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Senate Overview

The Academic Senate is a legislative body where the major stakeholders at the University - faculty, students and administrators - work together in setting educational policy and fulfilling the University’s three-part mission of teaching, research and service. The Academic Senate plays an integral part in the shared governance of the University. More specifically, the Academic Senate has governing authority in all matters of educational policy, including the requirements for admissions, degrees, diplomas, curricular matters, and the creation of colleges, academic departments, interdisciplinary programs, Centers and Institutes. The Senate also participates and provides input on decisions relating to the general operations of the University, including budget decisions and administrative appointments. The University recently established a new School, the School for Cultural and Social Transformation. The creation of this new academic unit required the approval of the Academic Senate. The Senate also recently revised the admissions requirements for first year applicants in response to the pandemic.

The voting members of the Academic Senate include 103 faculty members who are proportionately elected from the various schools and colleges within the University. For example, the School of Medicine, the largest academic unit on campus in terms of the number of faculty, elects 16 Senators from its faculty ranks who serve three-year terms on the Senate. In contrast, the College of Mines and Earth Sciences, one of the smaller colleges in terms of faculty head count, elects three Senators. Each of the 18 colleges or schools as well as the Libraries have representatives on the Senate. The University Administration, including the President, the Senior Vice-presidents and Deans are ex Officio members of the Senate as well as representatives from the University’s Staff Council and Academic Advisors. Twenty students, including the elected student body President, also serve on the Senate, making the Senate the only campus-wide decision-making body that contains representatives of all the main stakeholders at the University.

For a more detailed description of shared governance at the University, see this brief video.

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