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Honors Council Bylaws

1. Preamble

The University Honors Council (hereafter “Honors Council”) is a body of faculty, administrators and students responsible for providing academic and specialist advice and guidance on matters including curriculum, pedagogy, programs, governance, educational philosophy, and assessment to the Director of the University Honors College (hereafter “the Honors College”) at the University at Buffalo, SUNY (hereafter “the University.”) The members of the Honors Council affirm their commitment to collegiality as the most effective basis upon which to manage the affairs of and maintain excellence in the Honors College. These Bylaws of the Honors Council are to be interpreted in this light.

2. Definitions

“Voting member(s)” shall include all members of the Honors Council — elected and appointed — as listed in section 3 (below).

3. Composition of the University Honors Council

The Honors Council shall be composed of:

The Director of the Honors College shall serve as Chair of the Honors Council.

4. Appointment and Election of Members to the Honors Council

  1. The Director of the Honors College shall, in consultation, select faculty members to serve on the Honors Council, following, wherever possible, recommendations from the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and the requisite University Deans.
  2. The election of Honors Scholars and Advanced Honors Scholars shall be coordinated by the Honors Student Council in collaboration with the Director and Administrative Director. The election for all three student members shall take place during the fall semester. In the event that a student member of the Honors Council is unable to complete his or her term, an additional election shall be held to fill the vacancy.
  3. The Director shall appoint the alumni representatives in consultation with the Chair of the Alumni and Development Committee (see Sec. 8D, below.)

5. Eligibility for Membership on the Honors Council

  1. Faculty members shall be tenured or tenure-track, with a strong record of involvement in undergraduate education at the University beyond regular classroom teaching.
  2. Honors and Advanced Honors Scholars must be current members in good standing of the Honors College.
  3. Alumnus/alumna members must demonstrate an on-going engagement with the well being of the Honors College.

6. Term of Office on the Honors Council

  1. The term of office for faculty members shall begin immediately following their selection or at such time as the Director may choose. A faculty member shall serve for a term of three years. Faculty members are eligible for reappointment only after a subsequent period of three years has elapsed. The appointment of faculty to the Honors Council shall be staggered to provide a combination of new and continuing faculty members.
  2. The term of office for Honors Scholars elected as members of the Honors Council shall be one year effective immediately following their election, with the possibility for re-appointment for a second year. Student members who have served a full two-year term may not be re-elected.

7. Governance

  1. There shall be at least one meeting of the Honors Council each semester.
  2. Notice of a meeting of the Honors Council must be distributed at least five working days in advance of the meeting.
  3. An agenda for a meeting of the Honors Council must be distributed at least 48 hours in advance of the meeting. Items may be added to the agenda of the meeting by the vote of a simple majority of those present at the meeting.
  4. No matters or items shall be acted upon finally at any meeting of the Honors Council unless such matters of items appear on the announced agenda of the meeting. Emergency items, however, as defined by the Chair of the Honors Council, may be acted upon finally even if they do not appear in the announced agenda.
  5. For the purpose of voting in the Honors Council, a quorum shall consist of one-third of all resident members of the Honors Council. For the purpose of this calculation, the term “resident members” excludes members of the Honors Council who are on leave, or other activity requiring prolonged absence (such as study abroad.) No business may be conducted when a quorum is not present. In such an eventuality, the Director shall set a time and place for another meeting.
  6. Honors Council meeting minutes shall be taken by a staff member and promptly circulated to all members of the Honors Council thereafter.
  7. A meeting of the Honors Council may be called by a petition of 30% of its members. The petition shall state the action to be considered. The time, day, date, and location of the meeting shall be determined in consultation with the Chair. The petition may call for the meeting to be held in executive session restricted to faculty. Copies of the petition, including the names of the petitioners shall be provided to all members of the Honors Council at least ten days in advance of the meeting; no other matter shall be considered. Unless specified otherwise in the petition, the meeting shall be chaired by the Chair. If the petition proposes a chair, the first order of business shall be to confirm the proposed chair by majority vote; if the proposed chair is not confirmed, the meeting shall adjourn.

8. Standing and Ad Hoc Committees

The following Committees shall be constituted on an annual basis and report directly to the Honors Council with recommendations:

  1. Admissions Committee: The Admissions Committee is responsible for reviewing student applications to the College and interviewing prospective students. The Committee should ideally consist of:
    • Staff members with principal responsibility for Admissions, Co-Chairs
    • Director of the Honors College
    • Administrative Director
    • Sixteen tenured or tenure-track faculty chosen to broadly represent the units of the University. Faculty may be also members of the Honors Council, although this is not necessary.
    • Two alumni of the Honors College
  2. Fellowships and Scholarships Committee: The Fellowships and Scholarships Committee is responsible for reviewing student applications for the Fellowships and Scholarships administered internally by the College. The Committee should ideally consist of:
    • Staff member with principal responsibility for Fellowships and Scholarships, Chair
    • Director of the Honors College
    • Administrative Director
    • Five tenured or tenure-track faculty chosen to broadly represent the units of the University. Faculty may be also members of the Honors Council, although this is not necessary.
    • Two alumni of the Honors College

    The Chair of the Fellowships and Scholarships Committee shall in addition have responsibility for assembling those committees necessary to administer applications to fellowships and scholarships external to the Honors College.

  3. Grade Review and Progress Committee: The Grade Review and Progress Committee is responsible for commissioning, collecting, collating and reviewing all information pertaining to the progress and assessment of Honors Scholars, and preparing an annual report for the Honors Council. The Committee should ideally consist of:
    • Director of the Honors College
    • Administrative Director
    • Honors College advisors
    • Five tenured or tenure-track faculty chosen to broadly represent the units of the University. Faculty may be also members of the Honors Council, although this is not necessary.
  4. Alumni and Development Committee: The Alumni and Development Committee is responsible for Alumni relations and development activities on behalf of the College. The Committee should ideally consist of:
    • Staff member with principal responsibility for Alumni Relations and Development, Chair
    • Director of the Honors College
    • Administrative Director
    • Three Alumni of the Honors College
    • Two current students of the Honors College

9. Parliamentary Authority

Meetings and elections of the Honors Council will be governed by Robert’s Rules of Order, latest edition, except as otherwise provided by these Bylaws, the Standing Orders and Bylaws of the Voting Faculty of the University. 

10. Ratification and Amendment Procedures

  1. Ratification of these bylaws will require a two-thirds vote of the voting members, provided the new bylaws are made available at least a week in advance. Such ratification can occur via electronic note and must be received within a week of initial distribution.
  2. All alterations and additions to the bylaws will require a two-thirds vote of the voting members, provided a week’s notice is given in writing of the proposed changes.
  3. The Director shall appoint an ad hoc committee to review the bylaws at least once every five years.

11. Compatibility and Separability

These bylaws shall be compatible with and subordinate to the University at Buffalo’s Bylaws of the Voting Faculty, the authority and policies of the Council of the State University of New York at Buffalo, the authority and policies of the Trustees of the State University of New York, and the laws of the State University of New York and the United States of America. If any portion of these Bylaws is adjudged by any court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, such judgments shall not invalidate the remainder thereof.

Last updated: August 04, 2017 12:26 pm EST