to the Senate Room, Marquand House
you know about the University Senate?" Time and again the answers
were the same: "Senate? Whatís that?" or "Very little."
Some people had never even heard of the Senate.
An informal poll for AUB Today revealed that few students,
faculty or staff members have much concrete knowledge of AUBís
Senate. One new faculty member, a veteran of three semesters on campus,
said he knew practically nothing at all. "I only heard of it when
I became a member of two Arts and Sciences committees," he said.
For several people, the body held an aura of mystery, aloofness,
even sanctity. These perceptions are all the more surprising when one
realizes that the Senate is the Universityís highest legislative
body concerned with academic affairs.
Like most parliaments and congresses, the Senate of AUB is made
up of elected representatives. Members, who come from each faculty as
well as from the Division of Education Programs and the School of Nursing,
are elected for three years. They are chosen from the professional ranks
and must have served in the University full time for at least three years.
(See box, this page.) The Senateís ranks are filled out with a
number of ex-officio members: The President of the University serves as
Chairman; other ex-officio members are the Provost, Deans of faculties
and the Dean of Students, the Vice Presidents, and the Registrar.
Throughout the academic year this parliament of professors and
administrators convenes once a month over coffee and cookies to deliberate
on major issues affecting academic functions. On the agenda are issues
concerning curricula, promotion, personnel, and faculty development, as
well as student life and activities.
Routine tasks occupy the Senate every year: the setting of the
calendar of the academic year and the voting of degrees. More significantly,
it proposes changes to existing programs upon recommendations from the
faculties. For example, the Senate has approved proposals for new graduate
programs in the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture: Engineering Management
(1990) and Urban Planning and Design (1995). For the Faculty of Health
Sciences an MS in Population Studies was approved in 1992.
More recently, the Senate has considered proposals on TOEFL scores
for admission and an interdisciplinary and inter-faculty graduate program
in environmental sciences. In 1998 it approved student evaluation of teaching
effectiveness, and in early 1999 the Senate finalized a significant unification
of all faculty bylaws. An ongoing, but so far unsuccessful, attempt to
bring the grading system more in line with standard US university GPAís
has also occupied the Senate.
On all these issues the Senate makes recommendations to the Board
of Trustees through the President of the University. Implementing the
proposals is the responsibility of the Board of Deans. The Senate Steering
Committee organizes the Senateís work, bringing up issues for discussion
and setting agendas for regular meeting.
Nine standing committees have been set up to ensure that the Universityís
academic programs interact smoothly with each other. University-wide in
scope, these committees should be distinguished from faculty committees
bearing the same names.
articles about the Senate will highlight the work of the committees, present
interviews with current and former Senate members, and provide agendas
of ongoing meetings.
Senate Standing Committees
The University Admissions Committee establishes general criteria
for entrance to the University.
2. The Board of Graduate Studies sets criteria for admission to
graduate studies, deliberates on establishing and eliminating graduate
programs, and rules on the admission of PhD candidates for graduate
3. The University Disciplinary Committee deals with student violation
of University rules.
4. The Library Committee oversees development policies for all AUB
5. The University Publications Committee allocates funds for and
supervises University publications to ensure international quality
of content, production, and design.
6. The University Research Board oversees policies for seeking grant
support for research and faculty development, and publishes the
Universityís Annual Research Report.
7. The University Committee on Student Affairs has a broad mandate
for recommending policies on student life and activities on campus.
8. The Academic Development Committee evaluates new and old undergraduates
programs and makes recommendations to the Senate at the request
of concerned faculties.
9. The Senate Committee of Faculty Affairs oversees University policies
on faculty benefits such as pensions, indemnities, the Hospital
Insurance Plan (HIP), educational allowances, housing, and leaves
Distribution of Elected Senate Members
and Food Sciences- 3
Arts and Sciences- 10
Engineering and Architecture- 4
Health Sciences- 2
Division of Education Programs- 1
School of Nursing- 1