Policy Library

351 Academic Departments

Authority: Approved by the Board of Trustees
Last updated on: May 06, 2016

351.1 Definition and Composition of a Department

An academic department is the basic administrative unit within Indiana State University created and maintained to carry on and develop the instructional service and research activities of its faculty in a specific field or body of knowledge. The faculty of an academic department shall include all those members of the University faculty who have been appointed to the department through procedures approved by the University.

351.1.1  The academic department must also have a mission that is viable to the College and the University and provide value added to the University.

351.1.2  The academic department shall have the fullest measure of autonomy consistent with its function and responsibility within the College and the University.  The faculty may enact bylaws to carry out the mission of the department.

351.1.3  At a minimum, a viable academic department must be able to carry out the following functions:

a.  Undertake regular assessment and evaluation of its curriculum/program(s)
b.  Undertake regular faculty evaluations, including those for application for promotion/tenure and leave
c.  Undertake faculty searches and selection as required
d.  Offer and schedule sufficient courses to satisfy the degree needs of students
e.  Provide effective advisement of students
f.   Promote faculty scholarship
g.  Provide service to the University and community.

351.1.4  The department faculty must maintain a level of collegiality necessary to accomplish individual goals of faculty and collective goals of the department, college, and University.

351.2 Successful Departments

A successful academic department engages students and prepares them in learning, and prepares them academically for post-collegiate life; a successful department facilitates faculty achievement in teaching, scholarship, and service to enhance student success and institutional reputation; a successful department works cooperatively to meet departmental and institutional goals; and a successful department promotes an effective working and learning environment for all.

351.2.1  Promoting Successful Departments.  The Provost shall, in consultation with the academic deans, create a resource allocation policy by which successful academic departments are rewarded for their success in meeting assigned targets, goals and missions.  Rewards may consist of whatever resources Academic Affairs makes available to Colleges and the Library for distribution to departments including (but not limited to) funding for travel, equipment, and supplies.  Departmental success shall be a part of the Dean’s biennial evaluation of the administrative role of Chairs. 

351.3 Failed Departments

Upon recommendation of the Provost and following the consultation process below, departments that systemically fail to meet their obligations as described in the previous section may be placed in receivership by the President.

351.3.1 Process of Recommendations.

351.3.1.1 Recommendation of the Dean to Governance Unit. When the Dean of a College determines, as a result of the department’s failure to meet its obligations, that there are reasons to place into temporary receivership a department, the Dean shall present the matter to the College governance unit for a vote.

351.3.1.2 Recommendation of the Dean. The Dean shall consider the recommendation of the College governance unit and may choose to continue with the recommendation. The Dean, when making the decision to recommend that the department be placed into receivership, shall forward the conclusion of the College governance unit along with the Dean’s own recommendation to the Provost.

351.3.1.3 Recommendation of the Provost to the Executive Committee. The provost may determine that receivership is unnecessary and instruct the Dean to seek another resolution to the department’s problems. When the Provost agrees with the recommendation of the Dean to place a department into temporary receivership, the Provost shall seek the recommendation of the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate. The Provost shall present the recommendations of the Dean and the College governance unit at that meeting.

351.3.1.4 Recommendation of the Provost to the President. The Provost shall consider the recommendation of the Executive Committee and may choose to continue with the recommendation to the President. The Provost, when making the decision to recommend that the department be placed into receivership, shall forward the conclusion of the College governance unit, the Dean, and the Executive Committee along with the Provost’s own recommendation to the President.

351.3.1.5 President’s Determination. The President shall make the final determination.

351.3.2 Departmental Receivership.

351.3.2.1 Leadership. A department in receivership shall be led by the Dean or the Dean’s designee.

351.3.2.2 Suspension of By-Laws. If the Provost certifies in writing to the Chairperson of the Faculty Senate that a department in receivership cannot be governed using the current By-Laws, the existing By-Laws may be suspended. New By-Laws will be authored by a Dean’s designee and presented for ratification by the members of the department. If the Department fails to ratify the bylaws, they will be presented for consideration by the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate, where they may be ratified over the Department’s objection.

351.3.3 Return to Independence.

351.3.3.1 When a department is placed into receivership, the provost shall identify specific criteria and benchmarks that must be achieved for a return to independent standing. The provost shall provide regular updates on the progress of any department in receivership to the officers of the Faculty Senate, who shall encourage a return to self-governing status as soon as feasible.

Related Information

Policy Administrator:
Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Policy Contact:
Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Parsons Hall 208
(812) 237-2304
Policy History:
Policy 351 was approved by the Indiana State University Board of Trustees and added to the University Handbook on June 14, 2013; added Sections 351.2, and 351.2.1 on December 12, 2014. Policy 351.3.2.2, 351.3.3, and 351.3.3.1 were amended on May 6, 2016. *Policy 399 Interpretation applies to interpretations of Policies 300 to 399 of the Policy Library.