To be effective as a Senator, it is important that you understand the procedures and customs of the Faculty Senate at Oregon State. Here are a few things that you might keep in mind as you begin your term as a Faculty Senator:
1) Meeting Minutes –
The meeting minutes serve as the official record of Faculty Senate business. Thus, it is important that they accurately reflect what transpires at each Faculty Senate meeting. The minutes are transcribed from a tape recording of the meetings. To ensure that your participation in the meeting is fully documented, please identify yourself and your college or apportionment unit affiliation (not departmental affiliation) when rising to speak at a meeting. This will allow us to identify participants in the official record of the meeting.
When you receive your copy of the previous meetings' minutes, please review it carefully. If you find an error, contact the Faculty Senate Office or note the error when the minutes are presented for approval at the next Faculty Senate meeting. If you wish to review past meeting minutes, they are on file at the Faculty Senate Office; feel free to call or stop in to utilize the file. Minutes dating back to January 1997 are also available on the web.
2) Meetings –
As you know, the meetings are traditionally held the second Thursday of each month from 3:00-5:00 in the afternoon, October through June. Occasionally we will vary from this schedule, so it is important that you check your agenda when you receive it to confirm the time and location of the meeting. The meetings are typically held at the LaSells Stewart Center Construction and Engineering Hall. But, again, from time to time we are forced to meet at another location. If we must vary from our traditional schedule or location, this will be clearly noted at the top of your agenda.
In effect, three types of activities occur at each meeting: Information is provided through reports from various on and off campus individuals or committees; Issues of concern to the faculty and the university community as a whole are discussed; and Action is taken on items which require approval, consent, or recommendation from the full Faculty Senate.
3) Meeting Agenda and Senate Action –
The agenda for each meeting is set by the Executive Committee about one week prior to each monthly meeting. The agenda is circulated in advance to each Faculty Senate member. Individual Faculty Senate members can request, up to three weeks prior to the meeting, that an item be addressed at a meeting by requesting that the Executive Committee place it on the agenda. This normally gives the Executive Committee time to provide any desirable clarification and allows members of the Senate to have a chance to fully consider it prior to the meeting. A Senator may also initiate an item for the agenda through the appropriate Faculty Senate standing committee/council. The committee/council will then forward the item to the Executive Committee to be placed on the agenda at the first available time. Initiatives for the Faculty Senate also originate with the Executive Committee itself. The Executive Committee may refer an item to a standing committee for clarification or input prior to including it on a meeting agenda. Finally, Faculty Senate committees may, themselves, initiate agenda items.
Often the Senate is asked to respond to requests, initiatives, or action by the University administration. Every effort will be made to provide Faculty Senators with the maximum amount of time to reflect on or study the issues brought to us by the administration. Finally, there are some routine or regular items which the Faculty Senate must respond to according to the Bylaws. Thus, certain meetings will have action items which must be attended to so that other Faculty Senate business can proceed.
Once you review the agenda material if, in your judgement, an action item requires an amendment or some other alteration, please come to the meeting prepared to provide a clear explanation of the change you deem desirable. For instance, if it is your intention to amend an action item, it is helpful if you can duplicate your amendment for circulation prior to the meeting or at the time of the discussion.
Most business is brought to the Senate via the meeting agenda. However, on occasion a Senator may wish to introduce an action item via a motion under New Business. If you choose to do so, we strongly recommend that you have your motion well prepared and duplicated for circulation at the meeting and for inclusion in the minutes.
4) Communication with Administrators –
From time to time, members of the Faculty or Faculty Senators wish to communicate a concern to an administrator or to the administration in general while maintaining anonymity. If you have a concern, a complaint, or an inquiry with a particular administrator or with the administration of the University which you would like to have handled through the Faculty Senate Office, please contact the Faculty Senate President, President-Elect, a member of the Executive Committee, or the Faculty Senate Office itself. We will attempt to handle your communication or concern and respond back to you in the most efficient and effective manner.
As a Faculty Senator, you represent colleagues in your apportionment unit in the important matters of faculty governance. It is essential, then, that you participate in the Faculty Senate, or provide a representative in your absence, and are proactive on issues which are important to you, your colleagues, and the faculty as a whole. The policies, procedures and customs of the Senate are in place to maximize the impact of your participation as a Senator. They should not inhibit your effectiveness as a participant in Faculty Senate decisions and Faculty Senate policy. If, at any time, you have a concern about the conduct of Faculty Senate meetings, or the activities of its members, you are invited to discuss your concerns with the President, the President-Elect, or members of the Executive Committee.