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Governing Documents


Robert’s Rules of Order

The Faculty Senate adheres to Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised. These rules provide a format for discussion and allow the Senate to navigate complex issues and reach well-informed decisions. In the event of conflict between Roberts Rules and the Constitution and Bylaws, the Constitution and Bylaws take precedence.

These guides provide a concise overview of Robert’s Rules:

Robert's Rules Overview

Robert's Rules Cheat Sheet

Basics of Robert's Rules (PTA)


The Constitution is the foundational document that outlines the structure and powers of the Senate. Key elements of the Constitution include:

  • Membership and Voting: Members of the Senate with voting rights include elected tenure-line representatives from each college and constituent unit, elected qualified lecturers, and the Associated Students President. The University President and Provost serve as ex-officio, non-voting members of the Senate. 
  • Powers of the Senate: The Senate makes recommendations on university policies and operations, subject to approval by the University President. The faculty by majority vote may modify or nullify decisions of the Faculty Senate.
  • Election of Officers: Elected Executive Committee members are elected by and from the elected members of the Senate. At the last two regularly scheduled meetings of the academic year, the incoming Senate for the following academic year is seated for the sole purpose of electing its officers. Officers, at-large Executive Committee members, elections officers, and statewide Academic Senate Alternates are nominated by the Faculty Senate and elected at the next-to-last Senate meeting of the academic year. The chairs of EPRC and FAC are nominated by the Executive Committee and elected by the Faculty Senate at the last Senate meeting of the academic year.
  • Meetings: The Executive Committee calls regularly scheduled meetings of the Senate at least once a month during the academic year and special meetings whenever necessary.

View the Faculty Senate Constitution here: 

Faculty Senate Constitution


The Bylaws describe the composition and duties of committees, procedural rules for elections, and guidelines for meetings. Key elements of the Bylaws include:

  • Committee Duties: Faculty Senate committees are responsible to the Faculty Senate and report directly to the Senate. Their duties include making recommendations on matters of policy and taking action consistent with policy previously adopted by the Senate.
  • Standing Committees: The Educational Policy and Resources Committee (EPRC), Faculty Affairs Committee (FAC), Curriculum Committee, General Education Committee, and Library Committee are standing committees of the Faculty Senate. The membership of these committees typically includes one representative elected from each constituent unit, one non-voting student representative, and one non-voting administrative representative, with the exception that FAC does not include a student representative. 
  • Ad Hoc Committees: Committees established for a limited time to complete specific tasks that are beyond the scope of standing committees are called ad hoc committees. Ad hoc committees serve until their specified tasks have been completed and/or the committee has been discharged by the Senate; and members of these committees serve until the committee is discharged. As an example of an ad hoc committee, the Distance Education Policy Survey Committee was established by the Senate to develop and administer a survey to collect faculty input on distance education policies. 
  • Special Committees: Committees established on a continuing basis to complete specific tasks that are beyond the scope of standing committees are called special committees. Special committee members (except student representatives) serve for two-year terms, with one-half of the membership being replaced each year. Special committees function through the last day of the academic year, at which time the new committee members assume their responsibilities. As an example of a special committee, the Committee for Centers and Institutes (CCI) was established by the Senate to make recommendations on the establishment of new centers and institutes, and to oversee periodic reviews and annual reporting for centers and institutes. 
  • Election Procedures: The Elections Committee is responsible for university-wide elections and referenda, and College Elections Officers are responsible for overseeing college/constituent unit elections including department/school elections. For such elections, the call for nominations is published at least ten academic days before the deadline for nominations. The Elections Committee/Officers notify the electorate of all nominees three academic days before nominations close. The deadline to submit votes is at least six academic days after the distribution of ballots has been completed. In the case of university-wide elections, the Chair of the Elections Committee and the Senate support staff or one additional elections officer tally the ballots. In the case of college or constituent unit elections, the Elections Officer and one other member of the constituent unit tally the ballots.
  • Quorum: In all meetings of the faculty and the Faculty Senate, a quorum consists of the presence of a majority of the voting members. A quorum is required to conduct business and vote on matters before the body. 

View the Faculty Senate Bylaws here:

Faculty Senate Bylaws

Amendment Process

The Constitution can be amended through a faculty referendum, requiring a two-thirds majority for approval. The Bylaws can be amended by the Senate, requiring a majority for approval. The Constitution specifies that An Ad Hoc Committee on Constitutional Revision shall be convened at least every five years to ensure that the Constitution meets the needs of the university. The committee, once established, initiates and reviews proposals for revision of the Constitution and Bylaws and makes recommendations to the Senate.