Who We Are

The University Senate is the shared governance body that helps the university function as a unified institution. Faculty, students and staff come together with university administrators to develop and advise on policies, processes, programs and solutions for issues facing the university.

The 19 senate committees connect to all administrative offices, and are broadly concerned with supporting the university's mission. The Senate not only addresses the needs of the university, but aims to set a national example of shared governance in higher education.

The senate helps to align priorities and give voice to the key university constituents.

History

The current University Senate structure was established in 1972, replacing a Faculty Council that began in 1941. Student representation was considered a priority. With approximately 30% of the membership consisting of students, 20% administrators, and 50% faculty, it is a unique structure for shared governance among universities. The structure of the senate and its committees continues to evolve to meet the needs of the university and society.

Purpose

The University Senate benefits the university community by serving as a channel for communication between representatives of the faculty, students, staff and administrators concerning key issues facing the institution.

Membership

The membership of the senate consists of 70 faculty, 41 students and 26 administrators. The senate itself and most of the 19 senate committees have a strong representation of students and administrators working alongside faculty. This balance ensures robust discussions and deliberations, and a consensus of opinion to inform institutional decision making.

The administrative members of the Senate include the deans of each college as well as other key administrators including the President and the Executive Vice President and Provost. Student members include undergraduate, graduate and professional students, who are elected from the Undergraduate Student Government (USG), the Council of Graduate Students (CGS) and the Inter-Professional Council (IPC), respectively. Faculty members are elected from each of the 15 colleges, with the number of representatives proportional to the size of the college. Faculty representatives are also elected from each regional campus, from the university libraries, and the armed services departments.

Senator Responsibilities

Senators are elected, or appointed, to represent constituents, be they faculty, students or administrative units. Those constituents rely on their senator to stand up for their interests, and to be in good communication. Here are some suggestions for how to make your term in the senate or on a senate committee productive and gratifying.

  • Get to know and work with the other senators, especially those from your constituency, college or interest area.
  • Obtain an e-list of your constituents and use this list to discuss Senate issues. Discuss communication strategies with other Senators with the same constituents.
  • Attend and vote at all Senate meetings.If you are unable to attend a senate meeting, notify the senate office (senate@osu.edu) and ask an alternate senator to serve in your place.
  • Notify the senate office (senate@osu.edu) if you have recurring meeting conflicts.
  • Volunteer for Senate committee service.
  • Stay informed about campus issues especially the issues that are on the senate agenda.
  • Accurately represent the interests of your constituents.
  • Get to know and communicate with the senators for whom you are an alternate.
  • Mark your calendar for Senate meetings. Attend these meetings as a guest.
  • When a regular member is unable to attend senate, you may be asked to attend as an alternate.The alternate has the same role and privilege as the person replaced (see rule 3335-5-40 ).
  • Volunteer for Senate committee service as time and interest allows.
  • Accurately represent the interests of your constituents.
  • Communicate, organize and meet regularly with all members of your committee.
  • Review with your members the faculty rules, and any committee bylaws, that govern your committee.
  • Adapt senate committee best practices:
    • Inform senate office of committee meeting dates and times
    • Prepare meeting agendas and record minutes
    • Utilize Buckeye Box for committee documents to maintain institutional knowledge
    • Create and maintain committee bylaws
    • Elect co-chairs to ensure a stable succession plan
  • Attend Faculty Cabinet meetings to represent your committee's view and role. You are encouraged to also attend Senate and Faculty Council.
  • Notify the Senate Secretary at senate@osu.edu of any issues with the committee.
  • Meet with the Senate Steering Committee at least once during the year to present an oral report.
  • Prepare and submit a written report to the Senate Office at the end of the academic year.
  • Suggest qualified potential committee members ahead of the committee populating deadline each Spring semester.
  • Act as the ambassador of the senate and the university to both external and internal audiences.
  • Respect confidentiality when entrusted with such information.
  • Advance opinions in a convincing non-confrontational manner, respecting academic freedom.
  • Advocate the best interest of your constituents and of the university.

2018-2019 Faculty Leadership

Senate Secretary

Ben Givens

Steering Committee Chair

Meg Daly

Faculty Council Chair

Mike Hogan, MS

Faculty Council Chair-Elect

Sharon Schweikhart, PhD

Senate Staff

Senate Recording Secretary

Hannah Torma

Senate Parliamentarian

Steve Huefner