Principles & Bylaws

UF African American Studies Program Bylaws

Preamble

The purpose of these by‐laws is to establish recognized methods of procedure for the conduct and operation of the African American Studies Program (hereafter “AASP” or “the Program”) at the University of Florida (hereafter UF). AASP recognizes that it is bound in its actions by University regulations and that these by‐laws are supplementary to the University and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) regulations.

The core faculty of African American Studies have developed the following program principles:

Interdisciplinarity: This principle encourages a broad base of disciplinary theories, methodologies, and methods. This approach allows faculty members to begin from their own position of expertise and systematically tie their work to other necessary areas of social science and humanities.

Communitybased learning: This focus honors the applied, experiential, and activist model from which Black Studies programs originally developed. Pedagogies of community service learning and advocacy scholarship are central to the engaged nature of the program.

African American experience in a transnational context: With this program foundation, the faculty grounds our main study in the United States, but also understands the imperative to connect the U.S. experience to those of Africa and the wider African Diaspora.

Critical thinking, writing, and research presentation skills development: The AASP faculty introduce students from all disciplinary areas to African American intellectual history, critical theory, and professional development. Students who enroll in our courses or graduate with an AASP minor will be well versed in the scholarly skills needed to succeed at the next levels of research, teaching, and service in the field.

 Program Structure

Voting Members

  1. Core faculty of AASP shall be those holding an appointment in AASP (lecturers, assistant, associate, or full professor designation). These faculty are contractually obligated to teach at least one AASP course per year.
  2. AASP core faculty are voting members in AASP decisions that require a vote. Adjunct and affiliate faculty can be invited to participate in discussion of AASP issues, but are non‐voting members. After visiting faculty have served for two years, they will become voting members in AASP decisions that require a vote.
  3. In issues concerning AASP business items that require a vote, decisions shall be considered valid with participation of 2/3 of the voting members of the Program who vote in person or via email by the given deadline. All votes shall be recorded by the AASP Program Assistant.
  4. In hiring, a positive recommendation to the Dean’s Office for hiring of new faculty shall require a majority vote of the core faculty. Regardless of the outcome, the core faculty vote shall be reported to the Dean. AASP shall request that the Dean appoint at least two core faculty and two affiliate faculty to any hiring committee for faculty, joint appointed faculty, or Program Director.
  5. If one member requests, votes must structured as secret ballot. Vote outcomes are subject to CLAS, University, UFF, and HR parameters.

 Directorship, Meetings, Procedures and Committees

Duties and Functions of the Director.

  1. The Director’s term of office is determined by the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (hereafter CLAS). The Director shall represent the Program in relation to other departments/programs, the administrative offices of the University, and other universities or organizations. The Director shall attend monthly CLAS chairs/directors meetings and any other meetings designated for chairs and directors.
  2. The Director shall take primary responsibility for the day‐to‐day running of the Program and shall perform the functions necessary to implement all phases of its operation, including space allocation, equipment procurement, secretarial staff, personnel decisions, and the overall functioning of the office. The Director shall assume responsibility for administering the Program budget, for scheduling courses and the preparation of the course timetable, and coordinating with chairs of departments that have joint appointments in the Program to ensure that percentage allocation of faculty service, teaching and research time is congruent with the faculty member’s percentage FTE appointment. The Director shall coordinate official Program events, such as receptions, guest lectures, and symposia.
  3. The Program Director shall convene two meetings of the Program core faculty per semester and one meeting of the Affiliate Faculty and Advisory Board members per academic year. Affiliate and Advisory Board meetings will be open to core and affiliate AASP faculty, advisory committee members, staff and student assistants, minors and majors, graduate students, visiting faculty, and adjuncts holding teaching or research appointments during the terms of their appointments.
  4. The Director shall consult with core faculty and relevant chairs in the cases of 3rd year review, promotion and tenure. The Director is responsible for forwarding faculty input to relevant bodies to ensure that contributions to the Program by the faculty member under review are recognized. For tenure and 3rd year review cases, only tenured core faculty members shall be consulted. For promotion, only those at the rank of the applicant or above shall be consulted.
  5. The Director is an ex‐officio member of all standing and ad hoc committees; however, the Director will not participate in review activities involving his or her own evaluation.

Standing and Ad Hoc Committees. The standing committee of the Program is the Curriculum Committee. Other committees may be formed, as needed, to deal with specific Program needs.  All core members are members of the Curriculum committee and, until such time as the Director appoints a chair, the Director shall act as default chair of the Curriculum Committee.

  1. Membership of Ad Hoc Committees. Ad Hoc committees shall be formed by the Director, who shall appoint a chair. Ad Hoc committee chairs shall be core faculty, affiliate faculty members, or Advisory Committee members. Members may be selected from the core faculty, the affiliate faculty, or the Advisory Committee.
  2. Committee chairs shall report to members of the core faculty at core faculty meetings and attend affiliate faculty or Advisory Committee meetings when necessary.

Committee Functions and Duties

The Curriculum Committee

  1. The Curriculum Committee shall oversee curricular matters pertaining to the Program. It is charged with review and recommendation of changes in the major and minor requirements and other modifications of the Program’s curriculum.
  2. This committee shall oversee the adequacy of the Program’s participation in the general education program of the College.
  3. This committee shall aid the Director in shaping the formation of the major requirements and working with the College, Academic Advising and the UF General Education Committee to ensure congruent curricular practices.
  4. This committee consists of the members of the core faculty.

Merit Pay Committee (Ad Hoc Committee)

A committee of African American Studies core faculty and the Director will review merit materials submitted by faculty for merit pay increases. The committee and Director will follow guidelines that are consistent with College and University standards for review. The Director will make the final decision, but faculty members will be allowed to contest the decision.

  1. Advisory CommitteeThe University of Florida African American Studies Program’s Advisory Committee (hereafter the “Advisory Committee” or “AC”) shall serve as a consulting body on matters submitted to it by the Director. The Director shall select members and submit to the AC matters regarding how best to further the four AASP Program Principles: interdisciplinarity; community‐based, applied, and experiential learning; African American experience in the transnational context; professional and intellectual student development.
  2. The Advisory Committee shall consist of at least seven members, with the Director acting as AC Chair. At a minimum, AC members will include the AASP Director and representatives from student organizations such as the UF Black Student Union, Black Graduate Student Organization, Association of Black Alumni, Institute for Black Culture, African Studies Union, Club Creole, and others selected by the Director and core faculty. It can also include major and minor students (one of whom may be an alumnus of the program). The UF AASP Advisory Committee is a non‐voting body designed to guide the Director’s decision‐making process.
  3. Each Advisory Committee member appointed by the Director shall be considered an active member and shall receive all relevant information about the Program’s activities. Terms shall be for one year and are renewed by mutual consent of the Director and the member.

Annual Performance Evaluations for Lecturers

Lecturers will be evaluated on the basis of their teaching effectiveness, service, and research.

These three components will be defined in the following manner.

Teaching effectiveness will be determined on the basis of such factors as student evaluations, peer evaluations, teaching award nominations or winnings.  They will also be evaluated on the ability of the professor to convey information clearly, enhance the critical thinking skills of students, develop clear and concise syllabi and assignments, advising students, supervising student research, and utilizing professional behavior when interacting with students.

Faculty will be evaluated on the basis of service to the university, to the profession, and public service.  This includes, but is not limited to, conference presentations, public lectures, and service in professional organizations.

Lastly, the research productivity of faculty will be evaluated on the basis of published works and works in progress.

Annual Performance Evaluations for Tenured and Tenure-Track Faculty

Tenured and tenure-track faculty will be evaluated on the basis of their research, teaching, and service.

Research

The following shall be considered the rank-order of research productivity from most to least meritorious.

Tier One

Single-authored, refereed, scholarly books and monographs; co-authored, refereed, scholarly books; single-authored refereed journal articles; co-authored refereed journal articles; single-authored refereed book chapters; co-authored refereed book chapters; major external grants and fellowships; Edited refereed, scholarly books and monographs, co-edited refereed, scholarly books and monographs.

Tier Two

Authorship or co-authorship of textbooks, editorship or co-editorship of textbooks, non-refereed articles, non-refereed chapters in books; minor external grants and fellowships; review essays.

Tier Three

Invited external lectures; conference papers; internal fellowships and grants; book reviews

Evaluation of Alternative Scholarly Works

The African American Studies Program is committed to innovative uses of technology in teaching, research and service that help advance the discipline. Therefore, it will recognize alternative scholarly work (digital scholarship, publicly engaged scholarship, and/or collaborative scholarship activities) as part of a candidate’s tenure package, provided that it has been peer-reviewed by appropriate scholars according to the guidelines outlined by the University of Florida’s Facilitated Peer Review Committee: http://www.uflib.ufl.edu/committees/fprc/#.

Alternative scholarly work should be evaluated in its native digital medium and in terms of its equivalency in existing peer-reviewed categories in the traditional T&P process at the University of Florida (e.g.; journal article, book chapter, edited collection, book, etc.).  More broadly speaking, it should be evaluated in terms of its scholarly merit as well as its overall ability to use sustained, expressive, substantive, and institutional innovation to advance the discipline. This reflects a commitment that is scholarly in some instances, pedagogical in others, and/or represents a collegial commitment to the African American Studies Program, and will be evaluated and rewarded accordingly.

Teaching

The category of teaching shall include undergraduate and graduate instruction; undergraduate honors, masters and dissertation thesis supervision; and other related activities.

For purposes of evaluation, both student teaching evaluations and peer evaluations will be considered.  In addition, teaching awards and service on graduate thesis and dissertation committees will be considered.

Service

Service will be evaluated according to the performance of responsibilities, such as attendance at faculty meetings and activities.  Participation in the program’s activities, panels, or colloquia.

Service on college or university committees.

Service in professional associations, editorial boards, or as a reviewer for professional journals or academic presses

Other activities that enhance the reputation and visibility of the African American Studies Program, college or university.

Performance Evaluations: Mentoring Plan and Third-Year Review Policy

Upon arrival at UF, the Director will assign each lecturer and untenured faculty member a tenured faculty mentor who will provide advice to the untenured faculty member the tenure and promotion process.  At the beginning of each academic year, the faculty member and his/her mentor will meet to discuss the faculty members’ teaching and research agenda.  The mentor will then suggest goals that the faculty member should meet each year in order to earn tenure and promotion.  At the end of each academic year, they will meet again to discuss whether the goals have been achieved or are still in progress.

In addition, the mentor will assist the untenured faculty member in developing syllabi, enhancing teaching effectiveness, securing grants or fellowships, publishing scholarly articles and books, and resources within the program, college or university.

The mentoring policy has two formal components:

Peer Evaluation. A classroom visitation of the untenured faculty member will be conducted at least once per academic year by his/her mentor or another tenured core AFA faculty member or tenured faculty affiliate. Scheduling the classroom visitation is the obligation of the evaluator and the instructor. The date of the classroom visitation is to be mutually agreed upon in advance by the evaluator and untenured faculty member. Prior to the visitation, the untenured faculty member will supply the evaluator with course materials, such as syllabi. After the visitation, the evaluator will provide feedback from the classroom visitation in the form of observations and suggestions and later provide a written evaluation to the faculty member and the Director.

Annual Meeting with Director and Mentor. Late in the spring semester of each academic year, the faculty mentor will arrange and participate in a meeting with the untenured faculty member and the Director. This meeting will provide a forum to assess the untenured faculty member’s progress in research, teaching and service, and to discuss any concerns or queries that the untenured faculty member might have.

Third-Year Review Policy for Untenured Faculty

The Department shall conduct and deliver a pre-tenure review of untenured, tenure-track faculty prior to the beginning of the faculty member’s fourth year in the tenure track. The primary purpose of the mid-career review is to provide the candidate with a substantive progress report and to suggest what the faculty member might need to accomplish in the areas of teaching, scholarly research, and service before the formal tenure review. The mid-career review shall be one in which no external reviewers are contacted. Other members of the program, college or university community may provide input to the committee, but it is not required.

The review should begin, at the latest, early in the third year of tenure accruing appointment. The Chair shall notify the candidate of the time of the third-year review and request that the candidate submit relevant materials. By February 1st of that year, the candidate will complete a tenure and promotion packet and present it to the Director. The packet will include:

A Tenure and Promotion packet, as complete as appropriate given the time in rank of the candidate.

Annual letters of evaluation from the Chair.

Peer review of candidate’s teaching and supporting teaching materials.

A research/scholarship portfolio including the candidates’ research publications, papers submitted for publication, grant proposals, and similar information.

The review will be conducted by the core faculty members.  The third year review for faculty with joint appointments or duties in other units will include information about their activities and contributions to those other units. In cases of joint appointments, one member of the review committee will be appointed by the Chair/Director of that unit.

After reviewing the untenured faculty member’s report, the core faculty will meet to discuss the report.  The Director will hold a subsequent meeting with the untenured faculty member to recommend teaching and research strategies that he/she can use to achieve tenure and promotion in the future.  The untenured faculty member will also receive a letter from the Director that summarizes the suggestions of the faculty.  The letter will be explicit in stating that the letter itself is not a decision for tenure and promotion but is rather a mid-career review and nothing more. The intent of the review process is that it be advisory to the candidate and without any prejudice in future reviews.  The faculty member has the right to submit a written response to the report if so desired.

Tenure and Promotion

After consulting with the core faculty, the Director will draft a letter that summarizes the views of the core faculty and will then include an independent assessment of the candidate’s qualifications for promotion.

Merit Pay Criteria

The Merit Pay Committee will award merit pay increases to the eligible faculty.  The director and committee members will evaluate faculty based on the ranking they received in their annual evaluation with 4 = highly meritorious; 3 = meritorious; 2 = satisfactory; and 1 = unsatisfactory.

To be eligible for consideration for merit pay, a faculty member must submit their annual activity report and an updated CV in April of each year.  Joint-appointed faculty must submit their report to both their department and to the African American Studies Program director.  A meeting will then be held to discuss the reports.  After the merit raise amounts are received, the director and committee will determine each individual award based on the recommendations of the faculty.

Market Equity Criteria

AASP core faculty members with appointments of .50 and above may request a market salary review consideration.  The faculty member must make a written request to the Director that identifies his/her current salary.  The faculty member must also provide an updated CV and any additional documentation that the Director and faculty need to review before a decision is made.

The Director will then make a recommendation to the faculty about the request.  If the faculty member disagrees with the Director’s recommendation, he/she can then submit a written request to the Dean.  This request must include the request to the Director, the Director’s recommendation, and may include a rebuttal of the Director’s recommendation, not to exceed two pages in length.  The Dean will then review this information and respond to the faculty member within 60 days of notification by the Director.

If the faculty member is unsatisfied with the response from the dean, he/she may then submit a written request to the Office of the Provost.  This request must include the earlier requests to the Director and the Dean, their decisions, and any rebuttal letters the faculty member wishes to submit.  After the Office of the Provost reviews these materials, a final decision will be made and no further requests will be considered during that academic year.

A favorable recommendation for the salary increase must be approved by the Provost’s Office as part of the “discretionary salary increase pool” referenced in the collective bargaining agreement.  For more information on market equity, see http://hr.ufl.edu/wp-content/uploads/docs/UFF_articles/24_article.pdf

Adoption of the ByLaws

The adoption of these by‐laws shall be by a majority vote of members of the core faculty.

Amending the ByLaws

AASP by‐laws can be amended by a two‐thirds vote of eligible faculty.  Faculty members may request a vote by secret ballot on the by-laws.

AASP faculty members have the responsibility of reading the current by-laws, familiarizing themselves of their content, and understanding the mission and goals of the African American Studies Program and the University of Florida before they begin a process of revising them.

The AASP faculty and the Director must develop, maintain, and revise its bylaws.  Information in the bylaws pertaining to tenure, promotion, merit salary increases, market equity salary increases, and performance evaluations must be approved in a secret-ballot vote by a majority of all affected faculty. The proposed bylaws shall be forwarded for approval to the dean. If the director and the other faculty are unable to reach agreement on an issue, both the director’s proposal on that issue and the proposal approved by a majority of the faculty shall be submitted to the dean.

By-laws amended on August 28, 2017.