Departmental Bylaws

Purpose of Bylaws

The purpose of departmental bylaws is to create a formal, transparent, functional, and common language for guiding governance and decision-making within academic departments. In this way, bylaws contribute to a culture of shared governance, academic freedom, and peer-review.

Bylaws Process

Bylaws writing is an iterative process. Anticipate discussion among unit members, between unit membership and unit administration, and between the unit and the Office of Academic Affairs. These discussions will be crucial to the ultimate utility of the bylaws. 

Bylaws Guidance

Developing a transparent, well-organized document

  • Statements should be succinct, brief, and to the point.
  • Define essential terms such as tenure, academic freedom, free speech, and others.
  • Avoid conflicting statements across sections.
  • Keep related information in a single article or section.
  • Bylaws should be dated, with dates of any changes noted.
  • Include a table of contents for long documents.
  • Avoid issues with budgetary impact (e.g., release time, summer teaching opportunities, resource allocation).

Bylaws Resources

Review Academic Affairs procedures and form before drafting or revising bylaws. Abiding by University policies is a requirement. Reading University policies provides essential context for issues that may emerge during development of unit bylaws.

Reference and defer to University and College policies:

In developing and for revising bylaws, we have provided a bylaws outline and presentation.