A. Constitution of the Faculty Senate

(Note: OLPM sections on this page may be cited following the format of, for example, "UNH.II.A.1.1.1". These policies may be amended at any time, do not constitute an employment contract, and are provided here only for ease of reference and without any warranty of accuracy. See OLPM Main Menu for details.)

1.  Preamble

1.1   The Faculty Role in University Shared Governance

1.1.1   The principle of shared governance in universities is long established by tradition and was formalized in the 1966 Joint Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities (jointly formulated by the American Association of University Professors, the American Council on Education, and the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges). The Joint Statement affirms that the academic institution is a "joint effort," requiring communication and consultation among all constituencies, and addresses the distinctive responsibilities of trustees, administration, faculty, staff, and students in university governance.

1.1.2   The distinctive responsibility of the faculty is the academic mission of the university. In particular, the joint statement asserts that, "The faculty has primary responsibility for such fundamental areas as curriculum, subject matter and methods of instruction, research, faculty status, and those aspects of student life which relate to the educational process. On these matters the power of review or final decision lodged in the governing board or delegated by it to the president should be exercised adversely only in exceptional circumstances and for reasons communicated to the faculty."

1.1.3   This constitution provides for the faculty to exercise this responsibility through an elected Faculty Senate. This Faculty Senate is designed to work in close communication and collaboration with the Board of Trustees, principal administrators and the Council of Deans, the PAT and Operating Staff Councils, and the Student Senate, each of which have their own distinctive responsibilities as well as overlapping areas of concern.

2.   Purpose

2.1   The Faculty Senate will be the legislative body that reviews and develops policies concerned with the academic mission of the university.

3.   Membership

3.1   Each academic department shall elect one member to the Faculty Senate for a two-year term. Departments with more than 20 tenure-track faculty shall elect two senators. For purposes of Faculty Senate membership, the Library, the Thompson School, and UNH-Manchester divisions shall be treated in the same way as departments. (See Bylaw 4). Elections shall be by an approval ballot in which every tenure-track member of the department is nominated and in which faculty members can vote for as many candidates as they wish. Only tenure-track faculty may vote. The Faculty Senate shall supervise the elections.

4.   Referral of fundamental issues to the faculty

4.1   Faculty referendum on senate actions. Any motion or resolution acted upon by the Faculty Senate is subject to a referendum by the faculty of the University of New Hampshire. Any issue may go to referendum upon petition of at least twenty percent of the tenure-track faculty, provided that such petition is made within 45 days of the senate action in question (excluding vacations). The petition shall be delivered to the chair of the senate. The senate chair shall cause transcripts of all relevant senate discussion of the issue to be distributed to all faculty. The chair will arrange for a vote of the faculty by ballot. Faculty members will have not less than two weeks and not more than four weeks to consider the issue and complete ballots. The majority vote shall be binding provided that at least fifty percent of the faculty submit ballots. In the event of a participation rate of less than fifty percent or a tie vote, the original senate action shall stand.

5.   Implementation of legislation

5.1   Faculty Senate legislation will be developed in consultation with the appropriate Dean(s), the appropriate Vice President(s) and the President. The Deans will implement the legislation, in consultation with the Faculty Senate. The Faculty Senate, through the appropriate Faculty Senate committees, will be informed by the university administration in a timely manner, of the disposition of the legislation passed by the Faculty Senate.

6.   Officers of the Faculty Senate

6.1   In May of each year, the outgoing Faculty Senate chair will conduct an election, by the members of the Faculty Senate for the following academic year, for a chair, a vice chair, and three at-large members of the Agenda Committee for one-year terms. A slate of candidates will be presented by the out-going Agenda Committee two weeks before the election. Additional candidates may be nominated from the floor.

Should a vacancy occur during the ensuing academic year, candidates for the replacement position shall be presented to the Faculty Senate by the Agenda Committee. Additional candidates may be nominated from the floor. The Faculty Senate shall elect a replacement by majority vote, with the winner needing more than half the votes of those senators present and voting. If no candidate receives a majority of the votes, a run-off election of the two candidates who received the most votes will be held. A vacancy results from a senator leaving the university or voluntarily resigning due to illness or other personal reasons. A senator who is absent due to work to rule and has not resigned is still a member.

6.2   The Faculty Senate chair may select a parliamentarian either from within or from outside the Faculty Senate. The Provost's Office will provide funds for a program assistant, to assist the officers of the Faculty Senate in carrying out business of the Faculty Senate.

7.   Committees

7.1   Agenda Committee. An Agenda Committee of five members, including the Faculty Senate chair, vice chair and three at-large members, shall set the Faculty Senate agenda and be responsible for the operations of the Faculty Senate. In addition to these five members, the previous senate chair shall serve as an ex officio member of the Agenda Committee if possible. In the event that the previous senate chair cannot serve, the Agenda Committee may select a replacement.

7.2   Standing Committees. The Faculty Senate will have six standing committees, each comprised solely of Faculty Senators. Each committee will meet regularly with the corresponding administrators (see Bylaw 5) to advise and consult on policy and to design and implement Faculty Senate legislation. Committees will invite additional members of the university community or others to consult with them as appropriate.

7.2.1   The Academic Affairs Committee will concern itself with the University's instructional programs and academic support, including computer and information services and university advising programs.

7.2.2   The Finance and Administration Committee will concern itself with the financial affairs of the University, including establishing priorities and allocating funds within the budget.

7.2.3   The Student Affairs Committee will concern itself with student services and non-academic student programs, including athletics.

7.2.4   The Research and Public Service Committee will concern itself with the University's research and public service programs.

7.2.5   The Campus Planning Committee will concern itself with space allocation, facilities, and physical plant planning.

7.2.6   The Library Committee will concern itself with matters pertaining to the university's library and its operation.

7.3   The Professional Standards Committee

7.3.1   The Professional Standards Committee will concern itself with matters affecting the welfare of the faculty including academic freedom, promotion, tenure, workload assignments, faculty personnel policy, and professional ethics. This committee has a role established by the collective bargaining agreement relating to termination or severe sanctions placed on faculty members. The Professional Standards Committee will be elected by bargaining-unit faculty by approval ballots in Liberal Arts, Engineering and Physical Sciences, Life Sciences and Agriculture, Business and Economics, Health and Human Services, UNH-Manchester, and the library. All tenured faculty members will automatically be the nominees on their respective ballots. The Faculty Senate will supervise this election. The Professional Standards Committee will have seven directly elected members, one from each of the following: CEPS, COLSA, LA, SHHS, WSBE, UNH-Manchester and the library. In addition the vice chair of the Faculty Senate will be the eighth member and the chair of the committee.

7.4   Other Faculty Senate Committees

7.4.1   The Faculty Senate may establish whatever other committees it deems appropriate, as needed, such as the University Curriculum and Academic Policies Committee (UCAPC).

8.   Faculty Senate Bylaws and Rules

8.1   The Faculty Senate will establish its own bylaws and rules by majority vote.

9.   Amendments to the Constitution

9.1   Amendments to the Constitution will require a two-thirds vote of the Faculty Senate. Amendments will be introduced to the Faculty Senate at least two weeks before the vote.

10.   Matters pertaining to collective bargaining

10.1   Collective bargaining issues may be discussed, but no official action may be taken.

11.   Meetings Open to faculty

11.1   The meetings of the Faculty Senate will be open to all tenure-track faculty. Others may be present only on invitation of the Agenda Committee. Anyone may be recognized to make a presentation at a Faculty Senate meeting, but only senators may propose motions or vote.

12.   Coordination with Students, Administration, and Staff

12.1   The Faculty Senate is committed to working closely with other university governing bodies, including the Board of Trustees, the President's Cabinet, the Student Senate, the PAT Council, and the Operating Staff Council.

13.   Evaluation and Reconsideration of the Faculty Senate

13.1   Five years after the enactment of this constitution, the chair of the Faculty Senate shall organize a referendum to determine whether the faculty are satisfied with the Faculty Senate as constituted by this document and any subsequent amendments.

This page last updated Wednesday, June 17, 2015. For information on the adoption and effective dates of policies please see explanation on the OLPM Main Menu.