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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Collective leadership

Faculty Senate allows tenured professors’ input on university matters


At Saint Joseph’s University, a group of faculty members meets on the last Tuesday of every month to discuss issues that deal with university-wide academic, and faculty-related, policies and procedures.

Part of university governance, the Faculty Senate allows all of full-time tenure-track faculty members in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Ervian K. Haub School of Business to voice their ideas and concerns surrounding the welfare of the university.

“The senate’s goals are to represent the will of the faculty,” said Ann Green, Ph.D., current president of Faculty Senate.

As the group primarily responsible for the university’s essential activity of education, the Faculty Senate makes its recommendations as a corporate voice under the senate.

“The faculty is the heart of the university because the faculty holds the curriculum and students graduate by virtue of our degrees and our qualifications,” Green said.

University Council, the main body for policy formulation, studies a submitted mandate and, if approved, directs the mandate to the governance body that is best suited to make policy around that issue. If the program encompasses both colleges, it goes to Faculty Senate.

There are two primary standing committees that consist of appointed senate members, the Academic Policies and Procedures Committee and the Faculty Policies and Procedures Committee. The committees craft policies that concern both colleges, which then goes back to the senate body who discusses, amends, and, if necessary, votes them down.

The Academic Policies and Procedures Committee deals with matters such as admissions, advising, academic standards, and curriculum. The Faculty Policies and Procedures Committee focuses on forming policies that involve faculty performance, research, and professional conditions and responsibilities.

“Curriculum is near and dear to the hearts of faculty members,” said Rob Moore, Ph.D, professor of sociology and former president of Faculty Senate for four years. “We hire people who have expertise in a wide range of fields. These are people who have studied many years and many times [are] known as experts in their fields.”

Green agrees that the expertise of the faculty should allow them to provide input on what makes the university work. “Academics need to be the driver that runs the university,” Green said.

The Faculty Senate is also able to send resolutions to the president, the Provost, or the Board of Trustees. These are statements

Faculty Senate President Ann Green (Photo by Luke Malanga ’20).

that the faculty make on issues that are important to them. They do not go through committee but through the senate itself.

As part of university governance, Faculty Senate works with other bodies to handle issues that affect the educational environment for students, faculty, and staff. Examples of the collaboration of shared governance in the past include updating procedures with the academic honesty board and changes to sexual harassment and sexual misconduct policies.

Faculty Senate also evaluates candidates for rank and tenure and makes recommendations to the president and Provost about promotions.

“It’s crucial that the faculty’s voice be heard in a distinct and robust way”, said Paul Aspan, Ph. D., associate provost. “In a lot of ways, the university is supposed to be an argument, in a positive way. The argument that may begin at the senate needs to be heard, so that we are all better educated about our mission and our direction. The faculty have a central role and stake in that.”

Moore believes that shared collegial governance is a sign of a healthy tertiary institution of learning.

“We are just one part in a big bunch of moving parts,” Moore said. “All the constituencies aren’t pitted against one another. The administration can do certain things that’s within their purview. The [B]oard [of Trustees] can also do certain things. Still, there is respect for the various roles that the various constituencies play.”

Aspan also shares the sentiment that most colleges and universities recognize that a faculty senate is vital to a school’s well-being.

“I think it’s fortunate to have a group of talented and committed faculty who give a lot of energy to their leadership roles,” Aspan said.

Green is clear about making sure that certain decisions concerning the university need to have faculty input. The faculty participate in the university in the broadest sense, making sure that the school’s educational mission is primary.

“The tenure faculty’s role is much more than simply teaching,” Green said.

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