University faculty councils are standing committees appointed by the Senate Executive Committee and confirmed by the Faculty Senate. These councils meet regularly during each academic year to provide oversight on the areas within their charges, and to advise the provost and the Senate Executive Committee on proposals, challenges, changing conditions, needs and opportunities that arise throughout the university. Where warranted, faculty councils may also propose legislative changes to the Faculty Code.
On May 18, 1938, as the first order of business at the first meeting of the Faculty Senate (then called the University Senate) President Sieg appointed an executive committee and charged them to appoint standing committees for the university. Since then, the wisdom of drawing on the intelligence, expertise, and commitment of the faculty to govern the institution they serve continues to be apparent.
Faculty Code 42-33 Duties, responsibilities and powers of faculty councils
A. Faculty councils serve as deliberative and advisory bodies for all matters of University policy, and are primary forums for faculty-administrative interaction in determining that policy. Each faculty council within the area of its jurisdiction:
Shall prepare for submission to the senate through the executive committee all legislative proposals pertaining to matters set forth in Section 22-32.A;
- Shall prepare for submission to the senate through the executive committee any resolution passed at a faculty meeting falling under Section 21-51.D.
- May on its own initiative prepare legislative proposals or resolutions for submission through the executive committee to the senate.
- Shall submit to the senate chair any report, including annual reports, for transmission to the senate through the executive committee.
- May receive and make appropriate recommendations, within the limits set forth in Section 22-32.B, concerning any communication from a member of the faculty.
- May request such information and assistance as may be required in the effective pursuit of its duties.
- May appoint, subject to the approval of the executive committee, such ad hoc committees as may be required for the effective pursuit of its work.
- Shall be responsible for providing information and for interpreting or obtaining interpretation of policy regarding matters falling under its jurisdiction.
- Shall receive reports or recommendations or resolutions from administrative or presidential committees in areas for which it is responsible, and, when appropriate, shall be invited to be represented on those committees.
B. The senate chair, after consultation with the executive committee, shall decide which faculty council shall assume jurisdiction when jurisdictional responsibility may be unclear and shall arrange for coordination among councils in the event that a matter may fall within the responsibility of more than one council.
At its meeting on April 22, 2010, the Faculty Senate approved legislation that proposed combining the Faculty Council on Educational Outreach, Faculty Council on Educational Technology and the Faculty Council on Instructional Quality into the Faculty Council on Teaching and Learning, with a proposed structure to allow for subcommittees to address specific issues as needed. The merger was proposed as a vehicle for more efficient functioning of the council and to promote integration of faculty discussions about policies related to teaching and learning.
The Faculty Council on University Relations was established as an advisory body to the Office of the Vice President for University Relations, which no longer exists in the administrative structure at the University of Washington. The council began operating almost exclusively as a faculty committee on honorary degrees and other issues which the Faculty Council on University Relations had once followed were assigned to other councils. At its meeting of March 11, 2010, the Faculty Senate approved legislation retiring the Faculty Council on University Relations to allow for the creation of a Special Committee on Honorary Degrees. The special committee is staffed by the Office of the Associate Vice President for Media Relations and Communications.