Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences

Bylaws

Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences
Bylaws
University of Colorado at Boulder
Approved September 15, 2005 by the Council of Fellows
FINAL Version

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The Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) is an interdisciplinary administrative unit (organized research unit) of the University of Colorado at Boulder whose purpose is to foster research, teaching, and service in the environmental sciences.  CIRES seeks to achieve the highest level of excellence in its work through the creation of an infrastructure and working environment that will attract and sustain innovative researchers and teachers and through close collaborations with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's research laboratories and other research partners both internal and external to the university.  CIRES  is committed to broad, interactive capability across subdisciplines of the environmental sciences, including earth, atmospheric, cryospheric, life, and social sciences.          

I.   Governance of CIRES.

As an institute of the University of Colorado at Boulder, CIRES is governed by the Laws of the Regents of the University of Colorado and by the administrative policies and regulations of the University of Colorado system and the Boulder Campus.  In addition, CIRES attempts to accommodate to the fullest possible extent the operational practices of its external research partners, so long as this accommodation is consistent with the laws of the State of Colorado, the rules of the University of Colorado, and the best interests of CIRES. 

Internally, the operations of CIRES are governed by its bylaws, the content of which is determined by the Council of Fellows.  The bylaws of CIRES can be amended by a two-thirds majority vote of the CIRES Fellows following distribution of proposed changes to the bylaws one month prior to the time that the Fellows are asked to vote on changes in the bylaws.  Changes in the bylaws must be approved by the Vice Chancellor for Research and Dean of the Graduate School.

Meetings within CIRES that involve group decisions by 10 or more persons will be conducted according to Robert's Rules of Order, 10th Edition, unless specified otherwise in these bylaws.

II.  Composition of CIRES.

A.  Director and Associate Directors. 

The Director is the chief executive officer of CIRES.  The Director is responsible for scientific leadership and for the maintenance and development of scientific programs within CIRES.  In addition, the Director is the chief representative of CIRES outside the institute and is responsible for oversight of the CIRES budget and for all personnel actions and commitments of resources by CIRES.  The Director convenes and presides over meetings of the CIRES Executive Committee and the CIRES Council of Fellows, and maintains direct communication with the administrators of collaborating research groups external to CIRES.

The term of appointment for a Director of CIRES is four years, and is renewable. The Director of CIRES is selected through a search process that is approved by majority vote of the Fellows and by the Vice Chancellor for Research and Dean of the Graduate School.  An advisory committee (search committee) approved by the Vice Chancellor and Dean of the Graduate School will oversee the search process.  The CIRES Fellows must approve a proposed Director by a two-thirds majority.  The Director is appointed by the Vice Chancellor for Research and Dean of the Graduate School, with concurrence from higher levels of the university administration and the University of Colorado Regents according to university policy.  In considering a proposed new Director of CIRES, the Vice Chancellor for Research and Dean of the Graduate School will review a written record of discussion and voting by the CIRES Council of Fellows on the advisability of the appointment.  The Vice Chancellor for Research and Dean of the Graduate School also will seek independent advice from important external research partners of CIRES prior to deciding on the appointment.

When absent for more than one week, a Director will appoint an Acting Director to perform the duties of Director until the Director returns. If an Acting Director is to serve continuously for three months or more, the Director will seek approval of the choice of Acting Director by a majority vote of the Council of Fellows and approval by the Vice Chancellor for Research and Dean of the Graduate School.

A Director who seeks reappointment must notify the Council of Fellows as well as the Vice Chancellor for Research and Dean of the Graduate School at least four months prior to the scheduled vote of the Council of Fellows on the reappointment. Reappointment of a Director of CIRES requires formation of an advisory committee, the composition of which must be approved by the Vice Chancellor for Research and Dean of the Graduate School, creation by the committee of a written report on the Director based on the committee's detailed study of the Director's past performance, and a record of discussion and vote by the CIRES Fellows on the advisability of reappointing the Director.  If the Council of Fellows approves the reappointment by a two-thirds vote, the results of this vote and the supporting information are forwarded by the advisory committee to the Vice Chancellor for Research and Dean of the Graduate School.

The Director may appoint one or more Associate Directors to perform administrative or executive tasks of specified type, and also may appoint administrative support staff as necessary to conduct the full range of administrative duties for CIRES.  The terms of appointment for Associate Directors are one year and are renewable.  Associate Directors can be replaced at any time by the Director and their appointments expire if the Director resigns or is removed from office. 

B.  Fellows of CIRES. 

Fellows of CIRES are selected by two-thirds vote of the Council of Fellows and are appointed or reappointed by the Director of CIRES with the concurrence of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Dean of the Graduate School.  The Director is a Fellow of CIRES.  Fellows of CIRES must hold a Ph.D. degree or its equivalent and at the time of their initial appointment must also show the following qualifications: (1) A high level of achievement in one or more aspects of the environmental sciences involving research of basic or practical importance and relevant to the programmatic interests of CIRES, and (2) willingness to commit time and attention to the affairs of CIRES.  Fellows of CIRES, except when unavailable, are expected to attend meetings of the Council of Fellows, to participate in committee work at the request of the Director, and to have a broadly based understanding of the objectives and programs of CIRES.  Fellows of CIRES need not be university faculty; they may be other university employees, federal employees, or employees of other institutions, in which case their appointment must be approved by the institution through which they are employed as well as through the university.  The number of Fellows of CIRES cannot exceed 15% of the number of career-track employees of CIRES, as determined by the CIRES Director.  

The initial appointment of any new CIRES Fellow will be for two years.  Reappointments are for five years.  Qualifications for reappointment are the same as for the initial appointment, except that the established record of the appointee must show evidence of commitment to the affairs of CIRES.  Cases for appointment or reappointment of Fellows are presented to the Council of Fellows by a committee of three Fellows appointed by the Director.

Upon retirement from employment, a Fellow of CIRES may request to be considered for appointment as Fellow Emeritus with a renewable term of five years.  An appointment as Fellow Emeritus requires a majority vote of the Council of Fellows and must be approved by the CIRES Director with the concurrence of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Dean of the Graduate School.  Fellows Emeritus retain voice without vote in meetings of the Council of Fellows, and are expected to interact professionally with CIRES, but have no specific duties.

C. Members of CIRES

Except for CIRES Fellows, all employees of CIRES who occupy career-track positions, as determined by the CIRES Director, are Members of CIRES.  The duties and conditions of appointment for members of CIRES vary by category, as listed below. 

1.  Members with research appointments.  Research associate, senior research associate, and professorial ranks outside the tenure track (e.g., research professor) are job classifications of the University of Colorado that apply to individuals who participate in research on a career-track basis and typically have a Ph.D. degree.  Requirements for appointment to these positions are as determined by the Vice Chancellor for Research and Dean of the Graduate School.  Individuals who hold a university research rank and are paid from CIRES accounts are considered research personnel of CIRES.  The duration of these positions within CIRES corresponds to the duration of salary support from CIRES. 

Research associates, senior research associates, and other research personnel not on a tenure track are expected to conduct research in an area of environmental science relevant to the programs of CIRES but are not required to participate in teaching or service for CIRES, although they may do so according to their own wishes, with approval of their supervisor.

Professional research assistant and senior professional research assistant are job classifications of the University of Colorado that apply to individuals who participate in research on a career-track basis, but typically do not have a Ph.D. degree.  Requirements for appointment to these positions are as determined by the Vice Chancellor for Research and Dean of the Graduate School.  Individuals who become professional research assistants or senior professional research assistants of the university and who are paid from CIRES accounts are considered professional research assistants or senior professional research assistants of CIRES. 

Professional research assistants and senior professional research assistants of CIRES are responsible for research activities as determined by their program supervisor or laboratory supervisor, and are evaluated on the basis of the quality of this work.  Professional research assistants are not required to devote time to teaching or service within CIRES, although they may do so if they wish, by arrangement with their supervisor.  

The CIRES Director, with advice from the Council of Fellows and the CIRES Executive Committee, may create titled ranks for the Members of CIRES who have research appointments.  The purpose of these ranks is to recognize advancement of scientific staff on a career track that is defined more explicitly than through the job classifications used by the university system.  Titled ranks used for career-track recognition by CIRES are complementary to the employee classifications used by the university, and do not nullify the university classifications. 

2.  Members with administrative support-staff appointments.  The administrative support staff of CIRES includes all career-track employees not belonging to the categories mentioned above.  CIRES administrative support staff may be appointed through the classified staff system of the State of Colorado as administered on the Boulder Campus.  In this case, terms of appointment, rate of compensation, retention rights, and other related matters are determined by the classified staff system.  CIRES support staff also may belong to the professional exempt category of university employees, in which case compensation as well as terms and duration of employment are as determined by the Director of CIRES in consultation with the Vice Chancellor for Research and Dean of the Graduate School.  Support staff also may be appointed under the research titles mentioned above, provided that these appointments meet the requirements of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Dean of the Graduate School. 

Administrative support staff receive their job descriptions and work assignments under the authority of the Director of CIRES, who may delegate supervisory responsibilities to associate directors or other administrative personnel within CIRES.

D. Other Categories.  Other categories of personnel include individuals who are with CIRES exclusively for a degree program or a fixed term as a visiting researcher or who have an association with CIRES not involving compensation from CIRES accounts.

1.  Visiting Fellows.  Visiting Fellows of CIRES hold a Ph.D. degree and have outstanding credentials in one or more branches of environmental science.  Visiting Fellows have appointments of at most two years and work exclusively in research or outreach.  Visiting Fellows of CIRES, who are appointed with financial support from CIRES through an open competition each year if funds are available, are appointed as research associates or senior research associates, but are recognized as a distinct category within this group because the entire Council of Fellows participates in the selection of Visiting Fellows.

2.  Students.  Teaching within CIRES involves direct contact between Fellows of CIRES or Members of CIRES and individual students, typically through supervision of research conducted by individual students. 

Any student of the University of Colorado who receives instruction or guidance in research or scholarship from a Fellow or Member of CIRES through programs of the University of Colorado is classified as a student of CIRES.  Relevant programs include undergraduate independent research, work-study employment, hourly employment in research laboratories, and other similar programs operated by the university.  In addition, graduate students who have a Fellow of CIRES or a Member of CIRES as their principal advisor or who work within a CIRES laboratory or receive funds from CIRES are considered students of CIRES.  Requirements for students are as determined by the school or college in which they are enrolled.  Requirements for graduate students of CIRES are as determined by the Graduate School.

3.  Affiliates.  An individual not employed by CIRES who is conducting research in collaboration with a Fellow of CIRES may be appointed as an Affiliate of CIRES.  Such an appointment requires that a letter of recommendation be submitted to the Director by a Fellow of CIRES describing the qualifications of the nominee and the nature and extent of proposed collaboration with CIRES scientists.  The CIRES Director decides on this basis whether to appoint the nominee, and selects an appropriate term of appointment not to exceed three years.  Affiliates are expected to have scientific credentials similar to those of CIRES Fellows or CIRES Members of similar rank and to remain involved in collaborative work with CIRES scientists over the term of the appointment.  Other than research collaboration with CIRES, there are no special requirements for affiliates of CIRES. 

III.  Administration and Management of CIRES.

A.  Council of Fellows.  The CIRES Council of Fellows consists of the Fellows of CIRES, under leadership of the Director.   Responsibilities of the Council are as follows:

1.   Maintain and revise the bylaws of CIRES.

2. Review, discuss, and vote on the following personnel matters: appointment and reappointment of Fellows and Fellows Emeritus of CIRES, the CIRES Director, Visiting Fellows, and other personnel as deemed appropriate by the CIRES Director.  A vote of the CIRES Fellows on appointments is advisory to the appointing authority, which may be either the Director or the Vice Chancellor for Research and Dean of the Graduate School, as specified by the Laws of the Regents or policies of the Boulder Campus. 

 3.   Analyze and discuss CIRES programs and management of CIRES; develop policies and create scientific initiatives; recommend the formation of committees to study issues of importance to CIRES.  Examples of matters for consideration by the Council of Fellows include expansion or reduction of themes or programs; strategies for collaboration with other units external to or within the university; commitments of space, personnel, or infrastructure; and other related matters pertaining to the institutional framework and operation of CIRES.   Votes by the Council on these matters are advisory to the Director of CIRES.

Operating rules of the Council are as follows:  

1.  Meetings of the Council are scheduled by the Director.  The Director must schedule a meeting if requested in writing to do so by three or more Council members. 

2.   A quorum of the Council of Fellows consists of 50% of the Fellows who are available (unavailability is interpreted for present purposes to mean travel, sabbatical, sick leave, family leave, and other compelling reasons to be determined by the Director). 

3.   The Director will provide an agenda for any meeting of the Council of Fellows two days or more prior to the meeting. 

4.   Fellows may vote by absentee ballot on any motion that is described in the agenda; an absentee ballot is not relevant to the determination of a quorum.  Absentee ballots must be presented in written or electronic form, with the name of the absentee to the Director or the Director's designate and must reference specifically the motion in question as well as the vote.  Proxy votes are not allowed.

5.   Personnel actions of the Council are determined on the basis of a written ballot rather than a show of hands.  A written ballot may be requested on any other issue by any member of the Council. 

6.   Except as specified otherwise in these bylaws, questions before the Council will be decided by simple majority of Council members present and voting, or voting by absentee ballot, at a meeting of the Council.  Council members may abstain from voting, but an abstention will not count toward a majority.  Recommendations for appointment of a Director or Fellow, recommendations to terminate a Director or Fellow, and amendments to the bylaws require a two-thirds majority of the Council of Fellows.  When the Fellows are voting on issues that are not binary (e.g., a field of three or more candidates or a selection among three or more choices), voting will be by progressive elimination of the choices ranked lowest as a result of voting.  Rank is determined from cumulation of rank scores for each choice.  Multiple votes will be conducted until a single candidate or choice receives a majority vote.  If the vote requires a two-thirds majority, and the most highly ranked choice in the last round of elimination receives a majority but not a two-thirds vote, an additional vote will be held to determine whether the choice in question is acceptable to two-thirds or more of voters.  The Director does not vote except in case of a tie.

7.   The CIRES Director may appoint members of the Council to undertake particular studies or tasks on behalf of the Director or on behalf of the Council.  Such appointments have a term of one year unless explicitly extended beyond that time.  The Director may constitute committees of the Council, except for the Executive Committee, without a nominations and approval process unless nominations and approval by the Council of Fellows are requested for a specific committee by one or more members of the Council.  Members at large of the Executive Committee (four, with staggered terms) are selected by written ballot following open nominations of Fellows at a meeting of the Council of Fellows.  Nominees must receive a majority vote in order to be elected to the Executive Committee.  Fellows elected to the Executive Committee by the Council of Fellows have two-year terms and cannot serve more than two consecutive terms.  The Council of Members elects two representatives to serve on the Executive Committee.

8.    The CIRES Director will designate an administrative staff member or a member of the Council of Fellows to take minutes of Council meetings.  The minutes will be distributed within one week of the meeting to which they pertain, and will be presented for approval at the following meeting.  The Director will maintain an archive of minutes that can be referenced easily by members of the Council or others. 

B.  CIRES Executive Committee.  The CIRES Executive Committee consists of the CIRES Director, Associate Directors of CIRES, four CIRES Fellows elected by the Council of Fellows, and two representatives elected by the CIRES Council of Members.  The Executive Committee will meet regularly at times determined by the Director of CIRES and will advise the Director on matters of budget, personnel, implementation of policy, and any other matters related to the administration or operation of CIRES.  The Director will summarize the work of the Executive Committee for the Fellows at meetings of the Council of Fellows and will transmit news of importance from the Executive Committee to the Council of Members through the representatives of the Council of Members.

C.  The CIRES Council of Members.  Members of CIRES may form a Council to be recognized within CIRES under the authority of the Director.  The purpose of the Council will be to represent and articulate the interests and concerns of members of CIRES.  The size and the membership of the Council will be decided by the members of CIRES, with approval of the Director.  The Council will devise its own rules of operation and can amend these rules of operation with the approval of the Director.  The Council of Members will elect two representatives of CIRES who will serve on the Executive Committee and will attend meetings of the Council of Fellows. The actions of the Council of Fellows will be communicated to the Council of Members through these representatives. 

D.  Grievance Procedures.  The CIRES Director will maintain a written policy for the handling of grievances involving CIRES personnel. Through this policy, CIRES will resolve grievances in a manner that is expeditious, fair, and consistent with the policies of the Boulder Campus and of the graduate school.  It is the duty of all CIRES personnel who are aware of grievances to see that the Director is informed of them. Grievances for which there are established channels of resolution on the Boulder Campus will be routed directly through those channels by the Director of CIRES.  Grievances that are not accommodated by existing campus channels will be processed first within CIRES before being forwarded to any higher administrative level.  Processes involving grievances of persons external to CIRES will be coordinated with the relevant external administrative authorities.  The routing of grievances within CIRES will be determined by the CIRES Director.