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June 25, 1998

Each school would have representation on Assembly, under proposed change in bylaws

Each Pitt school would be directly represented on Faculty Assembly, under a proposed revision of University Senate bylaws.

Also, each of the four regional campuses, the University Library System (ULS) and the Health Sciences Library System would elect representatives to the Assembly.

Each unit would elect two representatives, except that:

* The Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), would continue to elect 15 representatives, including five each from FAS's three divisions — humanities, natural sciences and social sciences.

* Other units with more than 100 faculty members would get three representatives.

The revision was approved this month by the two main Senate groups: the faculty-only Assembly and the Senate Council, which also includes staff, students and administrators.

In September, the Senate office will mail copies of the proposed revisions to all Senate members for final approval.

Council and Assembly endorsed the revision even though some members questioned the disproportionately high and low numbers of seats allotted to FAS and the School of Medicine, respectively.

FAS (with about 630 full-time faculty) would get 15 Assembly representatives, while the medical school (with about 1,370 full-time faculty) would get just three representatives — only one more than the Health Sciences Library System, which employs 20 faculty librarians.

Besides medicine and FAS, only three Pitt units employed more than 100 full-time faculty last fall: the Johnstown campus (148), the School of Education (109) and the Graduate School of Public Health (106).

James T. Cobb, who chairs the Senate bylaws committee, said his committee recognizes that its proposal appears to shortchange School of Medicine faculty. But he said the proposal is an attempted compromise between the U.S. Senate model (equal representation for each unit, regardless of population) and the House system (representation based on population).

Under another proposed bylaw change, the Senate's elections committee would no longer nominate the annual slate of Faculty Assembly candidates.

Instead, faculty organizations from schools, campuses and library systems would nominate candidates for their units, then choose representatives from among the nominees. In units where no organizations exist, the elections committee would continue to nominate candidates.

Currently, Assembly members are elected from four academic areas rather than individual units: FAS, the Health Sciences, the non-health professional schools, and the regional campuses. Some schools may not be directly represented under the current system — even though three members-at-large are elected in an attempt to fill gaps in representation. The Assembly would no longer maintain members-at-large under the proposal.

Under the proposal, Faculty Assembly membership would increase by two members over the current total of 57, based on fall 1997 faculty numbers.

If Senate members approve the bylaws revision this fall, it could go into effect in time for next spring's Faculty Assembly election, Cobb said.

The Senate includes all full-time assistant, associate and full professors; instructors; part-time, tenured faculty; faculty librarians; deans; Senate Council members; and part-time untenured faculty and emeriti and retired faculty who annually inform the Senate office that they want to remain members.

— Bruce Steele

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