Leadership Guidelines

Approved: February 7, 1995
Amended: February 4, 1997, May 1998, May 1999, May 2004

The following guidelines are not binding on the Faculty Senate leadership, but the Executive Committee is normally expected to follow them.



Part A1. The President-elect should immediately seek released time from teaching and/or service from his/her department chair which is roughly equivalent to 1/3 of the regular teaching and service load for that department. To be effective, Senate Presidents need this time. The President-elect should also work with the Corresponding Secretary-elect and the Recording Secretary-Treasurer-elect to ensure that there is adequate work-study student support and/or to obtain some released time from their departments.

2. At the beginning of each year the President should identify any Senate committees on which it would be useful to have an ex officio member from the administration (e.g., for providing information), and should request the Provost to assign such persons such duties.

3. At the beginning of each academic year, the President should identify a small number (1-5) of issues for focused attention during the academic year and arrange to have a short written statement of these issues published on the Faculty Senate website. At the start of the academic year, the Senate President should send a letter to the University President, the Provost, the Vice President for Health Sciences, all school deans, and the Director of VCU Libraries notifying them of the Senate meeting days and times, asking them not to schedule general faculty meetings at these times.

4. At the start of the academic year, an orientation session for all new Senators should be held. Attendance should be taken, and a repeat session held if needed or useful. Members should sign up for committees at the orientation.

Part B

1. In order to promote informed faculty deliberation at University Council meetings the Senate President should meet with the University Council Faculty Caucus at least once each semester to discuss pertinent issues. He/She should also be sure to request that the President of the University places any relevant items on the University Council agenda.

2. On appropriate issues, the President should ensure that the Senate coordinates with the student government associations and with the classified staff association. The Senate Executive Committee should meet with the leaders of these organizations at least once each academic year to discuss issues of joint concern.

3. At each Senate meeting the President or Vice-President should report on the past University Council meeting and identify the main agenda items for the next University Council meeting. Copies of any especially relevant documents pertaining to University Council activities should be distributed to all Senators.

4. In order to facilitate access to information regarding matters of concern to faculty, the President should request that appropriate University officials inform the Executive Committee of their intent to form a committee or other body to ensure appropriate faculty representation on the committee.


1. When there are members of the faculty who are not members of the Senate, but who would be especially valuable members of a particular committee or provide a particular service to the Faculty Senate, the President should seek to appoint them as Honorary Senate members.

2. To provide continuity on committees it is highly desirable to have at least one active member from the previous year’s committee as a member of the current year’s committee. Where necessary, the Senate Vice President should request Elected Senators whose terms have expired to continue as Committee Chairpersons or members.

3. On truly major issues, the President should consider setting up a highly focused ad hoc committee of highly motivated people rather than using the existing committees.


1. It is extremely important to have informed Senate representatives on the Executive Budget Committee.

2. In order to promote continuity and interaction, all faculty members serving on the Executive Budget Committee during the current year and during the previous year should be strongly urged to be members of the Senate’s Budget and Planning Committee. The Senate committee should meet at least once each semester to discuss major budgetary issues.


  1. In order to promote effective communications, the Senate President or his or her representative Vice President, and Past President should ideally meet monthly with the Provost and 1 to 3 times per semester with the President. In order to promote effective relations, the Provost should be invited to speak to the Senate at least once each semester. The President of the University should be invited at least once each year in addition to the meetings with the faculty as a whole each semester.


1. The President, or his or her designee when the President is unavailable, should serve as the Senate’s representative to the Board of Visitors. The President should attend all open meetings of the Board of Visitors, attend all meetings of the Academic Policy Committee of the Board, and report to the Senate regarding these meetings.

2. The President should ensure that several members of the Executive Committee, including the President, are charged for the academic year with attending the public part of each Board of Visitors meeting and meetings of the Academic Policy Committee of the Board.

3. The Executive Committee should request a meeting with the Academic Policy Committee of the Board at least once each semester a year to discuss major issues.

4. The President of the Senate will submit a list of 5 names, including the name of the Immediate Past-President of the Faculty Senate to the President of the University for consideration for the faculty representative to the Board of Visitors.


1. At the start of the academic year, the Senate Corresponding Secretary should arrange for UniverCity News the Faculty Senate web site to publish create a posting that a lists of the Senate committees, their charges, and the name, phone number, e-mail address and box number of the chair of the committee, as well as that of the Senate President. It should be emphasized there and emphasizes that non-Senators with special interests or expertise are encouraged to serve on Senate committees.

In order to promote the public image of the faculty, and to strengthen the internal role of the Faculty Senate (by increasing its external role), the following steps should be taken:

2. One or more Senators should be charged with media relations. He/she/they should contact the main reporters at least once per semester, and offer to provide information on issues of interest. Extreme care should be exercised to ensure that any comments made are accurate and genuinely reflect the Senate’s view.

3. The Faculty Senate leadership should consider writing Op/Ed pieces, writing letters to the editor and appearing on talk shows when there are major issues of public concern affecting the faculty.