Tetrad Bylaws


Article I. Objective

   A. Degree(s) offered by the program: PhD
   B. Discipline: A brief statement on the discipline(s) of the program

The Tetrad program is an interdisciplinary program that emphasizes fundamental principles and approaches of biochemistry, molecular biology, cell biology, and genetics to train students in frontier research in biology. The emphasis on fundamental principles is complemented with exposure to cutting-edge findings and techniques to increase our students’ curiosity and foster their ability to tackle questions of broad significance.

   C. Mission of the Program:

The mission of the Tetrad program is to transform a group of bright, motivated, and diverse trainees into independent, innovative, and rigorous leaders in academic science, biotechnology, and affiliated disciplines. Our mission requires balancing disciplinary specialization, which is essential for depth and rigor, with the flexibility to think broadly across disciplines, which drives scientific breakthroughs. Towards this goal, the Tetrad program provides training in the fundamental principles of Genetics, Cell Biology, and Biochemistry and the use of these principles to practice the scientific method across disciplines and with rigor. The approaches and concepts in these areas are applicable to nearly every aspect of modern biology. Therefore, we believe that by building a solid foundation in these core areas, we can best equip our trainees for the fast pace of biomedical discovery and the expanding landscape of science related career options. Thus, our training does not get obsolete with new technological innovations or changing biological paradigms, but instead contributes to driving such breakthroughs by empowering students to engage in curiosity driven research.

Our mission also requires training in essential professional skills, such as effective and accurate communication of science, an ability to work in diverse teams and an ability to identify a productive career path. Therefore, training activities such as proposal writing courses and career development workshops are woven throughout the program. Finally, our mission requires that our efforts to diversify the biomedical workforce do not rely simply on increased recruitment of underrepresented students, but that we also ensure their continued success. Therefore, activities such as training our program faculty to mentor across differences are essential program components.

Article II. Membership

  A. Criteria for Membership in the Graduate Program

Authority to define criteria for faculty membership in the Tetrad graduate program is delegated to the Executive Committees of the program, including criteria for inclusion, exclusion, and removal, unless otherwise specified. Further, authority is also delegated to the Executive Committees to propose and administer bylaws governing faculty participation and conduct. Membership is independent and separate from academic department appointments. Membership is based upon disciplinary expertise and active research, so members throughout campus are eligible for consideration to membership in the group.

  B. Voting rights.

Tetrad graduate program matters will be determined by a vote of the Tetrad Executive Committee members.
All members of the Executive Committee have an equal vote.

  C. Application for membership.
1. How faculty may apply:

To become a member of the Tetrad graduate program, faculty must formally communicate their
intent for joining the program to the program directors. Program directors then make a decision in
consultation with the Executive Committee. Membership in the Tetrad program is considered a privilege and a responsibility.

2. Anticipated contributions that graduate faculty members will perform as a member.

a. Faculty in the Tetrad program are expected to demonstrate their commitment to the training program by regularly participating in program activities. These may include teaching in courses; presenting or serving as a coach for the journal club series; serving as an academic advisor; serving on thesis and qualifying examination committees; participating in outreach and other activities that promote diversity and inclusivity in the Tetrad program; participating in recruitment and interviews; regular attendance at program events; Tetrad program committee service; and responding to occasional requests for information from the Tetrad program.

b. Mentoring and teaching in the lab: Program faculty are expected to maintain a productive and inclusive training environment for thesis students. Relevant measures may include evidence that the laboratory environment is welcoming to and supportive of trainees from all backgrounds; that lab students produce rigorous and reproducible publication-worthy research; that lab students complete their degrees in a timely manner; and that students successfully transition into careers in the scientific workforce.

c. Participation in faculty mentor development activities: Each faculty member with a Tetrad student in their lab must complete the DEI Champion’s Training within 1 year of accepting a student into their lab and take part in at least one mentorship development activity of their choosing each successive year. Typically, an “activity” will be a University-sponsored training, such as the courses offered by the Graduate Division (mentoring.ucsf.edu/trainings). However, the development of strong mentorship skills is an ongoing process that extends beyond any single course, and faculty are encouraged to seek mentorship development opportunities in many different ways. Faculty who undertake significant activities outside of the University-sponsored training may petition the program to allow these activities to satisfy the mentor development activity requirement in a given year

3. Compliance with University policies and Program values

Program faculty are expected to comply with all university policies and uphold the values of the training program, including but not limited to the University Code of Conduct (APM-016); UC Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment; the UC Policy on Discrimination, and the Harassment, and Affirmative Action in the Workplace; scientific misconduct and/or financial improprieties.

D. Emeritus Status.

Emeritus faculty with active research programs may remain members of the program and are afforded the following rights: they may attend and participate in program activities (including meetings and administrative committees), may teach graduate courses, and may serve on student committees. Emeritus faculty on the Executive Committee may vote on policy and bylaw issues related to the program.

E. Review of Membership

The criteria for reviewing members of the program is the same for all members. Each faculty member’s contributions to the program shall be reviewed once every three years for the purpose of identifying faculty members who are not providing a minimal level of service to the program.

1. Obtaining relevant information

To ensure compliance with these requirements the Program Director(s) and Executive Committee need to have the relevant information about faculty conduct. While information about faculty participation in program events and training is readily attainable, information about other types of violations may be difficult to obtain if, for example, the University is not forthcoming with information about faculty violations of University policies, or an individual who experiences a hostile interaction in the workplace does not report it. Thus, considering the different types and sources of information that are needed, the Tetrad Program proactively seeks to track compliance with these requirements in multiple ways, as described in section 4.2 below.

2. Violations of program expectations for faculty conduct

The Graduate Program Directors, Executive Committee, and Program Coordinators are in frequent communication with trainees, faculty, the Graduate Division, and the University administration to monitor for compliance with all membership policy requirements. This can include reports from the Bias Response Team (once it has been established) or other communications from the Graduate Division, and communications from the University administration about faculty violations of the University Code of Conduct. The Executive Committee will promptly revoke program membership at any time upon learning about faculty conduct detrimental to the program or the safety and welfare of its members. Examples of evidence of this type of detrimental conduct include (but are not limited to), official findings by the University that a faculty member has violated Title VII or IX, or legal determinations of guilt (including settlements out of court) that may not have resulted in a University sanction.

In addition, faculty may also be put on suspension or removed from the program for conduct that has not resulted in a University or legal sanction but nonetheless has been determined by the Executive Committee to be detrimental to the program or the safety and welfare of its members. This may include serious or sustained actions that create a hostile work environment such as a pattern of racist, sexist, or homophobic remarks or behavior, or a significant lack of professionalism or integrity. Indeed, the Tetrad program expects all of its faculty members to represent and uphold UCSF values of Professionalism, Respect, Integrity, Diversity and Excellence.

The Executive Committee will develop a course of action on a case-by-case basis. For example, faculty who are found to have violated Title VII or IX will be removed from the program immediately and are generally not eligible to reapply (see Section 4.5 below) whereas the plan of action to address less severe violations may include interventions by program leadership, mediation, additional training, etc. before a decision to suspend or remove a faculty member from the program is reached. In any of these cases, the program may seek guidance from University offices and resources, such as the Office of Academic Affairs, the Office of the Ombuds, and the Graduate Division.

F. Membership Appeal Process

If membership is denied or not renewed, faculty can appeal to the Executive Committee for reconsideration.


Article III. Administration

The administration of the program and its activities will be vested in the Program Director(s) and an Executive Committee.

Article IV. Graduate Program Director


A. Director and Co-director appointment process

A call for graduate program director or co-directors is sent to the entire Tetrad faculty. Self nominees as well as nominees suggested by Tetrad faculty, whether or not those faculty are members of the Executive Committee, will then be considered by the Executive Committee and voted on.

B. Director and Co-director terms of service

The terms of service are determined on a case-by-case basis.

C. Duties of the Director

The Director: a) provides overall academic leadership for the program; b) develops and implements policies for the program in consultation with the Executive Committee; c) represents the interests of the program to the campus and University administrators; d) calls and presides at meetings of the Executive Committee; e) calls and presides at meetings of the program; f) is responsible for coordinating all administrative matters with the Graduate Division and the program administrators; g) manages the budgets of the program; h) takes responsibility for the submission of competitive and non-competitive renewals of the training grant, if applicable (and is often the Lead PI of the training grant); i) submits course change or approval forms; and j) is responsible for the accuracy of webpages, catalogues, and other official documents related to the program.

D. Duties of the Co-Director

Tetrad does not break down the position into that of a Director and a Co-Director. If more than one individual serves in the Director position, both individuals are considered Co-Directors and both jointly carry out all the duties specified in C ((Duties of the Director).

Article V. Committees

A. Executive Committee

The Executive Committee shall consist of the director (or co-directors, if applicable) of the program, all of the core course directors, plus at least three additional faculty selected from the membership. All members have equal voting rights.

Election of faculty members of the Executive Committee: nomination shall be made by e-mail to the Program Director or Co-directors, or the Program Administrator. Elections shall be conducted by a vote of the Executive Committee

The principal duties of the Executive Committee shall be to determine and implement policy for the good of the program, determine program membership, and to represent the interests of the program generally to various universities and other agencies.

The Executive Committee shall meet at least three times annually. Additional meetings and executive sessions may be held as deemed necessary. In some cases, decisions can be made by email without calling a meeting of the committee members.

B. Admissions Committee

The Admissions Committee shall consist of at least six faculty members program although the committee is typically more than ten faculty. The committee members will review and rank the written applications to select applicants for an interview and will assess interview evaluations to select applicants for admission.

Article VI. Student Representatives

Student representatives are on the DEI committee. Students are self-nominated or nominated by other students, typically in response to a DEI Committee Service Announcement sent out by email. The Program Director(s) or the DEI Committee will select the student representative from the list of nominees. The term of service and voting rights of the student representative will be determined by the Chair(s) of the DEI committee.

Article VII. Graduate Advisers

Each year, Tetrad assigns advisors for the incoming class. MSTP students joining will keep their MSTP advisors. The faculty advisor provides guidance and support to incoming graduate students as they concurrently navigate several new experiences such as choosing rotation labs, carrying out rotation projects, taking graduate courses and settling into living in a new city. Advisers are asked to reach out to their assigned students for an initial conversation during the Annual Tetrad retreat and then schedule 1-2 additional meetings during the quarter in consultation with the student. During these meetings advisers are expected to check-in on the students’ general well-being and be ready to address questions about the rotation exploration process, the rotation itself and courses. Advisers are also expected to make time if the student wants to reach out for guidance in between scheduled meetings.

Article IX. Quorum

All issues that require a vote must be:

  • Voted on by at least 50% of the Executive Committee Membership.
  • On graduate program matters other than amendment/revision of bylaws, passage requires a supporting vote by at least 50% supporting vote of the Executive committee members voting.
  • On amendments and revision of bylaws: passage requires a supporting vote by at least two thirds of the Executive Committee members voting.

If balloting is conducted via e-mail or web-based technology, 10 days must be provided for expression of opinions about the proposal prior to the acceptance of votes; the program must allow 14 days for votes to be returned or before the "polls are closed."

Article X. Order of Business for Meetings

The Tetrad Program does not have a set order of meetings.

Article XI. Amendments

Amendments to these bylaws may be made in accordance with program’s quorum policy in Article IX. Program members may propose amendments by petition to the program Chair. The program Chair, or relevant program committee, may ask for revisions from the faculty who submitted proposed amendments before forwarding the revisions to the membership for review and voting. Quorum, voting and passage is prescribed in Article IX. All amendments and revisions must be submitted to the Graduate Council for review and approval; changes in the bylaws will become effective upon approval by the Graduate Council.