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Resources for Faculty and Staff



    • The Constitution of the Department of Physics and Astronomy is the fundamental defining document for the governance of the Department. The Bylaws and Policy Statements may interpret and expand on the provisions of the Constitution, but may not contradict the provisions of the Constitution.
    • The Bylaws are the provisions of this document, and further define the existence and characteristics of the Officers, Council, and Committees. The Bylaws include the official Policy Statements, which have additional details and descriptions of duties and procedures.

    • The name of this body shall be the Faculty of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, hereinafter referred to as the Faculty.
    • All persons holding academic appointments (within the meaning of University policies) in the Department of Physics and Astronomy with the rank of Lecturer, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, or Professor, and such others as the Faculty shall, by a simple majority of valid ballots cast by Eligible Voters, admit to membership, shall be declared Faculty of this body. Membership includes those who are engaged full-time in departmental instructional duties and/or departmental administrative duties and those who hold administrative appointments outside this department with retreat rights. Membership in this body shall not lapse because of leave of absence of any type, administrative appointment, or emeritus status.
    • Terminology: T/TT faculty refers to tenured/tenure track faculty, RTP refers to Retention, Tenure, and Promotion; and PTR refers to Post Tenure Review (also referred to as Periodic Evaluation of Tenured Faculty). In this document, "is" is informative, "shall" is mandatory, "may" is permissive, "should" is conditional, and "will" is intentional.

    • All T/TT Faculty, including those on official leave, but not those on full-time administrative leave, may vote on department business, but only during those semesters in which they are employed at least one-half time by the University and except as otherwise limited (See Paragraph 3B). T/TT faculty on official leave are considered to be employed full time. T/TT faculty with part-time appointments of 0.5 or greater in the Department have full voting rights. All T/TT Faculty eligible to vote in a given semester shall hereinafter be referred to as Eligible Voters.
    • Only Eligible Voters may serve on or vote on committees that deal with (a) RTP documents, (b) faculty hiring matters, and (c) Bylaw and Policy changes
    • A “majority of valid ballots cast” shall be defined as a majority of the valid ballots cast on a given ballot item by Eligible Voters. Each individual election measure shall contain a choice labeled "Abstain". To be a valid vote on a measure, at least one of the choices, including Abstain, must be marked. Should a ballot contain more than one issue for voting, the majority of valid ballots cast necessary for passage of each item shall be calculated from the number of valid votes cast on that item and not from the total number of ballots returned.
    • If there is a vote requiring some fraction (e.g., majority, 2/3rds) of the Eligible Voters of the whole Department, the number that fulfills that condition is computed by multiplying the given fraction times the sum of the appointment fractions (from 0.5 to 1.0) of all the T/TT faculty eligible to vote during that semester. The resulting answer is rounded up to the nearest integer value.
    • For those departmental Committees and/or Council seats which require either tenure or a certain academic rank, the tenure status or rank will be that at the start of the succeeding Fall semester for elections taking place in the Spring.
    • Other election/ballot procedures, e.g., for runoffs, can be found in Department Policy F06-01, attached at the end of the Bylaws.

    • The Chair

      • The Chair is the administrative and presiding officer of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, acting with the advice and consent of the Physics Department Council and Faculty. The duties and responsibilities of the Chair are defined in the Constitution.
      • Procedures for selecting and recalling the Chair of the Department shall follow the University policy in effect at that time.
    • The Associate Chair and Secretary of the Council

      • The Associate Chair and Secretary of the Council shall be a tenured member of the Physics Department faculty selected by the Chair and approved by a majority vote of the Eligible Voters as described in the Constitution. The vote on this position shall be held in the Spring semester that precedes the term of office and prior to the other Council elections, so that the election procedures can be completed by the end of the Spring semester.
      • The term of office of the Associate Chair shall be one year, with renewal possible.
      • The roles, functions, and responsibilities of the Associate Chair are given in the Constitution and in Policy F06-02.
    • The Graduate Advisor

      • The Chair shall select the Graduate Advisor from among the tenured Eligible Voters. This choice is subject to approval by vote of a majority of valid ballots cast by Eligible Voters.
      • The Graduate Advisor shall serve a term of two years, with renewal possible. The election shall be in a Fall semester, with the term starting with the opening date of the following Spring semester and lasting two years.
      • The terms of the Graduate Advisor and Undergraduate Advisor shall be staggered, so that the selections and faculty approvals for each position occur in alternating Fall semesters.
      • The Graduate Advisor is the Chair of the Department’s Graduate Studies Committee.
      • The roles, functions, and responsibilities of the Graduate Advisor are given in Policy F06-02.

    • The Council shall be the working legislative body acting in behalf of the Department.
    • Responsibilities of the Physics Department Council are given in the Constitution and in Policy F06-02

    • The Standing Committees of the Department shall be: 1. Retention, Tenure, and Promotion (handling both RTP and PTR, post-tenure review or Periodic Evaluation of Tenured Faculty), 2. Curriculum, 3. Graduate Studies, 4. Faculty Search, 5. Grade Appeals, and 6. Elections. Each standing committee, except Curriculum and Graduate Studies, shall have a chair, appointed by the Chair of the Department, and a secretary, chosen by the committee. The Graduate and Undergraduate Advisors chair the Graduate Studies and Curriculum Committees, respectively.
    • The Eligible Voters may, by a majority of valid ballots cast, establish new Standing Committees and Ad Hoc Committees. The Chair of the Department or any Standing Committee may also establish new Ad Hoc Committees. The establishing authority shall specify the number and qualifications of the members and the duties of the committees.
    • A student representative may serve on each standing committee, or on ad hoc committees when so stipulated, with the exception of the RTP Committee.
    • Committees of the Department that intend to bring business requiring action to a Department meeting shall distribute to the Eligible Voters copies of the actions to be voted upon at least two instructional days prior to the meeting at which time action is taken; otherwise, action shall not be taken at that meeting.
    • The secretary of each standing committee of the Department and of the Council, with the exception of the RTP and Grade Appeals Committees, shall keep on file for two years the minutes of meetings.
    • The term of office of each officer and each committee member elected in the Spring semester shall begin on the first day of the following Fall Semester, or immediately for those who are elected as replacements or as members of any newly created committee during the academic year.
    • Anyone who misses, in one academic year, for any reason, three meetings of any committee or council for which at least one week advance notice has been given may be removed from the committee by the Department Council, with the process initiated with a request to the Council by the committee chair. An election for a replacement may be held if the Department Council considers it appropriate or needed.
    • The standing Committees are described in detail in Policy F06-03.

    • Meetings of the Faculty shall be held at the call of the Chair, upon the petition of five Eligible Voters, at the request of the Physics Department Council, or at the request of any standing committee. The Department Chair shall call a Department meeting at least once each semester.
    • Eligible Voters have an obligation to attend and participate in Department meetings.
    • Meetings of the Faculty shall be presided over by the Chair, or in her/his absence, the Associate Chair, or in the latter's absence, a designee selected by the Council.
    • Official departmental business may be conducted only at meetings at which a quorum is present. A majority of the T/TT faculty eligible to vote and not on leave constitutes a quorum, unless the faculty on leave are present at the meeting in question. In the latter case the faculty on leave shall be counted in the calculation of the number constituting the quorum and the number required for a majority vote at the meeting.
    • The Chair, with consultation of the Associate Chair, shall establish the agenda for Department meetings except in the case of meetings called by petition for special purposes. Copies of the agenda of meetings should be distributed to the Faculty prior to meetings.
    • Meetings of the Faculty shall ordinarily be open to invited guests, except when a majority of the Eligible Voters present declares a meeting to be in executive session.

    • All provisions of this Bylaws Document shall take effect upon ratification by secret ballot by majority vote of the Eligible Voters
    • Amendments to the Bylaws:
      • Any identified Eligible Voter can initiate amendments to the Bylaws. A written copy shall be provided to the Eligible Voters at least two working days in advance of the meeting at which initial discussion of the amendments is to be held. The Department by majority affirmative vote of Eligible Voters present in a Department meeting shall take the amendment under consideration.
      • An amendment that has been under consideration (within the meaning paragraph 8Ba) for at least 4 working days shall be presented for a second reading at the next meeting. A second majority vote of Eligible Voters present in a Department meeting shall be necessary to submit the amendment to the Department for ratification by secret mail ballot, which must be distributed to the Faculty within 4 days of submission.
      • An amendment shall become part of the Bylaws if it receives approval by a majority vote of the Eligible Voters.
    • Changes to Policy Documents: Changes to Policy Documents can be made by a majority vote of the ballots cast by Eligible voters in meetings or by secret mail ballot.

Adopted 12/12/2006 by the Department of Physics and Astronomy