Motion Introduced by:  Senator Philip VanderMeer

Date of First Reading:    January 31, 2022

Date of Second Reading: February 28, 2022

Title of Motion: Proposed Revision of ACD Policy 112–01: Academic Constitution and Bylaws, Bylaw IV

Action Requested: Revision of Bylaw IV to revise the distribution categories for faculty representation.

Rationale: Given the university’s growth and altered structure of academic units since 2009, the existing representation categories need to be revised to provide more equitable representation.




Bylaw IV “Providing for membership in the Senate.”

Delete the existing section “A. Degree-granting units will be represented in the Senate in one of three categories. Units with fewer than 40 members shall have one senator; those with 40 to 99 members shall select 2 senators; units with 100 or more members will select 3 senators.”

Substitute this section: “A. Degree-granting units will be represented in the Senate in one of three categories. Units with fewer than 35 members shall have one senator; those with 35 to 79 members shall select 2 senators; units with 80 or more members will select 3 senators.


Determining Representation in the University Senate

The Basis of Representation. Members of the Academic Assembly are represented in the Senate through the degree-granting unit (although the Senate may also grant representation to faculty in non-degree units.) The primary principle of representation is personal connections and joint decision-making on key matters like promotion, evaluation, workload, and leadership. Because the units vary in size (and are relatively few in number), this cannot yield a one person/one vote model. This problem is partly mitigated by the fact that faculty governance relies largely on discussion and interests are shared across units, schools, and colleges. To reduce the statistical inequities and account for different-sized units, however, representation categories were used. 

The current system, as described in Bylaw IV, provides 1 senator for each unit with less than 40 faculty, 2 senators for those with 40 to 99 members, and 3 senators for units with 100 or more faculty. This system pre-dates the new constitution for an all-university senate, but since 2009 circumstances have changed, with the growth and reorganization of the university.

The effectiveness of our current system of representation is shown in the chart below. The average ratio of faculty to senators is 28:4; the standard deviation (showing the dispersal with the categories) is 10.65, yielding a total of 125 senators from degree-granting units and a Senate totaling 129 members.

Proposed Change. The equity of representation can be improved by lowering the points of division for the two categories: allotting units of 80 or more faculty to receive 3 senators and units with 35 to 79 faculty to select 2 senators, and units with less than 35 faculty selecting 1 senator. This system would produce a better result (as shown in the table below), yielding a lower ratio and a somewhat lower dispersal, although also yielding a slightly larger senate.



Current Plan

Proposed Change


Senators   40/100

Senators 35/80

Ratio Faculty: Senators



Standard Deviation



# degree-unit Senators



 All Senators





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