Clarification of the Respective Roles of the
Academic Senate and the University Administration
(Endorsed by the Academic Senate 2/19/85)
(Endorsed by the President 2/26/85)
The Joint Senate/Administration Ad Hoc Committee had its origins in a series of
meetings held between President Rosser and the officers of the Academic Senate following
the Senate's Resolution of Concern on February 21, 1984. In those meetings it was mutually
agreed that there was a need to review and clarify the respective roles of the Academic
Senate and the University administration. Accordingly the special ad hoc committee
was established, consisting of three faculty representatives selected by the Chair of the
Senate and two representatives selected by the President.
1.2 Charge to the Committee
The President charged the Committee to review and clarify the respective roles of the
Academic Senate and the University administration in order to achieve a more appropriate
and mutually beneficial relationship. The Committee was specifically directed to address
the following issues:
a. Delineation of areas of responsibility and accountability.
b. Definition of administrative consultation with the faculty.
c. Role of administrators on and administrative support for Senate Committees.
d. Establishment and status of administrative committees.
1.3 Process Followed
In preparation for their task, as well as during their ongoing deliberations, committee
members studied the documents below, specifically cited by the President as the primary
a. Title 5
b. Constitution of CSLA Academic Senate
c. Faculty Handbook
d. Reorganization of Academic Affairs, including Job Descriptions of University
e. 1980 WASC Accreditation Report
f. WASC Handbook of Accreditation
g. CSU Academic Senate document, "Responsibilities of Academic Senates within a
Collective Bargaining Context," together with Chancellor Glenn Dumke's letter of
h. Management Personnel Plan
i. Trustees' Policy and Campus Rules and Regulations Pertaining to Evaluation of
Beginning June, 1984, the committee members met regularly (approximately one per week)
throughout Summer Quarter. After agreeing upon a tentative outline for the report, the
members established the following procedure:
(1) preliminary discussion, resulting in (2) a rough draft, followed by (3)
additional consideration and discussion, leading to (4) additional drafts
concerning each separate issue. Although the report had been scheduled to appear in July,
it soon became apparent that these issues were too complex to be dealt with in the
original time frame. The report is presented now for review by the President and the
Executive Committee but, it should be noted, includes as section seven several unresolved
issues. The Committee views these issues as requiring extended study and negotiation
between the President and the Academic Senate.
2.0 Governing Statutes, Policies and Principles
2.1 President's Authority and Responsibilities
The President as the chief administrative officer of the University "is
responsible for the educational effectiveness, academic excellence, and general welfare of
the campus" (Title 5 section 42402). Thus, it is recognized that the President
has general and final authority at the campus level in all decisions affecting the
University. The President also serves as spokesperson for the University and represents it
to the Chancellor and Board of Trustees and to the general public.
2.2 Academic Senate's Role
The role of the Senate in joint decision making is established in legislation,
administrative code, Trustee policy, and the collegial tradition. The 1961 Legislature
requested the Trustees to establish an Academic Senate at each college "wherein the
faculty members shall be freely elected by their colleagues for the purpose of
representing them in the formation of policy on academic and professional matters"
(S.R. 98, A.C.R. 78). The Senate's role in academic governance was reaffirmed in the 1978
Higher Education Employer-Employee Relations Act, which states:
"The Legislature recognizes that joint decision making and consultation between
administration and faculty or academic employees is the long accepted manner of governing
institutions of higher learning and is essential to the performance of the educational
missions of such institutions, and declares that it is the purpose of this act to both
preserve and encourage that process. Nothing contained in this chapter shall be construed
to restrict, limit or prohibit the full exercise of the functions of the faculty in any
shared governance mechanisms or practices including . . . the Academic Senates of the
California State University and Colleges. . . . The principle of peer review of
appointment, promotion, and retention, and tenure for academic employees shall be
preserved" (Government Code, Title I, Section 3561b).
Although the Legislature has recognized Senates as representative agents of the
faculty, the Administrative Code refers only to the faculty in general in their
recommending and consultative roles. Specifically, Title 5 states that decisions on the
educational program of the University are made by the "appropriate campus
authority" which is defined as "the President acting upon the recommendation of
the faculty of the campus" (40l05). It further stipulates: "It is the policy of
the Trustees that faculty be consulted on academic personnel matters" (4270l).
The faculty, on the other hand, are clear in their choice of governance mechanism: the
Constitution of the Faculty, California State University, Los Angeles, declares "the
Academic Senate is the official representative body of the faculty" (Article IV,
The legislative and administrative sources cited above provide statements of principle
regarding joint decision making rather than give a specific blueprint for academic
governance. These principles have become operational and continue to evolve through the
collegial process. Ultimately, the degree to which decision making is truly a joint effort
depends on the mutual understanding and respect of the parties.
2.3 Concept of Shared Governance
The concept and practice of shared governance has a long history in academic
institutions, both in the United States and Europe. The basic principle of shared
governance is the recognition of the professional competence and expertise of the faculty,
as well as that of the administration, in the University's decision making process. This
process enables the University most effectively to attain its educational mission and
preserve its academic integrity. While not a primary purpose of shared governance, the
process enables the administration and the faculty each to understand the problems of the
other, and it can and should engender mutual respect.
3.0 Areas of Responsibility
3.1 Definition of Primary Responsibility
It is recognized that the President has general and final authority in all decisions
affecting the University. However, in accordance with the concept of shared governance,
the faculty shall have primary responsibility in the areas of curriculum and instruction
and in faculty affairs. Whenever the phrase "primary responsibility" appears in
this report, it shall mean the responsibility to initiate policy recommendations.
In areas in which the faculty do not have primary responsibility the President (or
his/her designee) shall exercise decision authority consonant with the consultation
procedures defined in Section 4.0.
3.2 Areas of Responsibility of the Faculty
3.2.1 Curriculum and Instruction
The University faculty, a community of scholars with extensive professional preparation
and experience and a central concern with learning and teaching, shall exercise primary
responsibility for the areas of curriculum and instruction and for the overall educational
process. These shall include admission standards; curriculum development, review, and
implementation; academic standards and degree requirements; program review; academic
advisement; academic freedom and ethics; and other related areas which directly affect
academic programs and the educational process.
3.2.2 Faculty Affairs
The faculty shall have primary responsibility for matters of faculty status, such as
determination of membership in the general faculty; criteria and standards for
appointment, retention, tenure and promotion; review of tenured faculty; emeritus status;
and professional awards and leaves. The faculty shall also have primary responsibility for
ensuring appropriate representation and participation on department, school and University
3.3 Areas of Responsibility of the President
The President is responsible for providing educational leadership in University
planning. Planning is defined to include the development and maintenance of an
institutional master plan that articulates the educational philosophy of the institution,
role and mission statements defined in a programmatic context, planning assumptions, and
prioritized programmatic goals and objectives of a comprehensive university. The plan will
provide direction and establish priorities for all other subsidiary planning processes.
The President's responsibilities include initiation and coordination of planning (with
appropriate consultation), approval and implementation of the plan, and ensuring that all
affected parties are given the opportunity to participate in the planning process.
3.3.2 Resource Allocation and Utilization
The President is responsible for allocation and utilization of resources. A procedure
for allocation of resources will be established and periodically reviewed by the
President. This process will facilitate attainment of University goals and objectives as
stated in the approved long-range plans. While not an area of primary responsibility of
the faculty, they will be given the opportunity to advise the President on budget
priorities before the initiation of the budget process each year.
3.3.3 Administrative Organization and Operations
The President is responsible for ensuring that the University is provided with
effective management and leadership to accomplish its mission and goals. Toward this end,
the President shall establish the administrative organization and operations of the
University and clearly define the roles and responsibilities of senior-level
administrators. It is the prerogative of the President to change the administrative
organization of the University for the purpose of increasing administrative effectiveness.
The President shall consult informally* with the Academic Senate on
changes that will have an in direct impact on areas of primary responsibility of the
faculty. If the changes will have a major and direct impact on those areas, the President
shall consult formally* with the Academic Senate.
3.3.4 Appointment of Administrators
The responsibility for the appointment of administrators rests with the President;
however, some positions require formal or informal consultation. When formal consultation
is required for the appointment of an administrator an ad hoc advisory committee shall be
established.** The committee shall recommend the final candidates
to the President. The officers of the Academic Senate shall independently interview these
final candidates and make their recommendations to the President. In situations where an
appointment is to include retreat rights to an academic department, responsibility for
consultation with the department and school concerned should rest with the ad hoc advisory
committee. When informal consultation is required,** the Executive
Committee of the Academic Senate shall be the body consulted. Acting appointments for two
quarters or less do not require the establishment of a committee.
*The definitions on informal and formal consultation appear in
4.0 Definition of Consultation
Consultation between the Academic Senate and the University administration shall be
defined as a mutual exchange of information, ideas, opinions and recommendations regarding
policies and procedures affecting the operation of the University.
The consultation process is advisory to the President and shall take place in a timely
manner before final decisions are made. A mutual respect for the process shall be
observed. The process may be either formal or informal.
Formal consultation is a process which includes a review by appropriate committees of
the Academic Senate with a formal recommendation and rationale submitted to the President.
Formal consultation shall be observed on all matters which have direct impact on areas
where the primary responsibility rests with the faculty and in the appointment of
designated academic administrators.**
Informal consultation is a process which includes a discussion of the issue or proposed
policy with the Executive Committee of the Academic Senate. Informal consultation shall be
observed in setting budget priorities for each fiscal year and on all matters which have
an indirect impact on areas where the primary responsibility rests with the faculty.
5.0 Role of Administrators Serving as Administrative Liaisons
to Senate Standing Committees and Subcommittees
Administrators who serve as Administrative Liaison to Senate standing committees and
subcommittees by virtue of their positions within the University and their appointment by
the President to do so in an ex officio nonvoting capacity. The role of the Administrative
Liaison is to serve as a resource person to the committee in its formulation of policy
recommendations and procedures. In this role the Administrative Liaison will:
a. Attend meetings of the committee.
b. Be available to consult with the chair on the preparation of the agenda, providing
background information relative to the items.
c. Provide historical information pertinent to committee deliberations.
d. Provide an interface between the committee and the Administration as appropriate.
e. Serve as a resource person on campus and system policies and state and federal laws.
f. Apprise the committee of the impact of substantive changes in laws, policies and
g. Introduce issues related to the charge of the committee.
The overall coordination and direction of the parent committee and its subcommittees
shall be the responsibility of their elected chairs. Clerical support for Senate
committees shall be provided by the University.*
6.0 Administrative Committees
The President has the authority to establish administrative committees. Whenever such
committees are established, the President shall inform the Executive Committee of the
Academic Senate. The work of an administrative committee may not always be confined to
administrative matters, but may also be directly, but not principally, relevant to an area
of primary responsibility of the faculty. In such instances, the committee shall include
faculty members who are representatives of the Academic Senate.
There may also be rare instances when, due to the urgency of a task or other unusual
circumstances, the President may establish a committee whose work is later mutually
determined by the President and the Executive Committee to be principally and directly
relevant to an area of primary responsibility of the faculty. If the life of such a
committee is expected to extend beyond two quarters, arrangements shall be made to bring
this committee under the Academic Senate committee structure.
7.0 Unresolved Issues
The committee agreed that several issues would require more extensive consultation and
negotiation between the President and the Academic Senate and would not be included in
this report. These are:
a. Procedures for Appointment of Administrative Personnel. The issues here were (1)
the composition of the lists of administrators whose appointment would require formal or
informal consultation, and (2) the composition and manner of selection of ad hoc
advisory committees established for administrator whose appointment requires formal
b. Clerical Support for Senate Committees. The issue here is whether Administrative
Liaisons to Senate committees should continue to provide clerical support to the
committees on which they serve or whether all or part of that support should be provided
by the Senate Office.