Constitution of the Academic Senate
Issued November 21, 1970
Revised June 2006
Approved December 13, 2016
Introduction to the Constitution of the Academic Senate
During academic years 1968 1969 and 1969 1970 the Academic Senate prepared a constitution, which would define its role and procedures in the academic governance of the University, as these had previously been defined in the 1937 Statutes and earlier documents. The document adopted by the Academic Senate on June 3, 1970, was then submitted to the Board of Trustees and, after certain revisions reached by common agreement of the two bodies, was approved by the Board on November 21, 1970.
The Constitution of the Academic Senate, approved by the Board of Trustees, has the same force of law as do the Bylaws. The original text of the Constitution has since been amended by the Senate, with the revisions ratified by the Board of Trustees, principally in order to reflect organizational changes in the University and in the titles of officers of administration. The following text incorporates these amendments:
CONSTITUTION OF THE ACADEMIC SENATE
THE CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY OF AMERICA
The Academic Senate shares with the President the immediate responsibility for the academic governing of the University by establishing, maintaining, supervising, and in general being responsible for the academic policies of the University.
The voting members of the Academic Senate shall consist of; the President; the Provost; the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies; the Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Studies; the Deans of the several Faculties; delegates elected by the several Faculties in the proportion of one delegate for each Faculty, a second delegate for each Faculty having thirty or more full time members and an additional delegate for every forty full-time members beyond the number of thirty; two delegates elected by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences to represent baccalaureate programs of the School of Arts and Sciences. In addition, voting members shall include the Associate Provost, University Libraries and one professional librarian elected by the professional library staff, two graduate students appointed by the Graduate Student Association, and three undergraduate students appointed by the Undergraduate Student Government, who shall have full voting rights as Academic Senators except in passing upon the qualifications of faculty members proposed for rank or tenure. Delegates elected to the Academic Senate by the several Faculties shall hold office for a period of three years. They may be re- elected. Student delegates shall be elected annually.
In the election of Faculty Delegates to the Senate, all full time Faculty members are eligible for election and each has a deliberative vote. Faculty delegates to the Trustees shall be ex officio, non-voting members of the Academic Senate. The Registrar shall be an ex-officio, non-voting member of the Academic Senate. The Academic Senate may annually by a two thirds vote invite non-voting participation by such persons it deems will contribute to its effectiveness.
The Academic Senate shall annually elect a Chairman and a Vice Chairman from among its voting membership, except that the President of the University shall be ineligible for election.
The duties of the Chairman are to preside over the Senate, and to exercise his right to vote when his vote would decide the outcome of an issue, or in all cases of secret ballot. The President of the University and the Chairman, or at his written request, the Vice Chairman, shall be ex officio members of all committees.
The duties of the Vice Chairman are to prepare an agenda, to preside at all meetings in the absence of the Chairman, and to be a member of the Committee on Committees and Rules.
The Academic Senate shall elect annually one of its members as Secretary. The election of Senate officers shall be held at the second meeting of each academic year.
The Academic Senate shall meet at least once each month during the academic year, and in addition when either the President, the Chairman, or one third of the Senate requests a meeting. All meetings shall be conducted according to the current edition of Robert's Rules of Order, with the addition that, unless two thirds of the members present and in no case less than a majority of the membership agree to suspend the rule, no substantive matter shall be acted upon which has not been presented to the membership at least one week in advance of the meeting at which action is to be taken.
The Academic Senate may consider any matter which it deems to involve the welfare of the University.
The Senate, through the President, may present to the Board of Trustees such matters as it may consider proper. The report of any action of the Board on these matters shall be made to the Senate by the President.
No School, Department or like organizational component shall be created, rearranged, or terminated without the prior consultative vote of the Senate.
It shall be the responsibility of the Academic Senate to authorize, review, and terminate programs of study and to evaluate the academic standards of existing programs.
The Academic Senate shall determine minimum academic standards and policies of admission, and insure the application of these.
The Academic Senate shall determine the minimum requirements for degrees and shall approve the names of all candidates for academic degrees.
The Academic Senate shall set the minimum standards for faculty appointments, promotions, and tenure.
The Academic Senate, after consultation with the Department, School, and Dean concerned, shall pass upon the academic qualifications of all persons proposed for appointment or promotion to the ranks of Associate Professor and Ordinary Professor, and upon all persons proposed for tenured positions.
The Academic Senate shall communicate its decision on appointments, promotions, and tenure to the President for implementation, and where appropriate for transmission by him to the Board of Trustees. In the event that the President or the Board of Trustees fails to implement the decision of the Senate, the Senate may request a joint committee of the Senate and the Trustees to review the matter.
The enactments of the Senate require the President's approval for validity. If this is not forthcoming, the Senate may require by subsequent vote that the matter be submitted to the Board of Trustees.
It is the responsibility of the delegates to the Academic Senate to report the actions of the Senate to their respective constituents. Article XVI The Academic Senate shall maintain and empower standing committees which shall report periodically to the Senate. In addition, it may appoint special committees.
There shall be a Graduate Board to exercise general supervision over all matters delegated to it by the Academic Senate relating to graduate study; for example, standards of admission, requirements for degrees, and programs of study, and to report to the Senate recommendations on matters relating to graduate policy. Its Chairman shall be the Dean of Graduate Studies.
Members are appointed by the Senate upon joint recommendation of the Dean of Graduate Studies and the Dean of the School concerned. Each School involved with Graduate Studies shall be represented on this Board by a number of members equal to its number of Faculty delegates in the Senate. The terms of membership shall coincide with those of the delegates to the Senate. Deans shall be eligible for membership on the Graduate Board.
There shall be an Undergraduate Board to exercise general supervision over all matters delegated to it by the Academic Senate relating to undergraduate study (for example, standards of admission, requirements for degrees, and programs of study). The Undergraduate Board shall report to the Academic Senate recommendations on matters relating to undergraduate policy. The Vice Provost and Dean for Undergraduate Studies shall chair the Undergraduate Board.
The Academic Senate appoints members to the Undergraduate Board upon joint recommendation of the Vice Provost and Dean for Undergraduate Studies and the Dean of the School concerned. Each school involved with undergraduate education shall be represented on this Board by a number of members equal to its number of Faculty delegates in the Academic Senate. The terms of membership shall coincide with those of the delegates to the Senate. Deans shall be eligible for membership on the Undergraduate Board.
A revision or amendment of this Constitution may be made by a two thirds majority of the members of the Senate present and voting, subject to ratification by the Board of Trustees, provided that the proposed revision or amendment is submitted and circulated to the membership two weeks in advance of the meeting at which action is to be taken.