The Catholic University of America

Archived June 2006

Faculty Handbook Part I (Issued January 2002)
The Government of the University
Current Government Documents

Section 8: Constitution of the Academic Senate

Approved by:

Board of Trustees

History: Issued -- November 21, 1970
Revised 1975
Additional History
Responsible Official: Provost (202)319-5244


Following upon its development of a Statement of Objectives and a Statement of Goals (see Section II), and in view of the anticipated approval of the Bylaws to supersede the Statutes in which its authority had been defined theretofore, the Academic Senate undertook to draft a Constitution. The deliberations extended over more than two years. The draft which the Academic Senate recommended on June 3, 1970, was revised in certain particulars by mutual agreement and approved by the Board of Trustees on November 21, 1970; it was amended in 1975 to accommodate organizational changes. Under the pro­visions of the Bylaws, Section II, Article 6, this Constitution has the force and effect of the Bylaws themselves.

Article I

The Academic Senate shares with the President the immediate responsibility for the academic governing of the University by establishing, maintaining, supervising, and in general being re­sponsible for the academic policies of the University.

Article II

The voting members of the Academic Senate shall consist of: the President; the Provost; the Vice President for Academic Affairs; the Dean of Graduate Studies; the Deans of the several Faculties; delegates elected by the several Faculties in the proportion of one delegate for each Faculty, a second delegate for each Faculty having thirty or more full‑time members and an additional delegate for every forty full‑time members beyond the number of thirty; two delegates elected by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences to represent Bachelor of Arts programs of the School of Arts and Sciences; and two graduate and three undergraduate delegates elected from the Student Body according to procedures approved by the Academic Senate, who shall have full voting rights as Academic Senators except in passing upon the qualifications of faculty members proposed for rank or tenure.

Delegates elected to the Academic Senate by the several Faculties shall hold office for a period of three years. They may be re‑elected. Student delegates shall be elected annually. In the election of Faculty Delegates to the Senate, all full‑time Faculty members are eligible for election and each has a deliberative vote.

Faculty delegates to the Trustees shall be ex officio, non‑voting members of the Academic Senate. The Academic Senate may annually by a two‑thirds vote invite non‑voting participation by such persons it deems will contribute to its effectiveness.

Article III

The Academic Senate shall annually elect a Chairman and a Vice‑Chairman from among its voting membership, except that the President of the University shall be ineligible for election. The duties of the Chairman are to preside over the Senate, and to exercise his right to vote when his vote would decide the outcome of an issue, or in all cases of secret ballot. The President of the University and the Chairman, or at his written request, the Vice‑Chairman, shall be ex officio members of all committees.

The duties of the Vice‑Chairman are to prepare an agenda, to preside at all meetings in the absence of the Chairman, and to be a member of the Committee on Committees and Rules.

The Academic Senate shall elect annually one of its members as Secretary.The election of Senate officers shall be held at the second meeting of each academic year.

Article IV

The Academic Senate shall meet at least once each month during the academic year, and in addition when either the President, the Chairman, or one‑third of the Senate requests a meeting. All meetings shall be conducted according to the current edition of Robert's Rules of Order, with the addition that, unless two‑thirds of the members present and in no case less than a majority of the membership agree to suspend the rule, no substantive matter shall be acted upon which has not been presented to the membership at least one week in advance of the meeting at which action is to be taken.

Article V

The Academic Senate may consider any matter which it deems to involve the welfare of the University.

Article VI

The Senate, through the President, may present to the Board of Trustees such matters as it may consider proper. The report of any action of the Board on these matters shall be made to the Senate by the President.

Article VII

No School, Department or like organizational component shall be created, rearranged, or terminated without the prior consultative vote of the Senate.

Article VIII

It shall be the responsibility of the Academic Senate to authorize, review, and terminate programs of study and to evaluate the academic standards of existing programs.

Article IX

The Academic Senate shall determine minimum academic standards and policies of admission, and insure the application of these.

Article X

The Academic Senate shall determine the minimum requirements for degrees and shall approve the names of all candidates for academic degrees.

Article XI

The Academic Senate shall set the minimum standards for faculty appointments, promotions, and tenure.

Article XII

The Academic Senate, after consultation with the Department, School, and Dean concerned, shall pass upon the academic qualifications of all persons proposed for appointment or promotion to the ranks of Associate Professor and Professor, and upon all persons proposed for tenured positions.

Article XIII

The Academic Senate shall communicate its decision on appointments, promotions, and tenure to the President for implementation, and where appropriate for transmission by him to the Board of Trustees. In the event that the President or the Board of Trustees fails to implement the decision of the Senate, the Senate may request a joint committee of the Senate and the Trustees to review the matter.

Article XIV

The enactments of the Senate require the President's approval for validity. If this is not forthcoming, the Senate may require by subsequent vote that the matter be submitted to the Board of Trustees.

Article XV

It is the responsibility of the delegates to the Academic Senate to report the actions of the Senate to their respective constituents.

Article XVI

The Academic Senate shall maintain and empower standing committees which shall report periodically to the Senate. In addition, it may appoint special committees.

Article XVII

There shall be a Graduate Board to exercise general supervision over all matters delegated to it by the Academic Senate relating to graduate study; for example, standards of admission, requirements for degrees, and programs of study, and to report to the Senate recommendations on matters relating to graduate policy.

Its Chairman shall be the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies.Members are appointed by the Senate upon joint recommendation ­of the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies and the Dean of the School concerned. Each School involved with Graduate Studies shall be represented on this Board by a number of members equal to its number of Faculty delegates in the Senate. The terms of membership shall coincide with those of the delegates to the Senate. Deans shall be eligible for membership on this Graduate Board.

Article XVIII

A revision or amendment of this Constitution may be made by a two‑thirds majority of the members of the Senate present and voting, subject to ratification by the Board of Trustees, provided that the proposed revision or amendment is submitted and circulated to the membership two weeks in advance of the meeting at which action is to be taken.