Chapter 2: University Governance
Vanderbilt University is committed to a robust model of shared University governance. The Faculty and Administration cooperate and collaborate through a number of University committees and the Faculty Senate. As provided in the Code of By-Laws of Vanderbilt University, the Faculty Senate is the representative, deliberative, legislative body of the faculties. It is composed of the Deans of the colleges and schools, elected members, and ex officio members, including the Chancellor. Ex officio members may participate fully in the deliberations, but have no vote.
The Code of By-Laws authorizes the Faculty Senate to review and evaluate the educational policies and practices of the University (including policies and procedures to be applied in cases involving conscience or academic freedom); to make recommendations concerning them to the Chancellor and to the Board of Trust; to discuss and express its views about any matter affecting the University to any individual, faculty, or other group within the University; and to facilitate communication among the faculties, the Chancellor, and assisting officers.
Each Faculty elects its own representatives to serve for a three-year term on the Faculty Senate. Only full-status faculty members with the academic rank of Instructor or above are eligible for election to the Faculty Senate. Upon the expiration of his or her first full term, a senator is eligible for reelection to a second subsequent term. All full-status faculty members with the academic rank of Instructor or above, part-time faculty members having full status, and such other part-time faculty members as the full status faculty of a school or college may designate, are eligible to vote for representatives to the Faculty Senate. The Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate, elected by members of the Faculty Senate, consists of the Chair, Vice Chair, the Chair-elect, and the Vice Chair-elect. The immediate past Chair and Vice Chair will serve as ex officio members of the committee for one year following their term. The Faculty Senate meets at least four times each academic year. Unless otherwise announced as Senators’ only meetings, all meetings of the Faculty Senate are open to full-status faculty members who hold the rank of Instructor or above (including administrative officers who hold faculty appointments) and to part-time faculty members with full status.
The faculties have the power of recommending individuals for degrees or other marks of academic distinction when the conditions prescribed in the departments, colleges, and schools have been fulfilled. No individual may be awarded a degree without the recommendation of the appropriate faculty. None of the regular degrees of the University shall be conferred as honorary degrees, nor shall any honorary degree be conferred by the University except upon recommendation of the Faculty Senate and with the concurrence of the Board of Trust and the faculties. Each faculty may adopt policies, rules, and procedures necessary or desirable in connection with its internal administration.
The Faculty Assembly consists of the full-time members of the faculties of the several colleges and schools, and those having full status with partial load who hold the rank of Instructor or above (which includes administrative officers who hold faculty appointments). The Code of By-Laws authorizes the Faculty Assembly to adopt a Constitution, setting forth its own regulations and rules of order and also the composition and organization of the Faculty Senate to the extent not defined in the Code of By-Laws, including procedures for changing its composition from time to time. Under the Constitution the Faculty Senate is given power to adopt its own regulations and rules of order, and the Constitution contains provisions for its amendment.
The Code of By-Laws provides that voting membership of the Faculty Assembly consists of the full-time members of the faculties of the several colleges and schools, and those having full status with partial load, who hold the rank of Instructor or above (which includes administrative officers who hold faculty appointments). Part-time members of the faculties not having full status with partial load are non-voting members of the Faculty Assembly.
As provided in the Code of By-Laws of Vanderbilt University, the immediate government of the University is committed to the Chancellor and, through the Chancellor, to the assisting officers and the Faculty in each of the schools and colleges. The Chancellor is designated as the Chief Officer of the University and may delegate authority to assisting officers, to the faculties, and to others within the University. The Chancellor has the authority to suspend the action of any Faculty, the Faculty Senate, or of other individuals or bodies to whom authority has been delegated. In so doing, in the case of any faculty or of the Faculty Senate the Chancellor submits to the relevant body a statement of the action and the reasons, and reports the action to the Board of Trust together with any pertinent statements submitted by the affected body.
The Chancellor is, ex officio, chair of the faculty of each school and college, and appoints assisting officers, including general officers and Deans of colleges and schools, who serve at the pleasure of the Chancellor. The appointment of general officers and deans of colleges and schools requires approval by the Board of Trust. Although not specified in the Code of By-Laws, the Provost is the chief academic officer for the nine colleges and schools reporting to the Provost and the basic science departments in the School of Medicine. The Dean of the School of Medicine is the chief academic officer of the clinical departments of the School of Medicine.
The Code of By-Laws further provides that the faculty of each school or college shall meet at such times as it may appoint, or at the call of the Chancellor or the appropriate Dean. Each faculty may establish its own procedures for calling meetings.