Frequently Asked Questions
About the Senate
What is the Faculty Senate?
The Faculty Senate is an elected assembly of representatives of the tenured and tenure-track faculty members and librarians, authorized by the Texas Tech University Board of Regents in 1977, which serves as an advisory body to the President of the University. It represents this body as a whole.
What formal power does the Faculty Senate have?
The Faculty Senate is an advisory body to the President. It does not have any independent executive, legislative, or judicial power. It legally can compel the President to produce a written justification on those occasions when the President chooses a course of action contradictory to a formal resolution of the Senate (Constitution, art. IV, sect. 4). Otherwise the Senate’s power is informal.
What informal power does the Faculty Senate have?
The President receives advice from a variety of administrators . Committees of administrators, such as the assembly of deans and other unit heads in the Provost's Council, also provide formal advice, through set channels. However, the Faculty Senate, as the overall representative body for the faculty, provides a ground-up perspective from the teachers and researchers who actually carry out the basic missions of the university. Because of this unique perspective, which supplements the perspective of the administration committees mentioned above, its advice and acquiescence are actively sought.
When does the Senate meet?
The Senate shall meet at least monthly during the long semesters of the academic year. Monthly meetings shall be held in the Senate Room of the University Center building, unless decided otherwise by the Agenda Committee, on the second Wednesday of the month at 3:15 p.m.
How are senators chosen?
Senators are chosen through elections held every year in each college and one “at large” election to make up the Faculty Senate’s 68 members.
How do I contact the Senate?
The office in 126 Doak Hall is usually open for business from 8-5 (with a lunch break). The staff and officers are easy to contact; contact information can be found on the Contact page.
What is the Senate doing now?
Membership in many of these councils/committees is on a voluntary bases; you simply nominate yourself when the forms are sent out in January of each year. Other councils/committees are filled through elections, in order to insure that each college has representation. This is done each Spring term. The Faculty Senate fills several council/committees with a liaison from its membership.
Why should faculty members serve on Senate and University Committees?
There are two answers here. One is good citizenship: because faculty members, the central players in the teaching and research mission of the university, may have a different perspective than administrators about how particular policies actually work “in the trenches,” they can make the university community better by sharing their knowledge and expertise. The second answer is that university service is strongly encouraged, even required, by university regulations.
Should all faculty members make equivalent contributions to university service?
No. Regulations do suggest that, unless specific contractual arrangements specify otherwise, each faculty member has responsibilities in regard to teaching, research, and service. Thus each faculty member should probably make at least some minimal contribution in each area. But common sense indicates that no single faculty member will be equally good at all three and that the university will benefit when personal efforts are channeled to some extent into areas of greatest individual strength. Moreover, different academic units may place greater or lesser emphasis on service, depending upon their specific missions. Nevertheless, since each faculty member has a unique perspective and unique expertise, the community can benefit when each one contributes appropriately.