Texas Christian University

Faculty Senate Handbook - Online Edition

  • History of the Faculty Senate
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Faculty Senate Mission Statement
  • Structure of the Faculty Senate
  • Responsibilities of Faculty Senate Officers
  • Standing Committee Charges
  • Academic Excellence
  • Committee on Committees
  • Faculty Governance
  • Student Relations
  • Tenure, Promotion, & Grievance
  • Budget and Finance




    On May 6, 1968, at 4:30 p.m., the first meeting of the TCU Faculty Senate was called to order by Dr. James Newcomer, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. This meeting was the culmination of a long process which included the development and revision of a constitution by the faculty, approval of that constitution by mail ballot by a majority of the faculty, and approval by the Board of Trustees.

    The first Senate consisted of 36 elected members and two ex-officio members. As mandated by the constitution, each school and college (except Graduate School and the Division of Evening Courses) elected representatives in proportion to the number of faculty in the school or college. Also, fourteen members at-large were elected by the general faculty. Approximately half the members of the original Faculty Senate were elected for two-year terms, the remainder for one-year terms, so that in subsequent elections approximately half the Senate members could be elected each year.

    According to the original Constitution, the Faculty Senate could discuss and express its views upon any matter affecting the University. It was also able to originate nominations for honorary degrees and had to confirm any nominees by other bodies.

    Some of the first issues addressed by the Senate were the development of a Faculty-Student Concerns committee to "propose policy in the general field of student concerns as related to the faculty" (minutes, Nov. 6, 1969), the discussion and subsequent approval of The Bill of Students' Rights and Responsibilities, discussion and rejection of a pass/no credit grading system, faculty salaries, and the development of a tenure policy. The faculty and the administration did not always see eye-to-eye on all matters and some attention was focused on the decision-making process.

    Created simultaneously with the Faculty Senate was the Faculty Assembly which had its first ' meeting on September 14, 1968. This was the organization of the whole faculty and its major functions were to facilitate and encourage communication within the University; among the several schools; and among the faculty, students, administration, and the Board of Trustees. The Faculty Senate was, and continues to be, the representative body of the Faculty Assembly designed primarily to express the views of the teaching and research members of the faculty. According to its constitution, actions of the Faculty Senate were subject to the review by the Faculty Assembly.

    The organization and operation of the Faculty has remained much as it was in 1968. Many issues of concern at its origination continue to be addressed. The Faculty Senate has grown as the university has expanded and reorganized and now represents six schools and colleges with five different divisions.

     ^ back to top


    The faculty senator has many responsibilities. New senators often want clarification of these charges as well as any pertinent information they might need for both Faculty Senate discussions and better serving their constituents. Even experienced senators might feel the need for such information. The purpose of this handbook, therefore, is to describe the roles and responsibilities of faculty senators, senate officers, and the senate committees with their various charges. It also provides information about major policies which govern both our teaching and research roles and our rights as faculty at Texas Christian University, and about various established channels of communication at selected levels of university administration. It is a centralized collection of pertinent information intended not to replace the Handbook for Faculty and University Staff, but to provide each faculty senator a ready reference, especially at Faculty Senate meetings. A brief history of the contributions of the Faculty Senate is also included to help senators see that their participation in the Faculty Senate can be instrumental in bringing about the kinds of changes which enhance our effectiveness as teachers and scholars.

     ^ back to top


    The mission statement of the Texas Christian University Faculty Senate is found in the Constitution of the Faculty Assembly and Faculty Senate. "The Faculty Senate is the representative body of the Faculty Assembly designed primarily to express the views of the teaching and research members of the faculty." The views may be expressed upon any matter affecting the university including educational policies, degree requirements, curricula, questions of academic freedom, student-faculty relations, faculty-administration relations, and: practices of the University.


    A.    The Core Mission: The free expression of the views of the teaching and research members of the faculty is essential to the fulfillment of the core mission of fostering learning in the liberal arts, sciences and professions. This expression serves to ensure integrity of educational programs and promotes the academic freedom necessary to fulfill the primary mission of the University

    B. The University Environment: The expression of views regarding student-faculty relations as well administrator-faculty relations affirms the value of individuals in a University community and fosters an environment that permits and encourages pluralism, diversity, and critical inquiry. The open debate of these and other issues in the Senate provides an example to other members of the University of the values of the Faculty in these matters.

    C. The University and its public: The Faculty Senate reviews policies related to research contracts, athletics, and admission policies and makes recommendations. The Faculty Senate reviews and makes nominations for Honorary Degrees acknowledging the interrelationship of the University and the community. Issues of social importance such as minority concerns or divestment are openly debated and recommendations forwarded. The Senate works closely with the student leaders on issues of mutual concern.

    D. The Management of the University: The Faculty Senate reviews broad financial policies and makes recommendations to the appropriate body. The Senate also closely monitors resources crucial to the education endeavor such as the Library. The Faculty Senate as a body and its members individually participate in planning and self-evaluation. Each year, the Senate forwards recommendations for University Committee appointments and makes recommendations when necessary to fill vacant appointments or select committees.



    Phone: 257-7859

    P.O. Box 297240


    On May 9, 1990, Chancellor William E. Tucker made the room on the left just inside the main entrance to the Faculty Center (Reed 214A) available to serve as an office for the Faculty Senate. It is staffed by a student secretary whose hours are posted on the door and used by senate officers, committees, and members. Across from it is a room (214B) which houses historical artifacts and documents of the founders of TCU. Faculty senators should feel free to use this office, archived materials, and secretarial services. Any suggestions for more effective use of this office should be passed on to the Executive Committee.

    ^ back to top


    A. Officers

    1. The Officers of the Senate shall be the Chair, Chair-elect, Secretary, and Assistant Secretary. No more than three of these officers shall be from the same College or School.

    2. The Chair-elect, Secretary, and Assistant Secretary shall be elected by the Senate at the last meeting of the academic year and the term of office shall be one year. The incumbent Chair-elect shall become Chair. The Committee on Committees shall serve as the nominating committee for all officer elections.

    a) Eligibility for Office
    A Senator who has served during the current academic year is eligible for nomination to any office, providing there is at least one year remaining in Senator's term. If the Senate term of the Chair-elect shall expire before the conclusion of the Chair-elect' s term of office as Chair, the Chair-elect shall assume the office of Chair as an ex-officio member of the Senate.

    b)    Parliamentarian
    At the last meeting of each academic year, the Chair shall appoint a Parliamentarian from among the elected members.

    c)    Vacancies
    In the event of a vacancy in the office of Chair, the Chair-elect becomes Chair, and the Senate elects a new Chair-elect. In the event of a vacancy in the offices of Chair-elect or Assistant Secretary, a new Chair-elect or Assistant Secretary, is elected by the Senate. Election of officers to fill these vacancies shall be administered by the Faculty Election Committee through mail ballot within 30 days of the occurrence of the vacancy.

    B. Standing Committees

    1.    The Standing Committees of the Faculty Senate are Academic Excellence Committee on Committees; Faculty Governance; Student Relations; Tenure, Promotion, and Grievance; and Budget and Finance.

    2.     Faculty Senate Committees meet on the second Thursday of each month during the academic year at 3:30 p.m. unless otherwise scheduled.

    3.    Committees meet as needed with the Chair of the Faculty Senate.

    C. Meetings

    1.    Normally, the Faculty Senate meets on the first Thursday of each month during the academic year, except January, at 3:30 p.m.

    2.    To increase communication, extra meetings with the administration are encouraged specifically with the Vice Chancellors and the Deans.

    D. Responsibilities of Senators

    1.    The Faculty Senate may discuss and express its views upon any matter affecting the University.

    2.    The Faculty Senate shall have the power to review and evaluate the educational policies, degree requirements, curricula, questions on academic freedom, student-faculty relations, and all questions pertaining to the practices of the University, and make recommendations concerning them through appropriate channels.

    3.    The Faculty Senate may review admissions policies, research contract policy, student behaviors policies, athletic policies, and broad financial policies and make recommendations to the Administration, Faculty, University Council, House of Student Representatives, and to the Board of Trustees

    4.    Senators may communicate with their constituencies by

    a.    Scheduling meetings or through other forms of communication.

    b.    Attending Faculty Assembly meetings and functions.

    5.    Senators may communicate with the Chancellor by

    a.    Scheduling meetings with the Chancellor.

    b.    Faculty Senate input to the Executive Committee for their meetings with the Board of Trustees, Chancellor, and Provost/Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.

    6.    Promote interdisciplinary communication among faculty

    a.    invite and/or consult with the appropriate Administrative and Faculty office and committees to bring speakers/consultants who will address topics of interdisciplinary concern to the University

    b.    Promote Faculty Senate input on the establishment of interdisciplinary programs

    7.    Serve on Senate Committees and attend Committee meetings.

     ^ back to top


    A. Serve as members of the Faculty Senate Executive Committee

    1.    Fulfill responsibilities as listed in the Senate Constitution and by-laws

    2.    Attend meetings

    a.    The Executive Committee meets on the third Thursday of each month during academic year at 3:30 p.m.

    b.    The Executive Committee meets with the Board of Trustees in November and March of each academic year. The date and time are not predetermined.

    c.    The Executive Committee meets with the Chancellor once in the fall and once in the spring. The time and date are not predetermined.

    d.    The Executive Committee with the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs on the fourth Thursday of each month during the academic year, except December, at 3:30 p.m.

    e.    Each Executive Committee member will Senate Committees.

    f.    Executive Committee members may meet during the summers and Christmas holidays as deemed necessary and shall act on behalf of the Senate on matters that, in their judgment, cannot be deferred.

    g.    The Executive Committee members will serve in the capacity of the Grievance Committee as indicated in the Faculty Grievance Policy TV, B1, Handbook for Faculty and University Staff.

    B. Chair

    1.    Schedule meetings of the Executive Committee during summer to plan upcoming year' s agenda items and committee charges.

    2.    Schedule Fall and Spring Faculty Assemblies and plan agendas in consultation with Executive Committee and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.

    3.    Schedule joint meetings of Faculty Senate and Student House of Representatives at least once a semester and plan agenda with Student HOR Officers an Executive Committee.

    4.    Plan agenda for all regularly scheduled Senate meetings in consultation with Executive Committee and Committee Chairs.

    5.    Invite Skiff reporter to cover all the regularly scheduled Senate meetings during the year.

    6.    Schedule and plan an orientation meeting for the Senate Committee Chairs

    7.    Evaluate and update the Faculty Senate Handbook as deemed necessary

    8.    Schedule meetings of the Executive Committee and the Chancellor for the University and plan discussion topics.

    9.    Prepare presentation to make before the Board of Trustees Faculty Relations Committee in consultation with Executive Committee and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.

    10.    Plan discussion topics for meetings of Executive Committee and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs in consultation with Executive Committee:

    a.    Review action items from Senate meetings that need to be discussed with Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

    b.    Follow-up on all motions or resolutions passed during Senate meetings

    11.    Represent the Faculty and the Faculty Senate at the following events

    a.    Fall Convocation

    b.    Honors Convocation

    c.    December and May Graduations

    d.    Board of Trustees meeting (Faculty Relations Committee) and luncheon

    e.    Any other events as deemed necessary

    12.    Prepare closing remarks for the final regularly scheduled Senate meeting outlining those charges that have been successfully completed and those that are pending

    a.    Prepare a handout for all Senators containing this information

    b.    Submit this information to Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

    13.    Discuss with Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Administrative Assistant the budget line for the year in order to provide the following

    a.    Work-study student to assist the Senate Chair, Executive Committee and Committee Chairs

    b.    Copy card

    c.     Budget for the Chair to have a one-course reduction in teaching load for two semesters

    d.    Budget for printing, mailing and supplies

    14.    Serve on the Consultative Committee (with elected members of the Faculty Senate in the final year of their terms of office) to consult and advise the Chancellor and other administrative officers and, under unusual circumstances, the Board of Trustees on matters of general University concern, including faculty grievance appeals

    C. Chair-elect

    1.    Assist the Chair in planning the agenda for Faculty Senate meetings

    2.    Meet monthly with one of the standing committees of the Faculty Senate as a liaison to the Executive Committee

    3.    Serve as Chair of the Faculty Senate in the absence of the Chair

    D. Secretary

    1.    Take minutes at all formal Senate meetings, Faculty Assemblies and any special meetings that may be called to order

    2.    One week before the meeting date, distribute the minutes to all faculty members, members of the administration, the Assistant to the Provost, Library Archives, the President of the Student House of Representatives and the Skiff reporter assigned to the Senate

    3.    Take attendance and record it in the minutes

    4.    Distribute the agenda for any Senate meeting, Faculty Assembly or special meeting

    5.    Serve as a liaison to a Senate Committee

    6.    Research the Library Archives, as needed and requested by Senate Committee Chairs, for information relating to current issues which may appear in previous Senate minutes

    7.    Assist the Chair of the Faculty Senate in revising the Faculty Senate Handbook needed

    8.    Serve on the Consultative Committee (with the Chair of the Faculty Senate elected members of the Faculty Senate in the final year of their terms of office) to consult and advise the Chancellor and other administrative officers and, under unusual circumstances, the Board of Trustees on matters of general University concern, including faculty grievance appeals

    E. Assistant Secretary

    1.    The principal duty of the Assistant Secretary is to conduct the annual Faculty Senate elections in consultation with the Faculty Election Committee

    a.    Obtain an official faculty list from the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

    b.    Determine the number of senators allocated from each unit of the university

    c.    Canvas eligible faculty members as to their willingness to serve on the Faculty Senate

    d.    Conduct a preliminary and final ballot

    e.    Conduct a preliminary and final ballot for the election of at large members

    f.    Fill vacancies which may occur between elections in accordance with the Bylaws of the Faculty Senate Article II, Section 2, B., 9.

    2.    Conduct the final election of University Council at-large members after the specific colleges have completed the initial election process

    3.    Conduct any other elections required by the Faculty Senate

    F. Past-chair

    1.    Serve as Chair of Peer Advisors and Faculty Mentors

    a.    Recruit for both groups

    b.    Disseminate information to new faculty '

    i.    Peer Advisor list

    ii.    Faculty Mentor list

    iii.    Discrimination policy

    2.    Participate in all meetings of Executive Committee I

    3.    Arrange for presentation of plaque to chair at final meeting

     ^ back to top


    A. Academic Excellence   go to AEC page

    1.    Maintain interest in and awareness of all policies, procedures, programs, and goals that affect the academic excellence of the University

    2.    Study and advise the Faculty Senate on any request concerning academic matters forwarded by the Student House of Representatives

    3.    In conjunction with the University Library Committee, monitor the status of library resources

    4.    Meet with the Student House of Representatives' Academic Excellence Committee at least annually in order to monitor issues of concern for university students

    B. Committee on Committees  go to COC page

    1.    Represent the interests of the faculty in the structure, functions, and membership of University Committees

    2.    Review university committees to determine if (l) existing committees are necessary; (2) their charges, memberships, and administrative oversight are appropriate; and (3) new committees are needed

    3.    Working jointly with the Executive Committee, nominate candidates for senate offices

    4.    Nominate members for all university committees

    C. Faculty Governance  go to FGC page

    1.    Monitor the structure and functions of the Faculty Senate and Senate committees

    2.    Recommend changes that will improve the effectiveness of the Faculty Senate and Senate committees in University governance

    D. Student Relations go to SRC page

    1.    Represent the Faculty Senate on matters involving student concerns

    2.    Meet with the officers of the Student House of Representatives at least annually in order to monitor issues of concern to the student community of the University

    E. Tenure, Promotion, & Grievance   go to TPGC page

    Monitor the effectiveness of the University policies on tenure and promotion as set forth by the Handbook for Faculty and University Staff

    F. Budget and Finance  go to BFC page

    1.    Participate in an advisory capacity in the formulation of budgetary priorities and allocations for the University

    2.    Serve as a channel of communication between faculty and administration concerning financial issues

    G. Procedure for processing action items from committees:

    1.    Formulate ideas and provide feedback to committees regarding specific or general charges.

    2.    Communicate to the Executive Committee via Liaison the issues that require presentation to the Administration to determine routing procedure prior to presentation to full Senate.

    3.    Prepare informal report or formal motion or resolution as appropriate for presentation to full Senate.

    4.    Follow-up with Executive Committee to ensure that the proper administrator has been informed of Executive Committee's report/motion and that action is being taken to resolve the issue.

    ^ back to top

    Revised Spring 1998 

    Copyright© 1998 TCU Faculty Senate, All Rights Reserved. Web Site Design by: Vincent Carpenter