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Council of Principal Investigators and Research Administrators


Approved November 19, 2015


1. Purpose of the Council:
The Council of Principal Investigators and Research Administrators (CPIRA) consists of individuals elected to represent Principal Investigators (PIs) and Research Administrators (RAs) from members of the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (TAMU-CC) research community. The Council is an advisory body committed to the continued improvement of the research environment for students, faculty, and staff. Specifically, the CPIRA and the faculty and staff it represents, endeavor to work with administration to provide an effective and efficient university organization, to achieve the goal of being nationally recognized and competitive in research, other sponsored activities and teaching.


The Council meets monthly or as needed to address specific issues concerning the research and graduate environments on campus. Appropriate recommendations are discussed with and implemented through appropriate organizations or administrative offices.


2. Representation:
Members of the Council are elected representatives of Principal Investigators and Research Administrators from the TAMU-CC research community. As such, it is the responsibility of Council Members to maintain an effective dialogue with their constituents.  A member of the Faculty Senate will also serve as a non-voting, ex officio member of the Council. It is suggested that this person be an eligible constituent of CPIRA.  The member will be appointed annually by the Speaker of the Senate.


A. Definition of Principal Investigator:

CPIRA defines a Principal Investigator (PI) as an individual who has primary responsibility for the design, execution, and management of a research, education, or other sponsored project and who will be involved in the project in a significant manner.  This definition excludes those who are primarily administrators such as Vice Presidents, Deans, Directors (Center, Institute or School), and Department Chairs. An exception to this restriction may be granted by the Council Chair, on a case-by-case basis.


B. Definition of Research Administrator:

CPIRA defines a Research Administrator (RA) as any assistant director, business manager, business coordinator, business support specialist or other staff position who is not an employee of Research Commercialization and Outreach and whose primary job duties include at least one of the following:

  • Providing pre-award administrative support for the preparation and submission of proposals.
  • Providing post-award administrative support for a sponsored project.
  • Providing support for the research compliance aspects of a sponsored project.

C. Meetings:

Meetings shall be open to all observers, but only Council Members or their Alternates may vote. Meetings will generally be informal, but, at the request of the majority of the Council Members present, the operating procedures adopted by the Faculty Senate, or other procedures as agreed upon by those present, will be followed.  


D. Quorum:

A quorum shall consist of at least 50 percent of the members of the Council.


E. Elections:

Elections to replace Council Members whose terms have expired or to fill other vacancies will be held in the spring semester bi-annually, or as needed, after compilation of the census of Principal Investigators and Research Administrators. The Council Chair or Council Coordinator shall inform all Principal Investigators in those units that have expired terms or unfilled seats regarding the need for nominations. The Council Coordinator shall compile the list of nominees and prepare separate ballots for each unit with vacancies, and shall initiate a ballot to each Investigator using that unit's census list. The Coordinator will follow the same procedure to fill Research Administrator vacancies; however, the constituents voting for RA seats on the Council will be comprised of all eligible staff campus wide.  Where multiple vacancies exist, the voters shall have as many votes as there are vacancies. The nominees receiving the most votes will be named Council Members until all vacancies have been filled.


F. Census of Principal Investigators:

A census shall be conducted annually by the Council Coordinator to update the list of eligible PIs and RAs.  Additionally, the Council will consider adjustments or changes as needed outside of the annual census with approval of the Executive Committee required before updating the census.


G. Allocation of Seats:

The Executive Committee will review census data as needed and determine seats by unit based on proportional representatives of the total number of Principal Investigators obtained in the census. Each College and Organized Research Unit, with at least three constituents, shall hold at least one seat on the council.  Units that do not meet this threshold shall be grouped together to facilitate constituent voting.


H. Membership Term and Limits:

Membership on the Council shall be for a three-year term, to coincide with TAMU-CC’s fiscal year, starting September 1 and ending August 31.  No member may be elected to serve more than two consecutive three-year terms. This rule is excepted if the Vice Chair's term on the Council expires during the year that the Member serves as Vice Chair or Council Chair. In this case, the Vice Chair's term will be extended to the end of the term as Immediate Past Chair.  The Council Chair may invite members to extend their term at his/her discretion with the approval of the Executive Committee.


I. Transfers and Reappointment:

Any Council Member who transfers from one College to another will retain a seat on the Council for the balance of the elected term. If that Council member was the only representative of a College, the now unrepresented unit will be entitled to elect a new representative at the next election or in a special election.


A Council Member who steps down or who assumes an administrative position that precludes Council membership shall recommend a temporary replacement to serve the remainder of their elected term.  A permanent replacement will be elected during the next regularly scheduled election when an elected member will fill the vacated position.  Recommendations are contingent upon approval by the Council Chair. 


J. Alternates:

If a Council Member has an extended time conflict arise (e.g. teaching commitment at the time of Council meetings, sabbatical, extended travel, illness, etc.) such that the Member is unable to attend two or more consecutive meetings, the Member will enlist an Alternate from the Member's unit and notify the Council Coordinator of the conflict and the Alternate’s name. If the Member is unable to enlist an Alternate, the Council Chair may do so.


K. Failure to Participate:

Any Council Member who fails to attend any four meetings in a year, and also fails to enlist an Alternate from the Member's unit, may be replaced by an Alternate from the Member's unit until the next election with approval of the Council Chair.


3. Council Officers and Committees


A. Officers:

Officers of the Council are: Council Chair, Vice Chair, and Immediate Past Chair.


1. Selection of Officers. The Vice Chair will be elected to a one-year term, which coincides with the September-August fiscal year. The Vice Chair will serve a one-year term as Council Chair, followed by a one-year term as Immediate Past Chair. Nominations for Vice Chair will be solicited from Council Members.  The Vice Chair will be elected by the Council annually.  In the event of a vacancy in the office of Vice Chair, a special election will be conducted to fill the office with a Council Member for the remainder of the vacated term. The Council Coordinator position will be held by a volunteer.  If the position is held by an elected member of the Council, the Coordinator will be a voting member; otherwise, they will not be eligible to vote.


2. Duties of Officers. The Council Chair will preside over meetings and serve as liaison between the Council and the University community. The Council Chair will call the meetings and, in concert with the Executive Committee, establish the agenda. The Council Chair will ensure that the census is conducted and elections held. The Vice Chair shall serve in the Council Chair's absence and shall assume the role if the Council Chair can no longer serve. The Immediate Past Chair provides historical perspective and continuity between the previous and present year's activities of the Council.

B. Executive Committee:

An Executive Committee will advise the Council Chair on Council activities. The Executive Committee will be comprised of the Council Chair, Vice Chair, Immediate Past Chair, and Council Members that are recommended by the Council Chair and ratified by the Council.  Membership on the Executive Committee shall be for a three-year term.  One third of the Executive Committee may be appointed annually at the discretion of the Chair.  Individuals cannot serve more than three consecutive terms on the Executive Committee.


C. Ad hoc Committees:

These may be created when needed to address issues of importance to the CPIRA. Composition and supervision of the ad hoc committees will be done under the discretion of the Council Chair and advisement by the Executive Committee.


4. Changes to the Bylaws
These rules and operating procedures can be changed by majority vote of a quorum at any Council meeting. Recommendations for changes must be presented to the Council Chair one week prior to the Council meeting to be included on the meeting agenda.