Millersville University, Faculty Senate

Guide to Faculty Senate

1996 Edition

Functions | Membership | Meetings | Disposition of Actions | Officers | Committee Nominations and Elections | Standing Committees | Agenda Model | Minutes | Rules of Order


The functions of Faculty Senate are defined in the Governance Manual as recommending policy to the President "in such areas as curriculum, admissions and standards practices, educational programs, University organization, advisement and counseling, student affairs and matters of similar import". Senate is designated by APSCUF as the University curriculum committee specified in the CBA.


Each of the 29 departments elects one Senator and one or more alternates for 3-year terms. The President of APSCUF-MU and the representatives of Student Senate are ex officio members. Normally in attendance are the University President, Provost, VPSA, and Associate Provosts.

Senate elections are staggered so that ca. 1/3 of the membership is elected each year:

Elected in 1998: Business Administration, Computer Science, Earth Science, Economics, Health & Physical Education, Nursing, Physics, Psychology, Special Education
Elected in 1997: Art, Biology, Counseling & Human Development, Educational Foundations, Elementary & Early Childhood Education, English, Geography, Industry and Technology, Library
Elected in 1996: Chemistry, Developmental Studies, Foreign Languages, History, Mathematics, Music, Philosophy, Political Science, Social Work, Sociology/Anthropology


Meetings are held on the first and third Tuesdays of the months of the fall and spring semesters when classes are in session, 4:05 PM-5:45 PM. Additional summer meetings are held as necessary. Senate currently meets in Chryst Auditorium, where refreshments are served.


Regarding recommendations to the President of a routine nature (e.g., course approvals), if the President does not respond to Senate within 30 days the matter is tacitly approved. Recommendations of a more formal nature regarding external approval (e.g., new majors) require written transmittal from the chairperson and written response from the President.

The Provost places the Senate Action Summaries on the PAC agenda for informational purposes.


The Faculty Senate elects the chairperson, vice chairperson, and secretary at the first meeting of each spring semester for one-year terms. Nominations are made from the floor. Offices are assumed at the first meeting of the fall semester. The chairperson appoints the parliamentarian (Charles Scharnberger, 1996-1997).

The chairperson (Don Eidam 1996-97) presides at Faculty Senate meetings; updates Senate-related parts of the Governance Manual; maintains membership rolls and election schedules for Senate and all committees for which Senate conducts elections; informs course and program proposers of approval progress; maintains a clearinghouse for committee minutes and agendae; represents Senate at SPARC, Commencement Committee, Development Committee, Medal Fund Management Board, and Council of Trustees meetings and at Commencements; and performs other services requested by the Senate, President, and Council of Trustees. The chairperson receives 3 credit hours of released time each semester.

The vice chairperson (Joel Piperberg 1996-1997) presides at Faculty Senate meetings in the absence of or at the request of the chairperson of the Faculty Senate and chairs the Joint Conference Committee.

The secretary (Marvin Margolis 1996-1997) records the minutes, prepares the agenda, and audiotapes the meetings (these tapes are retained for a period of at least one year).


Elections for committees are held at the first meeting of the fall semester, except for the chairs of University Honors Program and International Studies Curriculum Committees who are elected in the spring semester. Be sure to receive permission from your colleagues before you nominate them.

All elections are by majority. The single-transferable-vote balloting method is used. The following algorithm was approved on 12/95:


Most of these committees are mandated to have representation from the four academic units and from non-school faculty. All regular faculty (including regular part-time faculty) are eligible for nomination. The position of chairperson of a Faculty Senate standing committee, except for International Studies Curriculum Committee, can be held only by a senator. The terms of the chairpersons are three years.

See the Faculty Senate Standing Committee Annual Reports distributed to all faculty in May for a description of the business conducted this past year. See the Governance Manual for membership composition and functions of committees.

The standing committees follow:

Ad Hoc Committees may be created by Faculty Senate either from its own membership or from the University as a whole to consider or investigate matters of concern.


I. Correction/approval of minutes
II. Chair's report.
III. Student Senate President's report.
IV. Administrators' reports--President, Provost, Vice-Presidents, and other administrators.
V. Standing Committee reports.
VI. Other Committee reports
VII. Faculty Emeritus Recommendations:

When a department wishes to recommend a retired faculty for faculty emeritus status to the Council of Trustees, the department faculty senator brings the recommendation to Faculty Senate. The motion to recommend is in written form with copies distributed in Faculty Senate. The motion is read during the Faculty Senate meeting by the department senator.

VIII. Proposed Courses

IX. Pre-Scheduled Agenda Items

These items, the corpus of the meeting, consist of those RTA'd or postponed at previous meetings followed by newly-proposed items. They are normally scheduled in "chronological" order, that is, in the order in which they were placed on the current agenda according to the records of the Secretary.

Proposals requesting Senate approval are placed on the agenda in two ways:

Proposals from standing committees do not require a second; others do. In either case, 40 written copies of the proposal, its rationale, etc., should be made available prior to the meeting. Proposals are introduced but not normally voted upon at the first meeting, so that Senators are afforded time for consultation with their departments. The usual voting method on motions is viva voce, after which any Senator may call for division.

It will sometimes be deemed appropriate for proposals, upon introduction or after discussion, to be referred to a standing committee such as the Academic Policies Committee or the Joint [Faculty/Student] Senate Conference Committee.


As the historical record of Faculty Senate deliberations, the minutes are utilized by the Offices of the Registrar, Academic Advisement, Provost, etc., as an official resource for academic policies and curricular approvals. They are distributed together with relevant attachments, to all faculty, administration, staff, and Snapper and Student Senate representatives to Faculty Senate, as well as to all Trustees who wish to receive them. Indeed, Faculty Senate minutes constitute the most frequent periodic mailing to all faculty (not counting pay checks!).


Senate adheres to Robert's rules, with the exception of certain well-established local traditions, including: 1) the limitation of two speeches by a Senator on any one motion is not enforced; nor is the time limit of any one speech normally enforced; 2) non-Senators are afforded the same privileges; 3) the numerical tally of the results of elections is neither published nor announced. Normally everyone who wishes to be heard is recognized before anyone is heard for a second time, with the exception of obvious follow-ups. Senators are normally recognized before non-Senators.

New Senators are provided by the chair with a copy of Jones' Parliamentary Procedure at a Glance. The Senate parliamentarian may be consulted by all Senators; he/she serves the body, not the chair. His/her role is advisory only. The chairperson issues all rulings, which may be overriden by the body.

As labyrinthine as they are, yet Robert's Rules (704 pages in the ninth edition) sometimes constitute more a set of guidelines than of algorithms; and exceptions to a rule often have exceptions. Most motions are debatable and require a simple majority. the motions that follow are under normal circumstances exceptions:

Adjourn Limit
Table Previous question
Vote by ballot Suspend rules
Previous question
Withdraw motion
Consider by Paragraph
Limit debate
Suspend rules

Date: 12 February 1996
From: Don Eidam, current chairperson

This guide is current as of this date, and it will be updated every two years.

I maintain an unofficial copy of the Governance Manual in Word for Windows 6.0 on my home and office computer; sections related to Senate and Senate actions are updated virtually in real-time. You may request from me a search and printout of any sections. For your own disk copy of the Manual, contact Alfonso Pena in Public Relations.

Functions | Membership | Meetings | Disposition of Actions | Officers | Committee Nominations and Elections | Standing Committees | Agenda Model | Minutes | Rules of Order

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