Introduction to Faculty Governance


Introduction to Faculty Governance at PSU

What role does Faculty Senate play in shared governance at PSU?

The Faculty has primary responsibility for oversight of the University’s curriculum, methods of instruction, research, faculty status, and the aspects of student life that relate to the educational process. The Faculty Constitution empowers the Faculty to act through the Faculty Senate, its representative body, upon these matters. This power includes (but is not limited to) review and approval of changes to curriculum and programs of study, as well as of the establishment, abolition, or major alteration of the structure or function of departments, programs, centers, and institutes.

Who is represented?

All academically ranked PSU faculty (both tenure-track and non-tenure-track) with appointments of 0.5 FTE or above, as well as unranked academic professionals (0.5 FTE or higher) whose work relates to the above areas and who hold a masters degree or higher, are represented in Faculty Senate.

Who are members of Faculty Senate?

Faculty elect senators for a three-year term, by division (usually, a school or college), with one senator for every twenty faculty members. There are currently 60 senators. Non-voting ex-officio members of Senate include chairs of constitutional committees, other Faculty officers, and certain administrators.

When are the meetings?

Senate meetings are regularly held on the first Monday of the month during the academic year, 3:00-5:00. Occasionally there are additional meetings, usually also scheduled for a Monday, 3:00-5:00. For the time being, Senate meetings will be conducted on-line (using the Zoom platform). A live-stream of the meetings is planned (see the Faculty Senate website for a link). Also, recordings are available to members of the PSU community after the meeting.

Can all Faculty participate in discussions in the Senate?

At the discretion of the Presiding Officer, a senator may yield the floor to a non-senator. With the on-line format, if you intend to speak, you must notify a senator (to recognize you) as well as the Presiding Officer and Secretary in advance in order to receive a meeting invitation. Only elected senators and ex-officio members may make motions, and only elected senators may vote.

How can I learn about what is being discussed in Senate?

Agendas, motions, and background documents are posted to the Faculty Senate website. Senators are assigned to informal ‘districts’ of twenty or so Faculty, and are encouraged to communicate regularly with their district members about what’s happening in Senate. If you want to know more about an issue, you can contact your district senator or any senator representing your division.

How can I bring an issue to the attention of Faculty Senate?
  • You can bring a policy issue to the Faculty committee charged with oversight of that issue. Constitutional committees are empowered to place items on the Senate agenda.
  • You can bring questions or concerns to the Senate Steering Committee for action or referral. Steering Committee usually meets the second Monday of the month. Contact the Secretary to the Faculty or Presiding Officer about making an appointment.
  • You may contact an individual senator who, with the support of two others, can place an item on the  agenda.
  • 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 is the Advisory Council (AC)?

Advisory Council is another Faculty governance body, separate from Faculty Senate, elected by the Faculty at-large. Three members are elected each year to serve a two-year term (six members in all). AC meets regularly with the President to give advice and Faculty perspectives on University policy issues, and it an make policy recommendations to Faculty Senate. AC also is the governance body that advises on meaning and interpretation of the Faculty Constitution.

What is the Interinstitutional Faculty Senate (IFS)?

Interinstitutional Faculty Senate, a group with delegations from all the public universities in Oregon, works with legislators and officials to ensure that faculty views are reflected in state higher education policy. PSU has three IFS delegates; the Faculty at-large elect one member each year to serve a three-year term.

What roles do University Faculty committees play?

Sixteen constitutional committees review curriculum, academic requirements, faculty development, student educational experience, educational policy, budget, etc. There are also administrative committees working on student activities and conduct; health and safety for the campus community; facilities and access; compliance with research guidelines; etc. Senate also sometimes convenes ad-hoc committees to address specific issues within a specific timeframe. See the committees section of the FS website for descriptions and current membership of University-level Faculty committees.

How can I get involved in Faculty governance?
  • If you are interested in serving on a committee, indicate your preferences by completing the annual spring Faculty Committee Preference Survey. Members of all constitutional committees are appointed by the Senate’s Committee on Committees. CoC also recommends membership for some administrative committees, while others have members appointed by the corresponding administrative office.
  • You can become a candidate for Faculty Senate, AC, or IFS through the Opt-In Survey, circulated each spring, thereby placing your name on the ballot. Elections are usually held at the end of April.
Other questions?

Comprehensive information about Faculty governance is posted to the Faculty Senate website. The Presiding Officer and the Secretary to the Faculty are available to discuss governance concerns and means for resolving them.

  • Michele Gamburd, Presiding Officer. E-mail: Office hours: W 10-11: appointment calendar link.
  • Richard Beyler, Secretary. Email: Tel. 503-725-3996. Zoom drop-in ‘office hours’ Tu 10-11: meeting link.