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3.7.5 Faculty role in governance

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

Judgment of Compliance

Sam Houston State University publishes policies and clearly defines the responsibility and authority of faculty in academic and governance matters as demonstrated in the response to Principle 3.7.4 and by the policies of the university and the actions of the University Faculty Senate and its committees. Faculty input into important decisions is actively and systematically sought. In addition to the University Faculty Senate, faculty play key roles on College and department committees dealing with tenure, promotion, and curricular issues. Although the membership of most University-wide committees are based on recommendations from the University Faculty Senate, faculty may also be called upon by administration to serve on ad hoc committees. Faculty and administration work as partners to provide the best educational experience possible for the student.

The University Faculty Senate
The University assures that faculty determine and govern the course of academic affairs on campus through representation on the University Faculty Senate and on key committees [1] [2]. The University Faculty Senate consists of faculty members elected from each of the five colleges at the university and one representative from the Newton Gresham Library. Persons holding the rank of program coordinator or above are not eligible to serve. The University Faculty Senate, operating independently from the University administration, sets its own agenda and advises the Provost and President. Administrators, faculty, students, and Senators can bring forward items for consideration by the University Faculty Senate. The University Faculty Senate maintains a website to keep faculty informed of its work [1]. The University Faculty Senate Charter and By-laws appear in the Faculty Handbook and on the website [3] [4].

Senate elections are held each spring and terms begin each fall. Each member serves a staggered three-year term. Full-time faculty members designate, in writing, their willingness to be a candidate for election to the Senate. Each college then elects senators from candidates in that unit. All faculty members, full- and part-time, are eligible to vote on Senate membership. If for any reason a member of the Senate cannot serve a full term, the vacancy is filled by the person from that college who received the next highest number of votes. The number of representatives for a given college is proportional to the number of tenure/tenure-track faculty in the unit, as delineated by the University Faculty Senate By-laws [4].

The University Faculty Senate is empowered to establish by-laws and form committees from its members as it deems advisable for carrying out its responsibilities. The Senate meets a minimum of four times each semester during the regular semesters of the academic year.

Senators are assigned to one of four standing committees. The standing committees are the Academic Affairs Committee, the University Affairs Committee, the Faculty Affairs Committee, and the Committee on Committees and Surveys.

Minutes of Senate meetings are posted on the University Faculty Senate website [5]. The Chair of the Senate submits recommendations passed by the Senate to the appropriate administrative officer. The Chair and Chair-elect of the Senate regularly meet with the Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs.

Faculty are invited each spring to indicate to the Committee on Committees of the University Faculty Senate their preferences for service on committees at the University. The University Faculty Senate provides nominations for appointments to most committees as can be seen by the descriptions in the Committee Book located on the University website, and faculty are represented on the vast majority of committees [2]. The University’s Committee Book, updated annually, lists committees and their purposes, the methods of appointment to these committees, methods of reporting, and the makeup of membership, including the number of faculty and a roster of members with the dates on which the terms expire. These committees work closely with the administration and provide advisory services to the Provost and President concerning items such as the budget, strategic planning, curriculum, diversity, grievances, etc. The University Faculty Senate chair also sits on numerous committees working in conjunction with the administration and representing the faculty on these committees. Examples of the important committees on which the University Faculty Senate Chair serves are the Calendar Committee, Budget Committee, Academic Affairs Council and Strategic Planning. The committees’ structures, charges, and membership are all available online in the Committee Book [2].

The curriculum process begins at the departmental level. Individual faculty members may make suggestions about the curriculum to the departmental-level curriculum committee.  The support document provides membership for two departmental curriculum committees [6]. This committee may include all faculty in a department or may consist of a subset of the departmental faculty. This committee reviews the curriculum, makes suggestions to the faculty and chair for changes in existing curriculum, and presents recommendations for new courses and degree programs. The department chair completes a Form A with the department’s curricular recommendations to the College Curriculum Committee [7].

The College Curriculum Committee [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] serves in an advisory capacity to the dean. This committee reviews the requests from departments to ascertain whether the new proposals overlap with other offerings in the college, whether they adhere to the scope and role of the department, and whether they align with the college’s mission. Each college submits a report to the University Curriculum Committee [13].

The University Curriculum Committee consists of eleven members representing each of the five colleges. The charge, membership, and structure of the committee can be found online in the Committee Book [2]. This committee works to review the new curriculum reports submitted from the colleges for academic integrity, lack of duplication, and adherence to the mission of the University. The curriculum process follows the TSUS Rules and Regulations concerning the curriculum procedures [14].

The Faculty Handbook explains briefly the procedure for curricular changes, development, and evaluation [15] [16].

Appointments, reappointments, tenure, promotions, evaluations
It is the policy of Sam Houston State University to initiate the hiring process in the departments. Faculty participate actively in the recruitment and hiring process. Procedures align with The Texas State University System Rules and Regulations Chapter V, Subsection 4.1, 4.2 [17]. Faculty participate in Department Promotion and Tenure Advisory Committees. Membership on these committees that make recommendations to the deans concerning faculty promotion, progress reviews, and tenure is limited to those holding tenure. Committees for promotion to a given academic rank consist only of those who possess that rank or higher. The procedures, composition, and formation of these committees are outlined in the Academic Policy Statement 900417 [18].

Formative review of faculty is an ongoing process. In addition to annual reviews, an extensive review is conducted during the spring semester of the faculty member’s third academic year of probationary service. The procedures for the evaluation of probationary faculty are outlined in Academic Policy Statement 900417 [19]. Faculty also perform post-tenure reviews on tenured colleagues. Every tenured faculty member is given a comprehensive performance evaluation every fifth year after receiving tenure, a promotion, or returning to a faculty position following an administrative assignment. The procedures for post-tenure review are outlined in Academic Policy Statement 980204 [20].

Faculty have the opportunity to evaluate department chairs each year [21] [22]. In addition, the University Faculty Senate provides an annual survey that allows faculty to evaluate the performance of deans, vice presidents, the president, and other administrative officials [23].

Faculty play a governance role in the Academic Grievance process as outlined in Academic Policy Statement 820830 [24]. The Committee that hears a grievance is composed of both administrators and faculty. Membership on this committee is based on recommendations from both the University Faculty Senate and the Academic Policy Council.

All of the policies are available to faculty and students in the Academic Policy Manual available through the Academic Affairs website and the Faculty Handbook [25] [26].

Supporting Documentation
Documentation Reference
Document Title
[1] University Faculty Senate, Webpage
[2] Committee Book, SHSU
[3] University Faculty Senate - Charter
[4] University Faculty Senate - Bylaws
[5] University Faculty Senate - Meeting Minutes Webpage
[6] Curriculum Committees - Department of Biology
[7] Curriculum Report - Department of Family and Consumer Sciences
[8] Curriculum Committee, College of Arts and Sciences
[9] Curriculum Committee, College of Business Administration
[10] Curriculum Committee, College of Education
[11] Curriculum Committee, College of Humanities and Social Sciences
[12] Curriculum Committee, College of Criminal Justice
[13] Curriculum Report - College of Humanities and Social Sciences
[14] The Texas State University System, Rules and Regulations, Chapter III, Section 5.1
[15] Curriculum Changes, Textbook Adoption and Syllabi - Faculty Handbook
[16] Curriculum Development and Evaluation - Faculty Handbook
[17] The Texas State University System, Rules and Regulations, Chapter V, Sections 4.1 and 4.2
[18] Academic Policy Statement 900417 - Faculty Reappointment, Tenure, and Promotion - Excerpt - Department Promotion and Tenure Advisory Committee
[19] Academic Policy Statement 900417 - Faculty Reappointment, Tenure, and Promotion - Excerpt - Evaluation of Probationary Faculty Third Year Review
[20] Academic Policy Statement 980204 - Performance Evaluation of Tenured Faculty, Post-tenure Review References
[21] Chair Evaluation Letter from Provost to Faculty
[22] Chair Evaluation Form
[23] University Faculty Senate - Survey - 2006-2007
[24] Academic Policy Statement 820830 - Faculty Grievance Procedure
[25] Academic Affairs, Policies and Procedures, Webpage
[26] Faculty Handbook, SHSU


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Sam Houston State University
Huntsville, TX 77341
(936) 294-1111