Chapter II

Governance of the University

The President

The President is the executive officer of the University, appointed by and responsible to the Board of Trustees of The California State University. The President communicates with the Trustees through the Chancellor, and provides the leadership for the development of internal policies and for the governance of the University.

The term "President" as used in this faculty handbook refers to the chief executive officer or his/her designee.

The Academic Senate

Faculty members and students have a major role in the governance of the University through the Academic Senate, which is the official representative body of the faculty. The Senate recommends policy to the President. If the President rejects a Senate proposal, the Chair of the Senate is informed in writing of the compelling reasons for rejection of the Senate recommendation. All full-time members of the faculty are eligible for election to the Senate, whose membership also includes five student voting members and one emeritus faculty voting member. See Appendix C, "The Constitution of the Faculty of California State University, Los Angeles."

Faculty members and students participate in the governance of the University by their service both as members of the Senate, and as members of the university-wide standing committees and various subcommittees which are agencies of the Senate in the determination of internal policies.

Committee Structure of the Academic Senate

(Senate: 2/6/64, 5/25/65, 10/13/66, 5/25/67, 1/14/75, 3/28/79, 2/10/81, 11/11/81, 1/5/82; President: 3/2/64, 6/14/65, 12/1/66, 6/12/67, 1/28/75, 4/24/79, 2/10/81, 11/18/82; Editorial Amendment: 9/00, 9/03)

Philosophy.The concept underlying the committee organization of the Academic Senate can be found in the following principles:

  1. University-wide standing committees are agents of the Academic Senate.
  2. University-wide standing committees are policy-recommending and advisory. They will have administrative support and personnel to ensure that ministerial functions growing out of policies are properly administered.
  3. The standing committees will be supplemented by such ad hoc subcommittees as they find necessary.
  4. College committees will be given a high degree of local autonomy and responsibility.
  5. The term of office for faculty members of standing committees and subcommittees is three years, with the exception of the Committee on Academic Freedom and Professional Ethics, for which the term is five years, and committees which select recipients of awards, for which the term is one year maximum. The term of office for student members of the committee is one year. No person may serve concurrently on more than one of the following committees: Educational Policy Committee, Faculty Policy Committee, Fiscal Policy Committee, Student Policy Committee, and the Nominations Committee.
  6. Administrators who serve by virtue of their positions within the University or who are appointed by the President to serve as Executive Secretary do so in an ex officio non-voting capacity on all standing committees and subcommittees of the Academic Senate, i.e. they do not make motions, vote, nor serve as chair.
Channels of Communication and Responsibility. The operational procedures established by the Senate for university-wide standing committees are as follows:
  1. University-wide committees submit recommendations for the initiation of new university policy or changes in present policy to the Academic Senate and at the same time provide the President with a copy of these recommendations.
  2. The President withholds action on such committee recommendations until the Academic Senate has reacted to these recommendations and presented in writing a specific recommendation to the President to accept the recommendations of a committee, to accept them with modifications, or to reject them. Copies of the minutes do not suffice to inform the President of Academic Senate recommendations.
  3. In all of their actions the Academic Senate, the university committees, the administration, and faculty organizations must act within the limits of state law, the rules of the Board of Trustees, ordinary concepts of academic freedom, and the statement "Academic Freedom, Professional Ethics, and Faculty Freedom" adopted by the Faculty Council on April 20, 1961 and approved thereafter by the President, and any subsequent revisions of or amendments added thereto.

Committee Meeting Schedules

Meetings of the Senate and standing committees are scheduled at fixed times. Faculty and student members elected to them are asked to arrange instructional programs to accommodate meeting times. In the event of an unavoidable conflict, an alternate elected from the same constituency serves during the quarter so affected.

The Academic Senate meets on even Tuesdays of the semester from 1:45 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. The Executive Committee meets every Thursday from 1:45 to 3:45 p.m. The standing committees are scheduled as follows:

Nominations Committee - Thursdays, 10:50 a.m. to 12:05 p.m.
Educational Policy Committee - Wednesdays, 1:40 to 2:55 p.m.
Faculty Policy Committee - Mondays, 1:40 to 2:55 p.m.
Fiscal Policy Committee - 2nd & 4th Thursdays, 9:25 to 10:40 a.m.
Student Policy Committee - 1st & 3rd Tuesdays, 9:25 to 10:40 a.m.

Institutional Animal Care and Use - 1st & 3rd Wednesdays, 12:15 to 1:30 p.m.
Institutional Review Board - Human Subjects - even weeks (of the semester) 12:30 p.m. to 2:35 p.m.

Several standing university-wide subcommittees have established fixed schedules. In particular, the General Education Subcommittee meets on Tuesday afternoons, the Curriculum Subcommittee meets on Tuesday mornings, the Library Subcommittee meets on Thursday mornings, the Academic Information Resources and Academic Advisement Subcommittees meet on Mondays, and Program Review Subcommittee meets on Thursdays.   Other subcommittees, all ad hoc committees, and all administrative committees set meeting times in accordance with the teaching programs of the faculty members serving on them.

Information regarding college committees is available in the administrative office of each college.

Policy on Elections

(Senate: 4/21/66, 5/8/73, 5/17/77, 4/30/96, 6/1/ 11, 8/3/11 [EA], 5/24/16; President: 9/8/11, 11/18/16; Editorial Amendment: 9/00, 8/01)

General Considerations

This policy applies generally to department/division/school, college and university-wide faculty elections and all Senate elections in which a written ballot is used unless procedures for specific elections are detailed in policy elsewhere in this handbook or in department/division/school or college policy documents.  Departments/divisions/schools and colleges that wish to follow alternative election procedures must specify those procedures in their approved policy documents.

Election Procedures

Department/division/ school, college, and university-wide faculty elections shall utilize an electronic voting system that ensures that voters' names are not attached to their ballots.  Electronic ballots will be prepared by the elections committee or other appropriate committee in each department/division/school or college.  The Academic Senate shall conduct all university-wide faculty elections according to its established procedures.  The elections committee or appropriate body will set the timeline for submission of nominations of candidates and for election, which will run for a minimum of five business days for nominations and seven days for elections.  For each candidate or issue to be voted upon, all options must be simultaneously visible to the voter.

Tabulating Election Results

Elections shall utilize a preferential ballot with a single-transferable vote unless otherwise specified in University, college or department/division/school policy. The counting system is described in an explanatory document available in the Office of the Academic Senate and distributed to college and department/division/school offices. When a tie occurs for two or more candidates at the lowest ranking, all shall be dropped. When a tie occurs near the end of the count such that the elimination of all the tied candidates would result in an incomplete complement of elected persons, the order of the final election may be established by comparison of the tied candidates ' respective rankings on the ballot.

Election results will be announced within one week of the close of voting.  Following elections, and after the announcement of results, the electronic file of voting shall be stored for ten days after which it may be deleted if no challenge is received.  If there is a challenge to the results, a written appeal of the elections results must be presented to the elections committee or appropriate body within the 10-day period following the announcement of results.  If an appeal is presented, the electronic file of voting will continue to be stored until a final resolution of the appeal has been reached.  The file will be permanently deleted once any appeals are resolved.

Academic Senate CSU Substitutes and Alternates

(Senate: 4/30/13; President: 6/17/13)

Each year each CSULA Academic Senate CSU Senator shall nominate a minimum of two substitutes to serve in the event a senator is unable to attend a Statewide Senate meeting during the year.  Persons nominated as substitutes must be current or past senators.  The substitutes will be rank ordered by the full Academic Senate.

When a senator is unable to attend an ASCSU meeting or other activity, the first substitute should attend instead.  If the first substitute is not available, the senator will follow the list of substitutes to find someone able to attend.  If no substitute is available, and there is not sufficient time for a vote of the full Senate to elect a substitute, a current CSULA senator will be selected by the Senate Executive Committee to serve as the substitute.

If a statewide academic senator is unable to complete a portion of their Senate term, the vacancy will be filled using the rank ordered list of alternates from the most recent election for statewide senator.  If no alternate is available, a new election will be conducted for the statewide senate position.

Committee Policies and Procedures

Election and Appointment to Committees

(Senate: 4/16/74; President: 4/23/74; Editorial amendment: 9/23)

Election and appointment of committee members and alternates take place during the spring semester. After the election or appointment of faculty members to committees, but not before the first week following general student elections in the spring semester, an organizational meeting of each new committee is held for the purpose of electing officers. Committee members and new officers take office on the day following the close of the spring semester.

Election of Officers of Standing Committees

(Senate: 6/5/84; Editorial amendment: 9/23)

Eligibility for Election as Chair. To be eligible for election as chair of a standing committee, the nominee must have served for at least one semester on that committee by the time his or her office as chair would start.

Vice Chair. All standing committees shall elect a vice-chair from among their voting members to serve during the absence of the chair and to assist the chair in preparation of the agenda.

Term of Office for Faculty Appointees to Administrative Committees

(Senate: 2/12/85; President: 2/22/85; Editorial Amendment: 9/03)

Faculty appointees nominated by the Nominations Committee to administrative committees serve three year terms with the exception of ad hoc awards committees. If more than one member is appointed, terms will be staggered by lot.

Responsibilities of a Liaison Member from the Executive Committee to a Standing Committee of the Academic Senate

(Senate: 9/25/18, 10/24/23; President: 10/15/18, 12/13/23; Executive Committee: 6/20/84)

Preamble. Because of the importance of the liaison function, the Executive Committee should be careful, in making liaison assignments, to accommodate the liaison member's background, experience, and interests as far as possible. It is the responsibility of the Senate Chair to counsel liaison members on their duties and responsibilities.

The specific responsibilities of a liaison member include the following:

  1. Informs the committee chair of actions by, and information coming to, the Executive Committee that may be of significance to the work of the committee.
  2. Reports to the Executive Committee the actions and agenda of the committee.
  3. Assists the committee chair in the preparation of the committee agenda, as requested.
  4. Assists the committee chair in representing the committee at meetings, as requested.
  5. Assists the committee chair in instructing new committee members about the committee's relationship to other standing committees, subcommittees, and academic governance in general.
  6. Assists the committee chair in instructing new committee and subcommittee members on their duties as members, and as representatives of their particular constituencies.
  7. Serves as a full, voting member of the committee with all rights and responsibilities thereof.

Note that liaisons may not serve as chair or vice chair of the standing committee, in order to avoid potential conflicts of interest, and to allow the liaison to fully assist the committee chair in their capacity.

Job Description: Chair of a Standing Committee

(Executive Committee: 5/16/84; Senate: 10/24/23; President: 12/19/23)

Preamble. This job description is an attempt to spell out the critical duties and responsibilities of a Senate Standing Committee Chair. It should apply with few or no modifications to all standing committees.

The duties and responsibilities of the chairs are a separate and distinct issue from a definition of the charges of these committees, and the two issues need to be considered separately. Hence, no attempt has been made to specify individual committee charges.

Chair of Standing Committee. The Chair of a Senate Standing Committee is responsible for overall coordination and direction of the parent committee and its subcommittees, ensuring that the charges to the committees are carried out in a timely and competent manner. Upon consultation with the Senate Chair, Executive Committee Liaison Representative, and other sources of committee input, and with the assistance of the Executive Secretary to the committee, the Chair prepares the agenda and conducts the meetings of the committee. The Chair routinely consults with appropriate sources of information in order to gather and/or prepare background information and documents relating to the business of the committee. The Chair coordinates the activities of the Executive Secretary, the Recording Secretary, and the Senate Office, to ensure that the recording, and distribution needs of the committee are being met. The Chair attends meetings of other committees and governmental bodies as necessary.

In addition to the technical duties aforementioned, the Chair of a Senate Standing Committee is responsible for the instruction and indoctrination of new committee members in the functions of the committee as well as in their specific roles in academic governance as committee members.

  1. Conducts meetings of the committee.
    1. Prepares agenda.
    2. Consults with Executive Secretary on background information relative to the agenda.
    3. Supervises distribution of agenda and related documents.
  2. Routinely consults with appropriate providers of technical information, agenda referrals, clerical assistance, etc.
    1. Senate Chair.
    2. Executive Secretary.
    3. Executive Committee Liaison Member.
    4. Recording Secretary.
    5. Chairs of subcommittees, steering committees, as appropriate.
    6. Other providers of information and/or support (e.g. administrators, faculty, other committee chairs).
  3. Ensures that the Committee is represented at meetings as required.
    1. Senate.
    2. Subcommittees.
    3. Other committees as needed.
  4. Instructs new committee members on the charges of the committee, its subcommittees, and the interrelationships between these committees and academic governance in general and other committees and subcommittees in particular.
    1. Charge of the parent committee.
    2. Charges of the subcommittees.
    3. Relationships between the parent committee and its subcommittees.
    4. Relationships of the parent committee and subcommittees to other committees, faculty, and to University administrators.
  5. Instructs new committee members and new subcommittee members on their duties on the committee.
    1. Explains the importance of timely attendance.
    2. Reviews need to study issues and read relevant background documents.
    3. Encourages members to seek out opinions and viewpoints of colleagues, where appropriate.
    4. Attempts to convey the serious responsibility that committee membership entails.

Attempts to reasonably and accurately estimate the amount of preparation necessary to carry out committee duties.

Responsibilities of Liaison Members from Senate Standing Committees to Subcommittees

(Executive Committee: 4/22/92)

Because of the importance of the liaison function, the Standing Committee in making liaison assignments should try to accommodate the liaison member's background, experience, and interests as far as possible. The committee chair shall advise liaison members of their duties and responsibilities:

The specific responsibilities of a liaison member include the following:

  1. Informs the subcommittee chair of actions by and information coming to the Standing Committee that may be of significance to the work of the subcommittee.
  2. Reports to the Standing Committee the actions and agenda of the subcommittee.
  3. Assists the subcommittee chair in the preparation of the subcommittee agenda, as requested.
  4. Assists the subcommittee chair in representing the subcommittee at meetings, as requested.
  5. Assists the subcommittee chair in instructing new members about the subcommittee's relationship to the Standing Committee, other subcommittees and academic governance in general.
  6. Assists the subcommittee chair in instructing new subcommittee members of their duties as members.
  7. Serves as a full, voting member of the subcommittee with all rights and responsibilities thereof.

Liaison Reporting to the Executive Committee by Faculty Members Serving on Presidential Committees and Boards

(Executive Committee: 1/26/83; Editorial Amendment: 9/03; 9/23)

Every Executive Committee or Nominations Committee appointee to a standing Presidential advisory committee or board is required to report to the Executive Committee on a regular rotating basis for a minimum of once per semester.

Committee Vacancies

(Senate: 6/1/67, 1/7/75; President: 8/25/67, 1/9/75; Editorial Amendment: 9/03, 9/23)

Faculty members on leave for one or more semesters will normally not serve on committees, and must notify the committee chair at the beginning of the semester preceding the absence. If a faculty member is available and willing to serve and if there are extraordinary circumstances, such as membership on a selection committee, which make the faculty member's attendance highly desirable, a faculty member may serve while on leave. If a faculty member so serves on a committee in a position in which assigned time normally would be received, assigned time will not be granted nor will the faculty member accrue assigned time for subsequent use.

In the absence of a member of the Nominations Committee for a semester, the Executive Committee of the Academic Senate shall appoint a temporary replacement. If a member is to be absent for more than one semester, the Senate shall elect a temporary replacement.

The chair of a standing committee should announce to the committee as early as possible which semester will be spent on leave or vacation, so that the committee can provide for appropriate continuity in committee leadership (e.g., acting chair or vice chair).

Equity Statement

(Senate: 4/16/91; Editorial Amendment: 9/00)

RESOLVED: That before each election the Chair of each college's elections committee shall make the following announcement:

Because a strength of our faculty lies in its ethnic, cultural and gender diversity and because of our commitment to equity let us remember, as we make nominations and cast our votes today, that we should strive to elect committee members which reflect that diversity.

Attendance at Meetings of the Academic Senate and its Committees

(Senate: 12/5/67, 3/9/76; President: 12/7/67, 3/16/76; Editorial Amendment: 9/03)

All voting members of the Academic Senate and of its standing committees and subcommittees, both faculty and students, are expected to attend meetings regularly in order to fulfill the commitments of membership. If any voting members are absent from three consecutive meetings, they shall be replaced unless they are on approved leave or off campus for university related business.

In the case of committee membership, the chair of the committee concerned will notify the Nominations Committee regarding such a vacancy. The Nominations Committee in turn will request the appropriate body to provide a replacement.

Committee Service

(Senate: 12/5/67; President: 12/7/67; Editorial Amendment: 9/03)

If a member of a standing committee of the Academic Senate fails to meet committee responsibilities, the committee may by a two-thirds vote recommend to the Nominations Committee that the member be replaced. The Nominations Committee has responsibility to act on such a recommendation.

Operation of Academic Governance during Summer

See policy on Curriculum Calendar

(Senate: 10/2/88, 12/3/03, 2/26/13, 10/24/23; President: 3/15/90, 2/19/04, 3/26/13, 12/13/23; Editorial Amendment: 9/99, 9/03)

Faculty committees at University and college levels may not surrender or delegate to designated members of the administration any part or the whole of committee responsibility during the summer or any other term or portions thereof.

The operation of governance during the summer terms shall be:

  1. Academic Senate
    The Academic Senate will not meet during the summer term.
  2. Executive Committee
    The Executive Committee of the Academic Senate will meet every other week during the summer term but may schedule additional meetings if needed.
  3. Nominations Committee
    The Nominations Committee does not meet during the summer term.  Nominations Committee matters that need immediate attention will be handled by the Executive Committee.
  4. Educational Policy Committee
    The Educational Policy Committee does not meet during the summer term.  Educational Policy Committee matters that need immediate attention will be handled by the Executive Committee.
  5. Faculty Policy Committee
    The Faculty Policy Committee does not meet during the summer term.  Faculty Policy Committee matters that need immediate attention will be handled by the Executive Committee.
  6. Fiscal Policy Committee
    The Fiscal Policy Committee does not meet during the summer term.  Fiscal Policy Committee matters that need immediate attention will be handled by the Executive Committee.
  7. Student Policy Committee
    The Student Policy Committee does not meet during the summer term.  Student Policy Committee matters that need immediate attention will be handled by the Executive Committee.
  8. The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee
    Standing committee continues to function during summer term.
  9. Institutional Review Board - Human Subjects
    Standing committee continues to function during summer term.

Access to Meetings of University Committees

(Senate: 10/19/71; President: 11/18/71; Editorial Amendment: 9/00, 8/01)

All committee meetings at all levels -- university, college and department/division/school, including subcommittees and ad hoc committees -- shall be open to interested members of the faculty, student body, and staff. Faculty, students, and staff wishing to observe a committee meeting shall inform the committee chair prior to their attendance. Unless specifically invited to participate, observers may not interfere with the processes and procedures of any committee. During the discussion of personnel matters, only committee members may attend, except that individuals specifically invited by the committee to provide needed information may also attend. During the actual deliberations and voting on personnel matters, only members of the committee may attend.

Academic Senate | Faculty Handbook | Chapter 2 TOC | Back to Top