The Faculty Senate is authorized, subject to the approval of the chancellors of UTK and UTIA, the president, and the Board of Trustees, to formulate policies and regulations regarding the general educational objectives of the university, including those policies and regulations related to the overall general requirements for admission, readmission, retention, graduation, and honors for the degree programs and certificate programs of The University of Tennessee. The faculty role in campus-wide governance is through the senate, the representative body specifically charged by the board (a) to formulate the university’s educational standards and degree requirements, including approval of academic programs and their curricula; and (b) to consider, advise, and recommend to the administration policies about a wide range of issues affecting the general welfare of the faculty. Among these issues are:
- criteria for faculty appointment, dismissal, evaluation, promotion, tenure, and retirement
- criteria for the selection of the chancellor, the chief academic officer, and other campus administrative officers
- criteria for the selection of the president and other statewide executive officers of UT (in conjunction with other faculty senates or corresponding bodies of the other entities within the UT system)
- priorities for the university development plan
- changes in physical facilities
- policies regarding student life, rights, and responsibilities
- coordination with the faculty senate president to nominate faculty members for service on university committees
The senate is authorized to review curriculum, including admission and graduation requirements for programs of all academic units. The review process takes place through designated committees at the college and university level, proceeding to the senate through the Undergraduate and/or Graduate Councils. Departmental proposals for the curriculum are transmitted by a departmental representative (or head) for review by divisional, college, and university committees. The head does not have veto power in curricular recommendations approved by departmental faculty, although it is important for college and university committees to have full benefit of the head’s advice and judgment about such recommendations. Each academic unit is represented on the senate by an equitable number of senators as stated in the Faculty Senate Bylaws. Other faculty members may serve on faculty senate committees and task forces to assist in this process.
The senate has no management or administrative functions either in itself or through its committees, since such functions are expressly reserved to the president (as delegated by the board of trustees) and through the president to the chancellors of UTK and UTIA. But the advice and recommendation of the senate about all of the concerns listed above is considered carefully by all administrative officers. The Faculty Senate Bylaws contain detailed information about the operation of the senate, its organization, officers, meetings, committees, appointment of faculty members to senate committees and task forces and recommendation of faculty members to serve on administrative committees and task forces. Administrative committees and task forces are determined by the chancellor or chief academic officer. Other task forces are established by the senate according to its bylaws. In an effort to act on shared governance, the chancellor works closely with the senate president in establishing joint task forces.