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The College of Communication and Information Bylaws

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As amended - 4/29/2016

I. Name

These bylaws are created for the College of Communication and Information [hereinafter referred to as the “College].”

II. Principles

A. Communication

Communication between the Faculty and the College administration should be open and clear to insure maximum Faculty participation in administrative affairs. This includes Faculty approval of the creation of academic programs or the elimination of existing academic programs with curricular matters not being mandated solely by budgetary decisions.  The Faculty should also participate in establishing long-range goals and strategies, and should be consulted in the selection and retention of administrative officers of the College including the Dean, Associate Dean(s), and Directors.

B. Schools

While the nature, extent, and particular form of Faculty participation in academic affairs may differ among Schools, the Faculty is responsible for decisions on curriculum and degree programs and requirements. The Faculty provides advice on (a) decisions regarding the hiring of new Faculty members, including the choice of new Directors; and (b) consideration of tenure and promotion of Faculty members. Each School shall develop bylaws regulating decisions on curriculum, degree programs and requirements, the hiring of new personnel, and the tenure and promotion of Faculty members.

C. Diversity

The College of Communication and Information recognizes that a college diverse in its people, curricula, scholarship, research, and creative activities expands opportunities for intellectual inquiry and engagement, helps students develop critical thinking skills, and prepares students for social and civic responsibilities. All members of the College benefit from diversity and the quality of learning, research, scholarship and creative activities is enhanced by a climate of inclusion, understanding and appreciation of differences and the full range of human experience. As a result, the College is committed to diversity and equal opportunity and it recognizes that it must represent the diversity inherent in American society. The College is acutely aware that diversity and fairness are foundations that unite the College’s faculty, staff, students, and the larger communication and information community. 

III. Precedence of Bylaws

A. University Policies and Procedures

College Bylaws, particularly when dealing with the responsibilities and authority of administrators and Faculty, shall reflect the policies and procedures found in the current Faculty Handbook and other official documents stating University of Tennessee policies. Nothing in these bylaws shall abridge the respective powers and prerogatives residing in the University Faculty or the University Administration.

B. College Bylaws

The College Bylaws precede those of the Schools. Schools may not enact bylaws that conflict with those of the College.

C.  School Affairs

Faculty members shall decide on matters of concern to their School, especially in curricular and Faculty affairs. College oversight of School decisions shall be limited to matters that directly impact another School or the College as a whole.

IV.  College Governance

A.  Membership

  1. Member Qualifications: All persons holding appointment in the College at the rank of instructor, assistant professor, associate professor, or professor are voting members. Administrators with academic rank are voting members.
  2. Additional Members: An individual formally associated with the College may be admitted into membership upon a two-thirds affirmative vote of the entire membership after that request has been included in the meeting agenda. Such membership shall be limited to one academic year. The new member may not vote until the meeting following admission to voting membership.
  3. Attending Meetings: With the exception of meetings of the Faculty Affairs Committee, the Administrative Committee, and the Dean’s Advisory Council, individuals with an interest in College affairs may attend College committee meetings.
  4. Speaking at Meetings: At the discretion of the presiding officer, and with the consent of the voting members, non-voting members may be granted the floor to address a matter about which they have particular knowledge or experience.  The decision of the presiding officer to allow a non-voting member to speak may be appealed by a voting member and overturned by a majority of voting members.

B.     College Meetings

1.  Regular Meetings

The Dean shall call and conduct at least two regular meetings each year with one in the fall term and the other in the spring term. In addition to the meetings specified above, the College may also meet at the call of the Dean or upon request of fifteen percent of the membership or upon the formal request of the majority of members of a standing committee. A meeting must be held within ten working days of such a formal request.

  1. Agenda Distribution: The Dean shall distribute to all members an agenda five working days in advance of a scheduled College meeting. Meetings shall be announced publicly to comply with open meeting requirements.
  2. Quorum: A majority of the voting membership constitutes a quorum.
  3. Conduct of Meetings: The Dean shall preside at College meetings. If the Dean will be absent, she/he shall appoint a substitute to conduct the meeting. The Dean shall appoint a Parliamentarian to provide advice upon proper procedure. The rules contained in the current edition of Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised shall govern the College in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with these bylaws and any special rules of order the College may adopt.
  4. Voting: Voting shall be by voice or hand, unless a secret ballot is requested by a majority of the members present.
  5. Reporting: The Dean shall appoint a recording secretary to record discussion and action taken at the meeting. These minutes shall be distributed to members no later than five working days after the meeting.

V.  College Organization and Administration

A.  Units within the College

The College recognizes these units:

  • The School of Advertising and Public Relations
  • The School of Communication Studies
  • The School of Information Sciences
  • The School of Journalism and Electronic Media
  • The Center for Information and Communication Studies
  • Center for Undergraduate Studies and Advising
  • B.      Administration of the College

  1. College Leadership: The chief executive and academic officer of the College is the Dean. The Dean serves at the pleasure of the Chancellor and is appointed following established University policies and procedures. College Faculty, professional staff, and students have an advisory role in selecting the Dean.
  2. College Administrative and Professional Staff: Administrative and Professional staff shall be appointed by the Dean of the College and shall serve at his/her pleasure within the guidelines of University rules, policies, and procedures. The Dean may appoint an Associate Dean(s) as the need arises and he/she shall serve under the same conditions as other administrative staff. In preparation for such an appointment, each Faculty member of the College shall be surveyed anonymously for comment.

C.     Administration of Schools

  1. School Leadership: The chief executive and academic officer of a School shall be the Director. School Directors are appointed for a renewable five-year term and serve at the will of the Dean and the Chancellor. In preparation for such an appointment, each Faculty member of the School shall be surveyed anonymously for comment.  

    The Dean evaluates School Directors each year following the procedures in the Faculty Handbook. College Faculty participates in the appointment and review process following the procedures in the Faculty handbook.

  2. School Administrative and Professional Staff: Professional staff members within the Schools are appointed without a definite term and serve at the pleasure of the Director. The Director evaluates professional staff each year. In preparation for this evaluation, the School Director solicits anonymous written comment from each Faculty member of the School.

VI.  Working Groups of the College

A.      Overview

  1. Purpose: The purpose of the College-wide standing committees is to identify and solve problems of interest to the College as a whole. Committees within each School should deal with matters of particular importance to that School.    

    Advisory councils provide the Dean with advice on a variety of topics important to the College. While advice is sought and valued, the Dean alone has the authority to make decisions for the College in matters other than the curriculum. The Board of Visitors, the Dean's Advisory Council, and the Administrative Committee are continuing advisory councils. The Dean may create other councils as needed.  

    Other working groups within the College are formed to meet specific purposes either as detailed in these bylaws or in the charges to those groups as they are formed.

  2. Membership: Unless otherwise specified, voting membership in all committees of the College shall be limited to Faculty members as defined in section IV.A.1.  However, voting members of the committee may choose to invite contingent Faculty, staff and/or students to join the committee and may assign voting privileges to those members as appropriate.  Unless otherwise specified, committee members shall elect the chair of the committee.
  3. Meetings: Unless otherwise noted, the general principles for College meetings outlined in section IV.B apply to meetings of working groups of the College. 

    The duties and responsibilities assigned to the Dean for College meetings shall be assigned to chairs of working groups of the College unless otherwise specified

  4. Reporting: Working groups should follow procedures noted in section IV.B for distribution of agendas and minutes of meetings.  In addition, a report summarizing the activities of each working group shall be presented to the College at the end of each academic year unless the minutes and/or year-end report contain confidential personnel matters.

B. Standing Committees

1.  Faculty Affairs Committee
    1. Purpose and Duties: The Faculty Affairs Committee shall consider and make recommendations on issues of particular concern to the Faculty such as evaluation of Faculty performance, and workload issues. The charge is to 1) consider requests for tenure and promotion; and 2) review policies and procedures to insure that the College Faculty is treated in an equitable and professional manner.  

      When a Faculty member requests tenure and/or promotion consideration, the Faculty Affairs Committee shall review recommendations by School tenure/promotion committees. Following the language in the Faculty Evaluation Manual, the committee brings “broader Faculty and administrative judgments to bear and also monitors general standards of quality, equity, and adequacy of procedures used.”

      The Faculty Affairs Committee also processes nominations for College-level faculty awards.

    2. Term: Two tenured Faculty members elected by the Faculty in each School shall serve a two-year term staggered within the unit.
    3. Additional Considerations:  All individuals who are being considered for promotion to full professors must be evaluated by at least three (full) professors at the College level, only two of whom can be from the same unit. If there are insufficient eligible voting members on the Committee for a particular dossier, the Dean will appoint an ad hoc member of the Committee for that dossier only.
2.  Graduate Studies Committee
  1. Purpose and Duties: The Graduate Studies Committee considers the policies and procedures associated with graduate students, including recruitment, quality of life issues, and curriculum. In addition, the Committee shall consider how to better involve students in College and School academic research initiatives. Finally, the Committee shall consider action to make College research more visible in the external environment. The charge is to 1) review graduate student policies and procedures; 2) review the graduate curriculum where there is College-wide impact and advise the College; 3) develop and coordinate interdisciplinary programs, 4) review recruitment strategies and materials, 5) review doctoral student applications and progress in the degree, 6) review nominees and recommend recipients for graduate student awards, 7) suggest member(s) to represent the College on the Graduate Council, and 8) consider and advise the Dean on graduate student grievances.
  2. Term:  One tenured or tenure-leading Faculty member elected by the Faculty in each School shall serve staggered two-year terms.  The three graduate students (one per graduate program in the college) who are selected as Graduate Student Senate representatives shall also serve on the Graduate Studies Committee.  They will be voting members for all issues related to general policies and procedures.  However, student members will not be included in meetings whenever the committee discusses issues related to individual students or applicants. The Associate Dean for Academic Programs is an ex-officio member of this committee.
3.  Undergraduate Studies Committee
  1. Purpose: The Undergraduate Studies Committee focuses on the several policies and procedures associated with the undergraduate minors and majors, including recruitment, quality of life issues, and curriculum. The charge is to 1) review curricular matters where there is College-wide impact and advise the College; 2) develop and coordinate interdisciplinary programs; 3) suggest member(s) to represent the College on the Undergraduate Council, and 4) review recruitment strategies and materials, relevant academic policies, and undergraduate student grievances.
  2. Term:  One tenured or tenure-leading Faculty member elected by the Faculty in each School shall serve staggered two-year terms.  The Associate Dean for Academic Programs and the Director of the Center for Undergraduate Studies and Advising are ex-officio members of this committee.
4. Departmental Review Committee (DRC) for Human Subjects Research
  1. Purpose and Duties:  The DRC, as part of the University of Tennessee human subjects review process, will initially review all research involving human participants initiated by faculty, staff, and students in the College of Communication and Information for compliance with legal, regulatory, and ethical provisions for the protection of research participants’ rights.  Applicable ethical standards include principles of the Belmont Report and codes of professional ethics governing the disciplines involved.
  2. Term:  One tenured or tenure-leading Faculty member elected by the Faculty in each School shall serve staggered two-year terms.  If possible, the college representative to the University Institutional Review Board should be an elected member of this committee.  A staff member in the Center for Information and Communication Studies provides administrative support to this committee.
5.  Research Advisory Committee
  1. Purpose and Duties: The Research Advisory Committee promotes and facilitates College-wide research activities.  The charge is to: 1) assist with planning and execution of the College annual research symposium; 2) function as a “think tank” that focuses on ways to foster new research activity; and 3) provide faculty input into the operations of the Center for Information and Communication Studies.
  2. Term: Two tenured or tenure-leading Faculty members elected by the Faculty in each School shall serve a two-year term staggered within the unit.  A doctoral student member will be appointed to a one-year term by the Associate Dean for Academic Programs.  At least one staff member of the Center for Information and Communication Studies will be an ex-officio member of this committee.

C.     Advisory Councils

1.  Administrative Committee
  1. Purpose and Duties: The Administrative Committee provides the Dean with candid advice and counsel on a broad range of concerns relating to the management of the College.
  2. Members: The Council shall consist of the Dean, the Associate Dean(s) and Directors. If a Director is unable to attend, a proxy may represent the unit. Other members of the College shall participate as the Dean requests.
  3. Meetings: The Council shall meet at least once each month except during the summer term. Additional meetings may be called by the Dean or by two of the members.
2.  The Board of Visitors
  1. Purpose and Duties: The Board assists development of the College by identifying and helping to secure external funding. The Board is an advocate on the College's behalf, and identifies trends and developments within the communication and the information communities likely to impact professional training and scholarly activity.
  2. Members: The members are nominated by Directors in consultation with their Faculty members to equitably represent the various constituencies of the College. Final approval rests with the Dean.
  3. Meeting: The Board meets at least once each year. Additional meetings may be called by the Dean or by fifteen percent of the Board members. The Dean shall provide members and the Faculty with an agenda and appropriate documents at least three weeks before the meeting. Meetings are open to College Faculty and staff unless the Dean has previously advised that the meeting shall be closed and provides a rationale. However, only Board members may vote.
  4. Term: The members serve a three-year term. The term may be renewed if the School nominates the person again and is approved by the Dean. Terms shall be staggered to insure continuity.
3.  The Dean's Advisory Council
  1. Purpose and Duties: The purpose of the Advisory Council is to provide the Dean with candid advice and counsel on a broad range of Faculty and professional staff concerns.  The Advisory Council may request meetings with the Dean to address issues that emerge from the Faculty and Staff.  The Dean may also request meetings with the Advisory Council to give him/her advice and insight on College issues.
  2. Members: Each School shall elect one tenured or tenure-leading Faculty representative to serve on this Council. The Dean shall appoint one member each to represent exempt and non-exempt staff as well as contingent Faculty. The members shall then elect a chair. Elections shall be held in the spring for those who shall serve in the following academic year.
  3. Term: The members serve a one-year term.
4.  Dean’s  Student Advisory Councils
  1. Purpose and Duties: The purpose of the Dean’s Student Advisory Councils (one for undergraduate students and one for graduate students) is to provide the Dean with candid advice and counsel on a broad range of student issues.  The Dean will request meetings with the Student Advisory Councils at least once each semester to give him/her advice and insight on College issues.
  2. Members: Each School shall appoint one or two students in each of its undergraduate majors to serve on the Dean’s Undergraduate Student Advisory Council.  Directors of graduate programs shall identify two students from each graduate program to serve on the Dean’s Graduate Student Advisory Council.
  3. Term: The members serve a one-year term.

D.  Interest Groups

  1. Purpose and Duties: To provide an opportunity to collaborate in the study of intellectual concerns and topics of interest to Faculty in the College as a whole, interest groups may be created where Faculty interest is demonstrated. Such groups may consider research, teaching, and public service related to particular topical concerns.
  2. Members: Interest groups are open to anyone in the College or affiliated units who share research, teaching, and public service activities in the area of intellectual concern around which the group is formed.
  3. Term: Interest groups may exist as long as they are active.  Members serve on their own initiative.

E.  Ad Hoc Committees

  1. Purpose and Duties: Ad-hoc committees consider important matters beyond the scope of a College standing committee or that need to be addressed by two or more College standing committees.
  2. Members: The Dean may create ad hoc committees on her/his initiative, upon request from Faculty and Directors, or as required by motions passed at a College Faculty meeting. Faculty and students may ask to serve. The Dean shall make the final decision.
  3. Term: These committees meet until their charge is completed.

F.   University Committees and Councils

  1. Overview: University-wide committees and councils provide an opportunity for College Faculty to participate in and influence the creation of policies and procedures for the Knoxville campus and the University system.
  2. Nomination and Selection: Anticipated vacancies on University committees and councils where the College has representatives shall be announced to College Faculty according to the schedule of that committee or council. 

    The College shall follow University committee and council guidelines or procedures in selecting members to serve. In some cases, the chair of that committee or council or a selection committee shall appoint members. In some cases, the Dean shall appoint the member. In other cases, College Faculty shall elect members. In this case, candidates may be nominated, with the approval of the candidate, and elected by the Faculty at a College Faculty meeting or via ballots distributed to Faculty and returned to an appropriate person for counting.

  3. Reporting: Members of University committees and councils shall report to the College within ten working days after each meeting. If there is more than one College representative, one should report. The representative shall also be available to respond to questions and comments at the following College Faculty meeting.

VII. Peer Evaluation of Teaching  

Peer teaching evaluations conducted in the College of Communication and Information follow the policies below. Unless otherwise noted, CCI follows the University of Tennessee’s recommendations for peer teaching evaluations.

A.   Peer Review Team Composition

Each peer review team must consist of at least two tenured faculty members. One must be selected from within the School by the School’s director, and one must be suggested by the faculty member under review. One may come from outside the School. All requests to serve on the peer review team should come from the director. The director will ask one member of the peer review team to serve as its chair.

Serving on a peer review team should be considered the equivalent of a committee assignment within the School. It is recommended that novice evaluators be included on peer review teams with seasoned evaluators. Membership on peer review teams should be rotated among tenured faculty within a School when possible.

B. Timing of Review

A total of two peer teaching reviews must be conducted for each tenure-track faculty member during the probationary period prior to tenure. The first peer review must be conducted in the second or third year of the probationary period, and the second must be conducted in the fourth or fifth year. It is recommended that the second review be conducted at least three semesters after the first. 

At least one peer teaching review must be conducted for each associate professor with tenure    prior to consideration of promotion to rank of full professor. It is recommended that the peer teaching review for associate professors be conducted at least three years post-tenure.

At least one peer teaching review must be conducted for non-tenure-track full-time faculty members prior to consideration of promotion to senior lecturer. One peer teaching review must be conducted for non-tenure-track full-time faculty members prior to consideration of promotion to distinguished lecturer.

Any faculty member may request an informal review at any time.

C. Process

Each peer teaching review must be completed within one semester. The School’s director should convene the peer review team early in the semester to facilitate scheduling of teaching observations, review of pedagogical materials, and feedback to the faculty member prior to the end of the semester.

The faculty member should provide the following materials to the peer teaching review team:

    1. Course descriptions and current syllabi for courses to be observed;
    2. Examples of teaching materials (e.g.,  PowerPoints, handouts, assignments);
    3. Assessment examples (e.g., exams, rubrics used for grading assignments);
    4. Access to online teaching sites if these are used (e.g., Blackboard);
    5. UT Knoxville’s standardized evaluations from previous semesters (currently SAIS).

Prior to conducting teaching observations, members of the peer teaching review team should meet with the faculty member to discuss his or her perspectives on teaching and the learning objectives for the classes to be observed.

The peer teaching review team must complete a minimum of two class observations (or combinations of other outreach/teaching situations) during separate class meetings and provide written evaluation of the observations to the chair of the review team. Ideally, class observations should occur in different courses. At least one of these class observations should also include in-class student interviews without the faculty member under review present. The peer teaching review team should refer to the University of Tennessee’s Preliminary Report of the Task Force on Teaching Evaluation to use as tools for stimulating and structuring evaluations. It is recommended that the team members coordinate in advance classroom visits with the faculty member under review and to identify the class observation in which the faculty member could allot time at the end of the class session to allow the observer to speak with the students. Suggested questions for obtaining feedback from the students are included in the University’s Preliminary Report of the Task Force on Teaching Evaluation.

D. Preliminary Report of the Task Force on Teaching Evaluation.

Following examination of teaching materials and teaching observations, the peer teaching review team will produce a written report. The chair of the peer teaching review team will meet with the faculty member at the conclusion of the review to discuss the content of the report. The chair of the team will then forward the report to the School’s director, who will discuss the report with the faculty member. After discussing the report with the director, the faculty member under review may submit a written response. The response, if any, must be attached to the report and placed within the faculty member’s permanent file.

E. Use of Peer Teaching Review Reports

The reports of peer teaching review teams must be part of promotion and tenure considerations and should be included in the tenure/promotion dossier in the appropriate location per the Faculty Evaluation Manual’s dossier organization instructions. Directors may consider them in evaluating a faculty member’s annual performance.

VIII. Amendment of Bylaws

A.  Process

The bylaws of the College may be amended by a two-thirds vote at any scheduled meeting. At least five working days prior to the scheduled meeting, all College Faculty members must receive notice of an intention to amend, proposed amendments, and an agenda that provides opportunity for discussion and voting on proposed amendments.

B.  Availability

Once an amendment has passed, the revised bylaws shall be available on the College website. In addition, a hard copy of the current bylaws shall be available in the College office and in each School office.

Amended April 19, 2016