University Faculty Committees


The University faculty committee structure is designed to provide for a coherent University-wide system of shared governance on matters delegated to the faculty (see §2.2.1), while also ensuring active input from the colleges and providing colleges the autonomy to develop as they see fit. In general, the University faculty committees handle matters of central import to the University’s academic mission and to general faculty and student welfare. The faculty committees established by the University Faculty Council consist of three types: standing, faculty advisory, and ad hoc. The University standing committees and faculty advisory committees report to the University Faculty Council and may be established or eliminated only by the UFC (see § Other University committees on which faculty may serve include administrative advisory committees, boards, and councils (see sections 2.4.4-2.4.7). Service on University committees is a service obligation and provides the faculty member with an opportunity to shape University policy and participate directly in the shared governance of the University. No faculty member should be burdened with excessive committee responsibilities. Usually, two concurrent University committee assignments, one standing committee, and either one faculty advisory committee or one ad hoc committee, constitute the maximum University committee service expected of an individual faculty member.

2.4.1  Organization of University Standing Committees and Committees   University faculty committee members representing each college will be selected by procedures determined by the faculty of the respective colleges. The selection of at-large members is coordinated by the University Faculty Organization Committee. A faculty member may be not be appointed or elected as an at-large representative to more than one standing committee. As specified in their charges (§§2.6 and 2.8), these committees may include ex officio members and/or student members. Voting privileges do not extend to any ex officio members of these committees. Election or appointment of the at-large faculty members of these committees is scheduled by the UFOC as specified in sections 2.5 and 2.7. Each committee shall convene an organizational meeting, prior to the last class day of the current academic year, at which a quorum of the newly constituted committee is present. The purpose of the organizational meeting is to elect officers for the following year; only those individuals who will serve on the committee the following year may vote for officers. Each committee elects a chair and a secretary, and other officers as needed to carry out its duties and notifies the Chair of the University Faculty Council and the Chair of the University Faculty Organization Committee by May 1 of the new officers. The chair must be a voting member of the committee. The secretary may be a voting member or an ex officio member. Ideally, chairs shall have served at least one year on the committee prior to election as chair. No member may serve as chair for more than two years during any single term of service.

2.4.2 Authority of University Standing Committees and Other Committees   These committees have the authority to consider matters delegated to the faculty under section 2.2 of this Handbook and to carry out their duties as defined in sections 2.6 and 2.8. In most matters, these committees report to the UFC (see §, and their actions become final upon approval by the UFC. When a committee’s charge so specifies, its decisions in carefully defined areas are binding unless overruled by specific action of the President, the UFC, or a decision in a meeting of the general faculty (see §2.1).

2.4.3  Meetings of University Standing and Other Committees   University faculty committees consider issues mandated by their written charges or in response to motions made at meetings of the UFC. Additional items of business for consideration at any meeting of these committees may be brought, in writing, to the appropriate committee chair by the UFC, the college governing bodies, related committees of the colleges, individual members of the UMW faculty, or administrators of related offices. The committee’s decisions in response to such items of business shall be communicated to the individual or body that initiated the item of business and recorded in the committee’s minutes. In carrying out their business, University committees should be mindful of the constraints imposed by the overall University governance structure and approval timelines. Because the main task of these committees is to advise the UFC, each such committee is obligated to deal promptly with issues referred to it by the UFC. Meeting Schedules    University committees determine their own meeting schedules.  Committee meetings should be coordinated with the UFC and the college faculty meeting schedule that is developed by the Provost’s office in collaboration the UFC leadership and the presiding officers of the college governing bodies. The schedule of UFC and college governing body meetings is announced by July 1 of each year.  The committee chairs will announce the schedule for their meetings no later than August 30 each year.  Each committee’s meeting schedule must be published and communicated to all faculty, preferably by posting of the meeting dates on the committee’s web page.  Announcements of a committee’s meeting place and time must be communicated to all committee members no later than one week prior to the meeting date.  Any changes from the established meeting schedule must be communicated at least one week in advance to all committee members, to the UFC chair, and to the presiding officers of the college governing bodies.  Each University committee must conduct a meeting of record at least once during the academic year. Special Meetings    Special meetings of record of the standing and faculty advisory committees may be called by their chairs or by any two voting members of the committee. Notice of special meetings of record should be issued to committee members, to the Chair of the UFC, and to the presiding officers of the college governing bodies at least one week in advance. Rules of Order    In order to have consistency among the standing and faculty advisory committees, all such committees should follow consistent rules of order to the extent possible. The general rules of order should be as follows:

.1 The chair shall convene the meeting, and the secretary shall record the minutes.

.2 A simple majority of the voting members of the committee shall constitute a quorum.

.3 An agenda of items to be addressed at the meeting should be communicated to the members at least three days prior to the meeting.

.4 Attendance at committee meetings is to be open to all faculty, administrators, and students, except during required closed sessions. If a committee is required by any provision in this Handbook to meet in closed session, this will be reflected in the minutes of the meeting.

.5 Unless otherwise stated, Robert’s Rules of Order, as recently revised, should be used for the process of business. Reporting    Actions and decisions of the standing and faculty advisory committees, including all motions passed by the committee, must be reported in writing to the Chair of the UFC for inclusion in the UFC agenda. Within 10 working days after a committee meets, it must submit a report or minutes containing the motions passed and summarizing any other actions taken and decisions rendered by the committee since its previous report to the UFC.  All such documents must be posted on each committee’s respective page on the University Faculty Governance website by the required deadline in order to provide the University community and the college governing bodies the opportunity to submit advice and comments to the UFC. When appropriate, courtesy copies of any reports from the committees to University administrators shall be sent to the Chair of the UFC. If so requested by the UFC chair, a committee’s chair shall also present an oral report to the UFC. Unless otherwise specified in section 2.6 or 2.8, no action by a committee may be implemented until it has been accepted at a UFC meeting. Actions of these committees stand subject to a call for review by any member of the UFC during the meeting at which they are announced. Prior to the end of each fiscal year (June 30), secretaries of these committees must deposit copies of committee minutes for the previous academic year in the University Archives. Subcommittees  A standing committee or faculty advisory committee may form a subcommittee for a particular purpose if it cannot, for practical reasons, consider a matter under its normal purview as a full committee. If a committee forms a subcommittee, it shall record the subcommittee’s membership and duties in its minutes. The subcommittee must have, as voting members, at least two members of the committee that formed it. Additional members of the subcommittee are appointed by the committee that established it. The term of service for any additional subcommittee member ends when the specific issue before the subcommittee is resolved. The chair of the subcommittee must be a member of, and must be appointed by, the committee that formed it. The subcommittee reports directly to the committee that formed it.

2.4.4 University Ad Hoc Committees   Ad hoc committees of faculty are formed for specific purposes to deal with matters that do not fall under the purview of any standing committees or other advisory and special interest committees. The authority and responsibilities of ad hoc committees are defined by the action or ruling that established them. Such committees expire upon the fulfillment of their charge and may in no case continue beyond the second full academic year unless, by vote of the University Faculty Council, their charges are extended. Formation of University Ad Hoc Committees  Ad hoc committees may be formed in one of two ways: (1) the UFC Chair rules that a duly-made and seconded motion in a University Faculty Council meeting must be referred to an ad hoc committee, because the subject matter of the motion does not come under the purview of any standing committee or other University advisory and special interest committee, or (2) the University Faculty Council passes a motion that includes the formation of an ad hoc committee in order to address a matter that does not fall under the purview of any standing committee or faculty advisory committee. A charge describing the membership, duties, and duration of an ad hoc committee must be determined by the UFC, or by the UFOC and communicated in writing to the UFC, before any new ad hoc committee conducts its first meeting. All University ad hoc committees report to the University Faculty Council, and the motion or ruling establishing a given ad hoc committee may also call for reporting to the President, the Provost, or another administrative officer of the University. The establishing motion or ruling may also specify the type of membership for the committee and the method of choosing its members. If the motion does not so specify, the University Faculty Council appoints committee members. If an election process is employed to form an ad hoc committee, the existing time limits for these elections may be shortened to two business days for nominations and three business days from the time the faculty receive the ballots until the election ends. The chair of an ad hoc committee must be a faculty member and be elected by the committee’s members. Minutes of ad hoc committees are taken by the committee secretary, who may be elected by the committee members or appointed by the committee chair. All current and future ad hoc committees’ charges, membership, officers, and terms must be reported to the UFC by using the Ad Hoc Committee form (see Appendix L) for posting on the University Faculty Governance website. Ad Hoc Committee Meetings   Ad hoc committees determine, and submit to the UFC, their meeting schedules as needed to carry out their charges.

2.4.5 Administrative Advisory Committees    An administrative advisory committee is a group which advises an administrator or program director. Such committees, on which faculty may sit, are established by an administrator or program director in consultation with the UFOC. An administrative advisory committee also may be terminated by the appropriate administrator or program director. Authority of Administrative Advisory Committees    Administrative advisory committees do not have authority in any academic area; they merely advise an administrator or program director. The responsibilities of these committees are determined by the administrators or program directors who appoint them. Administrative advisory committees report to administrators or program directors, not to the University Faculty Council. The administrators or program directors report to the University Faculty Council when such a report is warranted. Faculty Participation on Administrative Advisory Committees    Faculty members are not required to sit on administrative advisory committees. Service on such committees does not affect a faculty member’s eligibility for appointment to a standing committee, but it may influence standing committee nominations and appointments in that no faculty member should be burdened with excessive committee responsibilities.

2.4.6 Councils    A presidential council is a group which advises the President. Councils are established by the President and may be terminated by the President. The authority of a council does not duplicate or supersede that of faculty committees. Councils report to the President, not to the University Faculty Council.

2.4.7 Boards   A board is a group which has specific authority in a non-academic area (e.g., Student Conduct Hearing Board).