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3.7.5 Responsibilities and Authority of Faculty PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 03 September 2009 13:58

3.7.5     Responsibilities and Authority of Faculty

The institution publishes policies on the responsibility and authority of faculty in academic and governance matters.

Responsible Unit: Division of Academic Affairs/Faculty Senate

Compliance Judgment



At any educational institution, the faculty has a primary responsibility for the quality of the educational program.   This is accomplished not solely due to the presence of a highly qualified faculty, but in their participation as advisors in academics matters and their active participation and willingness to accept the responsibilities of shared institutional governance.  The NC A&T Faculty Handbook is the primary resource for published policies on the responsibility and authority of faculty in academic and governance matters.  The NC A&T Faculty Senate is the main body of faculty governance.   

As a constituent institution of the University of North Carolina (UNC), The Code, Section 203 [1] appoints to the Board of Governors the responsibility "for the general determination, control, supervision, and management and governance of all affairs of the constituent institutions."   The Code, Section 502D(2), [2] assigns to the chancellor the responsibility for "ensuring the  establishment of a council or senate... to provide the faculty the means to give advice with respect to academic policies and institutional governance, with particular emphasis upon matters of curriculum, degree requirements, instructional standards, and grading criteria." In April 2005, the Faculty Assembly of the University of North Carolina adopted a Standards of Shared Governance [3] which serves as a template for the essential standards of governance on the sixteen campuses of the constituent institutions of the UNC System.  This document addresses issues of meetings, membership, officers, elections, procedural matters, resources, and powers of the Faculty Senate.  Furthermore, in the section on Faculty Governance Responsibilities, this document clearly articulates the duties and responsibilities attendant to faculty governance. Addressed are issues related to the responsibility of the faculty to codify and publish its legislative and consultative powers, faculty responsibility for the curriculum and academic policies prior to their implementation, and the responsibility and role of faculty regarding all policies relating to reappointment, tenure, promotion and post-tenure review.   The cooperative relationship which should exist between the administration and the faculty is addressed in the section entitled, Administration-Faculty Collegiality.  To that end, it expresses that the Chancellor should be an effective advocate for the principles of shared governance to the Board of Trustees, should consult in a timely way and seek meaningful faculty input related to issues in which faculty has an appropriate interest but not primary responsibility, and the Chancellor should sustain the recommendations of faculty tenure, hearings and grievance committees.  It is within these guidelines that the NCA&T Faculty Handbook, Chapter IV Faculty Governance addresses the issue of faculty governance and publishes the articles and policies pertaining thereto [4].  The Faculty Handbook is made available in a hardcopy to new faculty hires through the Office of the Provost/Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs.  It is also available on-line through the NC A&T Provost/Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs home page [5].  The Code/Policy Manual is available through the UNC Board of Governors homepage and the Standards of Shared Governance, through the UNC Faculty Assembly homepage.

In the NC A&T Faculty Handbook chapter on Faculty Governance, Article I establishes the authority of faculty governance, Article II its purposes, and Article III, the name.  Article IV establishes the Faculty Senate as the premiere body of institutional faculty governance and as the legislative body of the faculty, describes its membership, and states the responsibilities and rules of its operation [4].  One senator and an alternate, elected from each academic department, the School of Graduate Studies, and the library constitutes the membership of the Faculty Senate.  The Chancellor and the Provost/Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs serve as ex officio members.  The Faculty Senate is primarily advisory making recommendations regarding admissions, curricula and undergraduate and graduate programs and policies that impact them, the establishment or discontinuance of undergraduate or graduate degree programs, and issues of  long-term and short-term planning for academic growth and development of the University.  Associated with its critical role in assuring the quality of the educational program, the Faculty Senate's Committee on New Programs and Curricula reviews, analyzes, and must approve all proposed curricular changes and new programs recommended by academic departments [6].

Faculty members further exercise their responsibility in academic matters and governance by service on Committees of the Faculty or other university-wide committees.   A listing of the Committees of the Faculty and the duties and membership of each are addressed in Chapter V of the Faculty Handbook [7].  Only tenured, elected faculty may serve on The Faculty Re-appointments, Promotions, and Tenure committees at the department, school/college, and/or university level.  Department chairpersons, division directors, school/college deans, or other administrative officers may not serve on these committees.   Other committees to which faculty are elected include the Post-Tenure Review, Faculty Grievances, and Hearing and Reconsideration committees.  The Faculty Handbook lists 24 Committees of the Faculty to which members may be appointed by recommendation from the Faculty Senate.  They include among others, Admissions and Retention, Affirmative Action, Awards and Honorary Degrees, Futures Planning and Resource Council, and the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.  It is the responsibility of the Faculty Senator, or his alternate if he was in attendance at the meeting, to provide information regarding Faculty Senate deliberations to departmental faculty.  This is generally provided in written form through e-mail attachments and as oral and written reports at departmental meetings.  Copies of the minutes and actions taken by the Faculty Senate are deposited in the Office of the Provost/Vice Chancellor for Academic affairs and in the Reserves section of the Library [8] [9].  As expressed earlier, the Faculty Assembly is the UNC system wide body for faculty governance and is comprised of faculty representatives from each of the constituent institutions.  The number of delegates is proportional to the percent that full-time faculty and professional staff members of the constituent institution comprises of the total full-time faculty and professional staff members system wide, Sec. II, Par. 1 of the Charter [10].   The By-laws stipulate that the Assembly will meet at least five times during the academic year, at General Administration in Chapel Hill, NC [11].

The UNC Faculty Assembly was created in 1972 when all 16 public institutions of higher learning were placed under one Board of Governors and the UNC system was created.   The Charter for the Assembly was ratified in October 1972.  The membership is comprised of elected representatives from each constituent institution.  There are four academic standing committees, Academic Freedom, Promotion and Tenure, Faculty Development and Welfare, and Academic Programs and Research.  Support committees are responsible for keeping faculty informed of UNC system, UNC campuses, and national priorities and in setting assembly priorities for action.   The Governance Committee, a support committee, covers issues relating to the Charter and By-Laws of the Assembly and reviews and makes recommendations on matters of university governance.  The meeting agenda, meeting minutes and resolutions of the Assembly are posted on the Assembly's website.  An Annual Report of the Assembly's activities is developed each year [12]. The Faculty Assembly has a responsibility to:  (1) gather and exchange information on behalf of the faculties of the constituent institutions of the University of North Carolina, (2) advise the Board of Governors, the General Assembly and other entities regarding matters of university-wide importance, and (3) advise and communicate with the President of the University of North Carolina with regard to the interest of the faculties.  In that regard, included is a presentation on Shared Governance, made by the President of the Faculty Assembly, Judith Wegner, to the NC A&T Faculty Senate [13] and of other Faculty Assembly documents including: Survey on Shared Governance on the 16 UNC Campuses, a report from the Report and Recommendations Committee on Non-Tenure Track Faculty which was presented to the Personnel and Tenure Committee UNC Board of Governors, and a Faculty Assembly resolution regarding the Assembly's response to the UNC Tomorrow report [14] [15] [16].  The UNC Tomorrow initiative is the University's model for strategic planning for the future [17].

NC A&T faculty members take responsibility for and actively participate in matters of academic and faculty governance at all levels beginning with the course, curricula, and program decisions initiated at the departmental or unit level.  Faculty participate at the department, school and college level on curricula committees, and re-appointment, promotion and tenure committees among others.  Some larger academic units have more formalized academic program committees. In other smaller departments, the entire departmental faculty engage and function as a group on such issues.  Each school or college has a curriculum committee which reviews and approves all course and curricular changes before they are sent forth to the Faculty Senate for action and approval.  Similarly, the initial responsibility for recommendations regarding selection of faculty rests with departmental faculty.   The university faculty plays a role in setting admissions standards, in grievance hearings, in selection of the Chancellor, in setting a vision for the future of the University, for example.   This is probably best appreciated by a listing of the many University committees and their functions [7].  Nonetheless, the widespread and active participation of faculty in university governance is expected.  The regulations and policies which inform and guide compliance with this principle are published in various departmental, school or college documents, accreditation requirements, the NC A&T Faculty Handbook, Standards of Shared Governance of the UNC Faculty Assembly UNC and The Code of the Board of Governors [4] [3] [2].

Supporting Documents

[1UNC-GA, Code, Chapter  II, Section 203

[2]  UNC, GA, Code, Chapter  V, Section 502D

[3] UNC-GA, Faculty Assembly, Standards of Shared Governance

[4Faculty Handbook, Chapter IV, Faculty Governance

[5Academic Affairs, Provost/Vice Chancellor, Homepage

[6Faculty Handbook, Committee On New Programs and Curricula

[7Faculty Handbook, Chapter V, Committees of the Faculty

[8Faculty Senate,  Report, New Programs Curricular Committee

[9Faculty Senate, Meeting Agenda, Shared Governance

[10NC General Assembly, Charter

[11]  NC General Assembly, By-Laws

[12NC General Assembly, Annual Report, 2008-09

[13NC General Assembly, PowerPoint Presentation, Shared Governance

[14NC General Assembly, Survey on Shared Governance on the 16 UNC Campuses

[15NC General Assembly, Report to Board of Governors, Non-Tenure Faculty

[16UNC Tomorrow,  Faculty Assembly

[17UNC Tomorrow, Home Page

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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 16 February 2010 15:49 )

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