Faculty Senate Constitution

Revised February 2018

The Faculty Senate of Georgetown University has been established for the purpose of ensuring full faculty participation in matters of general University interest by sharing responsibility with the University Board of Directors and Administration in the conduct of University affairs.

1. Functions of the Senate

  1. The Senate shall have authority to discuss and express its views on any matter of general University interest, and to make recommendations to the President and Board of Directors, and to the University faculty.
  2. The Senate shall discharge its functions as a body or through committees or persons duly delegated to act for it.
  3. The Senate shall advise the President and Board of Directors on:
    1. Any proposed revision to the Faculty Handbook;
    2. Conditions of academic freedom and responsibility, including recommendations of desirable standards and grievance procedures;
    3. Standards for rank and tenure, including appointment and promotion procedures;
    4. Faculty governance policies and practices at the University level; and
    5. University-wide faculty sabbatical leave procedures and policies.
  4. The Senate may make recommendations about other matters, including, but not limited to:
    1. Appointment of the University President, Executive Vice Presidents of the campuses (the Main Campus, Medical Center, and Law Center), and Deans of schools;
    2. Procedures for the selection of Department Chairs or heads of similar units;
    3. Tracks or frameworks for non-tenureline faculty;
    4. Faculty governance policies and practices at the campus or school level;
    5. The University’s budget, financial status, and financial policies, informed by examination of the University’s financial statements and plans;
    6. Grants and gifts of general University interest;
    7. Faculty research grant procedures and policies;
    8. Faculty and staff salaries, retirement plans, and fringe benefits;
    9. Facilities, including physical campus plans;
    10. University convocations;
    11. Honorary degrees; and
    12. Educational and student affairs of general interest.

2. Membership

  1. The Senate shall be composed of the following voting members:
    1. Seventy-five faculty members elected by the campuses, as set out in paragraph E.2.b below;
    2. One designee appointed by the University President;
    3. Seven administrative office-holders:
      1. The Executive Vice Presidents of the three campuses;
      2. The Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences;
      3. One Dean from the Medical Center selected by the EVP; and
      4. Two Main Campus School Deans, selected annually by the Main Campus Council of Deans.
      5. The administrative officers may send designees to act in their place.
  2. Main Campus faculty shall elect 45 members of the Senate from the Main Campus, the Medical Center faculty shall elect 20 members from the Medical Center, and the Law Center faculty shall elect 10 members from the Law Center.
  3. With regard to Senate elections and membership, faculty in the School of Nursing and Health Studies are considered Main Campus faculty.

3. Eligibility

  1. All faculty members with full-time non-visiting appointments shall be eligible to vote in elections for the Senate, and to serve as members of the Senate, provided they are either employed by the University or appointed to a Scholar or Educator track for non-employees.
  2. Professional librarians are considered faculty members of their respective campuses for purposes of this Constitution.
  3. Eligibility is not terminated by leaves of absence.

4.  Election Procedure

  1. Elections shall be held annually on each campus during the spring semester to fill vacant or expiring seats in the Senate.
  2. Nominations for election to the Senate shall be in writing and bear the signatures of the nominee and five other qualified voters from the nominee’s campus.
  3. Within each campus, the candidates receiving the highest number of votes shall be considered elected up to the number of vacant and expiring seats for that campus. A tie shall be decided by lot.
  4. The Senate Vice President from each campus shall appoint annually the election officer(s) for that campus. It shall be the duty of the election officer(s) to certify qualified voters, to receive nominations, and to certify winning candidates.

5. Terms

  1. The term for elected members of the Senate shall be three years.
  2. When a Senate vacancy occurs between elections, either temporarily due to sabbaticals or leaves of absence or permanently because of retirement, resignations or other causes, the vacancy shall be filled from the same campus by the runner-up in the most recent Senate election. When there is no runner-up or when the runner-up is unable or unwilling to serve, the vacancy shall be filled by the campus Caucus.

6. Officers and Steering Committee

  1. The Senate shall elect biennially from its membership, at the first regular meeting following election of new Senators, a President, a Vice President from each campus, and a Secretary-Treasurer. Officers are eligible to serve only when they are members of the Senate. A Nominating Committee shall be appointed by the Steering Committee subject to confirmation by the Senate. Nominations for these officers may be made by the Nominating Committee and/or from the floor. In the event that a vacancy occurs, there shall be a special election.
  2. The Steering Committee shall be composed of the following voting members:
    1. The Senate officers;
    2. The University President’s designee;
    3. The campus Executive Vice Presidents;
    4. Other members appointed by the Senate officers and the University President’s designee, subject to confirmation by the Senate.

    The EVPs may send a designee to Steering Committee meetings to act in their place.

  3. The Senate President chairs the Steering Committee, sets the annual schedule for Senate and Steering Committee meetings, and manages the Senate budget and administrative staff. The Senate President may delegate a Senate Vice President or the Secretary-Treasurer to act temporarily in his or her place.
  4. The Secretary-Treasurer is responsible for preparing minutes of Senate and Steering Committee meetings and ensuring that they are properly approved and recorded. The Senate President may delegate management of the Senate budget to the Secretary-Treasurer.
  5. The Steering Committee shall have the following authority:
    1. To receive communications from any member of the University community concerning matters to be put upon the agenda of the Senate;
    2. To establish the agenda for Senate meetings, excepting that:
      1. Any member of the Senate may, at a meeting of the Senate, ask the body to consider a particular matter;
      2. Any member of the University community may ask the body to consider a matter during an open forum portion of the meeting set in the agenda.
    3. To appoint standing and special committees of the Senate, and refer matters to them. Standing committees are free to take up matters on their own initiative.
    4. To appoint, subject to confirmation by the Senate:
      1. One member to the executive faculties (the principal academic policy-making bodies) of the campuses and schools, unless the campus caucus or school faculty is the policy-making body;
      2. One member to other standing and special faculty committees whose jurisdiction and membership are university-wide;
      3. Two members to faculty committees established by the University President or the Executive Vice-President for the Medical Center, including search committees for Executive Vice Presidents and School Deans; and
      4. To call special meetings of the Senate.

7. Senate Meetings

  1. Senate meetings are chaired by the Senate President, or by another Senate officer designated by the Senate President.
  2. A quorum shall consist of 40 percent of the membership of the Senate attending in person or electronically. Business may be conducted in the absence of a quorum unless a quorum is called by any member of the Senate.
  3. Only voting members who are in attendance in person or electronically may vote on motions made during a meeting. Proxy and absentee voting is not permitted, except that designees acting in place of voting administrative officers may vote.
  4. Senate meetings are open to all members of the University community.
  5. Special meetings shall be convened by the Senate President upon written request by ten Senate members, or upon request from the University President or an Executive Vice President.
  6. Unless there is an emergency, meetings shall be called at least two weeks before the date of the meeting; the call shall be in writing and contain the proposed agenda.

8. Campus Caucuses

The Senate members elected by each campus, and any other faculty appointed by those members, form the campus Caucus.

  1. The Senate Vice President of each campus shall call and chair meetings of its Caucus unless the Caucus elects another chair.
  2. The Caucuses shall establish their own agendas.

9. Faculty Meetings

  1. The Senate President may call and chair university-wide faculty meetings, and must do so on receipt of a petition from forty full-time members of the faculty.
  2. The Vice-Presidents of each campus may call and chair meetings of their campus faculty, and must do so on receipt of a petition from twenty-five full-time members of their campus faculty.

10. Rules of Order

  1. The Senate, as well as its Steering Committee, Caucuses, and appointed committees, shall establish and may amend rules of procedure not specified in this Constitution by majority vote.
  2. In matters not regulated by this Constitution or by the rules of procedure established by the relevant body, meetings of the Senate, its Steering Committee, Caucuses, and appointed committees shall be conducted according to Robert’s Rules of Order Revised. The chair or presiding officer of the body may appoint a parliamentarian.

11. Amendment Procedure

Amendments to the Constitution shall become effective after having been:

  1. Approved by two-thirds of the members present and voting at a meeting of the Senate;
  2. Submitted for a vote via secret ballot to all faculty with full-time non-visiting appointments, and approved on each campus by a majority of those voting; and
  3. Approved by the University President and Board of Directors.

E. Faculty Senate Constitution

(Amended May 1993)

1. The Georgetown University Faculty Senate

There is hereby established a Senate of Georgetown University, for the purpose of insuring full Faculty participation in matters of general University interest by sharing responsibility with the University Board of Directors and Administration in the conduct of University affairs.

2. Functions of the Senate

  1. The Senate shall have authority to discuss and express its views on any matter of general University interest, and to make recommendations to the President and Board of Directors, and to the University Faculties. The Senate shall discharge its functions as a body or through committees or persons duly delegated to act for it.
  2. Matters may be brought before the Senate by the President or Board of Directors, and the Executive Faculties; University Committees; on petition of any Faculty member or groups of Faculty members; and on the Senate’s own initiative. The Senate shall at all times control its own agenda.
  3. The Senate shall participate in University affairs including the following areas:
    1. Educational affairs of general University interest;
    2. The determination of conditions of academic freedom and responsibility, including the recommendations of desirable standards and grievance procedures;
    3. The formulation and application of standards for rank and tenure, including appointment and promotion procedures and grievance procedures;
    4. University governance, including consultation with the Board of Directors concerning the appointment of the University President, Executive Vice Presidents of the three constituent Faculties, and Academic Deans, and recommendation of appropriate procedures for the selection of Departmental Chairmen;
    5. The University budget, including examination of budgets and consultation with respect to the University’s financial status and policies;
    6. Grants of general University interest;
    7. Faculty and staff salaries, retirement plans, and fringe benefits, including periodic reviews of salary and benefit standards and ranges;
    8. Faculty research grant and sabbatical leave procedures and policies;
    9. Student affairs, including liaison with the Office of Student Affairs and with student governments, and recommendations regarding student concerns;
    10. Physical plant and facilities including planning development;
    11. University convocations, including recommendations concerning honorary degrees.

3. Membership

  1. The Senate shall be composed of seventy-five elective members from three constituent Faculties, as set out in Paragraph E.3.b, below and of the following “ex-officio” members: the Executive Vice Presidents of the three constituent Faculties, as set out in Paragraph E.3.b, below; the Senior Vice President; and four Main Campus Deans, selected annually by the Main Campus Council of Deans, the other members of the Council being designated as alternates, with full privileges of Senate membership in the absence of any of the four.
  2. The elective members shall be apportioned among the three constituent Faculties; the Main Campus, the Medical Center, and the Law Center. The distribution shall be: Main Campus, 45, including at least 2 each from the School of Nursing and Health Studies, the School of Business, the School of Languages and Linguistics, Georgetown College, and the School of Foreign Service; Medical Center, 20, Law Center 10. The Senate shall at reasonable intervals re-examine the apportionments.

4. Election Procedure

All full-time Faculty members with at least one year of full-time service at the University shall be eligible to vote in elections for the Senate, and to serve as members of the Senate.

  1. Nominations for seats in the Senate, for full terms or for unexpired terms in the event of vacancies, shall be in writing and bear the signatures of five qualified votes in the constituency of which the nominee is a member of the Faculty.
  2. Within each constituency the candidates receiving the highest number of votes shall be considered elected, except that in accordance with E.3.b, the School of Nursing, the School of Business Administration, the Faculty of Languages and Linguistics, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the School of Foreign Service, shall have a minimum of two representatives each at all times. A tie shall be decided by lot.
  3. Elections shall be held annually in the spring semester for one-third of the seats in the Senate in each constituency and for the filling of any vacancies.
  4. For the first election to the Senate, the Chairman of the Provisional Assembly shall appoint an Election Commission representative of the three constituencies, to conduct the election in accordance with the provisions stated above. Thereafter, the Presiding Officer of the Senate shall appoint annually the Election Commission. It shall be the duty of the Election Commission to certify lists of qualified voters, to receive nomination petitions, and certify winning candidates. Vacancies shall be filled at the next regular election.

5. TERMS

  1. The term for elected members of the Senate shall be three years.
  2. At the first convening of the Senate, following the first election, Senators from each constituency shall be divided by lot into three equal groups, one group to serve for one year, one for two years, and one for three years. Thereafter, all terms shall be for three years.
  3. Members elected in 1971 shall draw for terms of one, two and three years, the number of each being such as to preserve the constitutional provision that one-third of the Senate in each constituency shall be elected annually.
  4. When a Senate vacancy occurs, either temporarily due to sabbaticals or leaves of absence or permanently because of retirement, resignations or other causes, the vacancy shall be filled by the runner-up in the most recent Senate election as determined by the Senate Election Committee. When there is no runner-up or when the runner-up is unable or unwilling to serve, the vacancy shall be filled by the respective Caucuses.

6. Officers and Steering Committee

  1. The Senate shall elect, biennially, from its membership, at the first regular meeting following election of new Senators, a President, three Vice Presidents, (one from each of the three constituent faculties), and a Secretary-Treasurer. Nominations for these officers may be made by a Nominating Committee and from the floor. In the event that a vacancy occurs, there shall be a special election.
  2. The five officers, the Executive Vice President of the Main Campus, and a second ex-officio member of the Senate, appointed by the President of the University, shall appoint the chairmen of the Senate’s standing committees subject to confirmation by the Senate, who, with the officers, and the two ex-officio members, shall serve as the Steering Committee of the Senate.
  3. The Steering Committee shall have the following authority:
    1. To receive communications concerning matters to be put upon the agenda of the Senate;
    2. To establish the agenda for Senate meetings, excepting that any member of the Senate may, at a meeting of the Senate, ask the body to consider a particular matter;
    3. To refer appropriate matters to the Standing Committees of the Senate, which standing committees shall be free to take up matters on their initiative;
    4. To select members of the standing and special committees of the Senate;
    5. To designate a member or members of the Senate to serve as representatives to the Executive Faculties of the University, the designation of such representatives being subject to confirmation by the Senate;
    6. Subject to confirmation by the Senate, to appoint members of standing and special committees whose jurisdiction and membership are university-wide, including at least half the membership of the Rank and Tenure Committee, the others being appointed the President of the University. For major committees serving more than one Department or School, the Steering Committee shall appoint two voting members, subject to Senate confirmation, the remainder being selected as the President of the University shall designate. In making appointments to University committees, the Steering Committee shall insofar as appropriate give representation to each of the three constituencies.
    7. To call special meetings of the Senate;
    8. To manage the budget of the Senate.

7. Senate Committees

  1. The standing committees of the Senate shall include:
    1. The Committee on Educational Affairs, whose jurisdiction shall extend to matters described in E.2.c.i,vi,viii,xi. ii. The Committee on Academic Freedom and Responsibility, whose jurisdiction shall extent to E.2.c.ii and iii. iii. The Committee on University Governance, with jurisdiction over E.2.c.iv. iv. The Committee on University Budget and Finance, with jurisdiction over E.2.c.v. v. The Committee on Faculty and Staff Salaries, Retirement Plans, and Fringe Benefits, with jurisdiction over E.2.c.vii. vi. The Committee on Student Affairs, with jurisdiction over E.2.c.ix. vii. The Committee on Physical Facilities, with jurisdiction over E.2.c.x.
    2. By majority of those present and voting, the Senate may constitute special committees, and may add to or abolish standing committees.
    3. The Senate shall elect, biennially, a Nominating Committee for the selection of officers.

8. Procedure

  1. A quorum shall consist of 40 percent of the membership of the Senate.
  2. No member shall have more than one vote.
  3. The Senate shall establish and may amend its rules of procedure by majority vote.
  4. In matters not regulated by this constitution or by the Senate’s rules of procedure, Robert’s Rules of Order Revised shall be the parliamentary authority. The President of the Senate may appoint a parliamentarian.

9. Meetings

  1. The Senate shall hold four (4) regular meetings during each academic year: one in October, one in December, one in February, and one in April.
  2. Special meetings may be convened by the President or–in his absence–by one of the Vice Presidents.
  3. Special meetings shall be convened by the President upon written request by ten members, or upon request from an Executive Vice President of the three constituent Faculties.
  4. Unless there is an emergency, the calling of a meeting shall be made at least two weeks before the date of the meeting; the call shall be in writing and contain the proposed agenda.
  5. Constituent Campus Faculty Meetings. A meeting of the Main Campus, Medical Center or Law Center full-time Faculty, may be called, for the discussion of issues of interest to that Faculty in the following two ways:
    1. By the Officers of the Faculty Senate. Notice of no less than ten days shall be given in the call, and the issue(s) specified as explicitly as possible. OR
    2. On petition of twenty-five full-time members of the Constituent Campus Faculty addressed to the President of the University Faculty Senate. Upon receipt of such a petition, the President of the Senate shall call such a Faculty meeting no later than two weeks from the date of receipt of the petition. The petition should be as specific as possible concerning the issue(s) to be discussed.
  6. The President of the Senate, or in his/her absence or illness, one of the three Vice Presidents of the Senate, or in the event of their being unable to act, the Chairman of the Main Campus Caucus of the Senate, shall preside over the Faculty meeting.

10. Amendment Procedure

Amendments to the Constitution shall become effective after having been adopted by two-thirds of the members present and voting, and approved by the President and Board of Directors of the University, and by a majority vote of the full-time Faculties with at least one year of service.

11. Ratification

  1. Ratification of this Constitution requires:
    1. Approval by a two-thirds majority of those members of the Provisional Assembly present and voting called to consider the Constitution;
    2. Approval by the President and Board of Directors of the University;
    3. Approval by a majority voting in each of the three constituencies in a referendum on the Constitution. Qualifications for voters shall be in the same as in E.4.a. As a constituency ratifies the Constitution, it shall be in effect in that constituency.
  2. When ratified, the Constitution shall become a part of the Statutes of the University, and shall appear in an appendix to the Faculty Handbook.