Frequently Asked Questions

Shared governance refers to the joint responsibility of faculty, administrations, and governing boards to govern colleges and universities.
Committees have specific charges over a particular aspect of the university. For example, the Library Committee is the governance committee that handles business relating to the university libraries. Councils are larger, and rather than having a specific subject to cover, they have a particular unit of employees that make up the members of the council. For example, Professional Personnel Council is made up of predominantly Professional Personnel from 9 different divisions across campus. The exception is the University Senate, which is designed to bring together voices from all of these disparate units to handle campus wide business.
There are many different ways to get involved with committees! The most common way is to be appointed by a governance body or your unit leadership. Most committees are made up of members appointed by Faculty Council or Professional Personnel Council at the end of the Spring semester. By filling out the Preference Poll, you can let governance leaders know what governance committees you are interested in joining. More information on the purpose and responsibilities of each committee can be found in the Faculty and Professional Personnel Handbook.

Councils are made up of mostly elected members from various constituencies and departments.

Senate: Tenure Line Faculty members are elected by colleges, while Non-Tenure Line members are elected by vote of the NTL faculty. Professional Personnel are elected by their divisions, and the students are appointed by SGA. An academic dean, appointed by the Provost, and a representative from the Honor’s College rounds out the membership.

Faculty Council: Tenure Line Faculty members are elected by their departments, with one representative for each. Non-Tenure Line faculty are elected by a vote of thefull-time Non-Tenure Line Faculty.

Professional Personnel Council: All of the PPC representatives in the Senate are also members of PPC; they are joined by 3 colleagues elected by their unit to serve on PPC. Seven faculty, one from each college, are appointed by Faculty Council as well. To round out the group, SGA nominates 5 students that serve one-year terms.

There are a lot of ways to get started with the governance system. The first and easiest way is to reach out to your representatives, whether on Senate, Faculty Council, or Professional Personnel Council. They should be able to direct you to where you need to go to attend meetings or read up on action items. If you have an issue that you know relates to a specific committee’s work, you can also reach out to your unit’s representative on that committee. If you have already done this and have a formal resolution that you would like introduced, you can submit it to the Senate Agenda Committee and it will be assigned to the proper committee or council.
When a council approves a resolution, an action item is created that is sent various administrative offices, starting with the Office of Legal Counsel, and followed by the Provost and President’s offices respectively. If the action item requires Board of Trustees approval, it is forwarded there after receiving approval from all of the other offices involved. If not, the action item is formally approved once the President has signed and the necessary changes have been made to the handbook.
The Gantt chart is the way we track the progress of an item through the governance system. Each item is listed under the council that has oversight, and all of the councils and committees that have addressed the item are listed next to it. Finally, to visualize the item’s process, there is a graph with an estimate of the progress of the item through the governance system. The agendas for each of the council meetings contain an updated version of the Gantt chart.
Ex-officio translates roughly to “by virtue of the office held.” In this case, they are committee memberships that are held because someone serves in a certain role on campus. As an example, the Athletics director has an ex-officio role on the Athletics Committee so they can use their expertise and knowledge of the Athletics department to improve the work of the committee. Most ex-officios are non-voting members of the committee. They’re allowed to participate in the discussion, but won’t be able to cast a vote. In a few cases, ex-officios are granted the privilege to vote; they can participate in the way full members of the committee do.