Department Bylaws

 Revised (5/17; 3/17; 10/11; 03/10; 03/04; 11/01; 3/00; 3/99; 7/94; 5/86; 7/77; 7/76)

Article I - Definition of Department Members

The department consists of all tenured and non-tenured instructors, assistant professors, associate professors and professors, and all academic staff. Eligibility requirements for each of the ranks and for tenure are in accordance with the University Handbook (F/AS/LA)

Article II - Department Chair

The Chair of the Department of English and Philosophy is an elective post with a three-year term of office. There is no limit to the number of terms that an individual may serve. Eligibility requirements for the office of Chair include teaching experience and at least one graduate degree (or ABD) in a field related to the mission of the department. Election for the term beginning the following August takes place during the preceding March meeting and is determined by a simple majority vote, by closed ballot, of all the members of the Department. Nominations take place at the preceding regular meeting. Any member of the Department of English and Philosophy may nominate.

In an election with more than two candidates where no candidate receives a majority of votes cast, a runoff election will be held between the two candidates with the greatest number of votes. The candidate receiving the greatest number of votes in the runoff shall be recommended.

Persons on leave from the department may vote in the election if they wish.


Article III - Program Director

The Program Director(s) in the Department of English and Philosophy is appointed to the post with a term of six years. The selection, appointment, and duties of the program director are in accordance with policies of the university, as printed in the Curriculum Handbook.

  • The program director is appointed by and reports to the dean; the program director consults and works with the department in carrying out his or her responsibilities.
  • When the position of program director becomes vacant, the department chair will announce the vacancy at a department meeting and call for applications for the position. Applicants will prepare written statements of no more than five pages outlining their qualifications and interest in the position. The department chair, in consultation with the Staff Committee, will prepare a list of ranked applicants, approved by a simple majority vote, to submit to the dean.
  • The program director is responsible, along with the program committee, for the total curriculum of the major program and is charged with aiding students in meeting all requirements for that program. The program director oversees the development, evaluation, and changes in the curriculum of the program; fiscal matters delegated to his or her authority; student recruitment, advisement, meeting programmatic requirements, and placement in co-ops or internships.
  • The program director is responsible, in consultation with the department chair, for the scheduling of classes to meet programmatic needs.

Article IV - Duties of Director of First-Year Composition

The Director of First-Year Composition is a 25% administrative appointment; the Director is appointed by and reports to the department chair and consults and works with the department in carrying out his or her responsibilities.  The duties of the position are as follows:

Professional Development/Staffing within English and Philosophy Department

  1. Assist department chair with interviewing/hiring new adjunct instructors to teach composition classes
  2. Lead composition program department orientation for new faculty/staff during fall professional development week
  3. Coordinate and help conduct a series of writing-related professional development sessions throughout the year for all members of department (with help of members of the First-Year Composition Committee); suggestions for session topics will come directly from faculty and staff
  4. At department chair’s request, share formal classroom observation duties of composition classes for both faculty and academic staff
  5. Chair First-Year Composition Committee: the committee for concerns related to the first-year program, such as:  selecting textbooks, test-out procedures, and freshman assessment, as well as the committee which initially discusses and votes on curricular changes to the program, before such discussion goes to the department
  6. Serve as a mentor, advocate, and resource for all composition instructors within the department

Curricular: Within First-Year English Program

  1. Take the lead in revising and monitoring Stout’s composition outcomes and practices in relation to other institutions and current composition research/theory (in terms of the amount of formal writing, types of writing assignments, use of technology in writing, etc.)
  2. Hold formal pre mid-term consultations with new faculty/staff in their first semester of employment – these consultations will involve formative assessment of teaching materials and practices, as well as discussions/reflections about composition pedagogy ; at the request of the department chair or Staff Committee, these consultations will also be conducted with non-first-year staff/faculty members who could use additional assistance or guidance with composition teaching.
  3. Administer freshman assessment of ENG 101/111 and 102/112/113 for General Education
  4. Serve as the UW-Stout representative for  UW System English Placement Exam Committee
  5. Coordinate and administer student test-out procedures for ENG 101 and 102
  6. Field transfer equivalency requests from UW-Stout’s Transfer Coordinator

Professional Development/Advocacy Outside of Department

  1. Offer individual writing-across-the-curriculum consultations with instructors across campus who request assistance with a variety of instructional activities: assignment design, assessment and rubrics, time management skills, writing-to-learn activities; reflective writing exercises, etc.
  2. Provide handouts and documents to instructors who request assistance with teaching a variety of writing-related issues/activities: grammar, documentation, introductions/conclusions, citation, development, professional style, etc.
  3. Serve as a campus leader and advocate for fair and effective labor practices in the teaching of first-year composition and writing

Article V - Duties of the Minors Advisor

1. Advocate for the interests of current and potential minors.
2. Interview students who wish to discover the requirements of the various minors.
3. Manage all paper work necessary to enroll a student in a minor.
4. Make up a file for each student.
5. Maintain and utilize a current listserv for minors.
6. Consult with students regarding course selection.
7. Authorize changes in students’ programs, as necessary.
8. Alert students to hand in transcripts in their senior year.
9. Perform final checkout of students; complete all paper work and send to Registrar.
10. Suggest changes in the requirements of the minor.
11. Keep public relations items up-to-date.
12. Speak to classes about minors programs.
13. Attend meetings of the Advanced Writing and Literature Committees and the Committee on Curriculum Development and Improvement when issues related to minors are discussed.
14. Encourage minors interested in a writing-related career to become active in various professional development groups and activities promoted by the Program in Technical Communication, e.g., membership in the Society for Technical Communication, attendance at guest lectures and workshops, etc.


Article VI - Member Duties

The duties of the members of the Department are in accord with their position description and the Definition of Teaching, Research, and Service (FASLA F8.1.1).


Article VII - Department Meetings

The Department shall meet at least nine times a year. The first meeting will be held before the start of the first semester during the time established by the administration for such a meeting. Additional meetings will be held during the first week in which school is in session, and on Fridays at 2:30pm in October, November, December, January, February, March, April, and May. (Revised 12/11)

The regular meeting hour is to be established at the first meeting of each school year.

The regular meeting in March of every second year is for the purpose of electing a chair and any other business that may arise.

Special meetings may be called by the chair, by a petition signed by 20% of the members of the Department, or by vote of the Department in meeting. Special meetings are to be announced at least 48 hours before the meeting occurs.

The chair shall distribute to all members 24 hours before each meeting the agenda of that meeting. All committees are required to distribute motions they intend to introduce at the meeting 24 hours before the meeting.

Meetings shall follow the order described in Robert's Rules of Order. To facilitate this order, the department shall elect by majority vote at the first meeting of each school year a parliamentarian.

Article VIII - Department Committees

  1. Standing committees, as advisory committees, report to the Department.
  2. The standing committees are the following:
    1. The Committee of First-Year Composition establishes guidelines for the review, revision, and initiation of first-year composition courses and discusses topics related to the teaching of first-year composition.  The Director of First-Year Composition chairs this committee, and the committee will annually elect an assistant chair to help plan and carry out committee duties.
    2. The Committee on Department Publications and Professional Issues, which has its responsibilities 1) the development of departmentally-sponsored publications and 2) the study of professional issues and the publication of statements reflecting departmental opinion and positions on these issues.
    3. The Committee on Staff, which has as its function the establishment of guidelines for recruitment, hiring, promotion, salary, tenure, and for all decisions concerning the welfare of the Department. The committee may a) divide into subcommittees to consider individual hirings, b) be supplemented by area specialist(s) and other department members appointed by the department chair in consultation with the Staff Committee. The final recommendation for hiring will be made by the appropriate subcommittee.

The fixed-term Academic Staff members of the Department of English and Philosophy Staff Committee should participate fully in all activities of the Staff Committee including performance evaluations and hiring; however, they should neither participate in nor be present during discussion or voting on the promotion, tenure, and retention of individual faculty members.

The committee also has the obligation to keep well informed on debates and decisions on matters of staff welfare by such groups as TAUWP, AAUP, AFT, and the Faculty Senate.

  1. The Committee on Advanced Writing establishes guidelines for review, revision, and initiation of advanced writing courses, and advises the Department Chair in such matters. (revised 12/11)
  2. The Committee on Literature, which has three fundamental purposes: 1) to develop strategies for increasing enrollment in literature and creative writing courses; 2) to inform UW-Stout administrators, faculty, and students of the values of literary studies; 3) to establish guidelines for revising, expanding and improving literature and creative writing courses and the literature program in general.
  3. The Graduate Education Committee, which makes recommendations to the Department concerning the development and improvement of graduate courses.

C.Membership in all committees except the Staff Committee is open. Temporary committee chairs, appointed by the Department chair at the first regular meeting, will call committee meetings as soon as practicable after the first Department meeting. At the first committee meetings members will elect a chair. First year probationary faculty are expected to serve on no more than one committee and are not expected to chair a committee. Committee meetings are open to all members of the Department and notices of committee are sent to all. The Chair of the Department is an ex officio member of each standing committee. The Chair may appoint department members to a committee as needed.

  1. The Staff Committee will be elected the first full week of each fall term in the following manner:
    1. An English and Philosophy department member can only be elected to serve for two consecutive terms on the Staff Committee. Once a department member has served his/her two consecutive terms in full, s/he will not be placed on the Staff Committee ballot for the subsequent year. (Passed March 2017)
    2. A first ballot listing all remaining department members who are tenured or who have taught in the department three or more years and want to be on the ballot, will be prepared by the department chair and distributed to each member of the department. Each department member may vote for no more than four in the fall of years ending in odd numbers, so that the Staff Committee will always have seven members and each member will serve a two year term. (Revised March 2017)

The number of academic staff to serve on the committee shall not exceed two in any given year (Passed May, 1982). To be declared elected, a candidate must have a simple majority of votes cast (Passed April 1988).

  1. If more than the specified number of candidates receive a simple majority, those having the greatest number of votes shall be declared elected. In case of ties involving more than the specified number of candidates, the department chair shall prepare a ballot listing the individuals and informing voters of the number of vacancies still existing on the committee.
  2. If fewer than the required number receive a majority on the first ballot, the department chair will prepare a run-off ballot listing at least one more name than positions to be filled. The candidates on the run-off ballot shall be those who drew the greatest number of votes less than a majority on the first ballot. On the run-off ballot, to be declared elected, a candidate must have a simple majority.
  1. Other Committees
  1. An ad hoc committee may be appointed by the chair of the Department upon request of any member.
  2. In accordance with University policy, the Department of English and Philosophy Promotion Committee, consisting of five faculty members, will be elected each year by the faculty of the department to recommend on promotion applications as needed.Faculty must have completed three years in the department to serve on the committee. (Revised September 2010).

The First-Year Composition director serves as an ex officio (non-voting) member of the Staff Committee during all discussions pertaining to personnel teaching first-year composition courses.  In this capacity, the FYC director will provide a written progress report and/or recommendation including a rating (above/below/within) for those department members assigned to the director and who are up for review that year. (Passed May 2017)


Article IX - Appointed Offices

The Chair may fill by appointment, for one-year terms, the following positions: Advisor to English Minors, Department Webmaster, and other special appointments as needed. Persons serving in such capacities may be exempted from other department duties.

Article X - Faculty Senate Representative

Nomination and election of the department representative to the Faculty Senate shall be held as per Faculty Senate requirements. All department faculty members are eligible to be candidates for the position and to vote in the election.

Article XI - Department Sponsored Activities

All activities, including publications, that either state or imply sponsorship by the Department of English of the University of Wisconsin-Stout must meet with the approval of the Department.


Article XII - Amendments

These Bylaws can be amended by a 2/3 majority of ballots cast, in closed ballot, provided all department members have been notified of the vote at least three days in advance.