This is an archived article.

February 19, 2009

Going the extra mile: Faculty Senate seeks members for councils, committees

“A university is a community of scholars contributing, each according to his own talents and interests, to the transmission and advancement of knowledge. Because of its diversity of interests a university is a complex organization, not quite like any other in its management, which requires the understanding and good faith of people dedicated to a common purpose. A university administration must seek wisely and diligently to advance the common effort, and the strength of a university is greatest when its faculty and administration join for the advancement of common objectives. Much of the faculty-administration relationship has been established through long experience, and has the weight and good sense of academic form and tradition. But the terms of this relationship are essentially those of spirit, mutual respect, and good faith, and thus must be flexible to meet changing needs. Some of the traditions of the University of Washington are given expression in the pages that follow. Yet these and other common understandings have meaning only to the extent that they reflect the integrity and faith of administration and faculty in the day by day accomplishment of their joint effort.”


- University Handbook, Volume Two, Section 13-01



This timeless statement was written in April 1956 by Professors Carl Allendoerfer, Alfred Harsch, William S. Hopkins, Brents Stirling, and E. Roscoe Wilcox, on behalf of the faculty, and was signed by Henry Schmitz, then President, on behalf of the administration. This year it is functioning as my guide as I begin, for the first time as Secretary of the Faculty, to launch efforts to populate the faculty councils and committees that are a natural outgrowth of the spirit of this statement.


The faculty councils, the standing committees of the University, are one of the three sites of faculty governance at the University of Washington. These councils advise both the provost and the Senate Executive Committee and include voting members of the University faculty, ex officio president’s designees, and other ex officio members representing the Associated Students of the University of Washington, the Graduate and Professional Student Senate, the Association of Librarians of the University of Washington, the Professional Staff Organization, and the University of Washington Retirement Association.

There are 14 Faculty Councils that deal with issues from academic standards to women in academia. There are also a number of standing committees that deal with issues such as budget and intercollegiate athletics. All of these are crucial to the operation of this University. For example, in the past dozen years, the faculty councils have drafted legislation to change the University Handbook and the Faculty Code so that, when implemented, resulting policy protected the rights of faculty in tenure and promotion cases, clarified the role of faculty in helping to shape the annual allocation of salary money, and defined how disputes between a faculty member and the administration may and must be managed. Active faculty participation in deciding these matters of policy is clearly required.


We are currently recruiting voting members of the faculty for faculty councils and committees. Most of these involve three-year terms, beginning Fall Quarter, 2009. Please see this Web site for a survey where you can record your particular interests.


If you would prefer to contact us directly, please call my office (206-543-2637) or send me an e-mail at secfac@u.washington.edu, and we will include your name (and those of colleagues whom you might care to nominate) in our deliberations to select new members of faculty councils and committees.


As Professor Allendoerfer and his colleagues expressed above, our efforts at shared governance “have meaning only to the extent that they reflect the integrity and faith of administration and faculty in the day by day accomplishment of their joint effort.” Please join that effort by participation in a faculty council or committee. Contact us today.