College of Biological Sciences Constitution & Bylaws

Date Adopted: June 2019 - Date Published: June 2019

Table of Contents

Section 1. College Mission

The mission of the College of Biological Sciences (CBS) is to deliver cutting-edge, internationally recognized research and teaching at all levels of biological organization – from molecules to ecosystems. While preparing today’s students to create the biology of tomorrow, CBS promotes collaborative research within and beyond the University to advance knowledge and find solutions that improve human health and the environment locally, nationally and globally.

The college upholds the scientific principle of examining assumptions and the academic value of excellence through engagement with diverse views and backgrounds. By creating a climate of inclusion, the college dismantles barriers for the success of all community members across differences, especially those from historically disenfranchised groups.

Section 2. Constitution

The purpose of the constitution of the College of Biological Sciences is to foster an active and informed constituency of faculty, staff and students. The constitution provides a framework in which respective roles are defined in the development of recommendations, the formulation of decisions, and the communication of the basis for decisions to those affected.

Article I. Dean of the College

Section 1. Duties and authority

The dean is the chief academic and executive officer of the college responsible for overseeing the academic priorities and day-to-day administrative operations of the college, including but not limited to establishing a strategic vision and aligning college resources to support that vision, inspiring and supporting faculty, staff and students in the activities of teaching and learning, research, and public engagement, garnering internal and external support for the college, and building relationships and support with alumni, donors, civic and business leaders and other key partners in the community.

The dean is responsible for formulating and implementing policies that lead to the improvement of the educational and research programs of the college. The dean shall consult with the appropriate college committee regarding matters relating to the duties of that committee (Article VI). The dean shall notify these committees of actions taken in their relevant areas. To foster open communications between the dean and the faculty, the dean shall meet with each academic department at least once annually.

Section 2. Recommendations regarding promotion and tenure

The dean shall make recommendations to the executive vice president and provost on faculty promotion and tenure, taking under advisement the recommendations of the College Promotion and Tenure Committee.

Section 3. Budgetary authority

The dean has final authority on all budgeted and unbudgeted funding within the college’s allocations and resources. As the budget reflects the priorities of the dean in meeting the mission of CBS, the dean shall consult with the College Leadership Council during development of the budget to outline funding challenges, opportunities, and priorities.

Section 4. Program creation, alteration and evaluation

Program evaluation is critical to maintain and improve the quality of CBS education, research and service. The dean shall ensure that appropriate mechanisms are in place for periodic evaluations of academic programs, field stations, centers, institutes, and other units.

The dean shall approve any proposals for added, merged or dissolved programs or departments after consultation with groups directly concerned and approval by the Faculty Consultative Committee and the College Leadership Council. The graduate faculty of the program under consideration will approve changes at the graduate level while the Educational Policy Committee will approve changes at the undergraduate level. The dean shall then seek the executive vice president and provost’s approval for the proposed change.

Section 5. Dean’s committees

The dean may constitute dean’s committees to act in advisory capacities. Unless specified elsewhere, the dean may appoint members of these committees. Committee composition should reflect the various departments and programs of the college, per the charge of the committee.

Section 6. Dean selection and evaluation

The executive vice president and provost selects, appoints, evaluates and terminates collegiate deans. As the search for a new dean is being planned, faculty, staff and students shall have the opportunity to submit recommendations to the executive vice president and provost regarding search committee membership and process. As the search concludes, college constituencies shall have the opportunity to provide evaluation of finalists.

The regular faculty shall have the ability to exercise the right of a vote of no confidence in the dean. A petition to conduct a vote of no confidence must have signatures of a minimum of twenty percent of the regular faculty. Two-thirds of the regular faculty must vote to pass a resolution of no confidence in order to forward it to the executive vice president and provost.

Article II. The Faculty

Section 1. Membership

The regular faculty of the college shall consist of the dean, associate deans, professors, associate professors, and assistant professors on regular appointment per Board of Regents Policy: Faculty Tenure, in all departments of the University that are administratively within the college. Faculty members on regular appointments in college joint departments who are funded by other collegiate units are voting members of the College.

Section 2. Academic freedom and responsibility

The academic freedom and responsibilities of the faculty shall be those recognized by the University Senate statement of May 13, 2011, Board of Regents Policy: Faculty Tenure or otherwise the most recently approved Board of Regents Policy: Academic Freedom and Responsibility.

Section 3. Faculty tenure

Policies and procedures concerning faculty tenure, including removal for cause, shall be identical at all times to policies and procedures specified in Board of Regents Policy: Faculty Tenure.

Article III. Other Constituencies

Section 1. Teaching professors

Term faculty in the college for the most part are Teaching Assistant Professors, Teaching Associate Professors or Teaching Professors who meet particular expectations for promotion and development of expertise related to scholarship on biology teaching and learning.

Section 2. Research professors

Research associates of the college hired to contribute to the research mission by serving as principle investigators on external grants may be given working titles of Research Assistant Professor, Research Associate Professor or Research Professor.

Section 3. Academic professional and administrative staff

Academic professional and administrative staff consist of professional personnel who are assigned to duties enhancing the teaching, service functions, and research of the college and administrative personnel who are involved in policy development or execution or in directing, coordinating, or supervising activities in the College.

Section 4. Civil service/bargaining unit staff

Civil service and bargaining unit employees are administrative/clerical support staff and scientific/technical staff affiliated with units administratively within the college.

Section 5. Student/professional training appointees

Student/professional training appointees are those holding appointments in the 95XX classes, such as graduate assistants and post-doctoral associates.

Section 6. Students

For the purposes of participation in governance, undergraduate students shall be regularly enrolled in the University of Minnesota and be candidates for the bachelor’s degree with a major administered by the college.

For purposes of participation in governance, graduate students shall include those admitted and actively enrolled in a graduate program administered or co-administered by the college and whose adviser is a regular member of the faculty of the college.

Section 7. Responsibilities

Members of these constituencies are expected to participate in the affairs of the college, including its governance, its committee structure, and the revision of the college constitution. Representatives on college committees shall be chosen according to procedures specified by the bylaws.

Article IV. Departments

Section 1. Definitions

A department, as established by Board of Regents Policy: Faculty Tenure, shall be considered the basic organizational unit of the college. Other academic administrative units that fund faculty positions and are established to promote research and graduate training in interdisciplinary areas of biology are expected to abide by all sections of Article IV, with the exception of Section 6 since the tenure status of regular faculty resides in departments.

Section 2. Governance and meetings

Each department shall develop a set of rules of procedure, which will be made available to the members of the department.

The department shall meet regularly for the consideration of matters concerning departmental policy, the appointment of new faculty, and departmental curricula. The department head shall call a faculty meeting within ten days of receipt of a petition for such a meeting signed by at least 25% of the regular departmental faculty.

The regular faculty of the department shall determine the rights of attendance, participation, and voting of teaching professors, research assistant professors, academic professional and administrative staff, students, and others at departmental meetings. Only regular faculty, as defined by Board of Regents Policy: Faculty Tenure, can vote on promotion and tenure matters and the hiring of new regular faculty. Regular faculty on appointments in two departments have voting rights in each based on extent of activity within each department and by approval of both department heads.

Section 3. Leadership

The department head serves as the leader and chief administrator of the department and represents the department to all levels of the college and University administration and external stakeholders. The department head provides leadership for teaching (including making teaching assignments), research, and engagement; manages financial resources; has administrative responsibility for faculty, students, and staff; and encourages and challenges all department employees to excel in their respective positions. The head also communicates to the department updates and developments from the College Leadership Council.

The dean is responsible for appointing, reappointing and terminating department heads. During the search process for a new department head, the dean shall provide departmental faculty opportunities for input regarding membership of the search committee, the search process, and final selection. Departments may bring nominations to the dean. After soliciting and considering input from the faculty, the dean shall appoint or renew department heads for a specific term. The dean is also responsible, after soliciting and considering input from the faculty, for terminating a department head appointment prematurely. The dean’s annual evaluations of department heads shall include a mechanism for faculty evaluation of the head’s performance.

The regular faculty in a department shall have the ability to exercise the right of a vote of no confidence in the department head. A petition to conduct a vote of no confidence must have signatures of a minimum of twenty percent of the regular departmental faculty. Two-thirds of the regular faculty must vote to pass a resolution of no confidence in order to forward it to the dean.

Section 4. Budgets

Department heads have final authority over department budgets as approved by the dean and shall share overall budget constraints and opportunities with departmental members prior to their annual budget meeting with the dean.

Section 5. Faculty appointments

Recommendations for the appointment of new regular faculty members shall be transmitted by the department head to the dean after approval by the regular faculty of the department. Recommendations for appointment of faculty by institutes or other academic units shall be transmitted both by the head of the unit and the head of the department in which tenure will be held.

Section 6. Faculty promotion and tenure review

Regular faculty of departments shall make recommendations through their head to the College Promotion and Tenure Committee concerning promotion, granting of indefinite tenure, termination, or reappointment of probationary members of the faculty. Such recommendations shall be based upon criteria outlined in Board of Regents Policy: Faculty Tenure, as amplified by the criteria on tenure given in the Section 7:12 statement from the department of the faculty member under review. The procedures to be followed shall be those contained in the administrative procedure Procedures for Reviewing Candidates for Tenure and/or Promotion: Tenure-Track and Tenured Faculty, and in the memo concerning deadlines and procedures for promotion and tenure review distributed annually by the provost.

Recommendations shall not be based upon beliefs, expressions, or conduct protected by constitutional guarantees of academic freedom.

Section 7. Committees

Departments shall establish such standing and ad hoc committees as they deem necessary to carry out the business of the department. Membership and voting rights on such committees may be accorded to staff, students and others at the discretion of the regular faculty of the department.

Article V. College Faculty Meetings

A college-wide faculty meeting may be called by the dean, or upon petition by 10% of the regular faculty of the college. The agenda of the meeting shall be specified in the announcement of the meeting.

Article VI. Committees

Section 1. Standing Committees

A. College Leadership Council

The College Leadership Council (CLC) shall work with and advise the dean on college and University academic matters and administrative issues that affect the academic enterprise. This council helps to establish college policies and directions, and approves college personnel plans. The dean shall preside as chair.

Each department and academic unit (which funds faculty positions) of the college shall be represented by its head or director, or in the absence of the head/director, by a faculty member assigned by the head/director to serve as a substitute. Associate deans shall be members of the Council, as shall the leaders of college-wide administrative functions as appointed by the dean. One graduate student shall also serve on the Council.

All members with a regular faculty status in the college shall be voting members with the exception of the dean. Recommendations of the CLC shall be approved by three-fifths of the voting members.

B. Educational Policy Committee

The Educational Policy Committee (EPC) shall make recommendations to the dean regarding:

  1. Immediate and long-range goals of the college related to undergraduate academic matters.
  2. Undergraduate curricular matters associated with the goals of the college and its responsibilities to other collegiate units. These include the approval of new courses, approval for discontinuing a course, changes in the college’s degree requirements and changes in major and minor requirements.  Routine curricular matters may be delegated to appointed subcommittees.

The voting members of EPC will comprise the Director of Undergraduate Studies from each department and Directors of Undergraduate Studies from departments outside the college for which the College administers the undergraduate major.  If a teaching professor serves as Director of Undergraduate Studies from their department, the teaching professor shall be a voting member as well.  Two undergraduate students shall be voting members. 

The remainder of the committee shall include the associate dean responsible for undergraduate education and the leaders of college functions that provide critical support to undergraduate education such as student services, international programs, and instructional labs. The chair of the committee shall be elected each year by the voting members.

C. Tenure and Promotion Committee

The Tenure and Promotion Committee shall review the recommendations of the departments regarding all appointments and promotions to and within tenure and advise the dean of its evaluation of these recommendations. Each tenure-granting department shall elect one full professor to serve and vote on the committee for two years and department heads shall not be included.

The dean shall appoint one of the elected members as committee chair. Department representatives do not vote on the status of candidates from their respective departments and shall recuse themselves from the duties of the chair of the committee when a candidate from their respective department is under consideration.

D. Consultative Committee

The Consultative Committee shall advise the dean on matters related to the immediate and long-range goals of the college and shall interpret this constitution as needed. The Consultative Committee shall meet at least once a year.

The faculty members on this committee comprise the college’s Faculty Consultative Committee (FCC) to maintain a direct communication channel with the dean on issues, challenges and opportunities affecting the college. To this end the dean will meet with the FCC at least once a semester. All members shall be voting members, and a two-thirds majority is required to approve recommendations. If at any time the FCC believes that certain issues are beyond the college’s ability to address, the FCC is encouraged to bring the issue to the appropriate University senate committee.

The faculty members of this committee shall consist of one faculty member at the level of associate professor or above, or associate teaching professor or above from each department. Faculty members will be nominated by the head of each department and approved by its regular faculty. Members shall serve three-year, non-renewable terms. Appointments should be staggered so that no more than half of the faculty membership is replaced in the same year.

The staff and students on this committee comprise the Staff and Student Consultative Committee and will be consulted by appropriate members of the dean’s office on matters affecting them and benefiting from their input. There shall be one undergraduate student, one graduate student, one administrative/academic professional staff, one administrative/clerical support staff and one scientific/technical staff. All members shall be voting members, and a two-thirds majority is required to approve recommendations. The non-faculty members shall serve for one year but can be re-elected for an additional consecutive term.

The chair shall be a faculty member elected by committee vote to serve for one year. A member of the dean’s office will serve as a liaison, and in the event that no chair is present or steps down unexpectedly, will call a meeting of the Consultative Committee to select a new chair.

For amendments and other changes to the CBS Constitution, members who are regular faculty, academic professional & administrative representatives and civil service/bargaining unit representatives shall vote. Students shall have an advisory vote. A two-thirds majority of voting members is required to approve changes to the constitution.

E. Scholastic Standing Committee

The Scholastic Standing Committee meets regularly to handle petitions from undergraduate students for exceptions to published college and departmental academic requirements. When it perceives a pattern of exceptions it also has a duty to report the concern to the Educational Policy Committee.

The dean shall appoint a faculty member as chair of the committee. This committee comprises, at minimum, one regular faculty member, an academic advisor from the college’s Office of Student Services, and up to two other student services staff. All members shall be voting members.

F. Awards and Recognition Committee

This committee shall manage the nomination process for University awards and the nomination and selection process for college awards and shall advise the dean accordingly. Each of the undergraduate majors administered by the college shall be represented by a faculty member from the respective departments. An administrator from the dean’s office shall chair the committee and shall work with department heads to find replacement faculty members as needed. A representative each of academic and professional administrators and civil service/bargaining unit employee groups shall be elected to serve for two-year terms. All members are voting members.

Section 2. Ad Hoc Committees

The dean, or members of any outstanding committee, may create such ad hoc committees as are considered necessary to accomplish the objectives of the college. Any faculty member or group of members may petition the dean to create special committees and, upon approval by the dean with advice from the Consultative Committee, such committees may be established.

Except in those cases in which membership is specified in the establishment of the committee as ex officio, by election, or by approval of a specified authority, all members of ad hoc College committees shall be appointed by the dean so as to appropriately represent the constituencies of the College. Membership in the college faculty shall not be prerequisite to such appointments.

Section 3. Minutes and proceedings

All councils and committees of the college, standing or ad hoc, shall keep agendas and summary notes of any decisions or recommendations from their meetings and proceedings. Copies of these minutes shall be placed on file in the dean’s office and shall be available to any member of the college faculty.

Article VII. Representation in the Senate and Twin Cities Campus Assembly

Section 1. Number of representatives

Representation of the college in the University Senate with respect to the number of representatives of the college to the Senate, the eligibility of regular faculty and professional/administrative staff to vote in the election of representatives, eligibility to serve as representative, and the term of office of elected representatives shall be in accordance with the most recent revision of the constitution of the University Senate.

Section 2. Alternates

The number of alternates shall equal the total number of Senate representatives from the college. Alternates shall serve for one year. Any representative may designate any elected alternate to serve in their place by written notice to the Clerk of the Senate prior to the commencement of any Senate meeting.

Section 3. Twin Cities Campus Assembly

Elected representatives from the College of Biological Sciences to the University Senate also shall serve as representatives to the Twin Cities Campus Assembly.

Section 4. Election procedures

Procedures by which the college representatives to the Senate shall be elected are prescribed in the Senate Bylaws.

Article VIII. Implementation, Interpretation, Amendments, and Bylaws

Section 1. Effective date

This constitution shall become effective immediately after its adoption by a two-thirds majority of a 30% quorum of the regular voting faculty of the college and its approval by the dean of the College and the executive vice president and provost. All committees, provisions, rules and regulations in existence at the time this constitution becomes effective, and not in violation of its provisions, shall continue until modified in accordance with provisions and procedures established herein.

Section 2. Final authority

Final authority for interpretation of this constitution shall reside in the College Consultative Committee.

Section 3. Amending the constitution

Amendments to the CBS constitution can be introduced by proposal of a department of the college, by a petition signed by ten regular faculty members and presented to the dean, or by a two-thirds vote of the Consultative Committee. Notice of such proposed amendments shall be given in writing to all regular faculty members of the college at least thirty days before a vote. For purposes of approving amendments and updates to the constitution, a CBS faculty assembly, of which all regular faculty are voting members, will be convened. All regular members comprise the assembly. Thirty percent of the regular faculty constitute a quorum of the assembly either in person or by written proxy to a department head. A two-thirds majority of the quorum must approve constitutional changes. All changes become effective upon approval of the dean and the provost.

Section 4. Bylaws

Bylaws necessary for the implementation of this constitution may be proposed by a department of the college or by a petition signed by five regular faculty members and presented to the dean. Notice of such proposed bylaws or amendments to the bylaws shall be given in writing to all regular faculty members of the college to elicit feedback. New or modified bylaws will be approved by a majority vote of the Faculty Consultative Committee.


Bylaw 1. Selection of undergraduate representatives to standing college committees.

Undergraduate representatives to the college committees will be selected by the students serving on the Biological Sciences Student Board, in a manner determined by that body.

Bylaw 2. Selection of graduate student representatives.

Graduate student selection will be on a rotational basis that includes all CBS graduate programs. Eligible graduate students shall be those whose advisors are regular faculty members of the College. The method of selection of each program’s representation shall be at the program’s discretion.

Bylaw 3. Election of academic professional and administrative representatives to standing college committees

Members of the academic professional and administrative (non-faculty) staff holding appointments for 75% time or greater will hold elections for their committee representation each year. Election shall be on an all-college basis. Ballots will be distributed from the dean’s office to eligible voters and must be returned within fourteen days in order to be included in the vote.

Bylaw 4. Election of civil service/bargaining unit representatives to standing college committees.

Members of the civil service/bargaining unit staff will hold elections for their committee representation each year. Civil Service/Bargaining Unit staff who have passed probation and who have appointments for 75% time or greater are eligible to vote and to serve as representatives. For committees on which there are two civil service/bargaining unit representatives, one representative shall be elected from the college administrative/clerical support staff and the other representative shall be elected from the scientific/technical staff. Ballots will be distributed from the dean’s office to eligible voters and must be returned within fourteen days in order to be included in the vote.

Bylaw 5. Election of collegiate representatives to the University Senate

Annually in the spring quarter the office of the dean shall obtain from the Clerk of the Senate (a) a list of all faculty and professional/administrative staff in the College of Biological Sciences who are entitled to vote for Senate members, (b) a list of those who are eligible for election, (c) the total number of Senate members from the College to be elected, and (d) the total number of Senate representatives from the college. All names of eligible faculty and professional/administrative members will be placed on the election ballot.

The ballots shall be prepared in the dean’s office and returned there. Each eligible faculty and professional/administrative member shall vote for no more than the total number of senate representatives to be elected from the college. Those receiving the most votes shall be elected. The alternates shall be those members who were eligible to vote in the election to the Senate but were not elected. When it is necessary to decide election of representatives and alternates, ties will be broken by additional ballots.

Faculty vacancies in the Senate caused by resignation or separation from the University shall be filled by the alternate who received the largest number of votes in the prior Senate election.