General Faculty Membership

Handbook of Operating Procedures 2-1010

General Faculty Membership

The University of Texas at Austin
Executive Sponsor: Executive Vice President and Provost
Mar 6, 2019 (revised)



The following excerpt is from the Regents' Rules and Regulations Rule 40101 - "Faculty Role in Educational Policy Formulation":


Sec. 1 Board Commitment. The Board of Regents will devote its best efforts to making all of the institutions of The University of Texas System of the "first class," as the Texas Constitution directs in Article VII, Section 10. The Board will be guided in general by the best practices of the top universities in the United States and abroad, especially by the best practices of state universities in the United States.

Sec. 2 Advice on Board Policies. The Board of Regents will ordinarily seek the advice of the faculty on important matters of academic policy.

Sec. 3 General Authority Subject to the authority of the Board of Regents and subject further to the authority that the Board has vested in the various administrative officers and subdivisions of the System, the faculties of the institutions regularly offering instruction shall have a major role in the governance of their respective institutions in the following areas:

3.1 General academic policies and welfare.
3.2 Student life and activities.
3.3 Requirements of admission and graduation.
3.4 Honors and scholastic performance.
3.5 Approval of candidates for degrees.
3.6 Faculty rules of procedure.

Sec. 4 Necessity of Approval by Regents. Legislation recommended by an institutional faculty, or legislative body thereof, requiring approval of the Board of Regents, shall not be effective unless and until approved by the Board. Such legislation by a college or school faculty shall not be presented to the Board until it has been approved by the institutional faculty, either directly or through its legislative body, and has received the consideration and recommendation of the institutional president, the appropriate executive vice chancellor, and the chancellor. The faculty affected will be notified by the Board, through administrative channels, of its action on recommended faculty legislation.


Sec. 5 Approval of Degree Candidates. It shall be the duty of the several institutional faculties to recommend approval or disapproval of all candidates for degrees. This duty may be delegated by affirmative vote of the institutional faculty, or its legislative body, to the respective deans or other appropriate official. Should this duty not be delegated, the institutional registrar, or his or her equivalent, shall furnish to the members of the institutional faculty a complete list of the degree candidates for recommendation.


Sec. 6 List of Degree Candidates. The institutional registrar, as soon as possible after each commencement, shall provide the secretary of his or her institutional faculty, or its legislative body, with a complete list of all successful degree candidates.


  1. Authority and General Functions
  1. The areas of authority of the General Faculty are listed above. The General Faculty, however, has delegated the detailed exercise of its powers to the Faculty Council (HOP 2-1110). Of these powers, only the following shall be exercised in the first instance by the General Faculty:
  1. Establishment of rules or membership and procedures for itself and for college and school faculties except for the Graduate School (see HOP 9-1240 for rules of the Graduate School).
  1. Choice of its secretary and its representatives on the Faculty Council.
  1. Structure and legislative powers of the Faculty Council.
  1. Action on recommendations of General Faculty Rules and Governance Committee.
  1. The exercise of all powers is subject to prior action by the Faculty Council and appeal from the Faculty Council to the General Faculty in accordance with the rules and regulations relating to the Council.
  1. Questions of jurisdiction arising between the Faculty Council and the General Faculty shall be referred to the General Faculty Rules and Governance Committee for determination.
  1. Membership
  1. Voting members of the General Faculty include the following:
  1. All tenured and tenure-track professors and tenure-track instructors.
  1. All professors of practice, professors of instruction, lecturers and clinical faculty who teach organized courses as the instructor of record (with the exception of those listed in B.4. below), who have had a total of two or more academic years of service at these ranks at The University of Texas at Austin and who meet these criteria for an instructional appointment:
  1. were appointed an average of at least 50% time at UT Austin during each of the two preceding academic years (excluding summer), and
  2. are currently appointed at least 50% time at UT Austin (faculty who have served an average of 50% for the past two years become eligible to vote in the next semester they are appointed at least 50% time), and
  3. have their primary academic home at UT Austin.
  4. Those faculty who satisfy b (i, ii, and iii) will maintain their status except if they fall below an average of 50% appointment for more than two academic years. Also see 4.b below.
  1. Officers designated in the UT System Board of Regents' Rules and Regulations as being ex officio members of all institutional faculties of The University of Texas System.
  1. Such other officers as the Board of Regents, upon recommendation of the president and the UT System chancellor, may designate.
  1. Voting members whose appointments temporarily drop below the minimum amount of time required for voting membership due to an approved leave of absence without pay retain their voting status.
  1. Those faculty members designated in Section B.1 above shall retain their voting status while on modified service or phased retirement, but not upon full retirement.
  1. Each voting member, of whatever rank, shall be entitled to one vote.
  1. Nonvoting members of the General Faculty shall consist of the following:
  1. Visiting professors, visiting associate professors, visiting assistant professors, and visiting Harrington fellows
  1. Non-tenure-track faculty who have served less than an average of 50% time for each of the previous two academic years
  1. Specialist
  1. Research faculty
  1. Non-tenure-track instructors
  1. Adjuncts and adjoints
  1. Assistant instructors, graduate teaching associates, and teaching assistants
  1. ROTC faculty
  1. Individuals holding an emeritus title
  1. Non-voting members of the General Faculty have the privilege of attending meetings with the right to speak but without the right to vote.
  1. Any faculty member may request to know the status of their voting eligibility by contacting the Office of the General Faculty. Any member who believes he or she has the appropriate title and meets the other criteria for voting rights, but is not listed as eligible, may submit a request through the Office of the General Faculty to the Faculty Rules and Governance Committee to be added to the voting faculty. The Rules and Governance Committee will consider any such requests to determine if the faculty member meets the criteria set forth above, and if so, will add their name to the list of voting members of the general faculty.
  1. Meetings
  1. There shall be one regular meeting of the General Faculty each year, normally in October, at which the president shall make an informal presentation of the more significant recent and pending developments at the University and at which questions may be directed to the president from the floor (see HOP 2-1030-PM: By-Laws of the General Faculty regarding submission of questions). This meeting may be held immediately before or after the October meeting of the Faculty council. If it is in the best interest of the General Faculty, such as to consider non-routine business, the meeting may be held at a different place and time.
  1. Special meetings of the General Faculty shall be held at the call of the president or the chair of the Faculty Council or at the request of at least 3% of the voting members.
  1. Organization
  1. The president shall be chair ex officio of the General Faculty.
  1. At the annual meeting of the General Faculty, held no later than January, the General Faculty shall elect its secretary, whose term of service shall begin on the first day of the following academic year. One nomination shall be named by the Faculty Council Executive Committee early in the fall semester; other nominations may be submitted from the floor at the annual meeting of the General Faculty. If the secretary should cease to be a member of the General Faculty or should become incapacitated, the Faculty Council shall elect a voting member of the General Faculty to serve as acting secretary of the General Faculty until the next regular election.
  1. The duties of the secretary shall include the following:
  1. Recording the minutes in a form both convenient and permanent, which shall be paged and for which an annual index shall be prepared.
  1. Handling of any communications or reports made to the General Faculty when not in formal session. The secretary shall distribute, record, and list such communications or reports in the order of business.
  1. Sending out to the members notices of the meetings to be held with the order of business to be transacted.
  1. Bringing promptly to the attention of the persons concerned the actions of the faculty.
  1. Providing copies of the minutes for the use of the faculty and for filing in all appropriate University offices. In addition, bound volumes of the minutes shall be placed in the offices of the secretary of the General Faculty and the Texas Collection of the Barker Texas History Center.
  1. Serving as secretary of the Faculty Council.
  1. Conducting all elections which involve balloting by the voting members of the General Faculty.
  1. Preparing and distributing in September of every year the annual report of the secretary of the Faculty Council.
  1. The parliamentarian shall be appointed annually prior to the start of the fall semester by the Faculty Council Executive Committee and may be reappointed.
  1. Legislation
  1. Legislation which has been submitted by the Faculty Council to the General Faculty by circularization shall be considered General Faculty legislation if not protested.
  1. Legislation may not be initiated by the General Faculty by the circularization procedure.
  1. No legislation of the General Faculty, excepting emergency legislation, shall be effective unless and until approved by the Board of Regents (see Regents' Rules and Regulations Rule 40101, Sec. 4). Emergency legislation ceases to operate if disapproved by the Board of Regents.
  1. The Board of Regents will notify the General Faculty of its actions on faculty legislation, in general giving reasons when disapproving.
  1. All actions of the General Faculty, which require the approval of the Board of Regents shall be transmitted to the Board by the president and the chancellor, UT System in the form passed by the General Faculty, together with such recommendations as the president or the chancellor, UT System may choose to make. At each meeting of the Faculty Council, the secretary shall report on all actions of the Council or General Faculty transmitted to the Board and the action, if any, of the Board on each. If final action of the Board differs from the General Faculty's recommendations, the president shall communicate these differences to the Faculty Council.
  1. Rules of Procedure
  1. The general principles of parliamentary law set forth in Robert's Rules of Order (current edition) shall govern, except insofar as they may be modified by the faculty. Any such modification, and provisions of order of business and rules of debate, shall be included in the By-Laws of the General Faculty (see HOP 2-1030-PM: By-Laws of the General Faculty).
  1. At a regular meeting a quorum shall consist of 5% of the total number of voting members of the General Faculty, and at a called meeting a quorum shall consist of 15% of that number. If a quorum is not present at a regular meeting, business that would otherwise have been conducted in the first instance at that meeting shall be discussed; within 20 days after the meeting, that business, together with the minutes of its discussion, shall be submitted to the General Faculty by mail ballot, and at least two weeks shall be allowed for receipt of the returned ballots. If a quorum is not present to consider action of the Faculty Council that has been protested, the legislation shall be returned to the Faculty Council for action (see HOP 2-1120-PM, 5.b (4) (d)).


Revised March 6, 2019, (refer to D 16925-16927)

Revised July 29, 2016, 2016 (refer to D 14482-14489)

Revised May 27, 2015 (refer to D 12023-12029)

Previously HOP 1.1

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