Navigation

Search

Constitution and By-Laws

Name

The name of this body shall be the Faculty Senate of the University of Virginia.

Purpose

The Faculty Senate represents all faculties of the University with respect to all academic functions such as the establishment and termination of degree programs, major modifications of requirements for existing degrees, and action affecting all faculties, or more than one faculty, of the University.

Additionally, the Senate shall advise the President and the Rector and Board of Visitors concerning educational and related matters affecting the welfare of the University.

Eligibility

Those persons shall be eligible for election to the Faculty Senate who have been elected by the Rector and Board of Visitors to a full-time position as either academic faculty or academic general faculty in the rank of Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, or Professor, in any one of the constituent schools of the University of Virginia at Charlottesville, except for those who are ex officio members of the Senate, as enumerated below.

Membership

Members of the Faculty who hold the following administrative positions shall be ex officio members with voice and without vote, except in the case of a tie vote, where the President shall cast the deciding vote:

  • The President

  • The University Vice-Presidents

  • The Deans of the Schools of the University

  • The University Librarian

There shall be approximately eighty (80) elected members of the Faculty Senate, allocated among the constituent Faculties of the University of Virginia at Charlottesville in accordance with the following formulas: the Faculty of each School (except the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences) shall elect the number that is closest to the percentage of eighty (80) that is derived by taking the average of (a) the percentage of the total full-time academic faculty or academic general faculty in the rank of Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, or Professor of the University of Virginia at Charlottesville who hold their primary appointment in that School, and (b) the percentage of the total number of full-time students at the University of Virginia at Charlottesville who are enrolled in that School.

In computing the number of students, full-time graduate medical education trainees of the UVA Medical Center shall be included with the number of students in the School of Medicine, and post-doctoral fellows in all Schools of the University shall be counted as students in that School. The enrollment of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences shall be counted with that of the College of Arts and Sciences for purposes of this computation.

In computing the number of faculty on which representation is to be based, all faculty will be counted whether active or on leave. Their temporary replacements will not be counted. Individuals with multiple appointments will be counted only with their primary affiliation.

Reapportionment of seats on the Faculty Senate shall be accomplished annually.

Elections and Terms

Elected members of the Senate shall serve for a term of four years, commencing on June 1 of the calendar year. Election procedures shall be determined by each of the constituent Faculties, except that

  1. Whether Senators are elected or appointed, procedures are subject to the approval of the Senate itself and must be on file with the Senate office. Changes in procedures are due February 1 of each year.

  2. When a constituent Faculty is entitled to be represented by more than one elected or appointed member, terms shall be staggered to provide, insofar as practicable, continuity and consistency in the number of Senators to be elected.

  3. The seat of an elected or appointed member shall be deemed vacant if the incumbent is absent from the University and non-communicative with the Senate or its committees, for any cause, for more than one semester. In this event, a replacement shall be elected or appointed to fill out the whole of the unexpired portion of the member’s term.

  4. Election or appointment of Senators for each Faculty must be conducted so as to allow notification of results prior to Spring recess and no later than March 15 of each year.

Responsibilities of Senate Members

The Senate is a deliberative body which relies upon the collective experience and wisdom of its members. Each Senate member has a responsibility to engage in the work of the Senate and its committees, to represent the interests and concerns of colleagues to the Senate, and to report regularly the proceedings of the Senate to his or her constituency.

Organization of the Faculty Senate

  1. The officers of the Faculty Senate shall be

    1. President

      1. The President of the University, as provided in the By-Laws of the Board of Visitors, shall be the President of the Faculty Senate. The President shall address the Senate from time to time, making such reports and announcements as he or she deems appropriate.

      2. The President shall have the power to call meetings of the Faculty Senate.

    2. Past Chair of the Faculty Senate

      1. The immediate Past Chair of the Faculty Senate shall serve as a consultative officer of the Faculty Senate and of the Executive Council.

    3. Chair of the Faculty Senate

      1. The Chair of the Faculty Senate shall serve as presiding officer of the Faculty Senate and the Executive Council.

      2. The Chair of the Faculty Senate shall have the power to schedule regular meetings of the Faculty Senate and the power to call special meetings of the Senate.

      3. The Chair of the Faculty Senate shall act as the liaison of the Senate with the President’s Cabinet and shall attend its meetings.

      4. The Chair of the Faculty Senate shall become the immediate Past Chair of the Faculty Senate the year following election as Chair.

    4. Chair-Elect of the Faculty Senate

      1. In the absence of the Chair, the Chair-Elect of the Faculty Senate shall be the presiding officer of the Faculty Senate and of the Executive Council.

      2. The Chair-Elect of the Faculty Senate shall serve as the officer in training, providing leadership support for the Faculty Senate and for meetings of the Executive Council.

      3. The Chair-Elect shall become Chair of the Faculty Senate the year following election as Chair-Elect

  2. The Executive Council of the Faculty Senate

    1. The Executive Council shall consist of the President of the University, ex officio; the Provost of the University, ex officio; the immediate Past Chair of the Senate; the Chair of the Senate; the Chair-Elect of the Senate; seven at-large members elected from the Senate who serve for a three-year term; the chairs of the standing committees of the Senate; and the chair of the General Faculty Council, ex-officio.

    2. If a Senator elected as Chair-Elect has less than three years remaining in his/her term, then that term will be extended to allow service as Chair and Past Chair on the Council, without penalty to his/her School. Once elected, the Chair-Elect’s Senate seat becomes open and will be filled through appropriate procedures within that School.

    3. Membership on the Executive Council shall be automatically terminated for all other members if at any time the holder ceases to be an elected member of the Faculty Senate, and the Nominating Committee shall convene and implement an election by the Faculty Senate to fill the unexpired portion of the vacated at-large term, while chairs of standing committees will be replaced per the existing protocol for selection of committee chairs.

    4. No more than three persons from any of the constituent Faculties of the University shall be eligible to serve at any one time as elected members of the Executive Council of the Faculty Senate.

    5. The Executive Council shall set the agenda for each meeting of the Faculty Senate.

    6. The Executive Council shall appoint all members of standing and ad hoc committees of the Senate. The Executive Council shall:
      - complete the assignments with notification to faculty senators by May 15th
      - create and implement an online ballot for each committee to select a chair thereby ensuring uniformity of process
      - close the voting at midnight May 31st
      - report the individual receiving the majority vote or tied votes. The Executive Council shall validate the results or resolve any ties by selection of one of the tied individuals using majority vote of the Council officers and at-large members.
      -appoint the chairs of ad hoc committees

    7. Meetings of the Executive Council of the Faculty Senate may be called

      1. By the President of the University

      2. By the Chair of the Faculty Senate

      3. On request made to the Secretary in writing

        • by any three members of the Executive Council.

        • by any ten members, or more, of the Faculty Senate.

    8. When there is a need for prompt action, the Executive Council is specifically empowered as the sole entity to act on behalf of the Faculty Senate with the Faculty Senate Chair as the designated spokesperson. Any action taken by the Executive Council on behalf of the Senate shall be subject to ratification by the full Senate at its next meeting, which shall be called at the earliest opportunity. The Faculty Senate has the ultimate authority to determine the responsibilities and prerogatives of the Executive Council. The Senate may create rules that specify the Executive Council’s responsibilities and may review actions by the Executive Council according to procedures determined by the Senate. Unless otherwise specified by the Senate: for regularly scheduled meetings, the Executive Council shall give notice of the agenda to the Senate at least three business days before such meeting, and shall report to the Senate the actions (motions and votes) taken by the Executive Council within five business days of such actions. When convening an unscheduled meeting, the pre-meeting requirement is waived but the post-meeting report is in force.

    9. At each Senate meeting the presiding officers shall report all decisions made by the Executive Council since the previous Senate meeting for approval by a majority of senators in attendance.

    10. The Faculty Representative to the Board of Visitors shall attend and provide a report at each Faculty Senate and EXCO meeting.

  3. Standing Committees

    1. The Faculty Senate may establish or discontinue standing committees. The Senate may provide for membership on a standing committee by persons who are not members of the Senate, but the chair of the committee and a majority of its members must in all cases be elected members of the Senate. Exceptions to this clause may be made with the approval of the Executive Council.

    2. Members of committees who are not members of the Senate are encouraged to attend those meetings of the Senate at which a report of the committee to which they belong forms a part of the published agenda, with voice on this matter only, but without vote.

    3. Each standing committee shall report to the full Faculty Senate at least once each year, and each committee chair shall file a final report of the committee’s activities prior to the final Faculty Senate meeting in the Spring.

  4. Ad Hoc Committees

    1. The Senate may establish and dissolve such ad hoc committees as may be deemed necessary.

    2. The Chair and members of such committees shall be determined by the Executive Council after solicitation of nominations from the Faculty Senate body.

  5. Elections within the Faculty Senate

    1. Annually the Chair-Elect of the Faculty Senate, and a complement of faculty senators necessary to bring the existing “at large” officers to a total of seven, shall be placed in nomination no later than the last regular meeting of the Faculty Senate in the Spring and then elected using a mechanism implemented by the choice of the majority of the Faculty Senate. It shall generally be the practice of the Senate to vote on matters in person with the exception of elections and other matters explicitly discussed in the bylaws. Not withstanding other sections of these bylaws, a vote may be taken online at the request of the movant, provided that the matter has been discussed at a meeting of the Senate prior to the online vote.

    2. The Chair of the Faculty Senate shall oversee the impaneling of a Nominating Committee to select candidates to run for election to Senate office (e.g. Chair, Executive Council, Board of Visitors, Parlimentarian) by October 15. The charge of the Nominating Committee is to solicit nominations, including self-nominations, to develop a slate of candidates including at least one nominee for Chair-Elect and a minimum of two nominees for each other position established by the Faculty Senate. Members of the Nominating Committee are ineligible to serve in any of the positions to be filled. The Committee shall have five members:

      • - the immediate Past Chair of the Faculty Senate, who shall be the Nominating Committee Chair;

      • - the Chair-Elect of the Faculty Senate;

      • - three members elected by EXCO from the Faculty Senate at large with a maximum of one who may be a member of the Executive Council.

    3. The Chair of the Nominating Committee shall present candidate slates to the full Senate at appropriate times but no later than the last regular meeting of the Faculty Senate in the Spring. Additional nominations for each position may be made from the floor of the Senate. Voting shall occur at this meeting or immediately thereafter using electronic format.

    4. Every elected member of the Faculty Senate is eligible for election either as Chair-Elect of the Faculty Senate or as a member of the Executive Council for a term of three years with one exception: the Faculty Senate may not be chaired by the representative of any one School for more than three consecutive years.

Meetings of the Faculty Senate

  1. Meetings of the Faculty Senate are open to the public.

  2. Notice of meetings of the Faculty Senate shall be sent to all members at least one week in advance of the date of the meeting.

  3. The agenda for each meeting, and supporting papers, shall be distributed with the call for the meeting. Items not included in the agenda may be brought before the meeting for acting only by a vote of three-fourths of the members of the Senate present at the meeting.

  4. Resolutions presented to the Faculty Senate for action shall normally have received prior consideration by the appropriate committee, and the Executive Council shall be responsible for insuring that this has been done.

  5. In the event of an emergency, rules governing the advance call for a meeting may be waived by the President or the Executive Council. A meeting so called shall not begin until a quorum is present. The first item of business must be to determine whether, in the judgment of those present, an emergency does in fact exist. Unless this is affirmed by a three-fourths vote of those present, the meeting shall automatically stand adjourned.

  6. Quorum definitions:
    A quorum shall consist of 40 per cent of the voting members of the Senate or 30 per cent of the members of a Senate committee whose names appear currently on the Senate roster. In determining a quorum, only voting members physically or electronically present shall be counted. Votes cast at a meeting are valid if a quorum is present.

  7. Voting by proxy shall be accepted for meetings. If a Senator is unable to be present for a vote included in the agenda, a written proxy designating the name of the assigned Faculty Senator, date of the vote and topic of the vote shall be sent electronically to both the Chair of the Faculty Senate and the assigned current Senator who will be present for the discussion that will accompany the voting process. Proxies shall be appended to the attendance log for the meeting. Votes by proxy shall be valid only for previously announced, written motions, that are included in the agenda and come to vote without amendment, or are amended such that, in the sole discretion of the parliamentarian, the amendment is deemed not to significantly alter the substance of the motion, but is instead technical, clarifying, or otherwise minor in its effect. The parliamentarian may render an opinion on whether an amendment to a motion is significant prior to the Senate voting to accept the motion.

  8. Robert’s Rules of Order, revised, shall govern in all cases in which they are applicable and not in conflict with this Constitution and By-Laws.

  9. Election of a Parliamentarian who is a consultant advising on parliamentary procedure and the use of Roberts Rules, as well as offering procedural rulings, during meetings of the Faculty Senate and the Executive Council.

    • The Parliamentarian is a non-Senator Parliamentarian whom shall attend the prescribed meetings with neither voice nor vote.

Amendments to the Constitution and By-Laws of the Faculty Senate

Changes in the Constitution and By-Laws of the Faculty Senate may be proposed at a regular meeting by any member of the Senate. To be approved, such changes must be the subject of notice provided to all Senators of the University at least two weeks prior to the next meeting of the Senate. Senate members are encouraged to ascertain the wishes of their constituencies. Voting on amendments to the constitution and by-laws of the Faculty Senate shall be conducted online as soon as possible following the first meeting of the Faculty Senate occurring two or more weeks after notice of the proposed amendments if given, but such vote must occur within one week of such meeting. The vote shall be open for no less than 5 days. Adoption will require the affirmative vote of 60% of the members of the Senate.

  •  Approved by the Senate, November 2, 1971
  • Amended by the Senate, April 23, 1987

  • Amended by the Senate, April 21, 1989

  • Amended by the Senate, April 9, 1991

  • Amended by the Senate, May 10, 1993

  • Amended by the Senate, February 15, 1994

  • Amended by the Senate, September 27, 1995

  • Amended by the Senate, October 7, 2003

  • Amended by the Senate, April 28, 2008

  • Amended by the Senate, February 8, 2011

  • Amended by the Senate, April 25, 2014

  • Amended by the Senate, May 6, 2019 

 

Button to top of the page