Adopted September 24, 2004
Last amended July 23, 2019


In order to make its procedures as clearly defined and as open and participatory as possible, the department of History of Art and Architecture at the University of Pittsburgh adopts the following bylaws and regulations.

Full Department   

A. All powers and responsibilities delegated by the University of Pittsburgh to the department reside in the body of its voting members.

B.  The voting membership of the department consists of full-time faculty members whose primary appointment is in this department and full-time graduate students in residence.  Votes are allocated as follows.  Each full-time faculty member whose primary appointment is in this department shall have one vote.  Graduate students as a body have a total of one vote.  The graduate students may exercise this vote either by delegating a representative, or by splitting the vote among those in attendance at a given departmental meeting.  (For example, under the second option, if four graduate students attended a meeting each would have a quarter vote.)  Part-time, adjunct, and visiting faculty are not voting members. 

C. Matters of general departmental policy, and any particular administrative, procedural, or substantive questions brought before the department, including faculty hiring, shall be determined by the full department.

Matters that are not brought before the full department include promotion and tenure of faculty and evaluation of specific graduate students. Departmental deliberations that involve the evaluation of graduate students and/or disclosure of graduate student records are open only to faculty members who belong to the Graduate Faculty of the Arts and Sciences.  Promotion, tenure, and evaluation of faculty must be handled by faculty of the appropriate rank, that is, faculty above the rank of the candidate being considered.

D.  The full department shall meet approximately once per month during the academic year.  Each meeting of the department shall be announced at least three days in advance, with an agenda, and shall be open, unless specific matters have been determined by the full department to be confidential and to require restricted attendance and/or participation.   Any voting member of the department may, in consultation with the Chair, have an item placed on the agenda.  The Chair, at his or her discretion, may also permit people who are not voting members to place an item on the agenda if it merits attention by the full department.

A quorum shall exist when enough voting members are present to cast one-half of the total possible votes in the department.  Only members of the department present at a meeting, in person or in real-time conference call, shall vote on issues decided in that meeting, except in those specific cases where Arts and Sciences bylaws or policies require recording the votes of all eligible faculty members.  Questions that come before the full department shall be determined by a majority of the votes cast, except in cases where a larger percentage of the vote has been explicitly required by the department’s bylaws or regulations.  Voting in matters of faculty hiring and in the selection of a departmental Chair shall be by secret ballot.  In other matters, voting shall be by voice or by show of hands, unless a secret ballot is requested by a voting member, in which case the request shall be honored.  Minutes of each departmental meeting shall be recorded, archived, and made accessible on the department’s server.  Where procedural matters are not covered by any departmental bylaw or regulation, upon request by any voting member the transactions of the department shall be governed by Robert’s Rules of Order.   

E.  Election of the Chair.  One semester in advance of an upcoming election the current Chair shall notify all voting members of the department of the election.  Shortly after notification the Chair shall designate as “Election Chair” a full-time faculty member who has decided not to run.  The Election Chair shall receive nominations and arrange a meeting or series of meetings to allow a statement or statements by the candidate or candidates and discussion by department members.  Voting shall be by secret ballot, and the outcome reported to members of the department and to the Dean of Arts and Sciences.  When the voting results are sent to the Dean, the Tenured/Tenure Stream votes must be distinguished from the Non-Tenure Stream votes.

Executive Officers   

A. The executive officers of the department include the Chair, the Director of Architectural Studies, the Director of Graduate Studies, and the Director of Undergraduate Studies.  The Chair is appointed upon recommendation by the Dean of Arts and Sciences, after consultation with the department.  Upon appointment the Chair shall serve for a term of three years, renewable by mutual agreement  of the department, the Dean, and the Chair him or herself.  The other officers of the department shall be appointed by the Chair, with the advice and consent of the full  department, and each shall serve as long as is agreeable to the department, the Chair, and the officer.

B. The Chair is the Chief Executive Officer of the department.  He or she shall be responsible for the administration of the departmental business and shall represent the  department to the administration, the University at large, and the profession.  He or she shall preside over meetings of the full department.  He or she shall prepare the department’s budget, shall inform the department in writing of its general dimensions, and shall exercise jurisdiction over the expenditure of departmental funds in consultation with the department.  He or she also exercises jurisdiction over the department staff. Short-term faculty appointments are at the discretion of the Chair, who will consult with relevant members of the faculty.  In general, he or she shall be responsible for the execution of the department’s bylaws, regulations, policies, and procedural guidelines; for the day-to-day functioning of the department; and for keeping the department informed of matters that concern it.

C. The Director of Architectural Studies is responsible for overseeing the day to day activities and the long-term direction of the Architectural Studies Program.  He or she serves as a mentor for its students, oversees their extracurricular activities related to the program, supervises the part-time instructors who teach the curriculum, and recommends new policies or curricular reforms to the Undergraduate Committee, the Chair, and the department.  Typically he or she serves on the Undergraduate Committee.

D.  The Director of Graduate Studies shall preside over meetings and other activities of the Graduate Committee.  He or she shall be responsible for the day-to-day detail of administering the regulations of the graduate program, including the advising of course registration for all graduate students before they advance to PhD candidacy.   

E.  The Director of Undergraduate Studies shall preside over meetings and other activities of the Undergraduate Committee.  He or she shall be responsible for the day-to-day detail of administering the regulations of the undergraduate major programs and certificate programs in the department, including the advising of course registration for all students in the various majors and certificate programs.


All voting members of the department are eligible to serve on committees.  At the beginning of the academic year the Chair shall appoint members to serve on the following standing committees: Graduate, Undergraduate, and any others the Chair determines are necessary. At the discretion of the Chair, or by request of the department, the Chair may appoint ad hoc committees to study particular issues that fall outside the rubric of the standing committees.

As voting members of the department, graduate students are invited to serve on these committees.  Graduate students appointed to the Graduate Committee take full part in policy discussion and decisions, but do not participate in discussions or actions affecting other graduate students individually, and do not have access to other students’ records. 

The University requires the department to maintain a Planning and Budget Committee, which is hereby constituted as a committee of the whole.  The department chair thereby serves as chair of the committee.  The chair must keep the department as a whole regularly informed and must seek department approval for decisions involving department resources and budget allocations.  The committee of the whole may decide to delegate certain aspects of budgetary planning and implementation to the Strategic Planning Committee.

Curriculum planning, and all decisions on designating courses and instructors, shall to the fullest extent possible be reviewed and approved by the department as a whole in consultation with the Chair and the Undergraduate and Graduate committees.  New undergraduate courses shall be proposed and reviewed in the following manner.  Individual instructors in the department who wish to propose a new course shall do so by providing, to the chair of the Undergraduate committee, a syllabus and a brief cover letter explaining the proposed level and audience for the course and how the course will complement or supplement the existing curriculum.  The proposed syllabus must clearly articulate not only the content but also the learning objectives of the course as well as the methods of student assessment; instructors should consult the department’s manual for instructors before submitting their proposal. The Undergraduate committee will review the proposal according to the following criteria: 1) consistency with the standards for syllabi enumerated by the department in its manual for instructors; 2) appropriateness for the department’s undergraduate curriculum; and 3) integration of current scholarship and best practices in the discipline.  The committee may reject the proposal, or recommend revision and resubmission, or recommend approval.  If the undergraduate committee recommends approval of the course, the committee will present the course proposal at the next available department meeting for a vote; the course is approved if a simple majority agrees with the committee’s recommendation.

Admissions and fellowship committees are chosen by special procedures.  For the graduate admissions committee, the Director of Graduate Studies in consultation with the Chair appoints three tenure-stream faculty members; typically the DGS is one of the three and acts as chair of the committee.  The committee is expected to consult with all faculty members whose research areas or interests are relevant to particular applicants.  Fellowship committees also consist of tenure-stream faculty members, who are appointed annually by the Director of Graduate Studies to minimize conflicts of interest and where possible to represent diverse research areas and interests.

Waiving Provisions of the Bylaws   

Any provision of these bylaws may be waived at any meeting of the department for the duration of that meeting or part thereof, by the consent of three-quarters of the votes cast.  Any provision may be waived outside a departmental meeting by the consent of three-quarters of the total possible votes in the department.  Voting shall be by secret ballot, signed envelope, in response to a written proposal to waive the provision, indicating the duration of the proposed waiver.     


Amendments to these bylaws may be proposed upon petition by at least five voting members of the department.  Copies of the proposed amendment shall be distributed to all members of the department, and the date of the meeting in which it is to be acted upon shall be announced at least two weeks in advance of any formal action.  A majority of two-thirds of the votes cast shall be required for passage of an amendment.