Rice University logo
 
 
 
Frequently Asked Questions 

1.  What is the Faculty Senate?

The Faculty Senate is a representative body of the faculty formed to investigate, discuss, and decide on matters concerning the academic affairs of Rice University. The Faculty Senate considers a wide range of problems and policies, including all proposals for changes in curriculum and degree requirements.  It also serves as the primary advising body to the president on matters affecting the faculty.

 The powers and duties of the Senate, the membership of the Senate, Senate elections, and required plenary faculty meetings are specified in the Constitution of the Faculty Senate, linked HERE.

 

2.  Which academic programs require Faculty Senate approval?

  • Majors (undergraduate and graduate)
  • Minors (undergraduate)
  • Certificates (undergraduate and graduate)
  • Major concentrations  (undergraduate and graduate)
  • Degree name changes (while departmental name changes do not require Senate approval)

 

3.  How do I seek approval for academic programs?

For undergraduate programs, please see the guidelines documents at this website: Procedures for Creating Undergraduate Programs.

  • In general, approval for undergraduate programs follows this process:
    • review by the University Committee for the Undergraduate Curriculum; if approved,
    • review by the Faculty Senate’s Executive Committee; if approved,
    • review by the Faculty Senate, with vote to determine final approval.

For graduate programs, please see the guidelines documents at this website: Procedures for Creating or Eliminating Graduate Programs.

  • In general, approval for graduate programs follows this process:
    • review by the Graduate Council; if approved,
    • review by the Faculty Senate’s Executive Committee; if approved,
    • review by the Faculty Senate, with vote to determine final approval.

NOTE:  proposals will be posted to the Faculty Senate website and/or wiki site. Please remove any sensitive information, such as salary data, before submitting proposals to the Faculty Senate.

4. How do I bring an item of concern to the attention of the Senate?
Please contact your senator. Each department has a senator assigned to represent tenured and tenure-track faculty in that department. Non-tenure-track faculty members are represented by senators who serve campus-wide. A list of current senators can be found at this link: Faculty Senators. If you cannot reach your senator, please email the Faculty Senate office: senate@rice.edu.

5.  Who is my senator?

Please see the current list of senators at this link: Faculty Senators.

6.  How do I run for election to the Faculty Senate?

Please see the Senate Constitution and Bylaws.

The Faculty Senate is a representative body of the faculty, consisting of thirty-four members: thirty elected members, two members appointed by the President and approved by the Senate, and the President and the Provost, who are ex officio, non-voting members. Elections for the Senate are held annually in the spring for terms beginning in the following academic year. The Nominations and Elections Committee will send an email to the faculty in the spring semester announcing the election, complete with the required nomination form.

7.  Are non-tenure-track faculty members allowed to be senators? Are they allowed to vote?

Most non-tenure-track faculty are allowed to serve and to vote, per the Constitution, Section 2, also copied here:

Three members are to be, and elected by, benefits-eligible faculty holding non-tenured, non-tenure track teaching appointments at the ranks of assistant teaching professor, associate teaching professor, teaching professor, instructor, lecturer at any rank, artist-teacher, associate professor, or professor in the practice, excepting adjunct, visiting, and post-doctoral appointees. No more than one representative may come from one school.

One member is to be, and elected by, faculty holding non-tenured and non-tenure track research appointments at the ranks of assistant research professor, associate research professor, and research professor. 

8. When and where does the Faculty Senate meet?

Meetings of the Faculty Senate are open to all members of the University community, but they may be closed at the discretion of the Senate. 

All meetings are from 12 p.m. until 2 p.m. on select Wednesdays in the Kyle Morrow Room, located on the third floor of Fondren Library, unless otherwise indicated.

Please see the current Senate meeting schedule HERE.

 

9. How do I contact the Faculty Senate?
Please send an email to senate@rice.edu or call the Senate office: 713-348-5630.