Departmental Procedures

General Philosophy

The faculty and staff of the Department of Geological Engineering and Mining and Sciences are to establish the principles of conducting Department business, primarily through mechanisms established in this Charter. The Department Chair is empowered to act on Department affairs using the input of the faculty and staff as guidance, but with reasonably wide latitude to implement policy within those guidelines.


This Charter is intended to guide the Department in its operations, by stating the function and general intention of various governing bodies and procedural steps. By charter, the Department shall have a Chairperson and five standing committees; provision to establish ad hoc committees is also made. For permanent changes to the Charter, a mechanism is established for amendments as stated in a later section of the Charter.

Departmental Governance

The Departmental Chairperson ("Chair")

The Chair of the Department shall act to carry out the wishes and needs of the Department, as determined by the faculty in general and by specific committees as outlined below. The Chair shall have power to make day-to-day decisions as needed to ensure the smooth running of the Department, but should request the guidance of the relevant committee, or the faculty as a whole, on matters of policy or precedent. In the absence of the Chair (due to travel, illness, etc.), the duties of the Chair shall be carried out by the chairperson of the Executive Committee, as Acting Chair, or by any member of the Executive Committee designated by the chairperson for this purpose. In the event that any of the Committees described in this Charter do not perform their functions, the Department Chair may execute those functions.

The Executive Committee

The Executive Committee shall serve to advise the Chair on matters of Departmental concern, and shall establish guidelines for the Chair regarding matters of budget, travel, and the distribution of other departmental resources, such as space and facilities or secretarial support.

The Curriculum and Instruction Committee ("C&I")

This Committee is charged with seeing that the overall curriculum keeps pace with the changing needs of students in the current and anticipated marketplace for our graduates. The Department should recognize that these needs are continually changing, and that modifications to the curriculum should be an ongoing part of the Department's function. This Committee should advise the Executive Committee on perceived priorities in allocation of discretionary funds, and advise the Department Chair on the allocation of teaching funds, such as assistantships; but a primary goal of this committee should be to continually determine the needs of the students and suggest how the Department can best address those needs.

The Graduate Committee

The Graduate Committee shall make decisions concerning acceptance or rejection of applications to the graduate program of our Department, and shall make recommendations to the Department Chair concerning the awarding of discretionary support to incoming students (Fellowships, Graduate Teaching Assistantships). They shall also assume general responsibility for the well-being of the overall graduate program.

The Tenure, Promotion, and Re-Appointment Committee

This Committee (herein referred to as the “Promotion Committee”) is expected to assist the Departmental Chair in assuring accurate and complete assessment of cases for promotion and tenure, and to provide guidance to the Chair concerning re-appointments and sabbatical leaves. It is also expected to guide the Chair and the faculty in advising new and untenured faculty and in providing fair and thorough feedback to members of the faculty as they attempt to advance through the ranks. In addition, this Committee shall maintain and update the guidelines for promotion and shall regularly communicate them to the Departmental faculty. The promotion procedures shall follow the University guidelines for this subject; this Charter provides conditions specific to the Department of Geological Engineering and Sciences.

The Grievance Committee

The University has established certain grievance policies which govern grievance procedures. This Committee is intended to provide one mechanism for settling grievances within those policies. It is also intended to provide a suitable mechanism for grievances by members of the Department Faculty who are not members of the Voting Faculty.

Ad Hoc Committees

The Department will, at its discretion, create certain ad hoc committees whenever they are needed. It is assumed that some of these will be created nearly annually, such as a Seminar Series Committee, but others may exist only for one specific function and never again. The Department has wide latitude in forming and staffing these committees, but is expected to equitably distribute responsibilities and duties as indicated in the paragraph below.

Criteria for Tenure, Promotion, and Re-Appointment

The University has established certain criteria for the various academic ranks. This Charter clarifies the relative significance to be given to various factors in making Department recommendations on tenure, promotion, and re-appointments.

New Positions

The Department may discover needs for appointments in any of a number of ways. For example, the Curriculum and Instruction Committee may find that the teaching needs of a newly-evolved field of geological engineering and sciences are not being satisfactorily met by the current faculty; this should be reflected in their annual reports and long-range plans. Any member of the Participating Faculty may bring up the subject of staffing needs for discussion at faculty meetings. Although Principal Investigators hold the primary responsibility for staffing positions from their research funds, requests for appointments to any academic position other than post-doctoral associateships or graduate assistantships, but including non-tenure track or non-faculty (such as research professorships) with specific candidates must be submitted to the Voting Faculty for their approval with a simple majority vote.

Amendments to the Charter

This Charter may be amended by a vote of at least two-thirds of the Voting Faculty. The proposed amendment must be put before the faculty in writing at least three weeks before it is put to a vote, in order to provide time for contemplation and fact-finding. All Voting Faculty must have the opportunity to vote, even by absentee ballot. The three-week time period shall not include academic holiday time. Amendments must be approved by the University President.

Individual Responsibilities

The faculty of the Department of Geological Engineering and Sciences are expected to be leaders in many ways. They are expected to be technical leaders, finding and developing new ways to solve problems in their fields. They are expected to be innovative teachers, leading students to new knowledge and methods of discovery. And they are expected to participate in leading inter-institutional activities, whether through responsibilities in professional societies or directly with other organizations. The demands placed on each faculty member in attempting to meet these expectations, and in obtaining the funding necessary to meet them, are extreme. They fall on all faculty members alike, and yet the Departmental Governance activities described in the preceding section of this Charter must still be met. As a result, all faculty members are expected to participate in matters of Departmental governance. With increasing rank comes increasing responsibility for such activities, and it is expected that the higher-ranking members of the Department will assume higher degrees of activity within the various committees. The Department should strive to distribute various committee assignments among the faculty in a fair and equitable manner, recognizing that faculty interests and abilities should be fitted with Departmental needs to maintain a smoothly-operating group of satisfied professionals.