Frequently Asked Questions
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New faculty and new Senators often have questions about the Faculty Senate, which we address below. If there are additional questions, please contact the Faculty Senate Secretary.
- How do I bring an issue to the attention of the Faculty Senate?
- Who is eligible to serve as a Faculty Senator?
- How long are the terms of office?
- What is the Executive Committee?
- What is the difference between a motion and a resolution?
- When are the Faculty Senate meetings?
- What should I do if I can’t make a meeting?
How do I bring an issue to the attention of the Faculty Senate?
The easiest method is to contact one of the Senators from your college (found here). Actionable items must be introduced by Senators, so if there is an issue you would like us to discuss or investigate, we would encourage you to submit a detailed question or issue summary to him or her which could then be turned into a motion or resolution. The Executive Committee is also open to faculty concerns (found here), and we are happy to hear from you about these issues.
Who is eligible to serve as a Faculty Senator?
There are some limitations on who is eligible to serve – those who may stand for Faculty Senate include full-time faculty (full-time instructors and assistant/associate/full professors) whose teaching load exceeds 50% of their total workload. Part-time instructors are not eligible, nor are department heads, administration or other staff/personnel.
How long are the terms of office?
Generally, Faculty Senators are elected for three-year terms (those who receive the most votes from their College), but some Senators serve two-year terms (those receiving fewer votes). This produces a staggered system of representation and allows for continuity in advocacy as well as facilitating transitions in representation between academic years. If there are additional questions regarding elections and their terms, we recommend contacting the Committee on Committees.
What is the Executive Committee?
There are a number of standing committees in the Faculty Senate. The Executive Committee provides leadership for the organization, which includes setting committee appointments, setting the agenda for Faculty Senate meetings, and meeting with the University administration. The Executive Committee meets the week before Faculty Senate meetings. Beginning in the Spring 2017, the Executive Committee will be meeting with the administration prior to Faculty Senate meetings in order to prioritize agenda items as well as raise faculty concerns to be addressed at the larger Faculty Senate session. Faculty are encouraged to contact their Senators or Executive Committee members to raise issues they would like the administration to address prior to the Executive Committee meeting dates (see below).
What is the difference between a motion and a resolution?
Generally speaking, a motion is an issue to be acted upon by the Faculty Senate. It is useful to consider a motion as a proposal – it may be an issue to be brought up for discussion, assigned to a committee, etc. All resolutions are motions, but not all motions are resolutions (just as all squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares). As an example, a Senator may make a motion (“propose”) that the Faculty Senate explore a particular issue (e.g., questions concerning APR calculation, or problems arising in dual-enrollment courses). If the motion passes, the Faculty Senate president would then charge the appropriate committee with the task at hand, who would then meet, deliberate, and report back to the Senate. Part of this report may include a formal plan of action, which would then be written as a resolution to be amended, voted upon, etc. and sent along to University administration, the Board of Regents, etc.
Once a motion or resolution has been prepared, it must be submitted to the Secretary one week before the Faculty Senate meeting to be included on the agenda. The Executive Committee sets the agenda of the meeting and disseminates it to the Faculty Senate several days before the monthly general meeting. For the 2016-2017 Spring Semester, the Executive Committee will meet on August 30th, September 27th, October 25th, and November 29th. Motions and resolutions must be submitted by August 28th, September 25th, October 23rd, and November 27th, respectively.
When are the Faculty Senate meetings?
The Faculty Senate meetings occur on the first Wednesday of the month from 3 to 5 PM in the La Jeunesse Room in the Old Ranch. This block of time was set aside from class scheduling to ensure faculty availability. For the 2017-2018 Fall Semester, the meetings will be September 6th, October 4th, November 1st, and December 6th.
What should I do if I can’t make a meeting?
We strongly encourage Faculty to avoid conflicts of commitment, as the Faculty Senate meeting times were explicitly set aside to provide us time to discuss and act on issues impacting us. If a faculty member cannot attend a meeting, he or she may send a proxy to vote in his/her stead. The Procedures page details the proxy voting process. If a faculty member misses three meetings in an academic year without providing for proxy representation, his or her seat may be declared vacant in accordance with Faculty Senate by-laws. Special elections and/or executive appointment may be used to fill vacated seats.