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OM 2.8.0 Faculty Senate Constitution

About This Policy

Effective Date: January 1968
Last Updated: September 2021
Responsible University Office: President's Office
Responsible University Administrator: President

Policy Contact:

Office of the President


Since the primary purpose of Clarkson University is to preserve, transmit, and advance knowledge, the faculty, as an integral part of the University, is properly concerned with the formulation and review of the educational policies of the University and with any other policies that might directly affect this primary purpose. The faculty is also properly concerned with all matters relating to the well being of the University and its role and responsibilities in the academic and civic communities. In order that a means may be provided for giving the faculty formal representation in exercising its resultant responsibilities, an organization shall be established and be known as the Faculty Senate, and this Senate shall henceforth be the official representative voice of the faculty. It is the intended purpose of the Faculty Senate to establish and maintain a working relationship between the administration and the faculty, in an atmosphere of mutual respect and confidence, thereby promoting the welfare of the University.

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Article I. Responsibilities
  1. The Faculty Senate, as a body, shall possess the responsibility and authority to review and discuss all matters that it shall deem as within its legitimate concern, and it may initiate recommendations or take other appropriate action on matters, subject to review by the president and/or the Board of Trustees. The Faculty Senate shall have primary responsibility for recommending policy in such fundamental areas as curriculum, standards, research, faculty status, and those aspects of student activity that relate directly to the educational process. On these matters the power of review or final decision lodged in the Board of Trustees or delegated by it to the president should be exercised adversely only in exceptional circumstance, and for reasons communicated to the faculty. The Faculty Senate shall prepare the agenda for all meetings of the full faculty, and the chair of the Senate shall preside at these meetings. 
  2. The Senate must call at least one meeting of the faculty during each semester of the Potsdam campus undergraduate calendar inclusive of the full faculty meeting before graduation at the Potsdam campus to determine whether requirements for degrees in courses have been met and to authorize the president and the Board of Trustees to grant the degrees thus achieved. 
  3. Further, the chair of the Senate must call a special meeting of the faculty upon written petition by one-third or more of those holding faculty rank. 
  4. All standing committees of the Faculty Senate shall be appointed by the Senate and will report to the Senate.

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Article II. Composition and Method of ElectionA. Composition
  1. The Faculty Senate shall consist of members of the faculty, and such ex-officio members as are hereinafter designated. 
  2. The elected representation shall consist of: 
    1. Two members at large elected by the full Faculty Senate constituency; and 
    2. School representatives elected by the schools with each school having one representative. In addition, there shall be ten school representatives with the number from each school determined by the proportionate size of the faculty of each school. The Senate should consider reapportionment of seats after major reorganizations (as determined by the Senate), the addition of new schools, major changes in faculty numbers (as determined by the Senate) or at the written request of 20 percent of the voting-eligible University faculty body. 
    3. At the discretion of any career-track faculty member at the Capital Region Campus (CRC) who wishes to run for a seat, a representative elected by faculty at CRC.
  3. Consistent with the above provision, the specific number to represent each school and the frequency of reapportionment shall be determined by the Senate. The Senate should consider reapportionment of seats after major reorganizations (as determined by the Senate), the addition of new schools, major changes in faculty numbers (as determined by the Senate) or at the written request of 20 percent of the voting-eligible University faculty body.  
  4. At no time shall all senators from a school be members of the same department. Further, the maximum number of school senators from one department shall be two. 
  5. To qualify for membership on the Faculty Senate, an individual must hold career-track faculty rank (professor, associate professor, assistant professor, instructor) and not be a vice president, a dean, an associate dean, or a department chair, with the exception of the Administrative Council chair. 
  6. The President, or his designee, and the chair of the Administrative Council will hold ex-officio membership on the Faculty Senate.
  7. Senators are expected to attend 50 percent of all meetings within every three-month period of the regular senate session (as defined by the Potsdam undergraduate campus calendar). If they do not, they are so notified by the Senate Chair and an election is held to fill their seat for the remainder of their term. The Executive Committee is responsible for monitoring attendance and communicating proactively with senators who are not meeting their attendance obligations. A senator who is so removed may appeal the decision to the Executive Committee within seven days of notification. The Executive Committee may uphold or overturn the removal. 
B. Methods of Nomination and Election
  1. Nominations
    1. Nomination of at large senators shall be by written petition of at least 10% of the full Faculty Senate constituency. This petition must be submitted to the secretary of the Senate not earlier than October 1 nor later than October 31. 
    2. Nomination of school senators shall be by written petition of at least 10% of the school constituency. This petition must be submitted to the secretary of the Senate not earlier than October 1 nor later than October 31.  
  2. Election shall be by secret ballot according to the procedures outlined in the Senate Bylaws. In the election of senators, the candidate must receive a majority of all votes cast to be elected. 
  3. Notice of election date and candidates must be given at least one week in advance of the elections. The election will be conducted on the first Monday in November.
  4. Elected senators will be notified by the end of November. If replacing an outgoing senator, they will serve as senators-elect, and are invited to all public and private Senate meetings, but shall not have voting privileges nor any parliamentary rights reserved for senators. During this period, senators-elect will observe and learn about Senate rules, procedures, and mission. 
  5. Senators-elect will assume office immediately following the final faculty meeting Potsdam campus undergraduate spring semester. Their term of office shall be three years. 
  6. Unexpired terms shall be filled by election as soon as practicable after notification is received that a vacancy does or will exist. The term of office shall begin on the date that the vacancy exists. Vacancies occurring during the academic year may be handled by a ballot with petition and election dates set by the Senate. 
  7. If a senator accepts a leave of absence or sabbatical leave, a vacancy shall be deemed to exist as of the effective date of the leave. An election shall be held as in (6) above to fill the remainder of the senator's term. In the event of a consistent scheduling conflict of less than four months (perhaps due to a class conflict), a caretaker senator may be recommended by the senator temporarily departing, and subsequently approved by the Senate. Should the Senate not approve, an election will be held for the caretaker senator. The caretaker senator's role expires upon the return of the departed senator, the expiration of their term, or the end of four months, in which case an election is held. 
C. Other Members

In addition to the elected senators, the chair of the Administrative Council shall be a member of the Senate

D. Roles and Responsibilities of Senators
  1. All senators have a responsibility to support the mission of the Faculty Senate, as expressed in this Constitution and, in particular, in its preamble.
  2. Senators elected from each school are further responsible for representing the concerns, needs, and opinions of faculty members within their respective schools. Senators should assist faculty members in promoting positive change, proliferating innovative ideas, and amplifying their voice. Senators represent pre-tenure, tenured, non-tenure track (teaching, clinical, or research track positions), and non-career-track faculty, such as Adjunct and Visiting Professors. They do not represent staff, undergraduate student workers, or graduate student workers (though faculty who have concerns about those constituencies could certainly raise those issues in the Senate).
  3. Senators elected to serve in the at-large position are further responsible for representing the interests of the constituencies across the University, and any group which may feel that it is not adequately represented.
  4. If a senator is elected to serve as the designated CRC senator, that senator will further have the responsibility of representing concerns, needs, and opinions unique to the CRC.

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Article III. Officers and Executive Committee

The Faculty Senate shall elect its own officers consisting of a chair, a vice chair, and a secretary. These officers shall be chosen from the elected senators and these elections shall take place at a special senate meeting immediately following the final faculty meeting of the academic year, as defined by the Potsdam campus undergraduate calendar.

An executive committee of four members of the Faculty Senate shall be formed at the first meeting of the Senate following the elections, and its membership shall consist of the following:

  1. The chair of the Faculty Senate (who shall be the chair of the Executive Committee); 
  2. The chair of the Administrative Council; 
  3. The vice chair of the Senate; and 
  4. The secretary of the Senate

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Article IV. Procedures for Amending the Constitution

A. An amendment to the constitution of the Faculty Senate must receive a first reading at a regular meeting of the Senate. At its second reading, which must be at a subsequent regular meeting, it must be approved by a majority of the Senate. Finally, it must be approved by a majority vote of those in attendance at a faculty meeting. At this meeting a majority of the faculty shall constitute a quorum.


B. The Senate shall submit any proposed amendment approved by a majority vote of the faculty of two-thirds of the departments to the faculty at the first subsequent regular faculty meeting. The adoption procedures by the faculty shall be those stated in the last two sentences of Section (A) above.

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Article V. Procedures

The Senate shall have the power to adopt procedures necessary to carry out its responsibilities.

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  1. Bylaws may be amended by a two-thirds vote of the Faculty Senate at a regular meeting subsequent to the regular meeting in which the amendment was proposed. 
  2. The Senate shall meet at least once per month during the academic year. 
  3. A quorum for a meeting of the Faculty Senate shall be two-thirds of the elected senators. 
  4. Duties of the executive committee: 
    1. Act as the nominating committee for all standing committees of the Faculty Senate and ad hoc committees of the Senate in accordance with any membership requirements stated in specific committee guidelines.
    2. Prepare the agenda in accordance with the procedures laid out in Bylaw 12.
    3. Refer, when appropriate and desirable, items to the Administrative Council for its consideration, advice, and possible action prior to, or after, consideration by the Senate. 
    4. The vice chair shall have the responsibility to develop and implement procedures for calling of the first committee meeting in each academic year for the committees of the Senate.
    5. Monitor attendance and communicate proactively with senators who are not meeting their attendance obligations. A senator who is so removed may appeal the decision to the Executive Committee within seven days of notification. The Executive Committee may uphold or overturn the removal.
    6. Host, at least once a calendar year, an event wherein senators are introduced to their constituents. Such events will include an overview of Senate structure and procedures, an introduction of senators, opportunities for senators to meet informally with their constituents, guidance regarding how best to bring matters to the Senate, and generally aim to encourage stronger relationships between senators and constituents.
    7. Work with Human Resources to send a welcome email to newly hired faculty (including adjuncts), which will explain the role of the Senate and provide contact information for senators.
    8. Develop a brief information sheet outlining (1) the structure of the Senate, (2) how Senate communications function, (3) the role and identities of senators, (4) election procedures, (5) examples of workflow, and (6) extensive suggestions for how senators can maintain relationships with constituents. This information sheet shall be included in the onboarding packet provided to new faculty (including adjunct faculty) by Human Resources and circulated at the event required in Bylaw 4.f.
  5. Standing Committees of the Faculty Senate
    1. Academic Integrity 
    2. Academic Standards 
    3. Awards . 
    4. Budget and Long-Range Planning Committee
    5. Curriculum and Academic Policy 
    6. Research and Intellectual Property 
    7. Honorary Degrees 
    8. Information Technology 
    9. Library 
    10. Teaching Excellence 
    11. Promotions 
    12. Tenure

      A description of these committees and their functions can be found in Section 2.10.1 of this manual.

      Initially, committees will be constituted with membership terms of three, two, and one year(s). All future appointments shall be for three-year terms with the Senate filling unexpired terms as necessary. Normally after completing a period of service of two or more terms on a committee, a faculty member shall not be reappointed to the committee for a period of one year.

      The Chair of each committee is required to submit a brief summary of committee activities and concerns (if any) to the Faculty Senate at least once per academic year (as defined by the Potsdam campus undergraduate calendar) by the end of March at the latest.

  6. A roll call vote shall be taken and recorded at the request of any senator.
  7. For the purpose of apportionment and representation, the schools shall be considered to be the Coulter School of Engineering, the Reh School of Business, The School of Arts & Sciences, and the Lewis School of Health Sciences. 
  8. In all matters not covered by its constitution and bylaws, the Senate shall be governed by Robert's Rules of Order: newly revised. C.1970. 
  9. If any office of the Senate becomes vacant, the vacancy shall be filled by election at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Faculty Senate following notification of the vacancy. 
  10. The executive committee shall be directed to call a special meeting of the Faculty Senate by a petition signed by one half of the elected senators.
  11. Election Procedure
    1. Elections will begin the first Monday of classes in November. To be valid, ballots must be cast by 4:00 p.m. on the seventh day following the beginning of the elections. 
    2. If no candidate receives a majority on the first ballot, runoff elections will be held. All candidates with less than a proportionate share of the votes cast on the preceding ballot shall be eliminated from succeeding ballots with the exception that in no case shall the number of candidates on the ballot be reduced to one by this method. In cases where only one candidate has a proportionate share of the votes cast, but nevertheless, is lacking a majority, an election will be held between that candidate and the person(s) with the next highest vote total. 
    3. In the event any elections are not settled by the time of the final faculty meeting of the fall semester of the Potsdam undergraduate calendar the Faculty Senate shall arrange for an election to be conducted on that day. 
    4. The results of all Senate elections shall be announced to the faculty as soon as the election results become available.
  12. Preparation of the agenda for Senate meetings
    1. Items that do not require approval of the Curriculum and Academic Policy (CAP) Committee must be submitted by midnight on Sunday eight days before the Senate meeting in order to be placed on the agenda for the upcoming meeting.
      1. Items should be submitted to the official Clarkson Faculty Senate email address which shall be posted on the Senate's webpage. 
      2. The body of that email should include the following information: 
        1. The name of the item as it will appear on the agenda. 
        2. The name of the proposer.
        3. Indication of whether the item is a decision item (an item which will require the Senate to vote for a policy change or endorsement), or a conversation item. 
      3. The following information should further be included in the body of the email, or by attachment: 
        1. Any pertinent background information surrounding the item.
        2. If a decision item, a detailed justification for the proposed action.
        3. If changes to the OM, Regulations, or any other written policy is proposed, versions of this policy including the current and proposed language should be included.
        4. Any additional supporting documentation should be attached.
    2. Curricular proposals should follow the procedures codified by the CAP under the supervision of the Senate.
    3. The agenda and supporting materials will be distributed on Wednesday prior to the Senate meeting by the Secretary of the Senate.
      1. At minimum, the agenda will consist of a list of items indicated for conversation or decision and the proposer of the item. 
      2. The agenda and supporting materials will be placed in the designated Senate repository and emailed directly to all faculty members.
    4. Items of significant importance and complexity may be tabled by the full Senate if there is insufficient time to fully consider the item. 
    5. Exceptions to Bylaw 12 may be made for emergency items by the Senate Executive Committee, by a majority vote of its members, with the Senate Chair breaking any tie.
  13. Emergency Procedure
    In emergency situations or in situations when a special meeting of the Senate cannot be convened, the executive committee may take action on behalf of the Senate. Such action must be approved by at least three members of the Executive Committee. Such action must be reviewed by the Senate at its next regular meeting or at a special meeting called for that purpose.
  14. When matters of importance are presented to the Executive Committee outside of the academic year (as defined by the Potsdam undergraduate campus calendar), the Executive Committee may call the Senate to order. If it is impossible to obtain a quorum under these circumstances, the Executive Committee may make decisions under the auspices of Bylaw 13 in consultation with available senators. The Executive Committee may also determine that an important matter is not sufficiently exigent to merit consideration during the summer, and prorogue consideration until the start of the subsequent academic year (as defined by the Potsdam undergraduate campus calendar).

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Approved by the Faculty Senate January 1968
Approved by the Faculty February 1968
Revised by the Faculty Senate: September 1970; January, May 1972
Amended by the Faculty Senate February 1973
Editorial Revision August 1974 (Bylaws IV-D, XI-E)
Amended by Faculty Senate November 1976
Standing Committees revised: January 1978, July 1987
Amended by the Faculty Senate November 1981
Approved by the Faculty May 1982
Approved by the President July 1982
Editorial Revision December 1986
Article II amended May 1989
Editorial Revision January 1992
Approved by Faculty Senate October 1992
Editorial Revision May 2003
Revised November 2010
Revised May 2021
Revised September 2021

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