Loyola University Chicago

Department of English

Department Bylaws

Last Revised April 2012


A. Membership

The department consists of voting members and non-voting members. Voting members in the Department of English are the full-time faculty of the department, with the exception of visiting members. (But see I-D.) The non-voting members are members emeriti of the department, visiting department members, adjunct professors, senior lecturers, lecturers, graduate assistants, doctoral students, M.A. students, honors students, undergraduate majors and other students taking upper-division and lower-division English courses. Non-voting members are encouraged to present their views to the chairperson, the assistant chairperson, the program directors, and the members of the department council, since these officers and representatives want always to work with a full knowledge of the opinions and wishes of all members of the department. Members who would normally be classified as voting members, but who are on leave or on remote assignment, may vote at meetings when they are physically present, but are not counted in the determination of quorums unless they are physically present. When, however, the matter is considered by the chairperson to be of sufficient importance that all voting members should be involved in the voting, then ballots shall be sent to absent members.

B. Responsibility

The voting members of the department have the responsibility, either by their direct action as a group, or through the Department Council, of helping to form academic policy and procedure of the department on the undergraduate level, and on the graduate level if they are members of the graduate faculty. The voting members of the department have the right of review, on petition of one-third of the voting membership, on matters which affect the department as a whole. The voting members at the professor, associate professor and assistant professor ranks also take part in the election of the Department Council.

C. Administration

The faculty handbook stipulates that the chairperson (see II.F) is the administrative head of the department. The other officers, appointed by the chairperson, are: (1) assistant chairperson; (2) director of graduate programs; (3) director of undergraduate programs; (4) director of writing programs.

D. Meetings

The English department meets at least four times each year, and as often beyond this as is deemed necessary or advisable by the chairperson, or as requested by the Department Council, or by one-third of the voting members. The meetings may be of the whole faculty or of a segment representing a definable interest or responsibility, such as the graduate faculty, the faculty who teach the undergraduate majors, etc. At meetings devoted to graduate programs, members of the graduate faculty and two duly elected representatives of the English Graduate Student Association are eligible to attend, participate, and vote. At meetings devoted to the undergraduate programs, the following individuals are eligible to attend, participate and vote: all full-time members of the Department of English at Loyola, and two duly elected undergraduate student representatives.

Meetings are presided over by the chairperson, or a representative, who follows Robert's Rules of Order. Minutes of these meetings are kept and copies are furnished to members of the department as well as to the appropriate officers of the university. Agenda for each meeting are prepared and distributed to the members at least one week before each meeting. Major business cannot be voted upon if it is not on the agenda. At meetings of committees detailed in the bylaws or others that may be established, participation is restricted to those members who are duly appointed to those committees by the chairperson of the department.


A. Chairperson

The section of the faculty handbook relating to "The Departmental Chairperson" is automatically an operative part of the bylaws. Particularly to be noted for the chairperson of the Department of English is the following statement of duties: (1) to act as executive and administrative head of the department and to coordinate the various activities of the directors and committees; (2) to encourage excellence in teaching, research, and publication; (3) to supervise elections of members to the department council; (4) to consult with the Department Council, as well as other department members, relative to department policy and action; (5) to appoint the department officers; (6) to appoint the members of the various department committees, and to see that no one individual is over-burdened with such committee work; (7) to appoint the teachers of English courses on both the graduate and undergraduate level, and to consult the appropriate deans concerning times and places of the various courses; (8) to prepare the schedule of classes with the assistance of the assistant chairperson and the directors; (9) to consult teachers as to their preference in regard to courses, days, hours and campuses, and to attempt to see that preferences are honored as far as is consonant with the needs of the department and the means at his or her disposal; (10) to make recommendations to the deans and to the Committee on Faculty Appointments, with the advice of the Department Council, regarding dismissals and, in accordance with the guidelines on promotion and tenure, regarding promotions and tenure, and to make recommendations for salary increments, leaves of absence, and grants in aid; (11) to make recommendations to the deans, after soliciting advice at a meeting of the voting members of the department and after consulting with the directors on the needs of the department's programs, on positions to be filled; (12) to serve as the normal channel of communication on department matters between the department and various deans, the provost, and the president, as well as other university officers; (13) to prepare, with the advice of the department council, the department budget, and to disburse the funds received; (14) to appoint one member of the department as coordinator for all matters which concern the library and the purchase by the library of books in the field, and take whatever other steps may be useful in fostering library acquisitions in the field; (15) to keep all department records and correspondence; (16) to perform whatever other duties may be necessary for the efficient functioning of the Department of English.

B. Assistant Chairperson

The function of the assistant chairperson is to preside at department meetings during the absence of the chairperson and to perform other duties which may be assigned by the chairperson. The assistant chairperson may also serve as a director.

C. Director of Graduate Programs

The duties of the director of graduate programs take in such matters as the promotion and development of the graduate programs, the admission of graduate students to the department, the advising of students, and the processing of applications for assistantships. The director consults with the Committee on Graduate Programs on matters of policy and procedure and forwards the committee's decisions to the chairperson, who will then bring them to the attention of the Department Council or the graduate faculty.

D. Director of Undergraduate Programs

The director of undergraduate programs oversees the undergraduate advising program, the English honors program, and all other aspects of the major and minor. In addition, the director chairs the committee on undergraduate programs, which advises the chairperson and the department on the proper structure and content of the major and the minor and on the department's core offerings. Working in cooperation with the dean's office, the director approves majors for graduation; and at the end of each academic year the director oversees the granting of departmental awards. The director will ordinarily meet once a year with the undergraduate majors to exchange views on common problems, to conduct workshops, or to discuss the students' professional development.

E. Director of Writing Programs

The director of writing programs is concerned with all matters which relate to composition courses in English. The director, with the assistance of the Committee on Writing Programs, recommends the syllabi and texts of the composition courses.


A. Membership

The Department Council consists of seven members elected as follows: two professors, one associate professor, and one assistant professor, elected by their peers at those ranks; one professor, one associate professor, and one assistant professor, elected at large by all the voting members of the department. All members of the department of the rank of assistant professor and above are eligible for election to the council, except the assistant chairperson, the director of graduate programs, the director of undergraduate programs, the director of writing programs, and individuals holding administrative positions in the university on a full-time basis.

Elections to the council are by mail ballot. Eligible voters indicate a first and second choice for each position to be filled, and the votes are counted so that a first choice is awarded two votes and a second choice one vote. (The professors electing two members from their ranks indicate four choices in order of preference, and the votes are counted so that a first choice receives four votes, a second three, a third two, and a fourth one.) The candidates with the highest totals for each position are elected.

Elections to the council are normally held in the spring, and elected members assume office at the start of the next academic year. Terms of the elected members are two years each, staggered so that the members chosen by their peers and the members chosen at large are elected in alternate years. If an elected member is unable to serve, or is promoted, another member is chosen by by-election to serve the unexpired portion of the term. Members of the council are eligible for re-election.

B. Meetings

The Department Council meets at least once a semester, but it may meet more frequently at the request of the chairperson, or of any three members of the council. The chairperson distributes agenda some days prior to each meeting and normally presides at these meetings. In the absence of the chairperson of the department, the senior member of the council presides. Whether minutes are kept of any specific meeting is determined by the council itself.

C. Policy

The Department Council advises the chairperson of the department on all matters of policy and procedure that are of concern to the Department of English. Among the matters which the department council may consider are: (1) budget (the operating budget exclusive of salaries, the equitable distribution of travel expenditures, etc.); (2) the work of the various committees in the department; (3) faculty morale; (4) faculty loads; (5) harmonious functioning of the department; (6) relations with other departments; (7) relations with other universities; (8) use of institutes, workshops, etc.; (9) sponsoring of speakers, contests, clubs, etc.; (10) complaints of English department members; (11) effective use of graduate assistants; (12) any other matters which the council deems necessary for the welfare of the Department of English and its members.

The Department Council also concerns itself with personnel, making recommendations for tenure and promotion in rank, as detailed in the guidelines on promotion and tenure. When there is a question of hiring a faculty member with tenure or at the rank of associate professor or professor, the chairperson solicits the opinions of the full membership of the Department Council either by mail or by convening a meeting. No vote is taken.


Department members are appointed to committees by the chairperson.

A. The Committee on Writing Programs

The Committee on Writing Programs is composed of at least seven members. At least four of its members are full-time faculty engaged in teaching writing, including at least one instructor or assistant professor of writing; one is a part-time instructor; one is the Director of the Writing Centers; and one is another graduate assistant.

The director of writing programs serves as chairperson of this committee. The committee is responsible for all matters related to writing courses.

B. The Committee on Undergraduate Programs

The Committee on Undergraduate Programs is composed of at least seven members. At least one member is an undergraduate student. The director of undergraduate programs chairs the committee. The members of the committee discuss matters pertinent to both the core curriculum and the undergraduate major and minor.

C. The Committee on Graduate Programs

The Committee on Graduate Programs is composed of at least seven members. At least one member is a graduate student. The director of graduate programs chairs the committee. The members of the committee discuss policies, procedures, admissions and other matters pertinent to the graduate programs.

D. Other Committees

From time to time the chairperson establishes other committees to meet specific department needs.

E. Graduate Student Association

All graduate students are automatically members of the English Graduate Student Association, which shall determine an apparatus to select a governing Board. The EGSA membership shall meet from time to time to discuss mutual concerns and to plan EGSA-sponsored activities.


When it is learned that the position of chairperson of the department will become vacant, the provost conducts a survey of faculty sentiment regarding whether the next chairperson shall come from within or without. At the same time the chairperson calls a meeting of the full-time members of the department to discuss the same question. The results of this meeting are communicated to the provost for his or her consideration.

Should a decision be made to open the search for a new chairperson to persons outside the department, the dean of the college establishes guidelines for the creation of a search committee.

Should a decision be made to choose a new chairperson from within the department, the provost, or the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, solicits from the faculty, individually, their choices of candidates for the position.

At the same time, the chairperson conducts a preliminary mail poll among full-time members to secure nominations. A meeting is then held of all full-time members at which the candidates present their views to the department. No vote is taken at this meeting. The chairperson then submits the names of the candidates to the full-time members in a mail ballot. Each member is asked to vote for up to three candidates in order of preference. The votes are counted so that a first choice receives three votes, a second choice two votes, a third choice one vote. The results of this vote are communicated to the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, the dean of the Graduate School, the provost, and the full-time members of the department.

After consultation with the full-time members of the department and the appropriate deans, the provost appoints a department chairperson.


The guidelines on promotion and tenure shall be considered part of the bylaws of the Department of English.  The non-tenure track promotion and retention policy shall also be considered part of the bylaws of the Department of English.

In addition, the Department conducts a preliminary review of candidates for tenure as follows:

During the third year as an assistant professor, a candidate shall have a preliminary review of his or her progress towards tenure. The review is conducted by the tenured members of the department and of the Department Council to determine whether the faculty member is making appropriate professional progress towards the final tenure review. The preliminary review is advisory to the candidate and to the chairperson, the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and the provost.

For faculty hired at the rank of associate professor and coming up for tenure in their third year, no preliminary review will be conducted. If the probationary period agreed upon at the time of hiring is longer than three years, a preliminary review will be conducted during the faculty member's third year.

For the preliminary review, a candidate for tenure will be asked to supply a letter discussing his or her teaching, service, and research and scholarship or creative work; a curriculum vitae; copies of all published work and works in progress that are ready for review. These will be examined by the tenured members, by the Department Council, and by the chairperson.

On the basis of the review, the chairperson will discuss with the candidate his or her progress toward meeting the departmental requirements for tenure. The chairperson shall also send a written summary of the evaluation to the faculty member and to the dean. This statement becomes part of the candidate's departmental file. The dean also provides the chairperson and the candidate with his or her own recommendation.


The bylaws may be amended by two-thirds of the voting members of the department. A proposed amendment cannot be voted upon at the meeting at which it is introduced. Amendments to the guidelines on promotion and tenure may be proposed in writing by any voting member and become effective when approved by two thirds of the voting members of the department, and when ratified by the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and the provost.