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Chapter 2: University Governance

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 several 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 body concerned 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. Although not specified in the Code of By-Laws, the Provost and the Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs are the chief academic officers for their respective schools and colleges.

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.

The faculties have the power of recommending individuals for degrees or other marks of academic distinction when the conditions prescribed in the several departments, colleges, and schools have been fulfilled. No individual may be awarded a degree without the recommendation of the appropriate faculty. Each faculty may adopt policies, rules, and procedures necessary or desirable in connection with its internal administration.

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, 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. Each faculty elects its own representatives to serve for a three-year term. 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 Faculty Senate meets at least four times each academic year. 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 Faculty Assembly is authorized 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. The Faculty Senate is given power under the Constitution to adopt its own regulations and rules of order, and the Constitution contains provisions for its amendment.

The Constitution of the Faculty Assembly 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, through the Chancellor, 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.