The Faculty Senate was established in 1952 as the representative voice for full-time teaching faculty at the University of Pennsylvania. The University of Pennsylvania embraces a vision of shared governance in which the faculty is regularly consulted on academic issues and faculty decisions heavily influence policies that are under the purview of faculty responsibility.
Much of the work of the Faculty Senate is done through an elected Senate Executive Committee (SEC) and a set of standing committees. On behalf of the faculty, members of SEC and the various committees engage in substantive investigation and consideration of matters of import with the University administration.
In addition to the work of these committees, the Tri-Chairs (Chair-Elect, Chair, and Past-Chair) meet regularly with the President and the Provost. These meetings provide opportunities for the administration to learn about and respond to issues raised by SEC and/or its committees, as well as the many faculty constituencies across the University.
The Faculty Senate Executive Committee serves three major functions:
- Consultation with senior administrators, with an eye toward understanding their areas of responsibility and staying informed about their plans in an effort to better engage with them, ensuring that faculty perspectives and concerns are brought to bear on relevant issues.
- Review and approval of changes in formal policy that fall under Senate responsibility.
- Initiating consideration and exploration of issues that are of concern to the SEC membership, or that are referred to SEC for discussion and response by its committees. These issues often became the topics of further consultation with the administration.