Appendix I: Senate Structures from 1915-2015


Established by the Committee of Seven in 1915 with five elected members and five ex-officio with the following duties:

1. All appointments, removals or changes in rank of members of the teaching force shall be made upon recommendation of the President to the Administrative Council after consultation with heads of departments and Deans of Schools concerned
2. All legislative power shall be vested in the Faculty of the University
3. The Administrative Council shall hold regular monthly meetings during the school year, and such special meetings as may be found necessary
4. Of the members of the Administrative Council elected by the Faculty, one-half shall be elected for one year, and the remainder shall be elected for two years. Their successors shall be elected for two years; they shall be elected by secret ballot, and a majority of all votes cast shall be necessary to election.
5. A record shall be kept of all actions of the Administrative Council. The record shall be open to inspection by the Faculty and Board of Regents. All votes on matters of policy or administration shall be by roll call and the names of the voters and the way in which their ballots are cast shall be part of the record.
6. The regular medium of communication with the Regents shall be the Administrative Council, but the Faculty may at any time communicate with the Regents by conference, resolution, special committee, or otherwise.


The Committee on a Faculty Council recommended the creation of a Faculty Council in 1946 to replace the Administrative Council and that it consist of 19 ex-officio members in administrative roles and 40 faculty apportioned by schools as follows:

Medicine: 4
(Anatomy, Bacteriology, Biological Chemistry, Medicine, ObGyn, Pathology, Pediatrics, Pharmacology, Physiology, Public Health, Radiology, and Surgery)

Law: 1

Business and Social Sciences: 5
(Business, Economics, History and Political Science, Social Work, Anthropology and Sociology, Psychology, and Philosophy)

Education, Home Ec, Extension, and Library: 5
(Ed Admin, Elementary Ed, Health Rec and Phys Ed, Home Ec, Stewart School, Nursing Edu, Secondary Ed, Social Ed, the Library, Extension Division)

Engineering and Mineral Industries: 4
(Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Metallurgical Eng, Mineral Eng, Geology, Engineering Experiment Station)

Languages and Arts: 6
(Ancient Languages, Art, English, Modern Languages, Music, and Speech)

Mathematics, Physical, and Biological Sciences: 6
(Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Mathematics)

Administrative and Personnel: 3
(ex officio members President, Dean of Faculty, Secretary of Board of Regents, Dean of Grad School, Deans of schools, Dean of Lower Division, Director of Extension, Deans of Men, Women and Students, Registrar, Librarian, Director of Placement)

Ex-officio members had right of discussion but not the right to vote.

Meeting Structure of the Faculty Council

Officers of the Faculty Council included the President of the University as the presiding officer and the Secretary of the Faculty serving as secretary. Meetings were held the second Monday of each month at 4 pm with the following Order of Business:

1. Call to Order
2. Reading and Approval of the Minutes
3. Announcements
4. Special Orders
5. Reports from Schools, Divisions, and Councils
6. Reports from standing committees
7. Reports of special committees
8. Unfinished business
9. New Business
10. Adjournment

Authority and duties of the Faculty Council were subject to the authority of the Board of Regents, but had the power “to act for and represent the Faculty under existing regulations governing the faculty of the University of Utah, including the following powers:

(a) To determine questions of educational policy; to exercise legislative functions, touching the same, and to make such rules and regulations as it may deem desirable to promote the educational interests of the University; it shall determine the requirements for admission and for degrees, diplomas, and certificates; it shall decide upon curricula and such new courses of study and changes in courses of study as involve considerations of educational policy or relations between schools or departments. Whenever the Faculty Council is acting within its province as here designated, its actions shall be effective without approval except that the same shall be subject to an appeal to and review by the University Faculty as hereinafter provided.

Whenever an increase in the expense of instruction or administration is involved, the President shall report this action to the Board of Regents with his recommendations. No new line of work shall be established except by approval of the Board of Regents on recommendation of the Faculty Council and the President.

(b) To receive and consider reports from all University Committees, Councils, Departments, Divisions, Administrative Officers, Schools and Faculties and take appropriate action thereon.

(c) To consider matters of professional interest and Faculty welfare and make recommendations to the President and other administrative officers concerned. Such recommendations shall be transmitted to the Board of Regents whenever its action is required.

Summaries of actions taken by the Faculty Council shall be sent to each member of the University Faculty within one week of each session of the Council.

All actions of the Faculty Council shall be subject to review by the University Faculty upon written request for an appeal made to the President by any ten members of the Faculty, within ten days of the mailing date of the summaries of action of the Council, and the action shall be reviewed at the next regular meeting of the Faculty or at a special meeting called for that purpose upon giving two weeks notice to all Faculty members.“

The Faculty Council included the following committees:

• Executive
• Elections & Apportionment
• Annuities & Salaries
• Faculty Regulations
• Appointments and Promotion
• Academic Freedom and Tenure.

Faculty Council Restructuring in the 1960s

By 1965, the Faculty Council had representation from 15 areas, up from eight in 1947, and included the following:

College of Engineering
College of Medicine
Social Sciences
College of Pharmacy
Biological Sciences
College of Nursing
College of Education
Math & Physical Science
College of Law
College of Business
Mines & Mineral Industries
Social Work
University Services (library + extension)
College of Fine Arts

In 1968, the Elections and Apportionment Committee studied faculty senates across the country and suggested the following changes for debate:

1. Increase elected membership from 50 to 77. Passed
2. Replace ballot system with department nominations. Passed
3. Instructors have the same rights to vote and be elected as faculty members of other ranks. Passed
4. The University Teaching Assistants Association should annually elect two of their number, representing at least two different areas, to serve as voting members of the Faculty Council. No member of the T.A. Association should serve more than one year. Passed
5. Two representative of the student body, chosen annually by ASUU, should be invited to attend Faculty Council meetings without the right to vote. Passed
6. Each department shall receive a copy of the full agenda and a copy of the full minutes of Faculty Council business as distributed to the members of Faculty Council. Each faculty member shall receive a summary of the agenda in advance of each meeting and a report of actions taken. The summary of the agenda should regularly contain an invitation to all members of the faculty to attend Faculty Council meetings of they so desire. Passed
7. The following faculty members should be ex officio members of the Faculty Council: The President, Provost, Academic Vice President, and Executive Vice President. These ex officio members shall have full rights of discussion and making motions but not the right to vote. Each Dean or an Associate or Assistant Dean appointed by him as his representative, should be an ex officio members of the Faculty Council. A Dean, or his nominee, in attendance at Faculty Council meetings should have full rights of discussion and to make motions on matters directly associated with his administrative area, but not the right to vote. Passed
8. The Faculty Council should elect a chairman of the council who should be the presiding officer. The chairman should have the usual voting power of a presiding officer. Passed
9. During the November session, the Faculty Council should elect by secret ballot an Executive Committee of ten members. The Chairman of the Faculty Council should serve as an eleventh member. The President of the University or his designee shall be an ex officio member of the Executive Committee. Passed
10. The duties and responsibilities of the Executive Committee were discussed and tabled with the recommendation that this be studied and reported to the Faculty Council by an ad hoc committee selected for this purpose. Passed
11. Every five years a committee should be formed to review the structure and functions of the Faculty Council. Passed

Elected Faculty Chair (Not Quite Yet)

With regards to debate item 8, the Council approved of the presiding officer being elected. A secondary motion was made requiring that the Faculty Council chair be a non-administrative member of the faculty, but it failed. While the body wanted it to be an elected position rather than a de facto administrator, they also wanted the Council to have a choice. Instead of requiring that nominees only be non-administrative faculty, they ended up leaving it open to either an administrator or a faculty member. Despite this vote, the chair remained a de facto administrator until 1990.


In response to the Utah Higher Education Act of 1969 instituting a single state board and establishing governance of individual institutions through citizen boards, the Regents suggested further changes after tasking an ad hoc committee to study the academic structure of the university. The committee suggested a Faculty Assembly of 40 (later dropped), a University Senate with faculty and students, and College/Area Councils.

Appointments and resignations became an appendix to the agenda in the December 1, 1969 meeting and the Council started using calendars—information, debate, consent—to organize the meetings in April 1970. College Councils were debated and established on November 2, 1970 and the name changed to University Senate on December 7, 1970. The idea of a Faculty Assembly was dropped.

1. More faculty involvement in the decision-making structure of the university through College Councils. Passed
2. Faculty Council would remain as is, but more students would be involved and two elected representatives from the Deans’ Council. Passed
3. The Faculty Council Executive Committee would become a Committee on Committees for the university. Passed
4. Set up review procedures and criteria for judgment of faculty and administrator effectiveness. Passed
5. Create three colleges from College of Letters and Science. Failed
6. Create position in the university to nurture the concept of liberal education. Passed
7. Involve faculty in the review of the university academic budget. Passed
8. Have deans report directly to the academic vice president. Passed

Executive Committee requirements that members be senators, not serve on other university committees, and not more than two of the 10 faculty members be from any single college were approved in October 1972. The Senate voted to allow colleges to run their own Senate elections in May 1973.

University Senate Restructuring in the 1970s

An ad hoc committee to study the operation of the Senate reduced the size from 96 to 75 members in 1974 and abolished the Executive Committee citing too much concentrated power. The committee instead distributed Senate authority among five new committees and a new composition:

• Agenda
• Personnel
• Budget advisory
• Academic policy
• Faculty-student ethics
Proposed New Composition
• 55 faculty members from undergraduate colleges with the present formula of allocating seats according to the number of faculty and student credit hours (55)
• Allocating two faculty members each to the professional schools of Law, Medicine, Pharmacy, Social Work, and the Library (12)
• Shifting Military Science to the Social and Behavioral Science Area
• Reducing the student delegation from 17 to four (4)
• Retaining two teaching fellows and two deans, chosen by their respective bodies (4)

After extensive debate, the Senate held a special meeting on December 9, 1974, the body approved of only half the components:

• Utilize preferential balloting for Senate committees. Passed
• Reduce the size of the Senate as recommended. Failed
• Keep the Senate as is and add a budget committee and a personnel & elections committee. Passed
• Send the report back to the committee for review. Failed
• Apportion senate by areas of representation on a pro-rated basis of two-thirds according to student credit hours, including evening residence hours taught in each area during the preceding year of four quarters, and one-third according to the number of faculty members in each area. Failed
• Give research faculty full voting rights. Passed

Debate continued at the January 6, 1975 meeting. The recommendation to reduce student representation from 18 to 10 failed so did the idea of limiting professional schools and library membership to two faculty each. The ad hoc committee chairman disagreed with the Senate voting against these proposals and cited poor attendance on the part of the students and those from the professional schools, especially medicine as the reason for reducing the size of the Senate.

The Senate and central administration voted against the creation of the Budget Advisory Committee during the February 3, 1975 meeting stating that it would likely hinder the budgetary preparation and submission process, which President Gardner saw as his responsibility explaining that “the budgeting process is nothing more than the program of the University expressed in dollars” (University of Utah Academic Senate 1959-present). The proposed committee was empowered with analyzing and submitting for Senate review “the basic formulas used by the administration in allocating appropriations” (ibid.). The committee was also to “act as a sounding board for proposals from the administration or form line departments and divisions to shift assets as enrollment and priorities change, leaving to the Senate the adoption of guidelines to be forwarded to the administration” (ibid). Some senators as well as administrators spoke against this on the grounds that it would infringe on the budgetary rights and responsibilities of the administration.

Discussion on an elected presiding officer resurfaced, but failed again. The rationale behind the failed vote included budgetary implications and staffing.

Senate structure was debated on March 3 and 10, 1975:

• Executive Committee of 10 faculty elected by Senate and 2 students elected by ASUU with no more than two Senators from any one college. Passed
• Approve recommendation to create a Personnel & Elections Committee consisting of 18 Senators (one from each area) and 2 students. Passed
• Rename APAC to Academic Policy and Innovations Committee charged with additional responsibility or performing the “futures role” on the legislative side of the University, charting new goals for the University to pursue. Failed
• All Senate Committees are required to report annually to the Senate. Passed
• Senate Chairperson should prepare a manual on Senate organization and operations and basics of Senate procedures. Passed
• New business may be proposed at the beginning of a meeting and the specific nature of the business stated. The business will then normally be considered at the end of the meeting, but a motion may be made and passed to consider at the beginning of the meeting, prior to the regularly scheduled business on the agenda. Passed

A special meeting was held on May 12, 1975 to consider recommendations from an ad hoc committee regarding auxiliary faculty representation. The committee recommended excluding auxiliary faculty ranks from the senate and the motion passed. Auxiliary ranks at the time included adjunct, clinical, research, and visiting professors. The Division of Continuing Ed was also excluded from Senate representation.

University Senate Restructuring in the 1980s

An ad hoc committee on the Senate structure presented a draft report in May 1980. It included the Budget Advisory Committee again, new meeting day/time, and the creation of an Academic Forum Committee for the purpose of reviewing, discussing, and raising academic issues.

• Budget Advisory Committee. Passed
o 15 faculty currently Senators (one from each college)
• later amended to 16 to include academic librarians
o Provide advice and counsel to the president and other university administrative officers regarding faculty opinions and reactions to budget matters. Review financial and budgetary implications of proposals for changes in academic degrees and programs and submit reports to the Senate prior to their action on such proposals. Report to the Senate on fiscal and budget trends and issues that affect the University’s academic programs. (President Gardner liked this version)
• The Academic Forum committee. Failed
• New meeting time and day: first Monday of each month at 3 pm with debate items beginning no later than 3:30 pm. Passed

By 1984, the ad hoc committee addressed concerns that the Senate had lost its volume and found that the Senate “suffers from erosion of its sense of self [and occupies] itself with trivial or ceremonial matters while major policies are decided elsewhere” (University of Utah Academic Senate 1959-present, Senate summary: 14(6), 1986).

The main recommendation centered on “strengthening and politicizing the chairperson position by having the chairperson elected by the Senate, with all tenured professors eligible to run. The senate chairperson would also chair the Executive Committee” (ibid.). The chairperson “would be influential in determining senate issues and making sure senate committee and floor work get done [and] called for the chairperson to be released from teaching as necessary […]” (ibid.). The report recommended the following:

1. Orientation of New Senate Members
a. Annual
b. Re-instate and update A Handbook for the University Senate
2. Increasing the Involvement of the Senate and its Members in University Business
a. Revitalize Senate in all academic policy matters
3. Streamlining and Re-alignment of Senate Committees
a. Restructure Personnel & Elections as university-wide (not college-based) and remove students since they elect/populate via ASUU.
b. Abolish Budget Advisory Committee
c. Abolish Academic Policy Advisory Committee
d. Have five standing Senate Committees with ad hoc and other University committees focused on other areas:
i. Senate Executive Committee
ii. Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee
iii. Personnel and Elections Committee
iv. Annuities and Salaries Committee
v. Promotion and Tenure Advisory Committee
4. Restructuring of Senate and Executive Committee Chairs
a. Have the Senate elect its own chair who would also chair the EC and ex-officio on all Senate committee
b. President, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Secretary of the Faculty serve as ex-officio on EC and Senate
5. Senate Representation
a. Maintain student voting memberships
6. The Senate and the Administration
a. Set aside time for updates from administration

The proposals were debated during the February 3, 1986 meeting with strong opposition to the elected position of chair, disbanding of APAC, and restricting Personnel & Elections as an at-large committee. Some senators objected to the Executive Committee’s strong role in offering alternatives to the ad hoc committee’s work; they felt it was not the committee’s job to do so. Rather, their job was to set the agenda, time limits, and advise the Senate as a whole. Debate continued at the March 3, 1986 meeting where the motion to abolish the Budget Advisory Committee passed, but motions to disband APAC and restructure P&E failed.

Consensus failed regarding the position of Senate leader. Some felt it should continue to be the Vice President for Academic Affairs, but others agreed with the ad hoc committee’s recommendation that it be an elected, non-administrative faculty member. The Executive Committee wanted a middle option where the Senate would elect a faculty and student liaison from the Senate who would serve on the EC to represent their constituencies. One senator proposed for the Senate to submit a list of nominees for chair to the University president and have him make the final decision. Another senator said “the Senate should be realistic about its powers and role. It is essentially a forum for exchange of information and has little policy making authority” (University of Utah Academic Senate 1959-present, Senate summary: 15(5), 1986). Other senators said “the problem with the present structure is that it makes the Senate responsive to someone else’s agenda” (ibid.). Motion to return the matter to committee for more study passed narrowly.

Another Budget Committee and Tenure

Despite the vote to abolish the Budget Advisory Committee in the March 1986 meeting, by the August 22, 1986 meeting, the Senate voted 25-16 “to establish a high-level faculty committee to advise the administration during the present budget cutting/reallocation process” (University of Utah Academic Senate 1959-present, Senate summary: 16(1), 1986). The Executive Committee served in this role during the summer, but the Senate did not want that to continue. It was voted to not allow students on the ad hoc panel. The committee was formed on the spot during the meeting with interested members giving brief speeches before elections.

New tenure policies and procedures were up for discussion at the December 1, 1986 meeting. The proposal streamlined the process from six steps to five for appeals: department, then college, then UPTAC (proposed to remove), then VP for Academic Affairs, and President. The report called for the creation of the RPT standards and appeal committee to be elected by the Senate and would replace ad hoc appeal committees in colleges. AFFR committee remained separate. Motion to dissolve UPTAC failed during debate on January 5, 1987 and on March 3, 1987, the Senate voted to reaffirm UPTAC’s role in hearing only disputed cases and all cases from single-department colleges. They also voted to establish the Committee on RPT Standards and Appeals to hear final appeals and review department and college RPT criteria.


The Senate approved changing the name from “University Senate” to “Academic Senate” during the April 6, 1987 meeting. The ad hoc committee recommended this to indicate the Senate’s “central role in all academic governance, for which its present constituencies—faculty, students, administration—are eminently appropriate […] even budget, planning, construction and landscaping […] (University of Utah Academic Senate 1959-present). The university’s first comprehensive speech policy passed during the April 6, 1987 meeting. The policy was drafted in response to U.S. District Judge Aldon Anderson enjoining the University to remove anti-apartheid shanties.

The Senate rejected the change to an elected chairperson by a substantial majority during a special meeting on April 20, 1987 since the university had re-established the Provost position in order to allow the Vice President for Academic Affairs to chair the Senate and generally serve as advocate for the faculty.

The Utah Legislature created a bill during the 1989 session, which the Academic Senate endorsed, to provide for non-voting faculty and staff representatives on Utah’s nine higher education institutional councils. Debate centered on whether or not the Governor would appoint the representatives or if they should be appointed/elected through a representative process at local institutions.

University and Academic Senate Restructuring in the 1990s

In March 1990, the Presidential Task Force to Examine the Academic Administrative Structure of the University studied the roles and relationships of the provost, academic vice president, and vice president for health sciences and how faculty input should be channeled to the administration.

The Senate endorsed the creation of the panel, but the Executive Committee disagreed on the proposal to combine the provost and academic vice president be combined into one position to act as the chief academic officer. It was understood by Senators that the academic vice president would serve as the faculty’s representative within administration; eliminating the office would diminish faculty input. As a result, the task force also addressed the relationship of the Academic Senate to central academic administration. The idea of an elected chair resurfaced during the March 5, 1990 meeting.

The slate for Senate chair was finalized at the June 4, 1990 meeting and selected by President Chase Peterson in mid-August. Until 1998, the meeting structure mirrored the order of business used by the 1960s Faculty Council. Currently, the Senate follows this meeting structure:

1. Call to Order
2. Approval of Minutes
3. Requests for New Business
4. Consent Calendar
5. Executive Committee Report
6. Report from Administration
7. Report from ASUU
8. Notices of Intent
9. Debate Calendar
10. Information Calendar
11. New Business
12. Adjournment
At various times since the 2000s, faculty members have presented White Papers as part of the agenda to describe broader issues in higher education and build on the cultural role the Senate plays at the university.