Policy on Academic Senate Committees

The work of the Academic Senate depends in large measure on the effective functioning of its committees. The committees consider academic issues in depth and, utilizing the experience and expertise of the committee members, lay the groundwork for consideration by the full Senate of the many challenging academic and academic-related policy issues which come before the Senate for resolution.

The various editions of the Faculty Handbook, through the 2006 edition, include in outline form a list of Senate Committees and a brief statement of their assignments. This Policy Statement presents an up-to-date listing of Senate Committees and assembles in one place a full statement of the rules governing the selection and operation of these committees. In particular, the new listing of committees includes a new Academic Services Committee with jurisdiction over a number of program areas previously assigned to a number of separate committees.


The Executive Committee is responsible for managing the agenda of the Senate, and, generally, overseeing its functioning. The Committee comprises the Provost, the Chair and Vice Chair of the Senate, the Chair of the Committee on Committees and Rules, and two Members, nominated by the Committee on Committee and Rules, and elected by the Senate for a term of one year. The Chair of the Senate is the Chair of the Executive Committee. The Chair of the Senate reports to the Senate at the commencement of each of its meeting on the deliberations and decisions of the Executive Committee.

The Committee on Committees and Rules (Rules Committee) comprises six members, elected by the Senate for terms of three years and nominated by the Rules Committee, and ex officio, the Vice-Chair of the Senate. The Rules Committee selects its own chair, who, except in unusual circumstances, a Member of the Senate. At the second Senate meeting of the academic year, the Rules Committee submits to the Senate the names of candidates for the three offices of the Senate, the Chair, the Vice-Chair and the Secretary. Except in unusual circumstances, all candidates for Senate offices shall be members of the Senate. The Rules Committee is also responsible for appointing the members of all Standing Committees and Adjudicatory Committees, and special committees and task forces, except as otherwise provided in this Handbook or by Senate resolution. The Rules Committee continuously evaluates the rules of the Senate and, as appropriate, recommends and drafts necessary changes in the rules.

The Committee on Appointments and Promotions (CAP) consists of six members, one or more alternates, and the Dean of Graduate Studies, who acts as its Chair and is a voting member of the Committee. The members and alternates are elected by the Academic Senate, on nomination of the Rules Committee, from among Tenured Ordinary Professors of the several schools. Members serve terms of three years, and except for alternate members, are ineligible for consecutive appointment. In selecting CAP members, the Senate should seek a balanced representative of school faculties and disciplines. The functions of the Senate CAP are set forth in detail in Part II of this Handbook.

In order to assure that the Executive Committee, the Rules Committee and the CAP commence meeting promptly at the start of the Fall Semester, the Rules Committee will present to the Academic Senate its nominations for members to these three committees at the final Senate meeting of the prior Academic year.

Members of other Standing Committees are appointed by the Rules Committee, normally, for terms of three years. Each Committee selects its own Chair in consultation with the Rules Committee; the Chair will ordinarily be a Member of the Senate. The other Standing Committees are as follows:

The Committee on the Faculty Handbook continually evaluates the provisions of the Faculty Handbook and the manner by which these provisions are being implemented. If on the basis of this evaluation the Committee determines that revisions are needed, the Committee will prepare and recommend revisions of the Handbook for approval by the Senate, the President and the Board of Trustees.

The Committee on Faculty Economic Welfare makes recommendations to the Academic Senate concerning the economic welfare of faculty members.

The Committee on Honorary Degrees recommends nominees for honorary degrees for consideration by the Academic Senate and for transmittal, where appropriate, to the President of the University and the Board of Trustees.

The Committee on Evaluation, a newly created committee, develops and implements methods for continuing evaluation of the work of the Academic Senate by its members and by the University community.

The Committee on Budget and Planning participates in an advisory capacity to the preparation of the University’s annual operating budget and in the formulation and interpretation of the Administration’s budgetary policies.

The Committee on Academic Policy examines a variety of issues pertaining to the policies governing the academic program of the University, and its work encompasses such topics as academic freedom, student dishonesty, policies and procedures respecting failing grades, guest speakers, definition of good academic standing, and transfer of credits.

The Committee on Academic Services is responsible for overseeing and reporting to the Senate on the various activities in the University that directly serve and support the academic program. Among the most important of these are the University library resources, enrollment management, and computer and technology support. Distance learning initiatives will also be within the jurisdiction of this committee.

Adjudicatory Committees

Two committees are charged with the responsibility for adjudicating and deciding proceedings involving individual students under the provisions of this Handbook and the policies of the University. These are the Failing Grade Appeals Committee and the Academic Dishonesty Appeals Board. The responsibilities, compositions and procedures of these committees are set forth in the University Web Site. The Faculty Grievance Committee, which also serves in an adjudicatory role, is not a Senate Committee; its responsibilities are set forth in this Handbook, Part III, Section D-6.

Special Committee and Task Forces

The Academic Senate, of course, retains its inherent authority to create, as needed, special committee and task forces with responsibility to study and make recommendations respecting specific issues that may arise from time to time. The composition and selection of those committees will vary, depending on the particular role of the committee, and will be stipulated ordinarily in the Senate resolution establishing the committee or task force.

Action of the Academic Senate

The Minutes of the Academic Senate Meeting of April 15, 2010 state that the motion to approve the Policy on Academic Senate Committees was seconded and approved unanimously.