Faculty Governance Organization
The Regents' Rules specify that the faculty of each institution, through its legislative bodies, shall have a major governance role in the following areas:
- general academic policies and welfare
- student life and activities
- requirements for admission and graduation
- honors and scholastic performance
- approval of candidates for degrees
- faculty rules of procedure
The faculty governance organization at UT Dallas is described in Title III, Chapter 21 of the Handbook of Operating Procedures. Other sections of the Handbook summarize the official policies of the University of most interest to faculty members. Also, each School also has its own faculty bodies established in the school or departmental bylaws, pursuant to general guidelines established by the UT Dallas Academic Senate.
Following is a brief summary of the contents of Title III.
Academic Senate and Academic Council
The primary legislative body at The University of Texas at Dallas is the Academic Senate. The Council acts as the agenda committee and acts as a steering committee. The Senate is composed of not less than 10% of tenured/tenure track faculty members elected each spring by the voting members of the General Faculty, which includes non-visiting faculty holding the ranks Regental Professor, Professor, Associate Professor, and Assistant Professor appointed at least half-time from all university sources of funds. The new Senate in turn elects seven of its members to serve on the Council. The Senate also elects one Council member as the "Speaker of the Faculty" and another as the Secretary. The Council is presided over by the President. In the President's absence the Executive Vice President and Provost will preside except that in the Provost’s absence the Speaker will preside. Senate meetings are also presided over by the President. If the President cannot be present, the succession is the same as for the Council.
The official records of the Senate and Council are produced and filed in the Office Executive Vice President and Provost, and are open for inspection to any interested faculty member. Some policies established by the Senate are included in the university’s numbered policy memoranda on the Provost’s website. Senate minutes are posted on the Senate website.
Senate Committees and University Committees
Policies of the Senate are implemented through faculty bodies in the several schools, senate committees, and university committees. There are thirteen senate committees and fifteen university committees. The difference between senate and university committees is that senate committees are established with advice from the senate. University committees are established by the university administration, usually in response to a system, state, or federal requirement. Some Senate committees may act for the Senate in the areas of responsibility given in the committee charges. All the committees, with their charges, are listed on the Senate website.
Each fall, the Committee on Committees reviews all the senate and university committees, recommends replacement for those whose terms are ending and also may replace members who have been appointed but have not served. These recommendations are presented to the Academic Council, and then to the Senate. Upon Senate concurrence with the committee's recommendations and by the President, the faculty are appointed by the President and receive letters asking them to respond with their concurrence to serve. By annual agreement with the administration, the Senate’s replacement of senate committee vacancies is definitive. Approvals of recommendations for university committees are considered recommendations to the administration.