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FAQs - General Senate Information

What is the Faculty Senate?

The Faculty Senate is the duly elected body of representatives of the faculty of the University of Vermont.  Members of the Senate are elected by the faculty of the academic units.  There are six Standing Committees of the Senate (Curricular Affairs, Professional Standards, Student Affairs, Research Scholarship and The Creative Arts, Financial and Physical Planning, and Education and Research Technologies). The committees are authorized to act for and in the name of the Senate as specified in the Bylaws.  Such actions are reported to the Executive Council and to the Senate. 

What does the Faculty Senate do?

Section 1 of the Constitution and Bylaws outlines the authority of the Faculty Senate as authorized and empowered by the Board of Trustees of UVM.

Who are the officers of the Faculty Senate?

The officers of the Faculty Senate consist of the President, President-Elect, and Vice- President, elected from the ranks of all eligible faculty members.  The Immediate Past President remains an officer of the Faculty Senate for one year following the completion of the term of president.

Who is on the Executive Council?

The Executive Council consists of the following voting members:

  • The President, President-Elect, Immediate Past President, and Vice President of the Faculty Senate.
  • The chairs of the six standing committees.
  • Four members-at-large elected in April by the Senate from among the Elected Senators. The members-at-large will serve two-year terms beginning on July 1. A member-at-large ceasing to be an Elected Senator shall be replaced. Terms shall be staggered so that approximately half of the members-at-large are elected each year, and no more than two of the members-at-large may be from the same School or College.

What does the Executive Council do?

The duties of the Executive Council are outlined in Section 8.2 of the Faculty Senate Constitution and Bylaws.  Included in these duties is the vetting and approval of each faculty senate meeting agenda. 

What role does the Faculty Senate play in University governance?

The administration and the Faculty Senate of the University of Vermont share responsibility for the effective management of the academic affairs of the University. Authority in matters related to the academic mission of the University is vested in the faculty by the Board of Trustees. This authority is exercised in the Faculty Senate by elected senators with voting privileges and by committees authorized to act on their behalf.

Who is eligible to serve on the UVM Faculty Senate?

University faculty members eligible for membership in the Faculty Senate (“eligible faculty”) are those holding a primary appointment as an Officer of Instruction, Officer of Research, Officer of Extension, or Officer of the Libraries at the rank of Professor, Associate Professor, Assistant Professor, Instructor, or Lecturer, with a full-time equivalent of at least 0.10.

Can Lecturers participate in the Faculty Senate?

Yes, Lecturers with a full-time equivalent of at least 0.10 are eligible to serve as Senator.

Can part-time faculty participate in the Faculty Senate?

Part-time faculty with a full-time equivalent of at least 0.10 are eligible to serve as Senator.

Can faculty with an administrative appointment participate in the Faculty Senate?

Yes, if the PRIMARY appointmentis Officer of Instruction, Officer of Research, Officer of Extension, or Officer of the Libraries at the rank of Professor, Associate Professor, Assistant Professor, Instructor, or Lecturer, with a full-time equivalent of at least 0.10.

When and Where does the Faculty Senate meet?

The Faculty Senate generally meets monthly from September to May on the fourth Monday of the month, from 4:00 – 5:30 p.m., in Waterman Memorial Lounge.  Exceptions are made to this meeting pattern to accommodate holidays. The May meeting is held on the Thursday prior to Commencement.  Refer to our meeting calendar to find meeting dates.

Where do I find the agenda and materials for the upcoming meeting?

Agendas and materials are posted on the Faculty Senate webpage no later than one week prior to the scheduled meeting.

Where do I find minutes and materials from past meetings?

Minutes and materials from September 2012 to present are available on the Faculty Senate website. Please contact the Faculty Senate office for years prior to September 2012

Is there a list of resolutions that have been presented to the Senate?

Yes, a master index of Faculty Senate Resolutions is available on the Faculty Senate website.

When are degrees conferred by the Senate?

Degrees are conferred at the regular Senate meetings in September, October, January and May.

How can I bring an issue to the attention of the Senate?

The Executive Council (Section 8 of the Constitution and Bylaws) will prepare the agenda of each Senate meeting from proposals submitted by faculty members, Faculty Senate committees, representatives of student governing bodies and administrative officials. Items presented in the form of a petition signed by ten percent of the members of the Faculty Senate or of five percent of the members of the eligible faculty must be included on the agenda.

FAQs - Senators

How do I become a Senator?

Notify your Department Chair that you are interested in running to be the elected Senate representative for your unit.  Elections are held every April.  One senator is elected by each department or comparable budgetary unit of UVM.  Units with more than 25 full-time eligible faculty members shall elect two senators.  

What is the term of an elected senator?  Is there a term limit?

Elected Senators serve a 3-year term, beginning July 1, and ending June 30.  Senators who have completed two consecutive three-year terms are ineligible for re-election during the year that immediately follows the period of consecutive service.  

I am a senator, what do I do if I can’t attend a Faculty Senate meeting?

Elected Senators are expected to regard attendance at all meetings as a fundamental obligation to their colleagues and to the University. When conflicting professional duties, imperative personal affairs, or illness make attendance at a given meeting impossible, Elected Senators may send an alternate, who shall have the same voting privileges as the Elected Senator. Alternates should present themselves to the Secretary of the Senate prior to assuming the seat of the Elected Senator. If neither the Elected Senator nor his/her chosen alternate is present, the Elected Senator will be indicated as absent from the meeting. A senator indicated as absent from two regular or special meetings of the Faculty Senate in an academic year will be considered to have vacated his/her seat.

What happens if I am elected to represent my Department as Senator and for some reason I am unable to meet the obligation, e.g. I’m going to be on sabbatical one semester, or I get a teaching schedule that conflicts with the meeting times? 

Notify your Department Chair.  If a Senator is granted leave for one year or less a replacement shall be elected by a special election within the unit from which s/he was elected to take the absent Senator’s seat for the period of the leave. If a Senator vacates his/her seat the vacancy shall be filled by a special election within the unit from which s/he was elected. The term of a Senator under these circumstances shall commence immediately and shall normally be for the unexpired term of the Elected Senator.

My term as Senator is expiring and I would like to be reappointed. What do I do?

Notify your Department Chair that you would like to have your name on the ballot for the April election.

What should Senators do to prepare for the Faculty Senate meetings?

Senators should either bring their computers or print the entire agenda, including any attachments and review the documents to familiarize themselves with the content and issues before each meeting.  Talking to other faculty members within a Senators’ unit is a good way to learn about their views on key issues that are relevant to individual units. Talking to committee chairs presenting reports prior to the meeting is also a good way to address any concerns about an item on the agenda.

What are the responsibilities of Faculty Senators to their units and to the university? 

Faculty governance and shared stewardship can only be effective when the faculty as a whole is involved.  Knowing your representatives on the various standing committees and on the Senate is the first step.  Your elected representatives can bring information from their academic units to the attention of the committees and the Senate.   At the same time, the representatives can also bring information back to the academic units for sharing and discussions. The most effective way for sharing information is for the representatives to take time during college/school assemblies to update their colleagues.  The more faculty engages their representatives the more we can ensure that everyone’s voice is heard. Because the legislative powers of the general faculty are delegated to the Faculty Senate, and Senators are the elected representatives of their academic units to this legislative body, Senators are responsible for communicating with the faculty in their units about all actions, pending and completed, of the Faculty Senate. Best practices for Senator-unit communications include reviewing the Faculty Senate agenda with actions, sharing announcements with the unit faculty, and serving as a liaison between the unit faculty and the Faculty Senate. 

Where do I find the name of the Senator from my unit?

The Faculty Senate website includes the current list of senators.

How do I make a motion at a Senate meeting? 

Any University faculty member will be recognized to make a presentation or to propose a motion at an open meeting of the Faculty Senate, but only Elected Senators and the Senate President may vote on proposed motions.  To make a motion, raise your hand and wait to be recognized by the President of the Senate. After receiving formal recognition from the President, a member is then said to “have the floor.” Once recognized, state your name and academic unit. Addressing the Senate President, introduce your motion in form of “I move that...” followed by a statement of the motion. Another member seconds the motion. Without recognition from the Senate President, another member may say, “I second the motion.” If the motion is not seconded, it “dies for lack of a second.” 

Can I vote at Senate meeting?

Only Elected Senators and the Senate President may vote.

Is there a difference between a resolution and a motion?

According to Robert’s Rules of Order, the difference between a resolution and a motion is the format.  A resolution is essentially an elaborate, formally written motion.  Robert’s tells us that a resolution is used when the motion is of great importance or is very long.  A resolution includes the reasons for the motion as well as the actual action that the group is proposing.  Resolution have two parts: 1) the preamble listing the reasons for adoption – often begins with the word “whereas”, and 2) the resolving clauses – the action part that identifies the specific action or position – often begins with “resolved, that”

How is voting conducted? 

The Faculty Senate utilizes the i>clicker system for voting.  Each Senate seat is assigned an i-clicker, which will be held by the Senate office and distributed to the elected senators upon check-in at Senate meetings.  i>clickers must be turned-in upon leaving the Senate meeting.

How do I use the i-clicker for voting?

To vote:  

  1. press the on/off button to turn your i>clicker on – the power light will shine green, 
  2. look at the presentation screen at the front of the room to see the voting options (for example: A-Approve, B-Oppose, C-Abstain), 
  3. look at your i>clicker and press the button that corresponds with your desired vote (A, B, C) – the light next to your letter choice will shine green if your vote is recorded – the light will flash red if your vote was not received – in this case, press your desired vote again until you receive the green light.

Where is the Faculty Senate office?

335 Waterman Building.

Can all Faculty participate in discussion at the Senate meeting?

Yes, meetings of the Faculty Senate are open to the public.  Any UVM faculty member will be recognized to make a presentation or to propose a motion at any open meeting of the Senate, but only Elected Senators and the Senate President may vote on proposed motions. Persons other than University faculty may be recognized by the Senate President or by a majority vote of the Faculty Senate and accorded the privilege of making a presentation. The names and affiliation of such persons shall be made known to the faculty.

Meeting Minutes

Meeting minutes serve as the official record of Faculty Senate business. Minutes are not a transcript of the meeting, but are a record of the actionable items. Minutes of Faculty Senate meetings are posted on the Faculty Senate website.

Meeting Agenda

Senate agendas are prepared by the Executive Council at their regular meeting generally scheduled for the 2ndMonday of each month.  Agendas and materials are posted on the Faculty Senate website at least one week prior to the scheduled meeting. 

FAQs - Standing Committees

What do the Senate Standing Committees do?

The work of the Faculty Senate happens in the six Standing Committees.  The result of this work comes to the Senate in the form of a motion which is presented at one meeting, discussed with departmental colleagues, and voted on at the next meeting. Section 7.1.5 of the Senate Constitution and Bylaws details the charge of each of the six standing committees.

When do the standing committees meet?

The Faculty Senate website includes a calendar of meeting dates.

How do I become a member of a Senate Standing Committee?

Notify the Dean’s office in your college/school that you are interested in serving as a member of a Senate standing committee.  Elections are held every April in each college or school for open seats on the Senate Standing Committees.  The Faculty Senate office provides the Dean’s office with the number of open seats for each standing committee, and the meeting dates for each committee for the following year.  Any eligible faculty member may stand for election. Elections are conducted by secret ballot distributed to all eligible faculty members of the college/school. An opportunity must be provided for all eligible faculty members to volunteer to run for election to Senate standing committees. Members of the standing committees serve 3-year terms starting on July 1. 

As a member of a standing committee, what if I have to miss a meeting?

A standing committee member absent from three committee meetings in a calendar year in the absence of mitigating circumstances will be considered to have vacated his/her seat.

Can I serve as both a standing committee member and an Elected Senator?

Yes, A standing committee member may also serve as an Elected Senator. Standing committee members are members of the Senate but are not voting members of the full senate if they are not also an Elected Senator.

What happens if I am elected to serve on a standing committee and for some reason I am unable to meet the obligation, e.g. I’m going to be on sabbatical one semester, or I get a teaching schedule that conflicts with the meeting times? 

If a standing committee member is granted leave for one year or less a replacement shall be elected by a special election within the unit from which s/he was elected to take the absent standing committee member’s seat for the period of the leave. If a standing committee member vacates his/her seat the vacancy shall be filled by a special election within the unit from which s/he was elected. The term of a member under these circumstances shall commence immediately and shall normally be for the unexpired term of the regularly elected member.

My term on a standing committee is expiring and I would like to be reappointed.  What do I do?

Notify your Dean’s office and ask to have your name placed on the ballot for the April election.