Advisory Council Bylaws
Article I. Purpose
There is a need for a board composed of educators and public representatives to assist the Board of Regents and the Commissioner of Education in making institutional accreditation and reaccreditation determinations for degree-granting institutions in New York State that seek accreditation by the Board of Regents and the Commissioner, acting in their capacity as a nationally recognized accrediting agency. The Regents Advisory Council on Institutional Accreditation (hereinafter the “Council”) is therefore established. The Advisory Council will review all applications for accreditation and reaccreditation that are submitted to it by the Deputy Commissioner for Higher Education and make recommendations to the Regents and the Commissioner based on its review. The Council will also serve as an advisory group on institutional accreditation procedures, standards, and policies.
Article II. Membership
- The Council shall be composed of a minimum of nine voting members and one non-voting member. Members of the Council shall not participate in any decisions in which there is a conflict or the appearance of a conflict between their duty in the public interest and their private interests.
- Membership shall include:
- At least seven educators practicing in New York State. Of this number, at least two shall have experience as senior administrators in degree-granting institutions; at least two shall have had experience as full-time faculty members in degree-granting institutions; at least one shall be a full-time faculty member at the time of appointment.
- At least two public representatives. Members of this group shall include persons who have community and public-interest organization experience and who have demonstrated an interest in higher education and who are not affiliated with a degree-granting institution in New York State as an employee or unpaid officer.
- The Deputy Commissioner for Higher Education, ex officio, who shall be a non-voting member.
The Commissioner shall appoint members to serve on the Council.
The responsibility of the appointed members shall be to serve the purpose of the Council set forth in Article I.
- Terms of the initial voting members of the Council shall be arranged so that the terms of three members will expire on June 30, 2001, the terms of three members will expire on June 30, 2002, and the terms of the three remaining members will expire on June 30, 2003. Thereafter, members shall be appointed to serve a regular term of three years each.
It shall be the duty of the Council to prescribe and implement attendance policies for the membership. Timely accomplishment of the Council's work shall underlie such policies.
Article III, Governance
The Commissioner shall appoint a chair and vice chair from the membership who shall serve terms of three years, except for the initial chair and vice chair who will serve from May 19, 2000, through June 30, 2001. Thereafter, the terms shall commence on July 1 and end on June 30 of the third year following.
The chair or, in his/her absence or incapacity, the vice-chair shall:
- Preside at meetings of the Council;
- Be responsible for the preparation of each meeting agenda in consultation with the Senior Deputy Commissioner for of Education P-16;
- Serve as an ex-officio, non-voting member on such standing or ad hoc committees or subcommittees as the Council or Commissioner may establish;
- Recognize individuals and representatives of constituent groups from whom the Council seeks to solicit information;
- Establish, with the concurrence of the Commissioner, provisions for considering written statements from individuals who have requested permission to present them with respect to specific upcoming applications for accreditation and reaccreditation; and
- Provide for the preparation of an annual report of Council activities to the Board of Regents.
Periodically, the Council shall report its accreditation and reaccreditation recommendations to the Board of Regents through the Commissioner of Education. It also shall make an annual report to the Board of Regents which will both summarize the actions of the Council and include any recommendations the Council may, following self-study, choose to make on its procedures or on the institutional accreditation processes and standards.
The Chair shall appoint ad hoc committees to review individual applications for institutional accreditation or reaccreditation. These committees normally shall consist of two voting members, neither of whom shall have a conflict of interest, as provided in Section 1a of Article II of these bylaws. The task of these committee members is to be primary readers of the application. Each committee shall make a recommendation to the full Council for its discussion and recommendation. The chair also shall appoint annually an ad hoc committee to review procedures and policies related to the Council's responsibilities and operation and make recommendations to the Council. The work of this committee may form a basis for the Council's annual report to the Board of Regents.
Article IV. Meetings
The Council shall meet twice a year for one or two consecutive days, to be determined by the Department. The chair may also call additional meetings for good cause.
The Council shall make decisions regarding recommendations to the Board of Regents by a majority vote of its voting membership. The chair or vice chair has full voting power on all decisions by the Council. A record of dissenting votes and comments will be placed in the Council minutes. In exceptional circumstances, the chair may permit members to vote in absentia under conditions he or she shall prescribe. The chair shall decide on requests for permission to vote in absentia consistently and shall not grant or deny permission arbitrarily.
Meetings shall contain the following elements: call to order; determination of a quorum, approval of minutes of the preceding meeting, items of information, action items, discussion items, items for inclusion in future meeting agendas, and adjournment.
A majority of the full voting membership of the Council constitutes a quorum.
Article V. Duties of Staff
- Keep minutes of all full Council meetings;
- Transmit copies of minutes to all Council members at least seven days in advance of the next Council meeting;
- Transmit copies of Council-approved minutes to the Deputy Commissioner for Higher Education;
- Send agenda materials to Council members sufficiently in advance of each meeting;
- Have copies of Council agenda materials available at the time of Council meetings; and
- Provide materials needed for review of proposed accreditations and reaccreditations as determined by the chair. These materials may include the institutional self-study, reports of external reviews, and staff recommendations.
Article VI. Expectations of Members
Council members are expected to attend all scheduled meetings. With prior notification and for valid reasons, the chair may excuse members. Two unexcused absences from scheduled meetings within a 12-month period are grounds for removal of the member from the Council.
Council members are expected to prepare thoroughly for each meeting by reading and reacting to supporting documents, as provided.
Council members are expected to work in a collaborative fashion with each other, the Board of Regents, and Education Department staff. Council members are expected to express views and opinions or concerns openly and constructively.
Council members are expected to apply consistently and evenhandedly the institutional accreditation standards set forth in the Education Law and other New York State statutes, the Rules of the Board of Regents, the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education, and policies applicable in New York State to degree-granting institutions and relevant to the U.S. Secretary of Education's criteria for national recognition as an accrediting agency.
Article VII. Amendments
Any member of the Council may submit a proposed amendment to these bylaws. A written, full, and complete text of the proposed amendment shall be provided to the membership at least one month prior to the meeting at which the amendment is to be considered. Approval of the amendment shall be by two-thirds vote of the full voting membership. Amendments shall become effective upon approval by the Commissioner.
Article VIII. Approval of Bylaws
These bylaws shall take effect upon adoption by a two-thirds vote of the voting membership and approval by the Commissioner.
Adopted by the Council: May 19, 2000
Amended: October 13, 2000, October 26, 2001, and April 26, 2007
Approved by the Commissioner: Richard P. Mills May 2009