Policy Making

July 1, 2009

Chair of the Department of Humanities

The Chair's primary responsibility is to administer the established procedures and policies, both academic and fiscal, of the Senate, of the President, of the Dean of the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies, and of the Department of Humanities. The term of the Chair is normally for three years but may be extended at the recommendation of the Executive Committee and with the approval of the full Department. Final approval is reserved for the Dean. Normally the Chair will serve for no more than six years. If necessary, the Chair may interrupt his/her term in order to take a sabbatical.

Whenever possible, the Chair will inform the Executive Committee at least one year before the actual end of her/his term and request that they advise the Nominating Committee to prepare a list of nominations for a Search Committee for the New Chair. The Chair will also ask the Executive Committee to request the Dean to name his/her representative to that committee. This list is to be presented for approval and voting to the Full Council of the Department. Once constituted, that committee will present to the Council for discussion and approval, its recommended procedures.

The Chair is ex officio member of each and every committee of the Department except the Search Committee for the New Chair. The Chair may personally make proposals for policy change but may not act on them until the procedures listed below have been completed. The specific measures for the implementation and administration of approved policy are at the discretion of the Chair (or Acting Chair). Henceforth all references to Chair assume 'or Acting Chair'.

From the final Council meeting in May until the first formal September meeting of the Department, the Chair shall be granted 'summer authority', under which substantive policy changes or initiatives must receive approval at an emergency meeting of the combined 'outgoing' and 'incoming' Executive Committees.

For criteria and procedures for recommending a Chair, see Appendix A.

Administrative Assistant

The Administrative Assistant is responsible for assisting the Chair to provide a climate which is supportive of the teaching and research activities of the Department. The primary responsibilities of the Administrative Assistant involve the administration of policy in so far as it affects the operating budget and general office management.

The Administrative Assistant is also responsible for the supervision of support staff ensuring adequate coverage, training and discipline in accordance with the YUSA collective agreement. The Administrative assistant is answerable only to the Chair and the Administrative Officer of the Faculty.

Undergraduate Program Director

The Undergraduate Program Director (UPD) is appointed by the Chair, subject to the approval of the Dean of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies. The specific responsibilities of the UPD are negotiated with the Chair for each agreed upon period but will include TA and contract faculty hiring, academic integrity, grade reappraisals, petitions, equivalencies, letters of permission and the administration of enrolment, curricular and academic advising policies.

While appointed at the pleasure of the Chair, the Undergraduate Program Director may not be dismissed during the agreed upon term without the written approval of the Dean of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies. The Undergraduate Program Director is ex officio member of the Executive and Curriculum Committees but is never to serve as permanent Chair of any of these committees. Normally the UPD will assume the position of Acting Chair in the absence of the Chair. For a detailed description of the duties of the UPD, see Appendix B.

Program Coordinators

The following program majors are housed in Humanities: Canadian Studies, Children's Studies, Classics (along with Classical Studies and Hellenic Studies), Culture and Expression, East Asian Studies, European Studies, Jewish Studies, Religious Studies and Individualized Studies. Humanities shares the following programs housed in other units: Latin American and Caribbean Studies (Social Science), Science and Technology Studies (Natural Science).

Each program major will have a program coordinator who is responsible for curriculum planning in consultation with the Chair, consultation with the Undergraduate Program Director with respect to hiring TAs and contract faculty, advising of majors, student recruitment and retention, co-curricular activities, undergraduate program reviews and other matters related to the program. Program Coordinators are normally appointed for three years by the program Executive or, where there is no Executive, by agreement of all full-time faculty in the program.

There will also be program coordinators for General Education and Modes with similar responsibilities, excluding advising, as well as a Research Coordinator and a Computer, Website and Distance Education Coordinator. The General Education, Research and Computer Coordinators will be appointed by the Chair. The Modes Coordinator will normally be a full-time faculty member selected by Modes faculty.

Committees in General

The committees of the Department will be the main source and channel for policy initiatives. In response to mandates from the Full Council, the Chair, other committees, the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies, or out of reflections on their own experience, each committee will prepare position papers, relevant information materials and motions for action by the Full Council of the Department.

The standing committees of the Department are the Executive, Recruitment, Curriculum, Tenure and Promotion, Nominations, Research, Research Ethics Review, Workload and Awards committees. The Nominations Committee will present a slate of candidates for all committees for formal approval at the final Council meeting of the year. Members are normally elected for a period of two years, with half of the members to turn over annually. No faculty members may appoint themselves to any committee. Any committee may request additional or replacement members but may only co-opt with the prior approval of the individuals and the Chair of Humanities. Such changes will be reported to the next regular meeting of the Council.

Terms shall begin on July 1. The Chair of the Department will convene the first meeting of the committee at the beginning of each academic session and the first order of business will be for each committee to elect from their members their chair for the coming session. The exception to this is the Curriculum Committee whose first meeting will be convened by the Undergraduate Program Director.

Committees will decide on matters before them, preferably by consensus, by majority vote when necessary, except for the Recruitment Committee, which will vote by preferential balloting, and the Tenure and Promotion Adjudicating Committee, which will vote by secret ballot in accordance with the Senate and Departmental Tenure and Promotion Guidelines.

All communications to and within Departmental committees are to be deemed confidential unless an initial announcement waiving confidentiality has been made or until such time as the committee approves, with the agreement of each individual who has made such communications, their distribution and/or availability outside the committee. In the latter case, it is the prerogative of any individual to request that her/his communications remain confidential. Such a request will be accepted and honoured by the committee. Both committee members and non-committee members attending committee meetings are to observe these provisions.

Committee Mandates

Executive Committee

The Executive Committee is responsible for policy matters in the Department. The Executive Committee will review all policy motions suggested by the other committees or by an individual faculty member before those motions are sent to Full Council. The Executive Committee may suggest revisions and may support, remain neutral, or oppose any specific policy motion but may not prevent a policy motion from being properly circulated and added to an agenda for a regular meeting of the Full Council. The Chair, Undergraduate Program Director and Graduate Program Director are ex officio members of the Executive Committee. Normally there will be one Humanities graduate student and one contract faculty member on the Executive Committee.

Recruitment Committee

The Recruitment Committee is responsible for developing hiring priorities for approval by the Full Council; setting up hiring committees for specific positions; vetting conversion and long-term teaching appointments; and implementation of affirmative action policy under the direction of the Joint Affirmative Action Committee. Membership of the Recruitment Committee shall include the Department's Affirmative Action Representative, who is responsible for implementation of the Department's Affirmative Action Procedures.

Tenure and Promotion Committee

The Tenure and Promotion committee functions as the Department's Adjudicating Committee and is responsible for the implementation of the Senate Policy on Tenure and Promotion and for the design and implementation of the Department's Tenure and Promotion Guidelines. Membership on this committee is constituted as specified in these Tenure and Promotion Guidelines.

Curriculum Committee

The Curriculum Committee is responsible for vetting new courses and program initiatives, including General Education courses. The Modes and General Education Coordinators are ex officio members of the committee.

Research Committee

The Research Committee is mandated with the task of enhancing all aspects of the research culture of the Department, including the organization of speakers series and research seminars, funding workshops, research mentorship and other research activities. The Research and Computer Coordinators are ex officio members of the committee.

Research Ethics Board:

The Research Ethics Board is responsible for tracking, reviewing, and approving all student research involving human participants in accordance with the Senate Policy for the Ethical Review of Research Involving Human Participants and the Tri-Council Policy Statement on Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans.

Awards Committee:

The Awards Committee is responsible for nominating full-time faculty, contract faculty and TAs for teaching, research and related awards in the Faculty, the wider university and externally.

Workload Committee:

The Workload Committee monitors full-time faculty workload (teaching, research and service) and drafts the Department's Workload document for approval by the Dean and submission to YUFA as per the YUFA collective Agreement. The YUFA steward is a member of the committee ex officio.

Nominations Committee:

The Nominations Committee develops the slate of candidates for departmental committees for approval by Full Council at its May meeting. It also nominates faculty to extra-departmental committees. Contract faculty members are encouraged to stand for departmental committees with the exception of the Tenure and Promotion Committee and the Recruitment Committee.

Coordinators' Meeting

The Coordinators Meeting includes all coordinators of degree programs, the General Education Coordinator, the Computer Coordinator and the Chair and Undergraduate Program Director. Program Coordinators will meet regularly as a whole or in clusters as needed to discuss matters of common concern such as curricular planning, program requirements, procedures for undergraduate program reviews, student recruitment and retention, program websites, program budgets and other matters of concern to program coordinators. Meetings will be chaired by the Chair of the Department
Full Council
A meeting of 'Full Council' refers to a general meeting which is duly announced and to which are invited all full-time and contract faculty currently appointed to Humanities, including those on leave. All full-time faculty are expected, as part of their regular workload, to attend all regular and special meetings of Full Council. Normally such meetings take place on the first Monday of the month from September to May.

All Department faculty are expected to reserve 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on all Mondays from September to May for regular or special meetings of Full Council as well as meetings of Departmental committees. Meetings may be extended beyond the 4:30 p.m. deadline for the completion of discussion and vote taking but only with the majority vote of those present at 4:30. Reminders will be circulated at least 72 hours before each meeting. Special meetings of Full Council will take place as the need arises. Notice will be circulated at least 48 hours before each such meeting.

The calling of special meetings or the cancellation of regular meetings of Full Council is at the discretion of the Chair. While remaining open to suggestions on the relative urgency of various policy motions, the preparation of the specific agenda of any regular or special session of the Full Council is the sole responsibility of the Chair. Special meetings of Council may be called to focus on one or more issues or motions. Minutes of all Council meetings will be taken and copies kept in the office of the Chair's Secretary and by each member of the Executive Committee.

No special meeting of Full Council may be called without the explicit approval of the Chair unless that lack of approval has been explicitly overridden by a majority vote at a regular meeting. Normally, the Chair of Humanities will serve as Chair of Council except when her/his full participation in a potentially contentious issue is anticipated. Then the Chair of Humanities will appoint a member of Council to chair that portion of the meeting.

Policy Motions

A complete policy motion must include a background statement and a statement of rationale. The topic heading of any policy motion must be announced in the agenda accompanying the formal announcement of any regular or special meeting of Full Council. While not required, it may also be announced orally at a preceding meeting. After being vetted by the Executive Committee, the specific wording of a policy motion, accompanied by background documentation and rationale, must be circulated to all faculty at least 72 hours before the meeting at which it will be discussed.

Documentation may be circulated by electronic mail with hard copies distributed at the meeting. Upon an individual's request, documentation may be deposited in mailboxes in College Complex Number One, put in the university mail for other office addresses on campus, or mailed by regular mail to the homes of faculty on leave. On the floor of Council, motions are to be presented/explained/defended by the Chair of the Committee or the individual responsible for drafting the motion. If the motion comes directly from the Executive it will be presented by a member of the Executive appointed by the Chair. This is to permit the Chair to remain as Chair of Council and not ordinarily to participate in debate except as in Committe Mandates Section (# 6).

Individual Initiatives:

Any individual faculty member may initiate policy motions according to these procedures, providing that they supply the written approval of a seconder. Normally, individual initiatives must be referred first to the Chair and sent by the Chair for consideration to any committees concerned with the proposed policy. Individual initiatives will be circulated by the Chair and added to an agenda but only after reasonable time has been allowed for the responses of any relevant committees.

Motions from the Floor:

During a regular or special meeting of Full Council, no independent policy motion, even if seconded, is to be admitted for final discussion and decision if it is judged to be 'substantive' by the Chair. if declared 'substantive', it may be referred by the Chair and/or Full Council to the relevant committees for their comment, or at least it will be delayed until, as detailed above, the appropriate notification can be made to all absent faculty. The Chair's judgement as to whether the motion in question is 'substantive' may be challenged and if seconded, is immediately to be debated, and voted upon by the Full Council and determined by simple majority vote.

Points of Order:

During the debate on any policy motion, any motions 'to refer' or 'to table', if seconded, are to be debated and voted on before the motion 'to approve'. Similarly, during the discussion of any motion under consideration, anyone making a 'point of order' takes precedence over the 'speakers list' and a 'point of personal privilege' takes precedence over both a 'point of order' and the 'speakers list'.

Voting Rights:

All full-time faculty in the Department have a right to participate in the discussion and vote on any motion. All retirees and contract faculty who are currently holding a teaching assignment in the Department may vote on any motion provided they have been present for the discussion and provided that as a group they do not outnumber the full-time faculty who are present. Proxy votes are never admissible and faculty who are not physically present for a substantial portion and preferably all of the discussion on the motion are expected to abstain from the voting.


Voting 'for', 'against', and 'to abstain' will be by show of hands except where one quarter of those present approve a seconded motion for a secret ballot.

Majority Rule:

After due process and debate of the motion and unless otherwise stated, a simple majority will suffice for decision on a motion. Normally, disagreement with a proposed policy motion is to be expressed by voting to defeat the motion under discussion.


If any faculty wish to initiate a formal 'non confidence' motion, then it must be seconded, it must specify the person(s) or group(s) involved, it must include recommendations for redress and/or remedial action and it must observe the preceding procedures concerning appropriate documentation and notification. After full discussion it too will be decided by a simple majority vote.


To provide for the worst possible scenario, the Department agrees that an 'impeachment' motion may be directed against the Chair, Undergraduate Program Director, a Coordinator, a Chair of a Humanities Committee or any official representative of the Department. Such a motion must follow all the steps of the process as detailed above for any policy motion, in this case, including explicit reference to the Executive Committee. The individual or individuals involved will have the right to appear before the Executive Committee and the Full Council of the Department at times determined by mutual agreement with those bodies. In this instance, a vote of two thirds of the faculty present for the discussion of the motion will be required and if the motion passes, the Department will expect the immediate resignation of the subject of the motion from the position in question. In the case of the Chair and/or Undergraduate Program Director, such a resignation must be conditional on the approval of the Dean of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies.

Revised and Approved, Council of the Division of Humanities, March 9, 2009