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Frequently Asked Questions

The Faculty Senate essentially consists of all “regular” SCU faculty; specifically, (1) all tenured and tenure-track faculty (cf. Faculty Handbook, Section 3.1.1.) except for administrators at or above the level of dean of a school or college; (2) all faculty with renewable term or continuing appointments; and (3) all other faculty on at least half-time appointments who receive an academic year contract, except visiting faculty.


The Faculty Senate Council is a representative body, which includes members representing each academic department in the university as well as the Law School and the Jesuit School of Theology; the officers of the Faculty Senate (President, President-elect and Past President) and four at-large members. Details can be found in the Faculty Senate Bylaws.

It appears Santa Clara University established a Faculty Senate in 1967. In The University of Santa Clara: A History: 1851-1977, Gerald McKevitt, S.J. references a number of changes made at the university in the 1960’s, including the formation of “administrative councils and committees [that] gave the faculty more consultative voice in the administration of the university” (p. 291). Santa Clara’s Faculty Senate Council was introduced in 1987, with the hope that a representative model (based on academic departments) would make the Senate more efficient and effective.

The Council meets up to nine times during the academic year (usually the second Wednesday of each month).  A full Senate meeting coincides with either the April or May meeting of the Council each year.

The Faculty Handbook outlines two important functions of the Faculty Senate: 1) develop and represent the “voice” of Santa Clara University faculty to the University administration and facilitate faculty participation in University governance; and 2) conduct elections, including those for rank and tenure, promotion, and grievance committees and the faculty judicial board. Any revisions of Chapter 3 of the Faculty Handbook, which governs the contractual terms of SCU faculty, must be reviewed by the Faculty Senate– typically in the form of a vote. Since 1990 the Senate has sponsored the annual “Faculty Senate Professor Award.”

As a representative body, the Council is the primary means by which the “voice” of the faculty is developed. The University’s shared governance model identifies the Council as a stakeholder in the development of university policies. University Policy Committees (in particular the Academic Affairs and Faculty Affairs Committees) are expected to consult with the Council on a regular basis as policies and procedures are developed. Administrators– including the Provost and President– consult the Council for faculty perspective on various matters. The Faculty Senate Council is also a source of policy initiatives addressing matters of faculty concern. The Council frequently passes resolutions referring such matters to appropriate University Policy Committees.

Representatives attend the monthly meetings, inform their constituencies of the Council’s deliberations, solicit feedback and issues from their colleagues for the Council’s considerations, and weigh in on matters put on the Council’s agenda.

If you have questions unanswered by this website, contact one of the Faculty Senate Officers or your Faculty Senate Council Representative. Faculty are always welcome to attend and participate in meetings of the Faculty Senate Council. Requests for more information may also be sent to

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