History of the Faculty Senate
The Faculty Senate’s origins at Northern Arizona University (previously Arizona State College) date back to 1965. We began with the formation of a Faculty Executive Committee (FEC) consisting of fifteen members of the faculty-at-large. In March of that year, the Chairman of the Faculty Executive Committee presented NAU President J. Lawrence Walkup a Constitution for the formation of a University Senate, after working for a year on the document. According to that Constitution’s preamble,
[T]he faculty of NAU seek to establish the University Senate as a means through which they may participate in its educational future. The purpose of the Senate is to share the burden of, provide recommendations concerning, and afford the opportunity for expressing opinions about the educational direction of the University.
Thus were planted the seeds for a culture of shared governance at NAU.
In the 1970s the Senate worked with the Arizona Board of Regents’ policy committee on a Constitution for an ABOR-sponsored Faculty Senate. In 1971, ABOR approved NAU’s Faculty Senate as the representative body of the faculty. Elections for senators and officers of the newly-formed Faculty Senate were held and, in September of that year, the Senate conducted its first meeting.
While the faculty at NAU have revised its Constitution over the years to meet the changes and challenges of the times, the purpose and functions of the Faculty Senate have remained the same. The current Constitution’s preamble unequivocally states the important role that the faculty have at NAU:
Essential to the character and mission of a mature university is the faculty’s primary responsibility to develop, sustain, and enhance the intellectual quality and reputation of the institution and to maintain its academic integrity. The Constitution of the Faculty of Northern Arizona University provides for institutional governance as a shared process with faculty predominance in policy decisions relating to curricula, to student admissions and academic standards, and to the faculty personnel process, with active faculty participation in many other areas of institutional policy and operations, including student services, University facilities, and administration where these elements affect the academic program. In addition, to ensure effective faculty involvement in University governance, the Constitution of the Faculty of Northern Arizona University establishes a Faculty Senate as the representative body of the faculty. The purposes of the Faculty as a whole are to:
- Promote academic freedom for all faculty of the University;
- Advance the instructional mission of the University by maintaining an optimal learning environment throughout the institution;
- Encourage research, scholarly activity, and creative efforts as well as application of the intellectual values of the arts, the humanities, the sciences, and the professions;
- Define and establish standards and procedures of accountability concerning professional Faculty ethics and responsibilities, and promote adherence to those standards and procedures; and
- Encourage an informed, continuing, and academically responsible participation in those Faculty governance roles defined in the Constitution and Bylaws of the Faculty.
An educational institution is well-governed only when faculty and administration share rights and responsibilities. In 2013, the Senate leadership drafted a Shared Governance document in order to underscore and explain those principles. That document commits to the “effective use of shared intelligence within the University community” and provides an important guide to responsibility, representation, and resolution. As a pledge of support for shared governance, NAU President John Haeger and Faculty Senate Presidents Allen Reich and Astrid Klocke signed that document in August 2013. In January 2016, NAU President Rita Cheng and Faculty Senate President Bruce Fox renewed the institutional commitment and support for shared governance with their signatures.
In order to facilitate open and consistent communication—a keystone of shared governance—the Senate has representation on the President’s Cabinet, the Provost’s Academic Leadership Council, and a number of other university-wide committees. Active service on high-level searches and other decision-making bodies enable senators to bring a necessary faculty voice to university decision- making and ensures that NAU meets its commitments to shared governance.
To further the work of shared governance, the Senate maintains two types of committees: Standing committees are internal committees engaged with performing the work of the Senate and Senate-charged committees are university-wide committees who work on behalf of the faculty under the Senate. Finally, the Senate-charged Grievance Committee, comprised of members elected from the faculty-at-large, functions as an independent body working on formal grievances brought forth by faculty.
The Faculty Senate President and President of the Faculty
Under the NAU Faculty Constitution, the elected President of the Senate also serves as the President of the Faculty.
We have had a continuous Senate at NAU for nearly fifty years. NAU owes a debt of gratitude to all of its Senators and its Faculty Senate Presidents for their many years of service. Thank you for all of your work and commitment!
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Previous Faculty Senate Presidents Accordion Closed
|Nations, J. Dale
|Hoskins, W. Dale
|Montgomery, W. Linn