Frequently Asked Questions about University Governance

What role does Faculty Senate play in University governance?
The Faculty has primary responsibility for such fundamental areas as curriculum, subject matter, and methods of instruction, research, faculty status, and those aspects of student life that relate to the education process.
The Constitution of the Portland State University Faculty empowers the Faculty to act through its representative body the Faculty Senate upon matters of educational policy and to decide upon curricula and new courses of study. This power includes review and action on the establishment, abolition, or major alteration of the structure or educational function of departments or of programs, centers, and institutes.

Who is represented?
All tenure-line and non-tenure track PSU faculty with instructional and research appointments of  .5 FTE or above as well as those in instructional and student support positions holding a Masters degree or higher.

Who attends Senate meetings?
Faculty Senate meetings are held monthly on the first Monday at 3:00 in Cramer Hall 53. In addition to elected senators, chairs of all-university Senate committees, and key University administrators hold non-voting ex officio status.   Senate meetings are open to everyone.

How can I learn about what is being discussed in Senate? 
A quick overview is available on the What's Happening in Senate web page. (See Useful Links menu on the left.) A full agenda including items for discussion during the monthly Senate meeting is posted on the Senate web site 8-10 days prior:
https://www.pdx.edu/faculty-senate/senate-schedules-materials. If you want to know more about an issue, you can contact your district senator or any senator representing your division (your college or academic support unit).

Can all faculty participate in discussions in the Faculty Senate? 
Yes, at the discretion of the Presiding Officer, when a senator present offers or is willing to yield the floor to you. All agenda items are open for discussion; however, only senators may make motions and vote.

How can I bring an issue to the attention of Faculty Senate? 

  • Policy issues can be brought directly to the Senate committee charged with oversight of the University’s curriculum or academic requirements, faculty development, student support, or educational planning and finance. The committee is empowered to bring proposals to the Senate floor for a vote.
  • Issues can also be brought to the Senate Steering Committee for action or referral. (Steering Committee meets the second Monday of the month. Contact the Secretary to the Faculty for an appointment.)
  • You may also contact an individual senator who, with the support of two additional senators, can place a proposal or resolution on the Senate’s agenda. 
  • Individual senators can also pose a question to a particular University administrator, if consultation with the relevant committees or administrative bodies has not yielded a response. (Senate Bylaws require one week’s prior notice.)

What roles do all-university committees play?
There are fifteen constitutional committees that review and recommend policies and standards for University programs, curriculum, faculty development and support, educational planning and budgeting. There are a comparable number of University administrative committees working to support the health, safety, and welfare of students, faculty and staff. (See the Faculty Governance Guide for committee descriptions and current membership.) The Faculty Senate also occasionally convenes ad-hoc committees or task forces to address specific issues within a specific timeframe.

How do I get more involved in faculty governance? 

  •  If you are interested in serving on a committee, indicate your preferences by completing the annual spring Committee Preference Survey.
  • If you would like to participate in Faculty Senate, confirm your willingness to serve by responding to the April Opt-In Survey.  This will place your name on the Senate Elections Ballot for your division. Elections for open Senate seats are held annually at the end of April.

 Want to know more?

Richard Beyler, Secretary to the Faculty, is available to all faculty to discuss concerns and means for resolving them.

Office of the Secretary of the Faculty: Market Center Building, Suite 650.  Telephone:  503-725-4416. E-mail: secretary@pdx.edu.

Department office: Cramer Hall 441-O. Telephone: 503-725-3996. E-mail: r.beyler@pdx.edu.