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CONSTITUTION OF THE COLLEGE FORUM

Adopted: May, 1991

Amended: May, 1994
Amended: October, 1996
Amended: October 6, 1998
Amended: December 1, 1998
Amended: May, 2001
Amended: April, 2002
Amended: May, 2003
Amended: September, 2003
Amended: November, 2003
Amended: April, 2005
 

PREFACE
In 1988, the College initiated a new Governance Structure in order to maximize participation in collegial decision-making.  The following structure was put into place for a two-year trial period, subject to the approval of the voting constituencies, i.e., administration, faculty, and staff.  The Constitution of the College Forum was approved and adopted in spring, 1991.
 
Article I.  Charter and Function 
 

Charter:  The Forum shall be the main forum for discussion and debate of widely shared concerns and policies supporting the educational mission of the college.  It serves as the instrument for communicating the will of the college community to the President.

Function:     

  1. The Forum may consider and may act upon any issue of collegial concern, excluding issues governed by negotiated contracts.
  2. Any member of the Forum, including the Steering Committee and College President, may submit items for Forum consideration and action.
  3. Recommendations that are ratified by the College Forum shall be forwarded to the College President and/or other administrators, as determined by the Steering Committee.
  4. The College Forum shall serve as a structure to facilitate the College’s long term and strategic planning.  The Forum Chair and Steering Committee shall work with the College President and other executives in staffing planning committees, as they are needed.  College Forum meetings shall provide opportunities for discussing issues concerning the direction of the College.
     

Article II.  Membership, meetings, Voting, and Officers 

Forum Membership:     The College Forum shall include all constituencies of the College community.  The constituencies of the College Forum are 1) Full-time Faculty, 2) Administrators, 3) Staff, 4) Full-time Students, 5) Part-time Faculty, 6) Part-time Academic Students, 7) Part-time Permanent Staff, and 8) Staff Personnel from privatized companies working at the college.

Forum Meetings:

  1. The College Forum shall hold regularly scheduled monthly meetings.
  2. The Chairperson and/or the Vice-Chairperson of the College Forum may schedule meetings of “important concern” at times other than those set aside for regularly scheduled meetings.
  3. Before the Chairperson and/or the Vice-Chairperson of the College Forum calls a meeting of “important concern,” he or she will consult with the Steering Committee of the College Forum.
  4. Robert’s Rules of Order shall govern all proceedings of the College Forum.  Exception: Items introduced under New Business may not be voted on at that meeting unless three-fourths (3/4) of those present in the relevant voting constituency or constituencies vote to do so.
  5. There shall be one Parliamentarian appointed by the Chairperson of the College Forum at the beginning of the Chairperson’s term.  (Moved from #4 to be a separate item.)
  6. The agenda for the College Forum will include a report of any Steering Committee actions taken since the last Forum meeting.
  7. The role of the Chairperson of the Forum is to:
    • Preside at all meetings of the College Forum.
    • Preside as Chair of the Steering Committee.
    • Break a tie vote on matters before the Forum and Steering Committee.
    • With approval from the Steering Committee, serve on appropriate College-wide committees.
  8. In the absence of the Chairperson, the Vice-Chairperson assumes the duties of the Chairperson.

Forum Voting:

  1. Voting constituencies shall be full-time faculty, staff and administrators and, part-time faculty who have taught at least three consecutive semesters at the College.  All attending members of the voting constituencies may vote on all proposals.  Members are encouraged to abstain if they believe that they do not have an informed opinion about the proposal.  If the Steering Committee determines it appropriate for the vote on a proposal, the votes of each constituency shall be tallied and reported separately to the President.
  2. All Students, Part-time Permanent Staff, and Privatized Staff Personnel shall have a voice but not a vote.
  3. The Chairperson may not vote except to break a tie.
  4. A quorum is established when forty (40) voting members are present.
  5. An abstention will be counted as a non-vote, rather than a negative vote. 

Officers:

  1. There shall be a Chairperson, a Vice-Chairperson, and a Secretary.
  2. The Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson shall be elected by the voting constituencies to serve a term of two (2) years. The Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson’s terms of service shall be staggered.  The members of the College Forum shall elect the Secretary for a one (1) year term.  The election of officers of the Forum shall take place in the spring semester and they shall assume office in May.
    • If the Chairperson or Vice-Chairperson is unable to complete his or her term of office, the position(s) shall be filled by a special election by the voting constituencies.  The Interim Chairperson or Interim Vice-Chairperson shall complete the original term(s) of office, so that their respective terms continue to be staggered.
  3. The positions of Chair and Vice-Chair shall be open to all full-time members of the faculty, staff or administration except the President and his Executive Staff. (Currently the Executive Staff consists of the three Vice President and the Deans.) 
    • To be eligible an employee must have worked at RVCC for at least 5 years. 
    • The candidate for Chair must have served a minimum of one term on a Forum committee.
  4. The President shall assign a staff person to perform clerical duties for the Officers of the College Forum on an as-needed basis.
  5. Officers of the College Forum will consult with the President and Vice Presidents regularly to identify issues of concern to the Forum.
  6. Officers of the Forum (as well as members of the Steering Committee) may be removed from office for just cause and according to the procedures established in Robert’s Rules of Order.
  7. The Vice-Chairperson, as chairperson of the nominating committee, shall be responsible for all nominations and elections that come under the purview of the College Forum.
  8. The Chairperson of the Forum shall be the chairperson of the Steering Committee.
  9. The Chairperson of the Forum may attend meetings of the College administrative decision-making and advisory groups when items related to the College Forum are being considered.

 

Article III.  The Steering Committee: Charter, Function, and Membership 

Charter: Te Steering Committee is the coordinating body of the College Forum and as such reports to the Forum.  An issue of concern may be brought to the Steering Committee from anyone in the college community by written or spoken communication with any of the Steering Committee members.  The Steering Committee will determine, in a timely manner, the disposition of issues brought before it.  Should the Steering Committee decide not to address an issue or request, it shall provide a written rationale to the Forum member.

Function:      

  1. The Steering Committee may direct a specific issue to one of the seven (7) standing committees (Academic Standards, Administrative/Staff Development, Community Life, Committee of the Faculty, Curriculum, Educational Policy, and Faculty Development), with written instructions detailing the charge to the committee and a suggested time frame for completion.  The Steering Committee may elect to send issues to administrators or to the floor of the College Forum for general discussion.
  2. The Steering Committee may create an ad-hoc committee to address issues, which, in its judgment, cannot fit into any other categories.  The creation of any ad-hoc committee must be accompanied by a written charge detailing its responsibilities and the time frame within which the recommendation is to be forwarded to the College Forum and/or the appropriate administrative office.
  3. The President of the College may request a meeting of the Steering Committee when timeliness of a decision contravenes the use of the normal decision-making process.
  4. The Steering Committee shall assist the Vice-Chairperson in the nomination and election of the a) officers and Steering Committee members of the College Forum, and b) the elected members of the standing and ad-hoc-in-being committees.
  5. The Steering Committee shall be responsible for the staffing of all standing non-elective committees by the end of April.
  6. The Steering Committee shall review and revise charter and membership requirements of all standing committees where such a review and revision is deemed warranted.
  7. The Steering Committee shall gather, in a timely fashion, the minutes of all committees, as well as its own minutes and the minutes of the College Forum, in the library for the purpose of public access.

Membership:  Each member of the Steering Committee must have completed a minimum of two years full-time experience at the College.  In addition to the Chair, Vice-Chair, and Secretary, the Steering Committee shall have six members:  one senior administrator (Director or above), one junior administrator (below Director), one senior faculty (Full or Associate Professor), one junior faculty member (Assistant Professor or below) and two staff, at least one of whom must have completed a minimum of three years of service.

The Chairperson and the Vice-Chairperson of the College Forum will serve as Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson of the Steering Committee.  Other members of the Steering Committee will be selected in a college-wide election.

 

Article IV.  Committees

College committees shall be staffed by and responsible to the Steering Committee with the exception of: 1) task forces which are established by the President or his/her representative with notification to the Forum Chairperson 2) committees required by law, grants, contracts, etc. 3) housekeeping committees 4) elected committees, 5) departmental committees and 6) the subcommittees of any such committee.  Any constituent member may request the formation of a committee by addressing such a request to the Steering Committee.  The Steering Committee’s response shall be governed by item 2 under Steering Committee: Function.

All standing committee members shall have staggered terms.  The Steering Committee shall make every effort to rotate the membership of all standing committees to strike a balance between rotation and continuity of the membership.

The seven standing committees will keep the Steering Committee informed of the actions they take by forwarding their minutes.  The Steering Committee may elect to send specific charges to the committees, in which case they will report directly back to the Steering Committee.                  

Except where noted in committee descriptions, committee chairs shall be appointed by the Steering Committee, subject to ratification by the committee to be chaired. Except in unusual circumstances, a committee chair should be selected from members who are in at least their second year of service on that committee.

Committee chairs are elected or appointed for one-year terms, beginning in May.

The Chairpersons of the standing, ad-hoc, and ad-hoc-in-being committees shall be responsible for the following:

  1. The timely and efficient function of such committees.
  2. Seeing that reporting requirements are met in a timely manner, including an accurate account of attendance and absence of committee members and minutes from meetings.
  3. Attending a minimum of one Steering Committee meeting per month (in which a Forum meeting takes place) to report to that group.

It shall be the responsibility of the Steering Committee to see that members of standing committees are removed after three unexcused absences.  It shall be the further responsibility of the Steering Committee to replace removed members.

Any committee may form sub-committees on its own authority.

  • Academic Standards Committee

    Function:   This committee serves as a review, advisory, and recommending body in matters concerning the academic standards of the College.  These matters include the procedures for dealing with students with low achievement, academic criteria for continued financial aid eligibility, special circumstances affecting the calculation of grade-point average, matriculation and non-matriculation issues, and criteria for the awarding of a degree. It reports to the Senior Vice-President for Academic Affairs.               

    Membership:  Membership includes, one academic dean, the Director of Advising and Counseling/Associate Dean of Student Affairs, the Director of Special Education Services, and the Registrar, five members of the teaching faculty, at least two of whom are tenured (librarians are included in this category), and one Counselor who is appointed by the Steering Committee.  A representative of Financial Aid is a non-voting member.  This committee will be chaired by a member of the faculty or administration with a minimum of 3 years of experience at the College.
  • Administrative/Staff Development Committee

    Function: This committee makes recommendations concerning professional development activities for administrators and staff.

    Membership: Membership includes two administrators and two support staff members appointed by the Steering Committee and the Director of Human Resources.  The Director of Human Resources will chair the committee.
  • Committee of the Faculty

    Function: This committee serves as a review, advisory and recommending body in matters affecting the classroom and the educational mission of the college. It reports to the Senior Vice-President of Academic Affairs.

    Membership:   Membership shall be comprised of all full-time teaching faculty including counselors and librarians. A tenured faculty member will chair the committee.
  • Community Life Committee

    Function: This committee considers, makes recommendations, and implements policies relevant to the general health, welfare, and safety of the college employees and students, and the environment of the college campus.

    Membership:  Membership includes three faculty, two administrators, two staff, and two students appointed by the Steering Committee. This committee will be chaired by a member of the faculty or administration with a minimum of 2 years of experience at the College.
  • Curriculum Committee

    Function: This committee serves as a review, advisory, and recommending body in matters dealing with review or revisions of, additions to, or deletions from credit courses and programs of study. It reports to the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs.

    Membership:  Membership shall be comprised of elected representatives from each academic department, Advising and Counseling Services and the Library.  Members will be elected in April and assume place on the committee in May. All full-time teaching faculty and librarians who have completed at least two years of service and members of Advising and Counseling Department Services are eligible to serve.  Except in the case when a member completes another member’s 2-year term, faculty members shall not serve consecutive terms on this committee.  One student representing the student body shall be appointed to serve a one-year term.  Non-voting members are one or more academic deans, Associate Dean of Student Affairs, and Registrar.  The Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs will chair the committee.  The Chair will appoint a non-voting secretary.
  • Educational Policy Committee

    Function: This committee considers and recommends college policies and procedures concerning teaching and learning in the classroom.  These issues include but are not limited to the grading system and grading practices, tests and examinations, and the attendance policy.

    Membership:  Membership includes five members of the teaching faculty at least two of whom are tenured (librarians are included in this category), one counselor or administrator from Advising and Counseling Services, one administrator from Corporate and Continuing Education, and one or more academic deans appointed by the Steering Committee. The chair will be a tenured faculty member.
  • Faculty Development Committee

    Function: This committee plans, develops, and implements professional development programming for the fulltime faculty.

    Membership:  Membership includes six full-time faculty and one administrator appointed by the Steering Committee. The Coordinator of CAITL serves as chair of the committee, which reports to the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs.
  • Ad-Hoc Committees

    Function:  Ad-Hoc committees are formed as needed and shall have a limited duration.  The number, charter, and duration are determined by the Steering Committee (Steering Committee, Function 2.)

    Membership:  Appointments by the Steering Committee are made on the basis of responsibility, expertise, and accountability.
  • Ad-Hoc Committees In-Being

    The Ethics Committee and the Student Conduct Hearing Board are Ad-Hoc Committees In-Being.  These committees, when formed, meet once to clarify their roles and elect a chair and then remain ready for service.

    Membership of the Ethics Committee: Seven members of the full-time faculty are elected by the full-time faculty to serve rotating 2-year terms.

    Membership of the Student Conduct Hearing Board: The Steering Committee shall appoint one member of the faculty, one member of the staff and one member of the administration to rotating 2-year terms. Two students shall be appointed each year to serve one-year terms.

 

Article V.  Timeliness

The Forum and all committees shall be obligated to handle all business before them in a timely manner.  Agenda items for the Forum shall be submitted no later than five (5) working days prior to a scheduled meeting.  The final agenda shall be distributed at least three (3) working days before a scheduled meeting.

 

Article VI.  Changes to Governance Structure

The Steering Committee shall recommend changes, revisions, and deletions in the governance structure.  This committee shall determine the best method for dealing with any problems that arise with the governance structure.  The College Forum shall be responsible for the final determination of any changes in the governance structure including the method of voting on such changes.

Proposed amendments to the Forum constitution shall be reviewed by the Steering Committee.  Amendments will be presented at the Forum meeting with written copies made available.  At a subsequent meeting, the vote will be taken with all constituencies voting.  Two-thirds of the votes cast are required for adoption.

 

Article VII.  Nomination and Election Process

Nomination:  The Nominating Committee will consist of the senior administrator, faculty, and staff members of the Steering Committee with the Vice-Chairperson as chair.  It shall be their duty to recruit candidates for all elected positions under the purview of the College Forum.  The selection of candidates should be governed by the principles of competence, merit and experience and with the intent, in so far as possible, to constantly expand the participatory base of the Forum.  In the case of the officers and Steering Committee members of the College Forum, it is desirable but not necessary to have at least two candidates for each position.  When elected, the Chairperson and the Vice-Chairperson shall serve with the Steering Committee as non-voting members until they assume their full duties in May.

Election Process:   The Nominating Committee will conduct all elections that come under the purview of the College Forum.


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