Policy Details


Date of Last Update
6/21/2017

Approved By
  • University Academic Senate / Provost

Responsible Office
Provost Office

Categories

Print Policy
Export Policy As PDF

University Academic Senate Bylaws

FH 2.01.A.1-3

  1. Policy Scope
  2. Procedures

Policy Scope

2.01    A.    University Academic Senate Bylaws

The powers and duties, membership formula, and rules of procedure of the University Academic Senate (UAS) are set forth in Section 1 below. Section 2 specifies the powers and duties, membership formula, and rules of procedure for the Executive Committee of the Senate (ECS). Section 3 deals with referendum procedures for the faculty in the event of faculty opposition to an action of the UAS. Section 4 describes the standing committees that report to the ECS.

       

Procedures

1.  THE UNIVERSITY ACADEMIC SENATE (UAS)

a.  Powers and Duties of the UAS include the following:

i.   Curriculum: Ordinarily the UCC will perform the final curriculum review at the university level.  However, in the event of a vote by ECS or at the request of any of the Standing Committees of UAS, proposals regarding graduation requirements or regarding new programs and majors will be acted upon by the UAS. This includes any initiative emerging from a nonacademic unit that involves academic credit.

ii.   The Academic Organization of Grand Valley: Proposals regarding the addition or elimination of colleges, divisions, schools, departments, institutes, centers, libraries, or academic service units must be acted upon by the UAS. Because initiatives involving academic credit may likely affect the quality or integrity of an academic program, all such initiatives shall be reviewed and acted upon by the appropriate academic governance bodies according to their established governance procedures. This shall occur regardless of whether the initiative originated in an academic unit or a non-academic unit.  Given the wide range of definitions for a "reorganization", in those cases, the Provost or designee consults with the UAS Chair as to whether the case needs to be reviewed by the New Program/New Academic Unit Council. 

iii.  Faculty Personnel Policy: All proposed changes in the faculty personnel policy of Grand Valley must be acted upon by the UAS.

iv.  Other Matters: The UAS also makes recommendations regarding budget matters and other issues which are considered relevant to academic matters. Individual grievances, however, are not the proper domain of the UAS.

b.  UAS Membership: The UAS includes members from the faculty, the student body, and the administration.    

c.  UAS Rules of Procedure (Revised at UAS 10/26/12)

i.   Election of New Members: During winter semester each college elects faculty members to serve three-year terms. Election results for UAS and its standing committees are reported to the ECS by March 15. The newly elected members begin their terms at the end of the winter semester. The Student Senate selects student members at the end of the winter semester or early in the fall semester.

ii.  Meetings: The UAS shall meet at least once every academic semester, except in summers, and at additional times if a petition is signed by one-fourth of its membership, or at the call of the ECS. The UAS meetings are open.

iii.  Officers: The ECS shall elect the Chair and Vice-Chair of UAS/ECS from its new membership. Election of the Chair and Vice-Chair by the newly constituted membership of ECS is held the last week of winter semester. Any member of the ECS may nominate candidates for Chair and Vice-Chair. Nominations may be made from the floor. The Vice-Chair assists with the governance responsibilities of the Chair and presides over meetings in the absence of the Chair. If for any reason the Chair is unable to serve a full term, the Vice-Chair will become the Chair for the unexpired term. If the Vice-Chair becomes chair, or for any other reason is unable to serve a full term, ECS will nominate and elect one of its members during a regular meeting to serve as Vice-Chair for the unexpired term.

iv.  Agenda for Meetings: The agenda for each meeting is prepared by the Chair in consultation with the ECS. Electronic copies of the agenda accompanied by electronic documents relevant to agenda items are distributed to UAS members at least one week (five class days) prior to the meeting. The agenda is also published in advance on the Faculty Governance website. If a motion is made to add an item to the agenda during a meeting, opposition by 10 percent of the members present is sufficient to block this action on the grounds of insufficient notice.

v.   Alternates: Alternates for members of the UAS may be designated at the discretion of the representatives themselves so long as they come from the same representative group and no contrary rules are adopted by the representative group involved. 

vi.  Quorum: A majority of the total voting membership of the Senate shall constitute a quorum for the enactment of business.

vii. Voting: Voting may be by voice vote, show of hands, or by secret ballot at the discretion of the presiding officer. Voting shall be by secret ballot if requested by 10 percent of the members present. Proxy votes are not allowed at UAS meetings.

viii. Parliamentary Procedure: Robert's Rules of Order shall govern the Senate in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with the by-laws of the Senate.

ix.  Distribution of Minutes: Copies of the approved minutes are electronically distributed to ECS/UAS members and posted on the Faculty Governance Website. Copies are also sent to the President, Provost, Vice Presidents, Deans, Assistant Vice President for Human Resources, the Registrar, the University Libraries Archivist, the Lanthorn, chairpersons of the governing bodies of the ECS constituencies, the President of the Student Senate, the Campus Ministry Council, and others as ECS may from time to time deem appropriate. This is normally within two weeks of the meeting.

d.  Duties of the Chair in Communicating UAS Actions.

i.   The Chair of the UAS is required to bring to the President (or designee) of Grand Valley all resolutions passed by the UAS. If the resolution requires presidential action, such action will be communicated by the President to the Chair of the ECS within two weeks. If the President expresses the desire to have the content of the resolution changed, the Chair of the UAS must then present this request to the members of the UAS. If the President requests that more time be given before taking action on the resolution, the Chair of the UAS will inform the members of the UAS to this effect.

ii.   If any recommendation of the UAS differs from a recommendation which the President plans to present to the Board of Trustees, then the Chair of the UAS is charged by the UAS with the responsibility of informing the Board of UAS' position.

2.   THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF THE SENATE (ECS)

a.  Powers and Duties of the ECS

i.   Preparing the Agenda for UAS: All matters to be presented to the Senate are discussed by ECS and its recommendations are placed on the UAS agenda.

ii.   Acting for UAS: The ECS has the power to act for UAS within the range of the Senate's powers as described in 1.a. Decisions reached by the ECS shall be considered tacitly ratified if the duly informed UAS membership does not petition for a meeting within one academic week after ECS decisions are reported to the UAS membership. If such a meeting is called, the ECS shall be bound to proceed according to the decision of the UAS. No decision may be sent to the President for further action unless or until such tacit or actual ratification has been granted. The ECS shall convene a meeting of the UAS within one academic week upon petition by one-fourth of the members of the UAS.

iii.  Receiving reports from the standing committees of UAS: The standing committees of UAS report to the ECS and make recommendations relative to their respective charges. The standing committee chairs, or their designees, will meet with the Executive Committee to respond to questions and explain committee reports.

In its review, the ECS will decide: 1) if the matter is appropriate for Senate debate; 2) if all aspects of the matter are adequately addressed in the report; 3) if the wording of recommendations specifies precisely the action to be taken; and 4) whether specific motions should be composed to facilitate UAS deliberation of the matter.

When a matter receives ECS support, it will be placed as new business on the UAS agenda either as a main motion or as a report requiring further action by UAS. If the matter does not require UAS action, ECS may act on it independently. If ECS finds the matter lacking or inappropriate, it will be routed back to the standing committee with a request for further clarification.

iv.  Nominations: The ECS serves as a nominating committee for membership of all committees, task forces, and boards to be elected by the UAS.

v.   Advice and counsel to the administration: The ECS will provide advice and counsel to the President and/or the Provost regarding university affairs.

vi.  Count of faculty for UAS membership: During the Winter semester ECS shall determine membership for UAS for the following year based on the appropriate faculty member count.

vii. Other matters: Requests for Senate consideration of an issue may come from any constituency, organization or member of the campus community. Items will be sent to the Chair and the Academic Governance Office where curricular items will be logged with a tracking number. To organize the Senate workload, the Executive Committee determines the course of action for most requests. The ECS will decide (1) whether the concern should be dealt with by academic governance, and (2) if so, whether it should be referred to a standing committee. If the matter is not referred to a standing committee, ECS may request information from appropriate offices and persons to help in its deliberations.

viii. Arranging faculty forums: ECS may arrange faculty forums as needed.  At these forums, the chair of UAS/ECS will describe matters currently under discussion in the governance system and will invite faculty members' responses to the discussion at hand. Faculty members are invited to raise other concerns for discussion at these forums.

b.  Rules of Procedure for the ECS

i.   Chair and Vice Chair: The Chair of UAS presides at meetings of the ECS. The Vice Chair presides in the absence of the Chair.

ii.   Meetings: The ECS shall normally meet every week, except during the spring/summer semester. Additional meetings may be called by the Chair, and must be called on petition of four members.

iii.  Quorum: A majority of the ECS members shall constitute a quorum.

iv.  Parliamentary Procedure: At the first meeting of the Academic year, ECS will discuss rules of procedure for its meetings and decide whether strict adherence to Robert's Rules of Order is desirable.  

Robert's Rules shall govern the ECS in all cases in which they are not inconsistent with the procedures agreed upon by the ECS.

v.   Agenda: The agenda for ECS meetings is set by the Chair. Electronic copies of the agenda accompanied by electronic documents relevant to agenda items are distributed to ECS members at least four class days prior to the meeting. The agenda is also published in advance on the Faculty Governance website and any Academic Governance bulletin board. An item must be placed on the published agenda at the request of three ECS representatives.

vi.  Alternates: A member who is unable to attend an ECS meeting may designate an alternate to attend in his/her place. The alternate must be from the same representative college or university libraries. In the case of a prolonged absence involving several meetings, the representative college or university libraries should designate the alternate.

vii. Proxy Votes: Proxy votes are not allowed at ECS meetings.

viii.Distribution of minutes: Copies of the approved minutes are electronically distributed to ECS/UAS members and posted on the Faculty Governance Website and any Academic Governance Bulletin Board. Electronic copies are also sent to the President, Provost, Vice Presidents, Deans, Associate Vice President for Human Resources, the Registrar, the University Library Archivist, the Lanthorn, chairpersons of the governing bodies of the ECS constituencies, the President of the Student Senate, the Campus Ministry Council, and others as ECS may from time to time deem appropriate. This is normally within two weeks of the meeting.

3.    REFERENDUM PROCEDURES:

a.  Petitions: Referendum activities can be initiated by means of petition as described below.

i.   Petition forms entitled "Petition for Faculty/Student Senate Referendum" are available at the Provost’s Office. Persons circulating the form will place the following information on the form:

a) the UAS action to be subjected to referendum;

b) the rationale for overruling the UAS action;

c) the name of the person circulating the petition.

ii.   Persons eligible to sign the petition include all regular faculty members and all members of the Student Senate. Faculty signers must indicate the unit to which they are appointed. Student signers must be members of the Student Senate.

iii.  Within 25 working days of the date of the UAS meeting at which the action was taken the signed petitions are filed with the President of Grand Valley, who will immediately appoint a task force (3.b.i) to count and validate petitions and initiate referendum procedures if enough appropriate signatures are filed.

iv.  In order to initiate referendum procedures, the number of valid signatures on the petitions must be at least one-third of the sum of the number of regular faculty plus the membership of the Student Senate.

b.  Forum and Referendum Procedures

i.   The task force appointed by the President of Grand Valley is responsible for establishing the machinery for carrying out the referendum. The task force shall be composed of two faculty members and a Student Senate member, and will be assisted by all necessary secretarial help.

ii.   The task force is also responsible for insuring that appropriate and open forums on the issue at hand are held prior to the referendum. Advocates on various sides of the issue should be enlisted.

iii.  All persons who are eligible to sign the petition (3.a.ii) are eligible to vote in the referendum.

The date, place, and hours for voting shall be adequately publicized by the task force.

c.  The result of the referendum will be interpreted by the President as the combined voice of the faculty and Student Senate. The President's decision regarding the issue on which the referendum was based will be explained in writing within two weeks of the referendum to the Chair of UAS and to the Grand Valley faculty and Student Senate.