Faculty governance structure. The Faculty Senate is our chief governance body, and senators are representatives of the UW-Madison faculty. The University Committee is the executive committee of the Faculty Senate. The secretary of the faculty supports the University Committee, the Faculty Senate and other governance committees, and oversees those activities for which faculty have primary responsibilities, e.g., divisional committees, dean search and screen committees, the academic calendar. The secretary of the faculty is also available to any faculty to discuss concerns and give direction to the best method to address those concerns.

Senators' responsibilities:

  • Senators are the voice for the department in the senate
  • Senators represent their departmental colleagues (1 senator for every 10 faculty)
  • Senators should have a regular place on the departmental meeting agenda and should engage colleagues in discussion about the senate agenda
  • Senators should encourage their colleagues to identify new issues of importance to the faculty

Before the senate meeting, senators should:

  • Read the agenda materials
  • Present the issues on the senate agenda to their colleagues at their department meeting and solicit input
  • Be prepared to ask questions and participate in debate

How to get an item onto the Faculty Senate agenda:

  • A senator may submit the item to the secretary of the faculty
  • Ten members of the faculty may submit an item to the secretary of the faculty
  • An individual may raise an issue with the University Committee

The Senate meeting:

Registration for attendance: Senators, alternates attending as voting members for absent senators, and University Committee members should scan their university ID or complete a paper form at the door.

Absence/Alternates:
A senator may be represented by his/her named alternate. Subsequent changes in alternates may occur at any time except in the week preceding a senate meeting, and shall be reported immediately to the district chair and to the secretary of the faculty. In the event an alternate is unable to exercise this function, another named alternate from the same district may do so. A senate seat becomes vacant if a senator is absent (and is not represented by his/her named alternate) from four consecutive regular meetings of the senate.

Seating:
Senators (or alternates attending as voting members for absent senators) and University Committee members sit in the front section of the auditorium. Votes will only be counted from this section. When a senator is present, his/her alternate should not sit in the members’ section.

Speaking/Motions:
Members of the faculty and full-time members of the academic staff may speak at meetings of the senate, but only senators may offer motions, second motions, or vote.  When an individual rises to speak at a meeting or to make a motion from the floor, he/she should state his/her name and department. Lengthy motions should be given to the secretary in writing so the presiding officer can repeat the motion if necessary during debate.

  • All agenda items are open for discussion by any faculty member present
  • Any issue may be raised during the question period in the early part of the meeting
  • Questions filed in writing at least three days prior to the meeting will be distributed at the door
  • No action may be taken unless an item is on the formal agenda
  • Robert's rules of order, newly revised 11th edition, govern the proceedings of the senate; senators will be more effective if they are familiar with those rules

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