Faculty Senate Bylaws


The primary responsibility for initiation of educational policy, maintenance of academic standards, requirements for degrees, admission standards, faculty status, and research shall rest with the Faculty. The Faculty's authority in these areas shall be exercised through the various committees described herein, in association with the appropriate academic officers and subject, ultimately, to the approval of the Board of Trustees [Faculty Handbook, IV.2]. The Faculty's authority in the area of University-wide academic policy shall be exercised through the Faculty Senate [Ibid, V].

Article 1: NAME

1.1       The body hereinafter described shall be known as the Faculty Senate.



2.1.1    The Faculty Senate is the body through which the Faculty's authority as described in the Faculty Handbook shall be exercised.

2.1.2    All broad University educational policies, regardless of their points of origin, must be considered by the Senate prior to their approval or implementation.

2.1.3    Actions of the Senate shall not conflict with duties reserved to other bodies or the statutory or contractual obligations of the University.

2.2.1    The Senate, where appropriate, shall consider and act upon all proposals submitted to it by the committees of the Senate, by Senators, by Faculty bodies, and by other University constituencies.

2.3.1    Actions of the Senate shall be so worded as to permit College and Campus implementation, in accordance with current University structure.

2.4.1    The Senate shall inform the University community of its actions and proceedings through publication of reports, minutes, and agendas.

2.5.1    The Senate shall perform no administrative functions outside the Senate. It shall, however, take appropriate means, through recourse to the University Provost, President or the Board of Trustees or the Board of Trustees, to see that its approved recommendations are implemented.

2.5.2    No Senator, other than the President of the Senate, may represent the Senate without authorization from the Senate or the Executive Committee.

2.6.1    The President of the University shall forward to the Board of Trustees such recommendations as require its consideration and/or action. All recommendations of the Senate to the President and to the Board of Trustees shall be accompanied by a statement of the reasons for the recommendation, including supporting data.



3.1.1    The Faculty Senate shall consist of the faculty members elected to the four standing committees (Academic Policies and Research; Planning and Budget, Faculty Handbook, and Faculty Rights and Welfare), the President and Vice-President of the Senate elected by the faculty, and the University Provost. The President of the University, Campus Provost(s) and the College Deans shall be ex officio non-voting members of the Senate.

3.1.2    The faculty eligible to serve on the Senate are the tenure-track voting members of a College Faculty as defined in the Faculty Handbook, Article VI, Section 1. The faculty eligible to vote for senators are the voting members of a College Faculty as defined above. Faculty elected in accordance with Handbook Article VI.1 as members of the College Faculty but otherwise ineligible may neither vote for nor serve on the Senate.

3.1.3    For speech or debate in the Senate or any of its committees, a Senator shall be immune from censure.

3.2.1    Committee members shall be elected directly to one of the four standing committees by their campus faculty or to an at-large seat on each committee by the University faculty.

3.2.2    Faculty elected to committees shall be elected for three consecutive academic years, which shall include sabbatical leave, leave of absence, etc.

3.2.3    Faculty may be nominated for only one committee position or senate office at a time.

3.3.1    Elections of senate officers and committee members shall be conducted in the Spring semester no later than April 15. Newly elected Senators shall attend the last meeting of the academic year at which time elections for committee chairs will take place by each newly constituted committee.

3.3.2    Terms of elected Senators will commence with the start of the academic year.

3.3.3    Vacancies resulting from leaves of absence or sabbatical leaves for two or fewer semesters shall be replaced with alternates who shall be elected by their constituencies. Longer leaves, termination, resignation or forfeiture of membership, or appointment of a Senator to a new classification create vacancies. The appointment of an officer of the Senate to a new classification creates a vacancy in that office. These vacancies shall be filled by election on the appropriate campus for a full term.

3.3.4    Senators who fail to attend two consecutive meetings of the Senate or of their committee shall be considered to have forfeited their membership. The President of the Senate shall advise the Senate of these vacancies, and the vacancies shall be filled by an election in the appropriate constituencies in a timely fashion. The President of the Senate or the committee chair may excuse unavoidable absences for reasonable cause.

3.3.5    Consistent unexcused absences of Senators from meetings of their standing committee shall be brought to the attention of the Senate President by the Chairs of the committees. In that event the President of the Senate may seek such Senator's resignation from the Senate.

3.4.1    The officers of the Senate shall be the President and the Vice President. They shall serve on the Executive Committee, but not on any other standing committee. Officers may not serve consecutive two-year terms.

3.4.2   [Provision contents are deleted but numbering left intact to obviate renumbering of subsequent provisions.]

3.4.3    A secretary and parliamentarian may be appointed by, and shall serve at the pleasure of, the President of the Senate.

3.5.1    Each year the Faculty Handbook Committee shall solicit nominations in writing for a new Senate Vice President. Those nominating persons for the offices should ensure that the nominees are willing and eligible to serve. The names of nominees shall be publicly available. The call for nominations shall take place early in the spring semester with a return deadline of two weeks.

3.5.2        Following the deadline for submitting nominations, the Faculty Handbook Committee shall prepare and send secret ballots to the work email addresses of all eligible members of the College Faculty, with an election deadline of up to two weeks after ballots are sent.  

3.5.3        The Faculty Handbook Committee shall serve as a ballot-tallying committee. Officers shall be elected by a simple plurality of those who cast a ballot.

3.5.4       The candidate for Vice President, who is from a campus other than that of the current President and who receives the highest number of votes shall be elected annually for a two year term, as the Senate Vice President in the first year, and as Senate President in the subsequent year. A tie vote shall be settled by a run-off.   Election of new officers shall be complete by April 15 (except in a run-off) or the next business day if April 15 is on a weekend.

3.5.5    A vacancy in a Senate office shall be filled by nomination and election according to the above procedures. If necessary, the Executive Committee may make an interim appointment.



4.1       The officers of the Faculty Senate shall perform the following specific duties:

4.1.1    The President of the Senate shall provide information necessary and helpful to the Senate for the proper discharge of its function, shall chair the meetings of the Senate, shall chair the Executive Committee and with its assistance coordinate the activities of the Senate, and shall represent the Senate.

4.1.2    The Vice President of the Senate shall serve as the President in the absence of the President and shall perform such other duties as may be delegated by the President. If an elected or serving Vice President is unable to assume or continue in office, a second nomination and election should be conducted following the procedures used in the original nomination and election process (except for the April 15 deadline). This shall be accomplished as soon as possible according to the judgment of the Senate Executive Committee.

4.1.3    The President shall be responsible for maintaining minutes of the Senate proceedings and actions of the Senate and circulating them promptly to the members of the Senate and the University Community when approved by the Senate. The President shall also be responsible for carrying on the necessary correspondence of the Senate; for maintaining the records and other physical property of the Senate; for circulating the agenda for meetings of the Senate to all members of the Senate and the University community; and for circulating the calendar of Senate meetings to the faculty and University community.


5.1.1    These bylaws may be amended at any meeting of the Faculty Senate by a two-thirds vote of the Senate membership.

5.1.2    Notice of any proposed amendment must be given at a preceding meeting or in writing to the members of the Senate at least two weeks in advance of the meeting at which a proposed amendment is to be acted upon. This requirement of advance notice may be waived only by unanimous consent.

5.1.3    Conflict in language between the Faculty Handbook and these bylaws shall be resolved in favor of the Handbook language. Whenever such conflicts arise, they may be reviewed by the appropriate Senate committees, with their recommendations given to the Faculty Handbook Committee for its review and presentation to the Senate.

5.1.4    Amendments adopted by the Senate shall become effective when jointly approved by the University Provost and President of the University.

Article 6: MEETINGS

6.1.1    The Faculty Senate shall hold at least six meetings during the academic year.

6.1.2    Generally, regular meetings of the Senate shall be held on the fourth Wednesday of the month from 2-4 p.m. The place of meeting shall alternate between the campuses.  It will be the responsibility of each individual Senator to make appropriate arrangements with regard to scheduling of classes.

6.1.3        The Executive Committee shall prepare the calendar of regular meetings for the next academic year and inform sitting Senators and senators-elect in writing by the end of the academic year.

6.1.4    Special meetings of the Senate may be convened by the Executive Committee, by the President of the Senate when presented with a petition of one-fourth of the Senate's members, or at the request of the President of the University.

6.1.5    Members shall be given four days written notice of each such special meeting, except when the Executive Committee of the Senate agrees to waive the timing of such notice.

6.2.1    The order of business for all meetings shall be as follows.

  • Call to Order
  • Roll Call
  • Approval of Minutes
  • Approval of Agenda
  • Special Orders of the Day
  • Reports of Committees
  • Unfinished Business
  • New Business
  • Adjournment

6.2.2    A Senate session that is adjourned prior to the acceptance of the agenda shall not be considered to be a meeting.

6.3.1    The presence of 50% plus one of voting members of the Senate shall constitute a quorum. No proxy votes shall be allowed.

6.4.1    The Senate may declare itself a committee of the whole with the concurrence of a majority of those in attendance at any meeting.

6.5.1    The agenda for regular meetings of the Senate shall be circulated at least four days before the date of the meeting.

6.6.1    Members of the University community who are not senators may attend meetings of the Senate without voice or vote. The President of the Senate may require nonmembers to sit in a special section of the hall.

6.6.2    Permission to speak on a given item may be granted to non-senators by the President of the Senate.

6.6.3    A member of the Board of Trustees may address the Senate.

6.6.4    Nonmembers of the University community may attend Senate meetings at the invitation of the President of the Senate.

6.6.5    The Senate reserves the right to meet in camera. This right shall be exercised by a fifty percent plus one vote of the Senators present upon the motion of a Senator. Such a session may be terminated and the meeting reopened to the above qualified nonmembers in the same manner.

6.7.1    The use of a secret, written ballot shall be mandatory when requested by at least five Senators or when requested by the Presi­dent of the Senate.

6.8.1    Robert's Rules of Order (most recent edition) shall govern the conduct of the meetings of the Senate except where the bylaws make express provisions to the contrary.



7.1       In all matters, the Faculty Senate and thecommittees that constitute it shall address policies and practices of a broad University scope and not with their implementation within the discretionary limits provided for College and Campus governance. They shall determine long-term planning needs and their requirements, shall prioritize these needs and requirements, shall develop short-term plans, and shall evaluate the effectiveness of the planning process.

7.2.1    The committees constituting the Senate are the Academic Policies and Research Committee (APRC),the Planning and Budget Committee (PBC), the Faculty Handbook Committee (FHC), and the Faculty Rights and Welfare Committee (FRWC).  The committees shall recommend to the Senate on all matters in their jurisdiction, except as indicated in 7.12.1.

7.2.2    With the exception of the Planning and Budget committee, the committees shall consist of four representatives from each campus elected by their campus faculties and one member elected at large by the university faculty. Campus representation on APRC, FHC, and FRWC shall include at least one representative from each college based on each campus. The Planning and Budget shall be composed of two faculty representatives from each campus elected by their campus faculties and one faculty member elected at large by the university faculty.

7.2.3    Members of the committees shall be elected in the Spring semester by secret ballot on their respective campuses.

7.2.4    Early in the Spring semester, nominees for committee positions shall be solicited from faculty on their respective campuses by each campus’s representatives to the Faculty Handbook Committee. Nominations shall take place at a meeting of each campus faculty and by written response. Faculty members nominated to fill a campus representative seat may not run for an at-large seat at the same time. Members currently serving on the committees may not run for an at-large seat on their respective committee.

7.2.5    Nominations for committee positions including at-large representatives shall be forwarded to the FHC, which shall compile a ballot with the names of the nominees for campus representatives and at-large representatives. Secret ballots shall be sent to faculty at their work email addresses with a return deadline of up to two weeks after ballots are sent.

7.2.6    The procedures enumerated in article 3.2.5 for counting ballots and breaking ties shall apply to elections for committee seats.

7.3.1    Each committee shall elect a Chair. It shall then elect a deputy chair from the other campus.

7.3.2    The chairs and deputy chairs of these committees along with the Senate President and Vice-President shall constitute the executive committee of the Senate.

7:4.1     The Senate may create a temporary committee by a vote of fifty percent plus one of those voting or on recommendation of the Executive Committee.

7:5.1     Each committee shall establish its own internal procedures, not inconsistent with these bylaws.

7.5.2    Each committee may call upon such nonvoting resource persons as it deems necessary for the pursuit of its charge. Moreover, at the request of the Senate, the University Provost or the President of the University may make staff assignments and may provide information to assist the committee in its work.

7.5.3    Appropriate University administrators shall be available to the Senate committees to discuss the operational character of their administrative offices and their long- and short-range concerns and plans for the University.

7.7.1    When submitting recommendations to the Executive Committee and the Senate, the committees will provide the rationale and supporting data for the recommendation.

7.8     Executive Committee

7.8.1      The Executive Committee shall have the following responsibilities:  To receive and transmit to the committees items of business consistent with their missions.  To develop and recommend the Senate agenda.  To inform the Senate of all communications requesting action, study or advice.  To make annual review of the operations, activities, and work of the Senate.  To meet regularly with the University Provost and when necessary (at least twice a year) with President of the University.  To recommend establishing temporary committees.  To maintain an official copy of the Faculty Handbook and the Senate Bylaws incorporating all approved changes.  To perform all other functions delegated by the Senate as provided for in the bylaws.

7.8.2    Members of the Executive Committee shall receive released time of 3 credits per semester for their service on the Executive Committee.

7.9              Academic Policies and Research Committee

7.9.1.      The Academic Policies and Research Committee shall have the following responsibilities:  To review, formulate, and recommend academic plans and policies having broad University-wide scope.  To consider and recommend University-wide policies governing general academic standards, learning outcomes assessment, admissions, University requirements for degrees, continuing education, independent study, credit by examination, credit for work or life experience, internships, and final examinations.  To serve as the Educational Planning Committee for University-wide programs such as the Honors Program, global education, distance learning,and the University Core Curriculum.  To review and recommend on program closure and any changes in curricula that significantly affect more than one college. In reviewing proposals for program closure or changes in curricula affecting more than one college, the committee will give great weight to the action of the Educational Planning Committee of the college initiating the proposal. If it does not agree with the College EPC, it will give written reasons for the disagreement.  To recommend on University policies and procedures relating to faculty and student research, University Grants-in-Aid, University support of and participation in externally funded research, and University scholarships, fellowships, and assistantships.  To recommend on honorary degrees and other honors or awards to be presented by the University.  To recommend on the Academic Calendar.

7.10          The Planning and Budget Committee

7.10.1    The Planning and Budget Committee shall participate fully in the development of the short-term and long-term budgets and plans for the University along with designated university administrative representatives on the University Planning and Budget Committee.

7.10.2 The Planning and Budget Committee shall consult with the APRC to develop academic budget priorities.

7.10 The Faculty Handbook Committee

7.10.1   The Faculty Handbook Committee shall have the following responsibilities: To recommend modifications and amendments to the Faculty Handbook, as necessary and appropriate. Major changes shall require ratification by the Faculty and the Board of Trustees. The Senate shall determine which changes require ratification by the faculty.  A copy of the latest revised Handbook shall be published in a timely manner on the University Website.

7:10.1.2   To conduct all elections for Senate officers and for committee membership. When a request is made for Senate representation outside the Senate, the Committee shall arrange for nominations and an election. A member of the Senate, other than the President, may act as a representative of the Senate only when elected by the above process.

7.11  The Faculty Rights and Welfare Committee

7.11.1. The Faculty Rights and Welfare Committee shall have the following responsibilities:    To develop and make recommendations on matters of faculty concern including faculty compensation, benefits, workload, quality of life, and faculty status issues. Where appropriate, it shall provide input to the other committees, and it may make recommendations to the Senate as a whole or to other University offices.

7.12.2    The FRW, after consultation with the President of the University, will recommend on faculty compensation no later than March 1 for the following fiscal year. The Committee’s recommendation will be sent to the President of the University. The President will advise the Committee of the administration’s recommendation for the following year no later than April 15 of the current year.

7.13     Each of the Committees may convene meetings of the full-time faculty.



Bylaws Committee:

Martin Green, Chair (Academic Policies and Research Committee)
Anthony Adrignolo (Planning and Budget Committee)
Helen Brudner (Handbook Committee)
David Flory (Faculty Rights and Welfare Committee)
John Kehoe (Senate President, ex-officio)
Joel Harmon (Senate Vice President, ex officio)


Final version May 2005.

Revised February 2006 (Senate-approved changes noted in red font)

Revised November 19, 2008 (Senate-approved changes noted in blue font)

Revised November 18, 2009 (Senate-approved changes)

Revised October 26, 2016 (Senate-approved changes)