Student representation to be reduced to two non-directly elected senators
By Paul Mann
With the beginning of the spring semester, a new University Senate will replace the Academic Senate as the university’s main policy recommending body.
In a notable change, voting rights will be extended to all members of the University Senate, including two student senators chosen by Associated Students, with the exception of the University President, California Faculty Association president and the Union Council delegate. “The new senate will be a smaller body, but it will have broader representation from campus,” said Provost Robert Snyder. The new senate will be made up of 11 faculty senators, two students, three lecturers and three non–Management Personnel Plan staff members.
The senate’s primary duty is formulating educational policy, including admissions, curricula and criteria for granting degrees. The senate is also involved with the selection of administrative personnel and in the selection of future university presidents. Other duties include maintaining communication to campus delegates and establishing senate committees.
In an effort to encourage more participation in the senate, members’ terms are limited to three years and a senator may not serve more than two consecutive terms. Approximately one third of the membership will be elected annually to ensure a mix of new and experienced senators.
The formation of the university senate comes from a recommendation in the Cabinet for Institutional Change’s 2010 report, Building the Capacity for Change: Improving the Structure and Culture of Decision-making at HSU.
“We hope the University Senate will lead to a better sense of communal decision making with all stake holders involved,” said Jay Verlinden, chair of the Department of Communication and current president of the Academic Senate.
In April, the Academic Senate Executive Committee charged the Faculty Affairs Committee (FAC) to develop a written proposal for a University Senate structure. Using the university senate model from San Diego State as well as reviewing the current HSU General Faculty Constitution and Senate Bylaws, the FAC drafted new portions of the Constitution and Bylaws, which were approved by the General Faculty in September.
In addition to broader campus representation, the new senate is designed with a streamlined decision making processes. Senators will be required to serve on at least one senate committee, a policy aimed at involving senators at the beginning stages of policy development.
The new University Senate has its first meeting in January. For more information on the Academic Senate visit humboldt.edu/senate
For more information on the Cabinet for Institutional Change, visit change.humboldt.edu/change.