College of Liberal Arts

Department Governance Policy and Procedure

There are three ways that a department can structure its governance:

Budget Council

All the full professors in a department conjointly, or all the associate professors conjointly if there are no full professors, constitute the budget council of the department. Each member is entitled to one vote with no seniority. No person on modified service shall be a member of the budget council. The department chair serves as the chair of the budget council. Departmental governance must be reviewed and a vote taken on the resulting recommendation every three years.

Executive Committee

A departmental faculty, budget council, or department chair may develop a plan whereby the authority of the budget council is vested in an Executive Committee or a committee of the size, composition, and mode of selection as specified by the plan. Under this mode of governance, Associate Professors and Assistant Professors may become members and participate in the discussions, but may not vote formally on salary matters affecting their own rank or higher ranks and on matters affecting promotion from or continued appointment in their own rank or higher ranks.

Extended Budget Council

A departmental faculty, budget council, chairperson, or the dean may initiate a proposal to extend membership on the budget council to one or more of the departmental faculty with the ranks of Associate Professor or Assistant Professor, or to one or more members of the faculty of another department. Under this mode of governance, Associate Professor and Assistant Professor members may be consulted and may participate in the discussions, but may not vote formally on salary matters affecting their own or higher ranks and on matters affecting promotion from or continued appointment in their own rank or higher ranks.

Reviewing and/or Renewing Governance Structures

Departmental Faculty Governance must be reviewed and a vote taken on the resulting recommendation, whether to continue with the current mode of governance or to enact a new governance system, at least every three years. During the third year of operation under any plan and not later than each third year thereafter, the departmental faculty members with tenure shall recommend whether to continue the existing organization or to return to the budget council system. The recommendation shall be forwarded to the department chair for approval and to the dean and president.

Procedural Timetable

Fall (year 3) Dean sends out reminders to departments whose governance structure will be up for review and renewal on August 31 of the following year.

Spring (year 3) Department's tenured faculty vote to continue or recommend change to departmental governance structure.

Spring (year 3) Department chair submits requests to dean for renewal of governance structure.

Spring (year 3) Dean submits department's governance plan to the president for approval.

Summer (year 3) Dean communicates approval or requested changes to governance to department.

Recommendation to Dean

A department's recommendation to the dean should answer the following:

   1. What is the department's current form of governance?
   2. What is the department's proposed form of governance?
   3. On what date was the governance vote conducted?
   4. What is the composition of the proposed governing body's membership; i.e. number of full professors, number of associate professors, and number of assistant professors, as appropriate?

Modifications to Governance Structures Initiated by a department or initiated by a dean


In order to modify a department governing body, the department must present proposal(s) to all voting members of the department for at least one week. A meeting will be called during the fall or spring semester at a time that will ensure the greatest participation of its members. The meeting shall assess the merits of the proposal(s) and determine whether they are in a form appropriate for submission on a ballot. One week after the close of this debate, votes shall be taken by ballot sent to all voting members of the department, including those on leave. A modification shall take effect if approved by a majority of voters and then the dean and president.


A dean may determine that the operation of a department has deteriorated because of actions taken or not taken by the governing body. If he or she determines that a modification to a department's governing body is essential to the effective administration of that department, he or she may request the approval of the president to establish a temporary budget council. This action by the dean shall be effective for a period of not longer than three years. During this period, reorganization proposals may be enacted.

Voting Status

A faculty member shall have voting status in a department on departmental matters if he or she holds a full-time appointment in the department in the rank of Professor, Visiting Professor, Associate Professor, Visiting Associate Professor, Assistant Professor, instructor, Senior Lecturer, or Lecturer. The release for research, career development, and endowed chair, or other such activities will not jeopardize the voting status. In addition, a voting member may be  one who has a joint appointment in two or more departments that totals a full-time appointment at the University, and holds any of the ranks previously mentioned.

However, voting status within a department's governing body is inclusive to those serving on that committee or council only.

Additional Information

Additional information can be found in the Handbook of Operating Procedures at:

Please direct questions about the College of Liberal Arts Faculty Governance process to Ann Kelble (232-4820).


Departments who are in the third year of their current form of governance must conduct a vote on the next year's governance by the last class day of a long session.