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Faculty Senate | Governance

Article I. Powers and Jurisdiction of the Senate

A. The university’s By-laws provide for the faculty to play several roles in governance. These are performed at a number of levels in the institution. Elected by faculty colleagues, the Senate ensures excellence and equity in both policies and practices that affect faculty across the university. Its responsibilities include monitoring academic policies and regulations, making recommendations for the academic budget, and setting the general and minimum standards for instruction throughout the university. Its duty is also to represent the interests of faculty members and to be concerned with their individual and collective welfare, as well as the general welfare of the university.

The members of the Senate shall, in accordance with the By-laws, have primary responsibility for:

  • instruction and academic standards;
  • curriculum and course approvals;
  • recommendations of faculty appointments, promotions, and faculty personnel concerns;
  • recommendations for the instructional budget;
  • recommendations of policies affecting student affairs.

For curricular and academic programs, the Faculty Senate will consider matters affecting more than one school or college.

The Faculty Senate and its representatives on the Board of Trustees and on Board committees may discuss and express their views about any matter affecting the university. These views may be shared with any individual, faculty, or group within the university.

B. The Senate shall have the power:

  • To delegate and to re-delegate or to reclaim the exercise of any of its powers to its standing committees.
  • To determine the procedures for the nomination and election of at- large members of the Senate and of its standing committees.
  • To create, reconstitute, and abolish, and to provide for the appointment and discharge of members of special committees and to define the powers of those committees.
  • To create, reconstitute, and abolish standing committees, and to define the power thereof, with the understanding that any standing committee may, in addition, exercise powers delegated by the Board of Trustees.
  • To invite any person to attend a meeting and to speak within limits set by the Senate. (Guests may not vote.)
  • To oversee student athletes at American University. The American University Athletics Director and other appropriate staff will report to the Faculty Senate on an annual basis (or more often if so requested by the Senate) on the overall academic achievements of American University athletes and the academic achievements of each team. The report will include, but not be limited to, academic standing and progress towards graduation.
  • To take such other action by resolution as it may deem necessary and proper for the exercise of its authority and responsibilities.

Article II. Membership

A. The voting membership of the Senate shall be elected by the university faculty. There will be the Chair, the Vice Chair, and the Past Chair. There will be four members from the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), and one each from the Kogod School of Business (KSB), the School of Communication (SOC), the School of International Service (SIS), the School of Public Affairs (SPA), the School of Professional and Extended Studies (SPExS), the Washington College of Law (WCL), and the University Library; all to be elected by secret ballot within each unit. Tenure-line and term faculty whose contract will accommodate a two-year term are eligible to be unit representatives to the Senate. In addition full-time faculty will elect at large by secret ballot five (5) full-time faculty members; at least two must be tenure-line faculty and at least one must be a term faculty member (eligible term faculty must have a contract that will accommodate a two-year term). The committee chair or the chair’s designee of each of the following committees are additional voting members of the Senate: Committee on Faculty Actions, Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, Graduate Curriculum Committee, Committee on Information Services, Committee on Academic Budget and Benefits, Committee on Learning Assessment. No member of the Senate other than the Vice Chair can serve in more than one of the above positions. 

Term limits are defined as ineligibility to again serve on the Senate for the next two academic years. The Immediate Past Chair of the Senate will remain a member through the completion of his or her term even if this exceeds the normal term-limit rule. All other senators are subject to a term limit of two consecutive terms or a maximum of four consecutive academic years. At the completion of the term of office of the Immediate Past Chair, the standard term limit will apply to this person. 

The Provost, as the chief academic officer, is the official leader of the faculty and an ex officio member of the Senate but does not vote. He or she has all other privileges of Senate membership. 

The Dean of Academic Affairs will serve as an ex officio member of the Senate but does not vote. He or she has all other privileges of Senate membership. 

B. The university faculty shall elect, annually, in the spring, senators to full vacancies in the faculty membership of the Senate for terms of two years. 

C. All full-time faculty and all administrative officers of the university who hold academic rank are eligible to participate in elections for the Senate and, with the exceptions of the President and Provost, to be elected as faculty representatives. 

D. Terms of office of newly elected senators and Senate committee members shall begin on June 15.

Article III. Officers of the Senate

A. The Chair of the Senate shall have been the Vice Chair or, in the event of need, be elected by and from the Senate. The Chair serves for a term of one year, beginning June 15. The Chair is leader of the Faculty Senate and cannot continue his or her former representative role. He or she shall preside and appoint special committees unless the Senate by resolution fixes another rule for their selection. Upon completion of his or her term as Chair, the individual becomes the Immediate Past Chair for a one-year term. 

B. The Vice Chair of the Senate shall be elected by the Senate for a term of one year, beginning on June 15. Candidates must be active members of the faculty and may be current senators or any senator who has served within the past five years. In February, the Chair shall call for nominations for Vice Chair. This call will be announced to the faculty at large, and senators will consult with their constituencies to bring forward nominees at the March Senate meeting. The election of the Vice Chair will occur at the March Senate meeting by secret ballot. 

If the Vice Chair is from the Senate, the Vice Chair will continue his or her representative role if the term has not expired. He or she shall discharge the responsibilities of the Chair of the Senate in his or her absence or at his or her request.

Article IV. Meetings

A. The Chair of the Senate shall fix the schedule of dates and times for its regular meetings (normally on the first Wednesday of each month) for the academic year. Information related to the meeting shall be provided in a direct and timely manner to members of the Senate and others deemed appropriate, including the President, the Provost, all deans, the University Librarian, and the chairs or heads of the American University Student Government, the Graduate Leadership Council and the Student Bar Association. 

B. Special meetings may be called by the President of the university, the Provost, the Chair of the Senate (or in his or her absence or incapacity, the Vice Chair of the Senate), or a majority of the Senate. 

C. A voting quorum of the Senate shall consist of a majority of its voting membership. The Chair is to be counted in this computation.

Article V. Non-Voting Participants and Observers

A. The President of the university and members of the Board of Trustees; the vice presidents; the University Counsel; the deans of CAS, KSB, SIS, SOC, SPA, and SPExS; the University Librarian; any other member of the administration whose presence is appropriate to the agenda in the judgment of the Provost or the Chair; the Chair of the Staff Council or designee; and the heads of the American University Student Government, the Graduate Leadership Council and the Student Bar Association are invited to attend all Senate meetings for the purpose of ensuring that appropriate communication be maintained between the Senate and their respective offices. They shall have the privilege of speaking on motions equally with the members of the Senate. The President is entitled to sit at the tables at which the Senate members sit. 

B. Members of the university community are invited to Senate meetings. 

C. News representatives of the student newspaper, radio, and television station, and other university publications are specifically invited to attend and to report on Senate meetings. Representatives of other communications media may attend by special permission of the Chair or Senate; use of television cameras and other recording devices by those media requires advance notice to and permission from the Chair and advance notice to the university office of Media Relations. 

D. The Senate has the right by majority vote to go into executive session. When an executive session is voted, all non-voting participants and observers including press representatives must leave the meeting hall unless invited to stay.

Article VI. Agenda and Conduct of Meetings

A. The agenda will ordinarily include the minutes of the previous meeting, report of the chair, report of the Provost, items requiring Senate action, items of informational interest, and items for the good of the order. 

B. Any member of the Senate may submit to the Executive Committee (see Article IX.A) items for inclusion in the agenda no later than seven days before the next Executive Committee meeting. The Executive Committee shall prepare the agenda. The Chair may specify for any item on the agenda the amount of time allotted for debate and whether or not amendments shall be allowed. 

C. Members of the university faculty who are not members of the Senate may submit items for inclusion in the agenda under the same conditions as members of the Senate. 

D. Members bringing matters to the agenda should make clear the reasons for bringing them. Evidence should also be presented that schools and departments having an interest in the item have been consulted. Some expression of the views should accompany the presented material. 

E. The agenda, copies of motions requiring Senate action and supporting documentation will be distributed to the Senate and faculty one week prior to the Senate meeting. 

F. Although the Senate usually is able to conduct its business without strict compliance with published Rules of Order, ordinarily members and others should restrict their comments to no more than three minutes at any one time so that all will have an opportunity to express their views. Senate actions are taken by majority vote, and in the case of a tie, the Chair’s position will prevail.

Article VII. Approval of Senate Actions

Action taken by the Senate under the authority of the By-laws of the university that require administrative implementation shall be transmitted to the Provost for consideration in the following manner: Within five calendar days of passage, the Chair of the Senate shall forward copies of any approved or recommended actions to the Provost. It is expected that the Provost will reply, in writing, within 30 calendar days of the date of Senate approval and explain his or her decision.

Article VIII. Access to Records of the Senate

A. The agenda and minutes of the Senate shall be serially numbered and duplicated in accordance with provisions of the university archivist. Copies of supporting documents will be suitably reproduced for inclusion in the official copies of the record. 

B. The Senate shall inform the faculty of important actions taken. The agenda, minutes and supporting documentation of the Senate shall be considered open to inspection by all members of the university faculty and shall be maintained in a place convenient for their inspection. At the end of the year, electronic records of the Senate activities for the past year are forwarded to the university archives, and Senate records are available at the office of the Faculty Senate as well as on the Faculty Senate website. 

C. The Senate, and its members acting individually and collectively, should take proactive efforts to engage in outreach to their constituents.

Article IX. Committees and Functions

A. Executive Committee

At the final meeting of each academic year, the Senate shall constitute an Executive Committee for the following academic year. The Senate Executive Committee shall have eight voting members: the Senate Past Chair, the Senate Chair, the Senate Vice Chair, the Academic Budget and Benefits Committee Chair, the Chair of the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, the Chair of the Graduate Curriculum Committee, an at-large senator, and an additional senator from among its number. The at-large senator and additional senator should be nominated by the Executive Committee and elected each academic year at the first Senate meeting by the new Senate body. When seeking to fill the at-large and general seats on the Executive Committee, the Senate will strive for representation from as many colleges and schools as possible. Nominations may also be submitted from the floor of the Senate. In instances when more than one senator has been nominated for either the at-large or general seat on the Executive Committee, the Senate shall use a secret ballot to decide who will serve. The Provost and the Dean of Academic Affairs are ex officio non-voting members of the Senate Executive Committee.

The Senate Chair has the discretion to invite any person to attend an Executive Committee meeting and to speak within limits set by the committee. Guests may n ot vote. The Senate Executive Committee has the right by majority vote to go into executive session. When an executive session is voted, all non-voting Committee members and guests must leave the meeting place unless invited to stay by majority vote.

The Executive Committee will meet with university administrators or their designees as needed to receive a report on activities, plans, and/or changes in policies with attention to how those activities, plans, and/or changes in policies affect academic life at the university. Such university administrators may include, but are not limited to, the Vice Provost of Undergraduate Studies, Dean of Graduate Studies and Vice Provost for Research, Vice President of Campus Life, Vice President of Finance and Treasurer, University Registrar, and Director of the Center for Teaching, Research, and Learning.

If the need arises, the Executive Committee will make recommendations to the Provost based on each report and/or invite the university administrator to report to the Faculty Senate.

The duties of the Faculty Senate Executive Committee include but are not limited to the following:

  • setting the Senate’s agenda,
  • bringing motions to the Senate on its own initiative,
  • informing the faculty when nominations are due for Senate elections and making reasonable efforts to ensure that there is an appropriate number of nominees for each election,
  • nominating faculty subject to Senate ratification to serve as faculty representatives on committees of the Board of Trustees,
  • maintaining liaison with all Senate committees,
  • reviewing accreditation reports,
  • reviewing Academic Unit/Program Review reports,
  • selecting hearing panel members from the elected Hearing Committee as charged in the Faculty Manual,
    filling vacancies on the Senate between annual elections: For at-large positions, the Executive Committee will first approach candidates who stood for election in the most recent election; should those candidates be unwilling or ineligible, the Executive Committee will nominate someone for ratification by the Senate. For other positions, the Executive Committee will ask the deans to provide candidates.

B. Standing Committees

1. The Undergraduate Curriculum Committee (UCC) is an elected body of the university faculty. The UCC is composed of eight full-time faculty members: two from CAS, and one from each of KSB, SIS, SOC, SPA, SPExS, and the University Library; all to be elected by secret ballot within each unit. UCC members serve staggered three-year terms. The membership will also include one undergraduate student designated by the Student Government. The chair of the Committee on General Education and the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies will serve as ex officio non-voting members of the committee, and the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies will provide staff assistance for the committee. The chair, elected by the faculty representatives of the committee, receives one course release and is a member of the Faculty Senate Executive Committee. The chair or his designee will serve as an ex officio non-voting member of the Committee on General Education and the Honors Advisory Committee.

The committee makes recommendations to the appropriate unit(s) and/or administrator(s) regarding:

  • the existing undergraduate curriculum and course offerings, including those in General Education and the Honors Program,
  • new programs and major curricular changes,
  • new courses for academic quality, redundancy of material across teaching units/academic units, and outcomes assessment,
  • all changes and terminations in courses or programs that affect more than one teaching unit, and
  • general curricular policies affecting undergraduate academic programs.

The committee does not review temporary or experimental courses offered by any unit, though it continues to exercise jurisdiction through its ex officio presence on the General Education and Honors Advisory Committees.

While all proposals require the support of the relevant teaching unit(s) and/or academic unit(s), the committee is directly responsible for the Faculty Senate’s commitment to academic excellence as reflected by curriculum and course offerings; therefore, every effort must be made to address the committee’s recommendations. After the unit has responded to the committee’s recommendations, the committee forwards its recommendations to approve, modify, or reject the proposal to the next level of review.

In order for the committee to have time to complete its review, all changes targeted for approval by the Board of Trustees for the next academic year must be submitted to the Faculty Senate by the first Monday in March of the current academic year. The committee’s work will continue over the summer months if necessary.

2. The Graduate Curriculum Committee (GCC) is an elected body of the university faculty. The GCC is composed of eight full-time faculty: two from CAS, and one from each of KSB, SIS, SOC, SPA, SPExS, and the University Library; all to be elected by secret ballot within each unit. GCC members serve staggered three-year terms. The membership will also include one graduate student designated by the Graduate Leadership Council. The Dean of Graduate Studies and Vice Provost for Research will serve as an ex officio non-voting member of the committee and will provide staff assistance for the committee. The chair, elected by the faculty representatives of the committee, receives one course release and is a member of the Faculty Senate Executive Committee.

The committee makes recommendations to the appropriate unit(s) and/or administrator(s) regarding:

  • the existing graduate curriculum and course offerings,
  • new programs and major curricular changes,
  • new courses for completeness of the syllabus, redundancy of material across teaching units/academic units, up-to-date reading list and other resources, clarity of assignments, rigor, and specificity of grading and evaluation expectations,
  • all changes and terminationsthat affectmorethan one teachingunit, and
  • general curricular policies affecting the graduate academic programs.

While all proposals require the support of the relevant teaching unit(s) and/or academic unit(s), the committee is directly responsible for the Faculty Senate’s commitment to academic excellence as reflected by curriculum and course offerings; therefore, every effort must be made to address the committee’s recommendations. After the unit has responded to the committee’s recommendations, the committee forwards its recommendations to approve, modify, or reject the proposal to the next level of review.

In order for the committee to have time to complete its review, all changes targeted for approval by the Board of Trustees for the next academic year must be submitted to the Faculty Senate by the first Monday in March of the current academic year. The committee’s work will continue over the summer if necessary.

3. The Committee on Faculty Actions (CFA) is an elected body of the university faculty. Its function is to represent the interests of faculty members, individually and collectively, in matters related to appointments, reappointments, tenure, and promotion. The CFA promotes equitable treatment of faculty. Each CFA member is to consider solely the good of the university as a whole when undertaking the work of the committee.

The CFA is composed of eight senior faculty, preferably full professors, one from each of the following academic units: KSB, SOC, SIS, SPA, the University Library; and one from each cluster (arts and humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences) of the College of Arts and Sciences. Tenure-line faculty and term faculty on multi-year contracts from each academic unit elect the unit’s member(s) of this committee. Members of the CFA will serve staggered three-year terms, with no more than four to be elected in any one year except to fill vacancies in unexpired terms. The members may not be academic unit deans, teaching unit chairs, or persons whose principal duties are administrative in nature. Faculty members who intend to apply for promotion are ineligible to be elected to the CFA, and faculty on the CFA who are up for promotion must recuse themselves from the committee for the year in which their promotion will be considered. In the event that a member of the CFA must recuse himself or herself, the unit that he or she represents will elect a one-year replacement prior to the next meeting of the CFA. The original member may resume his or her position on the committee the following year. The chair is elected by the members of the committee and receives one course release.

The CFA has the following responsibilities:

  • to make recommendations to the Faculty Senate and the Provost on all matters and policies relating to full-time appointments, reappointments, tenure, and promotions;
  • to evaluate and review, in accordance with the criteria set forth in the Faculty Manual, all faculty actions involving the reappointment, tenure, and promotion of tenure-line faculty and to make recommendations on all such actions to the Dean of Academic Affairs;
  • to evaluate and review, in accordance with the criteria set forth in the Manual, all faculty actions involving the reappointment with promotion to Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, or Full Professor of term faculty and to make recommendations on all such actions to the Dean of Academic Affairs;
  • to make recommendations for senior hires in accordance with the subsection “Appointment of Faculty with Tenure” of the section “Provisions for Faculty Appointments in Tenure-Line Positions” in the Faculty Manual;
  • to conduct a review at least every five years of all published criteria from each academic unit and its teaching units that pertain to the appointment, reappointment, tenure, and promotion of full-time faculty members. The reviews will assist the CFA as they prepare recommendations on faculty actions and ensure that consistently high standards are maintained throughout the university;
  • to evaluate and review the file of a term-faculty member or faculty member on a continuing-appointment line in the event of a disagreement between a teaching unit and its dean or the University Librarian; and
  • to review and make recommendations on matters and policies as requested by the Faculty Senate, including proposed changes to the Manual.

4. The Committee on Academic Budget and Benefits is an elected body of the university faculty. Its function is to consider all financial matters pertaining to the academic programs and faculty of the university and is authorized by the Senate to request financial data. As appropriate, the committee shall report to the Executive Committee if matters need Senate action.

The committee is composed of nine full-time faculty members: two from CAS and one each from KSB, SIS, SOC, SPA, SPExS, WCL and the University Library; all to be elected by secret ballot within each unit. Budget Committee members serve staggered three-year terms. The membership will also include one graduate student designated by the Graduate Leadership Council and one undergraduate designated by the Student Government. One emeriti faculty member will be appointed by the Executive Committee to serve on the committee for issues relating to benefits. The President appoints four members of the Senate Academic Budget and Benefits Committee, including the Chair of the Committee, to also serve as voting members on the University Budget Committee. Customarily, the joint committee-UBC appointees are from academic units that do not otherwise have faculty representatives in the UBC. The chair, elected by the faculty membership of the committee, is a member of the Faculty Senate Executive Committee. Customarily, the committee has the prerogative to operate as two subcommittees: a Budget subcommittee and a Benefits subcommittee.

The committee has the following responsibilities:

  • to review the budget guidelines each budget cycle and make recommendations to the Executive Committee for Senate action concerning the budget; Senate budget recommendations will then be delivered to the Provost;
  • to represent the Senate in matters of faculty benefits; it reviews and makes recommendations in areas including, but not limited to, retirement benefits, health and disability benefits, other types of insurance benefits, tuition benefits, and parking benefits;
  • to represent the Senate on issues of building and renovation programs and related matters and therefore, to review information from the appropriate offices on an annual basis; and
  • to report its findings or concerns regarding any of the above areas to the Senate Executive Committee as needed.

5. The Committee on Information Services is an elected body of the university faculty. Its function is to assess the varying computer needs of undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty. In exercising its oversight functions, the committee shall examine the adequacy of the delivery of information services to students and faculty, in particular facilities, budget support, and staff.

The committee is composed of eleven full-time faculty members: four from CAS and one each from KSB, SIS, SOC, SPA, SPExS, WCL, and the University Library; all to be elected by secret ballot within each unit. Information Services committee members serve staggered two-year terms. The membership will also include one graduate student designated by the Graduate Leadership Council; one undergraduate designated by the Student Government; and a representative from the Center for Teaching, Research, and Learning; and two ex officio members: the University Librarian and the Chief Information Officer (or designee). The committee elects, from among its faculty members, its own chair.

The committee has the following responsibilities:

  • to maintain liaison with the Director of the Center for Teaching, Research, and Learning;
  • to maintain liaison with the University Librarian concerning plans and programs, and, in cooperation with the library, to assess the varying library needs of undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty and examine the adequacy of the delivery of library services to students and faculty, in particular facilities, budget support, staff, and cooperation with the Washington Research Library Consortium;
  • to maintain a liaison with the Office of Technology (OIT) concerning plans and programs, and in cooperation with OIT to assess the varying technology needs of the university and to make recommendations on those needs;
  • to maintain a liaison with the Center for Teaching, Research, and Learning to assess and make recommendations on technology needs related to the teaching and research support and services provided by that office; and
  • as appropriate, to report its findings and recommendations to the Committee on Academic Budget and Benefits, including recommendations about long-range financial planning.

6. The Committee on Learning Assessment is an elected body of the university faculty. The committee is composed of nine full-time faculty members: one from KSB, SIS, SOC, SPA, SPExS, and the University Library, and one from each of the three clusters for CAS; all to be elected by secret ballot within each unit. There will also be one representative from the General Education Committee. Learning Assessment committee members serve staggered two-year terms. The Director of Institutional Research and Assessment shall be an ex-officio non-voting member of this committee. The committee elects a chair from among its members.

The committee has the following responsibilities:

  • to provide guidance and assistance to the colleges and schools in developing and implementing academic program assessment plans;
  • to analyze and interpret assessment results, which are reported to the appropriate unit leader; and
  • to interact with other stakeholders, such as the Vice-Provost for Undergraduate Studies; Dean of Graduate Studies and Vice Provost for Research; Center for Teaching, Research, and Learning; and Campus Life.

C. Special and Advisory Committees

1. The Committee on Faculty Grievances is an elected body of the university faculty. Its function, as stipulated in the Faculty Manual, is to investigate and evaluate all formal grievances filed by members of the faculty and to issue a report specifying its conclusions and recommendations, which is then sent to the grievant and to either the university president or provost. As appropriate, the committee shall report to the Executive Committee if matters need Senate action. The committee is also charged with overseeing university policies and programs to make certain that all faculty are accorded equitable treatment and allocated resources equitably within the university in accordance with the university's statement on non-discrimination. The committee shall propose Senate action, as needed, and recommend oversight review, as needed, to the Executive Committee of the Senate.

The committee is composed of seven tenured members of the university faculty, one from each of the following academic units: KSB, SOC, SIS, SPA, and the University Library; and two from the College of Arts and Sciences. Tenure-line faculty, continuing-appointment faculty, and term faculty on multi-year contracts from each academic unit elect the unit’s member(s) of this committee for staggered three-year terms, with no more than three to be elected in any one year, except to fill vacancies in unexpired terms. The chair is to be elected by and from the membership of the committee.

Its function, as stipulated in the Faculty Manual, is to investigate and evaluate all formal grievances filed by members of the faculty and to issue a report specifying its conclusions and recommendations, which is then sent to the grievant and to either the university president or provost.

2. The Faculty Hearing Committee is an elected body of the university faculty. Its function is to hear cases referred to it by the Provost involving full-time faculty appointments before the end of the specified term due to incompetence, misconduct, or other cases involving major disciplinary sanctions against a faculty member. It reviews cases presented to it and makes recommendations in accordance with the procedures specified in the section on “Disciplinary Actions, Investigations, and Formal Faculty Hearings” in the Faculty Manual. The Senate Executive Committee draws individual hearing panels from the elected members of the Committee to hear cases. The committee will meet on an as-needed basis, including during the summer break.

The committee is composed of 15 tenured members of the teaching faculty elected by the full-time university faculty, including tenure-line, continuing-appointment, and term faculty on multi-year contracts. Members of the Hearing Committee shall be elected for staggered three-year terms.

3. The Committee on General Education is charged with reviewing and making recommendations to approve and eliminate courses and seminars; assessing at least one course each academic year in each foundational area; providing overall programmatic assessment guidelines; determining transfer course articulations when needed; and considering other programmatic changes as appropriate. When courses are requested to become permanent and listed in the course catalog, they must be submitted to the Faculty Senate Undergraduate Curriculum Committee for review along with the General Education committee’s recommendation that, if approved, they will or will not satisfy an identified area in General Education. 

The committee is composed of sixteen voting members: three faculty members from each of the five general education areas of study and a chair. All members and the chair are selected by the Faculty Senate Executive Committee and the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies in collaboration with the current or outgoing Chair of the General Education Committee. Selection of the members and the chair will be made from a list of nominees presented by the Associate Deans. All nominees will confirm their willingness to serve the three-year term. Serving as ex officio non-voting members will be the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies, the chair (or designee) of the Faculty Senate Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, and the General Education Librarian.

4. The Honors Advisory Committee is charged with developing guidelines and procedures for all honors programs at AU; recommending to the Provost to accept, alter, or reject proposals for new Honors in the Major or Field programs at AU; engaging with students; and overseeing and monitoring the AU Honors Program. The committee consults with the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Enrollment on applications to the AU Honors Program, monitors students’ progress, participates in annual assessment of the program, and provides support and advice as needed.

In curricular review, the committee reviews and approves all temporary honors courses, including courses offered on a three-year basis in the AU Honors Program. Temporary honors courses do not require full university-wide review. Proposals for all permanent honors courses require full university-wide review, and the proposals must include the Honors Advisory Committee recommendation to accept, alter, or reject such courses as permanent honors courses. When a proposal for a permanent honors course originates from the AU Honors Program, the Honors Advisory Committee serves as the academic EPC before going to university-wide review. When a proposal for a permanent honors course originates from the academic unit, the academic unit will use its own EPC before going to university-wide review.

The committee is composed of eight voting members: one faculty member each from Kogod, SIS, SOC, and SPA; one faculty member from each of the three clusters in CAS; and a student representative from the AU Honors Program. All faculty members of the Honors Advisory Committee will be selected by the Senate Executive Committee and the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies, in collaboration with the current or outgoing chair of the Honors Advisory Committee. Selections will be made from a list of nominees presented by the Associate Deans. All nominees will confirm their willingness to serve the full three-year term. The student representative, who will serve a one-year term, will be designated by the students in the AU Honors Program. Serving as ex officio non-voting members will be the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies, the chair (or designee) of the Faculty Senate Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, and the Honors Librarian. The Faculty Director of the AU Honors Program will serve as chair of the Honors Advisory Committee.

Nominees for the Faculty Director of the AU Honors Program will be submitted by the associate deans. The Senate Executive Committee and Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies will review the nominees and make their recommendations to the Provost, who will make the final selection. The Faculty Director serves for a three-year term beginning June 1.

D. Board of Trustees Representatives of the Faculty Senate

The Immediate Past Chair and the Chair of the Faculty Senate serve as non-voting Faculty Trustees of the Board of Trustees. The Vice Chair provides a report of the Senate for each meeting of the Board of Trustees and attends its general meeting as the Faculty Senate representative. The Chair serves on the Trusteeship Committee and the Academic Affairs Committee . The Past Chair of the Faculty Senate selects two other committees of the Board of Trustees on which to serve as a Faculty Trustee. At the beginning of each academic year, the Faculty Senate Executive Committee will nominate faculty to serve as faculty representatives on the remaining committees of the Board of Trustees:

  • Academic Affairs
  • Alumni Affairs and Development
  • Athletics
  • Audit
  • Campus Life
  • Communication
  • Finance and Investment
  • Trusteeship (Vice Chair of the Faculty Senate)

The Executive Committee nominations are subject to Senate ratification.

Article X. Eligibility for and Nominations and Elections to the Senate and Its Committees

A. Eligibility 

All full-time faculty are eligible to be elected to the Senate and its committees except for the Committee on Faculty Actions, the Faculty Hearing Committee, and the Committee on Faculty Grievances, all of whose members must be tenured faculty and elected by tenured and tenure-track faculty and term faculty on multi-year contracts. Emeriti faculty are eligible to be elected to the Benefits Subcommittee of the Committee on Academic Budget and Benefits. WCL faculty are not eligible for membership on the Committee on Faculty Actions nor may WCL faculty vote for the membership of that committee. WCL faculty may not have representation on any other Senate committees except for the Committee on Academic Budget and Benefits, the Committee on Information Systems, and the Executive Committee. 

B. Nominations and Elections for Campus-Wide Positions

  • Self-nominations of eligible faculty willing to serve as at-large members on the Senate\ or the Faculty Hearing Committee should be sent to the Senate office by the Friday before the spring semester vacation in March. All eligible individuals who are nominated and who agree to run will be placed on the appropriate ballots.
  • Balloting to fill at-large vacancies on the Senate and to fill vacancies on the Faculty Hearing Committee shall be conducted in the week immediately following the spring semester vacation in March. If such scheduling would not result in a termination of balloting by March 30, the Vice Chair of the Senate will specify a period in March for which balloting would end by the date specified.
  • Faculty members will be allowed to vote for as many persons as there are vacancies in the membership to be filled, and those receiving the greatest number of votes shall be declared elected according to the regulation on Senate membership. 
  • Ballots shall be electronically tallied, and the results will be sent to the Senate Chair and Vice Chair on the business day following the termination of the balloting period.
  • Ties shall be immediately resolved by lot.
  • The results of the election shall be certified by the Senate Chair and announced to the campus community.

C. Nominations and Elections within Units 

Representatives of the various academic units, both as Senate members and members of its committees, are to be elected by secret ballots using whatever system for nominations and elections that is approved by the faculty of the individual units. The academic unit dean will notify the Chair of the Senate, no later than April 10, of names of the newly elected Senators and committee members. 

D. Elections of Committee Chairs 

Committees whose chairs become members of the Senate shall hold their first meeting and conduct their own elections as soon as practical following the annual election of its new members. The chairs will serve for a term of one year, and in the event the chair becomes vacant that term and cannot be filled by the committee, the Executive Committee after consultation with committee members shall appoint an interim chair to serve until the next election. The Provost and Chair of the Senate will be notified of the results of any election. 

E. Vacancies 

1. In the event of a vacancy in the Senate, the Executive Committee will fill the seat per Article IX.A. of the By-laws. In the event of a vacancy on a committee, the vacant seat shall be filled for the remainder of the vacated term by vote of the faculty of the unit represented, by vote of the members of the committee when appropriate, or, for those on the Faculty Hearing Committee, by the eligible person, not a member of the Senate or that committee, who received the greatest number of votes in the most recent general election for the Senate. 

If a vacancy occurs on the Senate or a committee or in an office for which there exists a person already elected, but not yet due to take office, this person shall succeed immediately to fill the vacancy and will serve until the completion of the term for which he or she was elected. If necessary to complete this term, the normal term limits are suspended. If two or more persons are eligible under this rule, the one who received the most votes shall assume the position or office. 

2. Vacancies in the offices of Vice Chair or Immediate Past Chair shall be filled by majority vote for the remainder of the vacated term by the Senate, which may suspend the normal term-limit rule to fill one of these positions.

Article XI. Additional Authority of the Senate

In the event of business that must be handled when the Senate is not meeting regularly, a full meeting of the Senate will be called; if the meeting takes place after June 15, the meeting will include senators whose terms began June 15 and whose terms did not end on June 15. If a quorum is not available, the issue will be decided by the Senate Executive Committee and those senators who are available to meet. The decisions made at the meeting will be reported to the Senate following the meeting.

Article XII. Amendments

The Senate may amend these rules as needed but may not abolish elections as provided for within units and also may not change the term-limit rule except as specified for very limited circumstances in the election article above.

Archive & Report

Rules of the Faculty Senate May, 2016 (HTML or PDF)

Rules of the Faculty Senate April, 2014 ( HTML or PDF )

Academic Regulation 50.00.04. Rules of the Faculty Senate
Approved April 2, 2003 - Revised April 2, 2008
( HTML or PDF )

Faculty Senate ad hoc Governance Committee, Report on University Governance Reform, March 29, 2006 ( HTML or PDF )

American University Governance Proposal, April 15, 2002 ( HTML )