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Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology & Special Education

Department Bylaws

(Approved February 13, 2006)


The Department is an administrative unit of the College of Education of the University. It offers graduate programs leading to the followingdegrees: M.A. in Counseling; M.A. in Educational Technology; Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and Educational Technology; Ph.D. in Measurement and Quantitative Methods; M.A. and Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Counseling; M.A., Ed.S. and Ph.D. in School Psychology; and M.A. and Ph.D. in Special Education. It also offers K-12 teaching endorsements in Special Education.

These Bylaws of the Department are adopted to meet the special needs and concerns of the faculty of the Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology, and Special Education, to facilitate communication within the Department and between the Department and other University agencies and personnel, and to enable and regulate the orderly participation of the members of the Department in meeting its responsibility for curriculum and other matters properly within the purview of the Department.  They are intended to respond to the requirements of the Bylaws for Academic Governance, Michigan State University, and the Bylaws of the Faculty of the College of Education.

Upon adoption of these bylaws by the faculty of the Department, they shall take immediate effect, and shall supersede all existing Departmental policies, written or unwritten, that may be in conflict with these bylaws.


1.1 Composition of Department Faculty
  1. 1.1.1 The regular faculty of the Department shall consist of all persons appointed under the rules of tenure, holding the rank of professor, associate professor, assistant professor, and whose regularly funded positions are exclusively within the Department. 
  2. 1.1.2 The fixed term faculty of the Department shall consist of all persons holding the rank of professor, associate professor, assistant professor, or instructor who are not appointed under the rules of tenure, but whose full-time, regularly funded positions are exclusively within the Department.
  3. 1.1.3 The jointly appointed faculty shall consist of regular and fixed term faculty members appointed to regularly funded positions within the Department and in one or more other departments or agencies of the University for the benefit of each and with a commitment by each to continuing financial support.  The member under joint appointment is listed on the official roster of each department or agency, and her/his services and remuneration are allocated according to a plan agreed upon by the faculty member and the chairpersons of the departments involved.
  4. 1.1.4 The adjunct faculty shall consist of persons whose professional position, qualifications, and interests make some relationship with the Department desirable, and whose primary responsibility and income is outside the Department. Adjunct appointments are usually without salary, and for a maximum period of three years.  Reappointment is at the discretion of the Department.
  5. 1.1.5 The affiliate faculty shall include the regular or fixed-term faculty members of the University whose regularly funded appointments are exclusively to some activity or position not within the Department, but whose qualifications and interests make affiliate membership mutually desirable. Affiliate membership carries the expectation to make a regular contribution to the activities of the unit.
1.2 Voting Faculty of the Department
  1. 1.2.1 The voting faculty on matters external to the Department shall be those members of the Department faculty who meet the test of the applicable College and University Faculty Bylaws.
  2. 1.2.2 The voting faculty on matters internal to the Department shall consist of all regular, jointly appointed, and full-time fixed term faculty as defined in Articles 1.1.1, 1.1.2, and 1.1.3.
  3. 1.2.3 Faculty members holding affiliate appointments in the Department may vote on matters internal to the Department during each year when they:
    1. have a regular assignment of at least one-quarter time throughout the academic year; and
    2. are granted voting privileges on internal matters by a two-thirds vote of the voting faculty of the Department.  Voting rights may be granted in recognition of past contributions or of contributions expected in the year in which the vote is taken.  Requests for voting privileges are submitted by the affiliate faculty member to the Personnel Committee (see Article 2.4.2).
  4. 1.2.4 Adjunct and part-time fixed term faculty have no vote in Departmental, College, or University matters.
1.3 Faculty Representatives of the Department
  1. 1.3.1 Only faculty eligible to vote on matters internal to the Department (see Article 1.2) shall represent the faculty on elected or appointed committees of the Department.
  2. 1.3.2 Representatives to College governance bodies shall be regular, fixed term, or jointly appointed faculty as defined in Articles 1.1.1, 1.1.2, and 1.1.3.  Election of these representatives will be supervised by the Department Faculty Advisory Committee. 
  3. 1.3.3 Representatives to University governance bodies shall be regular faculty of the College of Education, as specified in the College Bylaws.
1.4 Faculty Meetings of the Department
  1. 1.4.1 Meetings of the Department shall be open to all faculty of the Department, and to any graduate student actively working in a program of study in the Department, except under the circumstances described in Article 1.4.7.
  2. 1.4.2 Regular meetings of the Department shall be held at least once during fall and spring semesters.  Notice of the schedule of regular meetings shall be given in written form to all the faculty of the Department by electronic mail.
  3. 1.4.3 The Department Chairperson shall preside over regular meetings.  In the absence of the Chairperson, he/she shall appoint a substitute to chair the meeting.
  4. 1.4.4 Agenda and Minutes of meetings of the Department shall be distributed to all the faculty of the Department.
  5. 1.4.5 The presence (physical or electronic) of a majority of all voting faculty currently in residence within the Department shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business at any Department faculty meeting.  If a quorum is not present, issues requiring faculty vote shall be postponed until such time that a quorum can be gathered. For purposes of voting and establishing a quorum, electronic presence is defined by the ability to hear and participate in the meeting in real time.
  6. 1.4.6 With the exceptions of votes on bylaw amendments (see Article 6.3), on extending voting privileges to affiliate faculty (see Article or on decisions to close open meetings (see Article 1.4.7), all matters requiring faculty vote will be decided by a simple majority of the voting faculty in attendance at a regular meeting of the Department.
  7. 1.4.7 Meetings shall be closed to all but members of the voting faculty when discussions of an evaluative nature are scheduled in connection with recommendations for student selection, advancement, or placement; for faculty appointment, assignment, tenure, promotion, or salary, or for other matters that are exclusively of faculty concern, such as, but not restricted to, business of faculty committees.  An open meeting may be adjourned to permit holding of a special closed meeting by the vote of two-thirds of the voting faculty present at such an open meeting.
  8. 1.4.8 Special meetings of the Department may be called by the Chairperson, by the Department Faculty Advisory Committee, or by five voting members of the Department faculty.  Notice of special meetings or of changes in the regularly scheduled meetings shall be given to all faculty in written form at least one week in advance when possible.  Such notice shall set forth the time and place of the meeting as well as the matters to be considered at the meeting.


2.1 Department Chairperson
  1. 2.1.1 The Department Chairperson shall be appointed in accordance with College and University Bylaws and have such powers and responsibilities as set out therein.  Matters regarding review of the Chairperson's performance and her/his reappointment are set forth in Section 2.1.4 of the University Bulletin, Bylaws for Academic Governance.
  2. 2.1.2 The Department Chairperson shall be responsible for the implementation of educational, research, and service functions of the Department.  This responsibility pertains to matters of budget, course scheduling, physical facilities, and personnel (including the appointment of graduate assistants).  In performing these duties, the Department Chairperson shall take into account advice given by all standing committees, program directors, the faculty, and the students of the Department.
  3. 2.1.3 The Department Chairperson shall be an ex officio member of all Department standing committees with voice but not vote.
  4. 2.2 Program Directors.  Program directors are faculty members who represent the department’s degree-granting program areas and fill positions of responsibility with respect to the operation of the Department.
  5. 2.2.1 The Department Chairperson shall appoint program directors with appropriate load assignments and support.
  6. 2.2.2 The term of service for a program directors shall be mutually negotiated by the program directors and the Department Chairperson.
  7. 2.2.3 Temporary or permanent vacancies in a program director position, regardless of cause, shall be filled by a qualified faculty member appointed by the Department Chairperson.
2.3 Department Committee Structure
  1. 2.3.1 Standing and ad hoc committees of the Department shall be formed to facilitate the operation of the Department.  Members on all standing committees except the Student Progress Review Committee shall be elected at large (see Article  Members on ad hoc committees and subcommittees shall be appointed by the Department Chairperson or, when appropriate, by the chairperson of a standing committee of the Department.
  2. 2.3.2 Ad hoc committees may be established by the Department Chairperson or by the chairperson of a standing committee to deal with one-time or recurring problems such as affirmative action, doctoral program quality review, grading standards, and bylaws revision.
  3. 2.3.3 The election of faculty members to serve on standing committees of the Department shall be supervised by the Faculty Advisory Committee and shall take place during spring semester each year.
  4. 2.3.4 The usual term of membership for each elected faculty member of a standing committee shall be two years commencing the fall semester following each spring election, with approximately half of the members of each committee elected each year.
  5. 2.3.5 A temporary or permanent vacancy involving a Department faculty member of any standing committee of the Department or College, for any cause such as illness, sabbatical leave, or conflicting assignment, shall be filled by a qualified faculty member who is appointed to the position for an appropriate period by the Department Faculty Advisory Committee.
  6. 2.3.6 Following spring semester elections, each standing committee shall elect a chairperson from its voting faculty members. 
  7. 2.3.7 The presence (physical or electronic) of a majority of all voting faculty members of any standing or ad hoc committee of the Department shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business at any committee meeting. Unless otherwise specified, a simple majority of votes cast by those present shall provide approval or disapproval of any proposal. For purposes of voting and establishing a quorum, electronic presence is defined by the ability to hear and participate in the meeting in real time.  In cases where discussion is not required, committees may elect to vote asynchronously (by email or telephone).
  8. 2.3.8 Meetings of the Department committees or other faculty groups may be closed to other than their members at any time for the purposes of study, discussion, and formulation of recommendations to the Department faculty.
2.4 Standing Committees of the Department.  The standing committees of the Department shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
  1. 2.4.1 Faculty Advisory Committee
    1. The Faculty Advisory Committee shall consist of five faculty members.
    2. The Faculty Advisory Committee shall assist and advise the Department Chairperson with respect to Department policies and practices.  The Committee shall advise the Department Chairperson on any matter brought to the Committee by the Chairperson.  The Committee may consult with the Chairperson on any matter related to the general welfare of the Department.
    3. The agenda for Faculty Advisory Committee meetings shall be prepared by the Faculty Advisory Committee Chairperson in consultation with the Department Chairperson.  Agenda items may originate with any member of the faculty. 
    4. The Committee shall set up nominating and voting procedures for Department standing committees and for Department representatives to College committees.  The Committee shall fill, by appointment, vacancies involving Department faculty members on standing committees of the Department, College, or University (if requested by those committees).
    5. The Committee shall serve in an advisory capacity to the Department Chairperson regarding recognition of faculty and student achievement.
  2. 2.4.2 Personnel Committee
    1. The Personnel Committee shall consist of five faculty members.
    2. The Committee shall provide evaluative ratings to the Department Chairperson regarding annual individual faculty productivity.  Ratings by the Personnel Committee are advisory to the Chairperson for consideration in annual merit salary adjustments (see Article 3.3).
    3. The Committee shall review cases of faculty concerns regarding personnel policies or actions, and shall make appropriate recommendations.
  3. 2.4.3 Curriculum Committee
    1. The Curriculum Committee shall consist of the two elected departmental representatives to the College Curriculum Committee.
    2. The Committee may invite program coordinators, as well as other faculty members, to work with and inform the Committee about curriculum issues.
    3. Proposals for the development, elimination, or modification of courses, course sequences, or program emphases shall be reviewed and acted upon by the Committee and the Department Chairperson prior to action by the College Curriculum Committee. Curriculum matters with significant import shall be reported to the Department faculty for action prior to submission to the College Curriculum Committee.
    4. Curriculum matters that impinge on other departments within the College will be referred, with recommendations, to the Chairperson of the other department and/or to the appropriate policy committees, e.g., the College Curriculum Committee.
  4. 2.4.4 Student Progress Review Committee
    1. The Student Progress Review Committee (SPRC) shall consist of one member from each doctoral program in the department.  Members shall be nominated to two-year terms by programs and be approved by a vote of the department.
    2. The SPRC shall have responsibility for establishing and implementing policies and procedures for the preliminary examination and comprehensive examinations.


3.1 Appointment of Faculty
  1. 3.1.1 Tenure-stream and full-time fixed term appointments.
    1. The Department policies and procedures shall be in accordance with the University Faculty Handbook, the Handbook for Faculty Searches with Special Reference to Affirmative Action, and subsequent revisions of these documents.
    2. A search committee, established in accordance with university procedures shall give the Department Chairperson its recommendations and a ranking of candidates for campus visitations.
    3. The search committee shall consult with the Department Chairperson to arrange a list of invitees and visitation schedules.
    4. Visitation schedules shall include visits with faculty members in the interest area, the Personnel Committee, administrators, and students.  A public presentation for faculty and students may be included.
    5. The search committee shall seek evaluations from all those meeting with the candidates.
    6. The search committee shall submit its recommendation in the form of a written report to the Department Chairperson.
    7. The Chairperson shall submit his or her recommendation, and the report of the search committee, to the Dean.
  2. 3.1.2 Affiliate and Adjunct faculty membership may be granted by recommendation by a majority vote of the faculty present at a regular meeting of the Department.
  3. 3.1.3 Part-time fixed term appointments of one academic year or less shall be made by the Department Chairperson.
3.2 Reappointment, Promotion, and Tenure Action
  1. 3.2.1 Department policies and procedures for reappointment, promotion, and tenure action shall be in accordance with the University Faculty Handbook  And the College of Education Procedures for Reappointment, Promotion and Tenure Review.
  2. 3.2.2 The Department Personnel Committee shall review the materials submitted by faculty members seeking reappointment,>promotion, or tenure, and make recommendations regarding individual candidates to a meeting of the Department's full professors.
  3. 3.2.3 The full professors’ recommendations for reappointment, promotion, and tenure shall be determined by a majority vote of the full professors present at the meeting.
  4. 3.2.4 The recommendations of the full professors and of the Personnel Committee shall be transmitted to the Department Chairperson for use in the judgments required by College and University policy.
3.3 Salary Increase Recommendations
  1. 3.3.1 During spring semester each year, each faculty member shall submit to the Department Chairperson evidence of performance and merit in the broad areas of teaching, research, and service.   These materials shall be reviewed by the Personnel Committee as described in Article
  2. 3.3.3 The Department Chairperson shall review the recommendations of the Personnel Committee, as well as materials submitted or solicited, interview faculty if necessary, and rate each faculty member's performance for salary purposes.
  3. 3.3.4 The Department Chairperson shall present his or her ratings of each faculty member to that member and shall forward the ratings to the College administration.
  4. 3.3.5 The Department Chairperson with the Personnel Committee shall provide specific written feedback concerning the strengths and weaknesses of their work to all assistant professors, to faculty whose ratings lie below the mean in all areas, and to individual faculty who request it.


4.1 The Faculty Grievance procedure shall be handled in accordance with the University document Model Academic Unit Grievance Procedure.

4.2 Student grievances shall be handled in accordance with the University documents entitled Academic Freedom for Students at Michigan State University and Graduate Students Rights and Responsibilities or subsequent revisions of these documents.


5.1 The Department recognizes the legitimate interests of its students and encourages their involvement in all matters of departmental governance except as specified in the University Bylaws for Academic Governance.

5.2 The student constituency of the Department shall be all students enrolled in a program of study within the Department.

5.3 Prospective student representatives may be nominated by themselves, their peers, by organized student groups, or by faculty, who shall submit the student's name by March 1 to the Department Faculty Advisory Committee for inclusion on the slate for spring Department elections.

5.4 Each year one student representative may be elected to serve on each of the standing committees of the Department.

5.5 Elected student representatives shall be full voting members of these committees with the exception that student representatives will be excluded from meetings when information regarding individual faculty or students is discussed.

5.6 Only students who have passed their comprehensive examinations shall be eligible for election to the Student Progress Review Committee.  The student representative on the Student Progress Review Committee will be excluded from meetings where examination items are discussed and selected.

5.7 Each elected student representative will serve for one year, may be re-elected, but may not serve more than two consecutive terms as a student representative.


6.1 Recommended changes to the bylaws may be proposed by any of the Department's voting faculty, standing committees, or ad hoc committees for consideration and discussion at a regular meeting of the Department.

6.2 Following an open discussion of the recommended change(s), a formal proposal for a bylaw amendment may be subjected to a full faculty vote or referred to an appropriate committee for further study and recommendation.

6.3 To become an amendment to the bylaws, a formal proposal requires a two-thirds majority vote of the faculty present at a regular meeting of the Department.

6.4 Faculty approved amendments to the bylaws shall be published in the minutes of the regular Department meeting and, unless otherwise specified, shall take effect immediately.  Copies of the approved amendment(s) shall also be distributed to each faculty member for attachment to this document.