The University of Pennsylvania Department of Psychology Bylaws
(Adopted October 30, 2002)


These Bylaws are supplements to the existing University (see and School of Arts and Sciences (see policies and procedures. It is recommended that the bylaws be reconsidered and updated by the faculty every five years. Robert's Rules of Order will be followed on procedures that are not covered herein or by University or School policies and procedures.

1.  Governance

A. Department Chair

The term of the Department Chair is 5 years. The department chair is chosen from among the full professors. The selection of a chair is carried out by a committee appointed by the outgoing chair. Typically the outgoing Department Chair serves on the selection committee along with other members of the Department not eligible to be chair (e.g., Emeritus Professors, Professors soon to be Emeritus, Associate Professors). The selection committee solicits opinions about who should be the next chair by distributing a ballot to the members of the Standing Faculty. The ballot consists of the names of all full-time full professors except the outgoing chair and Professors who will have left the Department before the end of the 5-year term. All other Professors' names must appear on the ballot, regardless of professed willingness to serve as Chair. On these ballots faculty indicate their degree of opposition or support for each Professor.  Using the same scale, each faculty member also indicates his or her degree of opposition or support for an effort to seek an outside chair.  The ballots are signed.  The selection committee takes the ballots into account, but there is no fixed formula by which it does so. If preference for an outside chair is indicated, the committee so informs the Dean. If the selection committee instead has identified a suitable candidate, the committee approaches the candidate to determine whether he or she is willing to begin discussionswith the Dean about accepting the chair.  Once a candidate is found who is willing to pursue the issue with the Dean, the candidate's status is announced to the Department faculty. The selection process typically takes place at least 6 months prior to the expected time of appointment.

B. Undergraduate Chair

The department chair nominates the undergraduate chair to the Dean.  The undergraduate chair administers the undergraduate program. By School rules, the term of the undergraduate chair is 3 years, and is renewable.

C. Graduate Group Chair

The department chair nominates the graduate group chair. A simple majority of voting graduate group members carries the question of graduate group chair election. By School rules, the term of the graduate chair is 3 years, and is renewable.

D. Advisory Council

The chair appoints five faculty members to the Advisory Council. The chair attempts to represent the variety of sub disciplines of Psychology on the Council, and  t least one of the appointees must be an Assistant Professor.  This group meets with the chair several times throughout the year to discuss matters of importance to the department. The usual term for an Advisory Council member is two years. The members of the Advisory Council provide faculty members in their areas with information and they provide the chair with assistance and advice.

II. Voting Procedures

A. Voting

The voting members of the Psychology Department include all standing faculty.  Members may vote only when they have been present at a substantial portion of the faculty meetings at which the issue in question has been discussed. The chair evaluates whether the member has been present for a "substantial portion." Unless otherwise stipulated, a simple majority of those present at a meeting at the time of the vote carries questions, provided there is a quorum. A quorum is defined as one-half of full-time faculty  who are eligible to vote and not on leave. Part-time standing faculty and faculty on leave are permitted to attend and to vote during meetings for which they are otherwise eligible, but they are not considered in the calculation of the quorum.  A motion carries if a majority of those voting vote in favor of the motion. When determining whether a motion carries, an abstention counts the same as a 'no' vote.  Matters voted on by the faculty may not be brought up again in the same academic year except on a motion to reconsider, which may be offered only by someone who voted with the majority.

B. Balloting

Votes on questions of personnel are reported by private ballot.  Votes on questions other than personnel are by a show of hands.

C. Procedures regarding personnel decisions

Voting members of initial faculty appointments includes all standing faculty who hold ranks equal to or above the rank at which the new faculty member is to be appointed.

Voting members of the reappointment of assistant professors includes all tenured standing faculty.

Voting members for promotion or appointment to the rank of Associate Professor with Tenure are all tenured faculty.

Voting members of promotion or appointment to the rank of full professor includes all full professors in the standing faculty.

When the Department is considering the appointment to tenured ranks of someone outside the Department, the candidate's dossier will be distributed to all standing faculty members regardless of rank, and a discussion of the candidate's suitability for the position will include all members of the department. Those not eligible to vote on the candidate are excused from the meeting before the vote is taken.

D. Procedures for Searches

In the spring semester, the Chair, having consulted with whomever he or she wishes, formulates a recommendation for searches to be carried out during the following Academic Year. The chair convenes a meeting of the standing faculty, at which meeting proposed searches are voted on.

The chair will appoint committees to carry out searches that have been approved by the Department and the Dean. The committee will include members of the Standing faculty, but may also include others at the Chair's discretion. The policy of the School of Arts & Sciences states that any search for a candidate from outside the University at the level of full professor should include at least one member from a department other than Psychology. The search committee recommends to the chair that a reasonable number of candidates be invited to campus for talks, but it is the chair who decides how many and which candidates will actually receive invitations.  Once the visits are completed, the search committee develops a hiring recommendation to be voted on by the Department.

Search committees who are searching for senior candidates will inform the chair when a candidate has emerged about whom there is sufficient enthusiasm to warrant the solicitation of outside letters. The chair will bring the issue to the Department and faculty of all ranks will vote on the solicitation of letters. The chair seeks permission from the candidate before soliciting letters.

E. Promotion to Professor

Each year, the chair examines the CVs of all Associate Professors who have been in rank for 6 years or more. If the chair believes that a reasonable case can be made for promotion to Professor, the Chair appoints an ad hoc committee to consider further the possibility of  promotion. The chair should take into consideration in such matters: the opinions of relevant colleagues, competitive offers, and issues of equity. The chair will, normally, bring to the professors all and only positive recommendations from the ad hoc committee.

An Associate Professor may request that the chair appoint such a committee if he or she believes that a reasonable case for promotion can be made. Except in exceptional circumstances the chair will, then, appoint such a committee.

III. Calendar

Reappointment committees are generally expected to have their reports prepared by November 1. Committees considering promotions to Professor as generally expected to have their reports ready by December 1.  Tenure committees are usually expected to have their reports ready by the beginning of the spring semester.