Two documents define faculty governance at the University of Washington:
- State law.
- University of Washington Faculty Code.
RCW 28B.20.200 states that “the faculty of the University of Washington shall consist of the president of the university and the professors and the said faculty shall have charge of the immediate government of the institution under such rules as may be prescribed by the board of regents.” In its first form, this law went into effect in 1897; the current version was passed in 1969.
The Faculty Code was adopted by a vote of the university faculty and with the approval of the president in 1956; amendments and additions have followed via mutual agreement. This code defines the rules under which the president (and his/her administration) and the university faculty shall share responsibility for the governance of the university.
Relationships through which faculty governance is shared. Under the Faculty Code there are three relationships or sites through which governance is to be shared in particular and distinct ways. Each serves a different function:
- The faculty and the president. The Faculty Senate, as the legislative body of the university faculty, proposes additions and amendments to the code; if the president approves such legislation, it becomes a part of the code and is binding upon the administration.
- The faculty and the provost. The standing committees of the university (also known as university faculty councils) deliberate issues and advise both the provost and the Senate Executive Committee (SEC). While these councils may choose to identify issues for consideration independently of the provost and the SEC, their effectiveness is an important part of their considering the concerns of the provost and the SEC.
- The faculty councils of the schools, colleges, UW Bothell, UW Tacoma and the deans. In the 18 schools, colleges and campuses of the university, the code requires that these 18 separate faculty groups determine their own code-compliant bylaws, according to which they shall determine certain academic matters (see Section 23-43 and Section 23-44) and advise their deans on others through their duly elected faculty councils (see Section 23-45:B,C). In departmentalized schools and colleges, and at UW Tacoma and UW Bothell, this relationship is to be “echoed” between the departmental faculties and their chairs.