation with the Personnel Committee, shall notify the faculty member that she or he may be assigned an increased teaching assignment in the next academic year.
4. The Personnel Committee must make a recommendation at each Annual Evaluation meeting about whether or not to reduce the teaching assignment of a faculty member on an increased teaching assignment.
Section 6: Amendments
The Department Chair or any other faculty member may propose amendments to the Criteria and Procedures for Annual Evaluations, Merit Pay Increase Recommendations and Teaching Assignment Recommendations. Proposed amendments must be available to the faculty at least two weeks prior to the vote, which is conducted by secret ballot. To be adopted, a proposed amendment must receive an affirmative vote by a majority of the faculty.