The mission of the Faculty Senate at Florida International University is to provide a process for faculty to play an active and responsible role in academic governance. The Senate is the democratic collegial governance body that the faculty, as an academic community, has chosen to govern itself. As the representative of the faculty, it serves as the source of academic authority and as the guardian of policies that govern the academic community.
The Faculty Senate is an integral part of the academic governance of the University. It is essential in steering the University by initiating, reviewing, evaluating and recommending policy. It serves as the faculty’s voice in making decisions and policies on academic matters ranging from admission standards to the requirements for the awarding of degrees. More specifically, the Faculty Senate expresses the faculty’s will on matters of curriculum policy and curricular structure; degree requirements; policies regarding the recruitment, admission, and retention of students; the development reorganization of academic programs; grading standards; and other matters of academic concern. The Chairperson of the Senate is a member of the University’s Board of Trustees.
FIU’s Faculty Senate consists of 62 Senators elected proportionally by the faculty of its schools and colleges with each free-standing school or college having at least two Senators.
The Senate’s Constitution specifies the following as its Vision Statement:
The Senate shares with the University administration the duty to protect academic freedom. It places the welfare of the Academy above parochial interests and participates fully and responsibly in making collective decisions. It recognizes the importance of creating a sense of community within the University. It is committed to promoting equal opportunity and access in all aspects of University life. It recognizes and supports the University’s role in the global community. In addition, the Senate is responsive to the special mission of an urban, public University and seeks to strengthen ties with the local community.
The Senate’s Constitution specifies the following as its “Bill of Collective Rights and Principles of Governance” and holds that the faculty has the collective rights that are set forward here. Every academic unit in the University shall explicitly guarantee these rights in their governance documents and observe faithfully these rights in the future:
Academic freedom refers to the freedom and responsibility of faculty in their role as teachers, researchers, citizens in the academic community, and participants in the collegial governance systems and processes. They are entitled to pursue a course of study, carry out research, publish findings, teach, artistically create, participate actively in the collegial governance process, and speak out in matters of controversy without fear of reprisal or censorship, and unhindered by pressures from internal or external groups.
Through collegial self-governance, university faculty members decide and develop the curriculum that will be offered to students within the limits established by state rules and regulations. Faculty members are the academic authorities of the University.
Each free-standing school or college must have a democratically established collegial governance system. These governance systems and their governing documents may only be revised by democratic vote of the college or school faculty.
The faculty of each unit of the University have the right to participate in the selection and appointment of their administrators. In particular, department chairpersons and school directors may only be appointed following a free, fair and secret vote by the faculty of the unit.
The faculty of each unit of the University have the right to participate in the evaluation of their administrators. This right includes participation in the creation of evaluative criteria. Evaluations shall be conducted annually in a process that protects the anonymity of the evaluators. Those to be evaluated include department chairs and school directors, deans, the Provost and the President. Faculty have the right to see the results.
The faculty of each academic unit, including departments, schools or colleges and the University as a whole, have the right and responsibility to conduct a vote of confidence in their leadership at any time they see fit.
The Faculty Senate may censure individuals and any formal, organized units when it determines they have violated these rights and principles.
Further information on the Senate is available on its website:
The Senate’s office is in PC 225 on the University Park Campus and its phone number is 305-348-2141. Contact information for the Officers and Senators is available on the website.