By Clare Duignan, editorial specialist, University of Utah Communications
If you’re a faculty member, then listen up. There is this group that is integral in the shared governance of the University of Utah. It’s called the Academic Senate. Heard of it? Of course you have. If you haven’t, then you’re in for a treat.
The Academic Senate does some pretty cool things. “Like what?” you might ask. Well for starters, it acts on behalf of the U’s faculty in everything from educational policy and admissions requirements to matters of curricula and faculty welfare. The monthly Academic Senate meetings are open to the public. The senate has 10 standing committees with various charges. One of those committees is the Senate Personnel & Elections Committee (P&E).
P & E is charged with nominating faculty members to serve on dozens of university and senate committees that address issues such as academic policy, diversity, academic freedom and more. The committee nominates two persons for each senate committee vacancy and at least two persons for each vacancy on a university committee. Membership on senate committees is decided by election of the Academic Senate. Appointment to university committees is made by President Ruth Watkins from a slate of candidates submitted by P & E.
P & E needs your help. This year, there are 74 faculty vacancies on 27 committees that need to be filled.
“The concept of shared governance at the University of Utah is dependent upon active faculty participation,” said Randy L. Dryer, chair of the Senate Personnel & Elections Committee and honors and law professor. “Virtually all of the policies and procedures that govern the university originate from or are reviewed by committees. Membership on a committee is a valuable way for faculty to fulfill their service obligations and meaningfully contribute to the overall operation of the university.”
Below are the committees with vacancies and the descriptions of each. If you are interested in sitting on a committee, click here.
Faculty members appointed to sit on college councils outside of their home college to determine, by a preponderance of the evidence, whether the student engaged in the alleged academic misconduct; recommends any academic sanction it deems appropriate under the entire circumstances, including but not limited to suspension or dismissal from the program or university or revocation of a student’s degree or certificate.
Functions as a policy recommendation and review body for intercollegiate athletics; reviews the annual intercollegiate athletics budget; reviews requirements for intercollegiate athletics honors and awards; considers the demonstration of equality and diversity in the appropriate treatment of student-athletes as well as staff and coaches; reviews the report on the status of all compliance, eligibility, academic, and other appropriate matters related to the athletics program and as requested by the president, reviews the qualifications of applicants for major positions in the Intercollegiate Athletic Program; submits a written annual report to the president, the Academic Senate, and the athletics director annually; reports to the vice president for University Relations and to the president.
Formulates, reviews and/or recommends the adoption of environmental health and safety policies. Advises administration through the vice president for administration on the status of these university programs and achievement of goals established on an annual basis. Provides appropriate staff and faculty expertise for development of tools to assess safety performance and risk management.
Serves as an advisory body to the university administration on conflict of interest issues; upon referral from the designated vice president, reviews and recommends approval, disapproval, or approval with conditions, potential conflicts of interest; distinguishes among unacceptable conflicts of interest, potential and actual conflicts that are acceptable without approval or oversight; reports to the vice president for Research.
Estimates the value of credit presented by entering students, whether for freshman or advanced standing, and acts except as otherwise provided, on all matters of admission or credit, including the granting of credit through special examinations; reports to the senior vice president for Academic Affairs.
Serves as an advisory group to the administration on the university parking system and public transportation services available on campus; reviews concerns and interests from any person or group. Reports to the vice president for Administrative Services.
Hears and adjudicates appeals from students, faculty, staff members and university visitors and guests who are not satisfied with the rulings of the parking appeals officer concerning contested parking citations issued on the campus; reports to the vice president for Administrative Services.
Approves the internal rules of each of the QIDT Programs for faculty appointments, evaluations and reappointments; makes recommendations to the senior vice president regarding individual appointments and reappointments of lecturer faculty within the QIDT Programs; and approves the rules of each QIDT Program for evaluation of non-faculty instructional personnel.
Advises the director of the University of Utah Press on selection of manuscripts for publication.
Seeks to foster research at the university (in the broad sense of creative scholarship) through Faculty Research Grants, Distinguished Research Awards and Faculty Fellow Awards; receives and evaluates applications and nominations for these grants, fellowships and awards; reports to the vice president for Academic Affairs.
Reviews for approval baccalaureate programs of study individually designed by students under the supervision of a faculty advisor, leading to the Bachelor of University Studies degree.
Encourages the efforts of faculty members, departments and colleges to improve individual teaching skill, devise effective teaching techniques, recognize and reward superior achievements in teaching, suggests and encourages procedures through which students may improve the effectiveness of the teaching process; makes recommendations concerning University Teaching Grants, the Calvin S. & Jeneal N. Hatch Prize in Teaching, John R. Park Teachers’ Fellowships, Distinguished Teaching Awards; reports to the vice president for Academic Affairs.
The Senate Advisory Committee on Diversity shall provide leadership and expertise to the university community in promoting diversity in their various roles and activities and serve as a forum for the exchange of ideas within the university. The committee should respond to directions from the Academic Senate, while retaining the freedom to set its own agenda. The committee’s principal role is to identify issues, projects and proposals that would further a positive climate of diversity on the university campus, would enhance relations with diverse elements in the community and would promote appreciation of diversity in the wider community. The committee’s roles include forwarding information and recommendations to the Academic Senate. The committee will submit an annual report to the Academic Senate of its activities.
The Senate Advisory Committee on IT (SACIT) is charged with reviewing all requests proposed to the Strategic Information Technology Committee (SITC) in order to determine which have an impact on the academic mission of the university. When a proposal is judged to have no such impact, the SACIT will return it to SITC with a note stating that it has no academic impact. When a proposal is determined to have academic impact, the SACIT will engage in discussion with and make recommendations to the SITC on the proposal; in the course of such investigation, the SACIT has the right to consult with other units on campus, including SITC, to help it reach a conclusion. This conclusion will be reported to SITC.
The Senate Advisory Committee on Student Course Feedback should develop a standardized “Student Course Feedback Instrument” and a standardized “Course Feedback Report” suitable for use in all credit-bearing courses at undergraduate and graduate levels. The committee should also develop appropriate procedures and forms for use by all course-offering academic units.
The Senate Committee on Academic Freedom and Faculty Rights reports to the Academic Senate on issues related to academic freedom, faculty rights, and academic grievances. The committee keeps fully informed on the most important controversies on academic freedom and faculty rights in higher education, surveys problems of academic freedom and faculty rights at the University of Utah and informs the senate on these matters in its annual report.