What is the Faculty Senate?

What is the Faculty Senate?

By: Jennifer Shafer

The Faculty Senate is here to serve. Senators, Chairs, and committee members work together to confront important issues, progress the school forward, and take care of the faculty here at TSU—which all sounds very nice, but what does that actually mean? Dr. John Kelly, currently serving as Secretary for the Faculty Senate, took a few minutes out of his busy schedule to help break it down.

“The Senate advocates for the faculty in the spirit of shared governance. The Senate is a unified voice for the faculty to the Administration. Through the permanent committees, issues of importance to the faculty are brought up to the Senate and from there to the Administration,” says Dr. Kelly, highlighting how the Senate works to bring the faulty and the Administration together to ensure clear and effective communication and advocacy.

How is that manifested? Dr. Kelly shared a few of the Senate’s recent successes. “Getting the Faculty Sick Bank, Non-Instructional Assignment Grant, and Chair Hiring Policies approved are some of the biggest accomplishments. Getting generous funding for the TUFS meeting this fall is also quite significant. Getting the Curriculum committee really working and moving CARFs through the system has been significant as well”


It’s important to remember, however, that the Senate is not exclusively responsible for change. Accountability falls on everyone. As Dr. Kelly suggests, “The biggest way that faculty can help the Senate is to be involved. Faculty should know their Senators for their department / unit, and should receive regular reports from them. When asked to vote on Constitutional Amendments or other matters, faculty should make sure to vote and have their voice heard. Faculty should serve on Senate committees and the Senate itself”

The Faculty Senate is the voice of a community, a very special community for TSU. A great way to be part of the solution is to learn how the Senate works and to utilize this avenue to bring about effective, meaningful change.