General Information Regarding the Faculty Senate and Your Responsibilities as a Senator

We are very pleased to welcome you to the Faculty Senate, and look forward to working with you and the other new Senators. The purpose of this document and the references to other important data is to provide some general information about the Senate and instructions that may assist you in carrying out your responsibilities as a Senator.

  1. Responsibilities of Senators

A copy of the current Faculty Senate Bylaws are available on the web. Your attention is called to Article II, which defines the "OBJECTS" or purpose of the Faculty Senate. We suggest that you also note Article III, which defines the authority and responsibilities of the representatives. It is important to note that "representatives to the Faculty Senate are the 'uninstructed representatives' of their constituents," but that "it shall be the responsibility of the members of the Faculty Senate to seek for the opinions of their constituents. Having exercised such responsibility, the members of the Faculty Senate shall feel free to make such decisions and vote on matters according to their own reasoned judgments."

To assist Senators in communicating with their constituents and in seeking their opinions, Article XV, Sec. 4 of the Bylaws recommends that Senators be given the use of departmental or college/unit meetings or facilities. You may request assistance from your apportionment head's office in preparing and mailing communications to your colleagues. You may also request time at departmental/unit meetings to report/discuss Senate related business with your constituents.

According to the Senate Bylaws (Article X, Sec. 2, Paragraph 4), "It shall be the responsibility of all members to attend meetings of the Faculty Senate. When circumstances require the absence of a Senator from one or more meetings, it shall be the Senator's responsibility to provide a substitute to attend who is eligible for election to the Faculty Senate (from the Senator's constituency but is not a current Senator or ex-officio member.)" Such eligibility is defined in Article III, Sec. 1. If it becomes necessary to send a proxy (substitute), it shall be the responsibility of the elected Senator to provide the proxy with the distributed materials related to the meeting agenda and to instruct the proxy to sign the attendance roster. The names of elected Senators will be printed on the attendance roster in alpha order within apportionment unit; proxies should be instructed to place a check mark in the parentheses preceding the printed name of the absent Senator and print, legibly, his/her name in the space following the printed name. Attendance records are published online following each Faculty Senate meeting. The Faculty Senate Office can assist you in determining eligible substitutes.

  1. Faculty Senate Committees and Councils

Most of the work of the Senate is done by its committees and councils. Article IX of the Senate Bylaws lists the present standing committees and councils and includes general provisions for terms and appointment of members and for review and approval of Standing Rules for each of the committees and councils. The full Standing Rules and Membership Rosters are also available on the web.

  1. Forthcoming Meetings of the Faculty Senate

First Regular Meeting: Thursday, January 9, 2020; 3:00 PM, LaSells Stewart Center Construction and Engineering Hall 

Subsequent Meetings: Generally, the second Thursday of each month, October through June, 3:00 PM, normally in the LaSells Stewart Center

For the remainder of 2020, the regular monthly meetings are scheduled for February 13, March 12, April 9, May 14, June 11, October 8, November 12, and December 10. Because of the heavy load of agenda items during Spring Term, there is always the possibility of a meeting being carried over to the following week if there is insufficient time to conduct all business before the Senate. The Senate has, in the past, adopted a policy of not beginning any new business after 5:00 PM, and has, therefore, had to carry over part of the agenda to the following Thursday. However, upon occasion, when the agenda could be completed by 5:30, the Senate has elected to remain to finish its business, in order to avoid having to call a continued meeting. Senators are expected to remain until the meeting is adjourned.

  1. Other Special Senate Meetings

Special meetings may be called and announced in accordance with the provisions of the Bylaws (Article X, Sec. 2). Normally, the Senate does not meet during the summer months; rather, the Executive Committee acts on behalf of the Senate. If urgent matters need attention, a special Senate meeting may be called during the summer (last done in 2009).

  1. Agendas for Faculty Senate Meetings

According to the Bylaws, the Executive Committee has the responsibility of scheduling the Senate meetings and determining the agenda. All Senators or other members of the Faculty are invited and encouraged to propose or submit agenda items either directly to the Executive Committee or to the appropriate Senate committee or council. Senators may also suggest potential agenda items from the floor during meetings (see Article XIII of the Bylaws).

You will receive, via e-mail, the Faculty Senate agenda, listing additional details about the coming meeting, including linked copies of appropriate reports related to the agenda. Please check your copy of the agenda to confirm the time and place of each meeting.

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Other general information or instructions will be presented as needed. We encourage you to study the Bylaws with care and to raise any questions you might have regarding the Senate and its operation or procedures. If at any time you have questions or need information, please feel free to consult directly with any member of the Executive Committee or contact the Faculty Senate Office.

We welcome you as a newly-elected member of the Faculty Senate and look forward to working with you in this important endeavor. We have a great deal of work ahead and hope you will find your term in the Senate stimulating, challenging, and rewarding.

(01/13; 06/17; 20/01)