Each spring, the Senate Personnel and Elections Committee (SPEC) identifies and nominates faculty candidates to place on important university and senate committees. The annual Committee Preferences Sign-Up Poll is now open. By taking it, career-line and tenure-line faculty members can indicate which committees are of interest to them. This survey is open until March 10, 2023—and in a few short minutes, you can help SPEC connect you to meaningful opportunities to engage with critical policies and issues for the whole of the university.
Senate committee charges range widely from reviewing academic policy, strategic planning and faculty review processes, to advocating for equity, diversity and inclusivity. University committees include the University Teaching Committee, University Research Committee, Campus Health and Safety Committee, Academic Appeals and Misconduct Committee, Athletics Advisory Committee and more. Below is a list of all the committees that have vacancies in the next academic year.
Current SPEC chair Dale Larsen highlights the scope and relevance of the work accomplished by these committees:
The idea of being able to research and teach without fear of repercussions from outside academia (for example, Galileo Galilei being placed under house arrest for suggesting the Earth isn't the center of the universe) is an idea called academic freedom. To sustain this freedom, we share the responsibility of governance, policies and procedures together as a body of faculty, staff and administration. This shared governance runs the gamut from reviewing parking tickets to reviewing policy on radiation safety. Without your participation in governance, our university can become vulnerable to initiatives to stifle or suppress research in humanities, social sciences, and even STEM.
If you are a faculty member and you are not sure how you might fit into this committee appointment process, check out the short video below from Larsen.
Shared governance responsibility
The Academic Senate acts on behalf of the U’s faculty in everything from educational policy and admissions requirements to matters of curricula and faculty welfare. Each month, the senate convenes to represent the interests of stakeholders across the university as a cornerstone of the institution’s commitment to shared governance. One of the key mechanisms by which the senate accomplishes this vital work is through specialized committees where elected and appointed faculty, staff and students can bring their experiences and expertise to bear.
Faculty who are interested in being nominated for senate and university committees have until March 10 to register by taking the poll. Final appointments of nominees will be made through either senate elections or the university president’s appointment in May 2023.