The committee process at UHD is largely outlined in policy statement 01.A.03, the Academic Shared Governance Policy. Though primarily describing academic committees, the policy does address other standing, special, and ad-hoc committees. Many committees not specifically outlined in the Academic Shared Governance Policy are explained in other policies. Examples are the Student Discipline, Safety, and Student Publications committees.
Committee Appointment Overview
Policy generally, though not always, describes how members are selected to serve on committees. Faculty are either elected through a Faculty Senate process or nominated to serve on committees by their deans. Students are usually nominated by the Student Government Association and staff by Staff Council. Toward the end of the spring semester, the President’s Office issues a call for nominations to fill committee vacancies and Faculty Senate holds committee elections. Students are typically not appointed until they return for the fall semester. During the first week or so of the fall semester, appointment letters are sent out notifying all members of their election/appointments to committees.
Committee rosters, charges, governing policies, meeting minutes, and final reports are found online at www.uhd.edu/committees.
According to PS 01.A.03, ad-hoc committees “may be established by any unit of the university for the purpose of accomplishing specifically identified unit objectives. The members of such groups may be administratively appointed to ensure that the group has the needed expertise to carry out its task. When appointed to such a group, a faculty member serves in an advisory rather than a representative role.”
The appointer is the person who sends the notice of appointment to a committee.
A chair is either appointed by policy or elected by the committee at large. This person is responsible for the overall conduct of the committee. (See Chair Responsibilities for more detail.)
When the chair of a committee is not appointed, a member of the committee at large will be asked to convene the first meeting and preside until a chair is elected. The convener is identified in the committee appointment notice.
An ex-officio member of a committee is one included by virtue of position rather than election. For instance, the Chief of Police holds a position on the Safety committee regardless of who holds the office. The term does not refer to voting rights.
Many policies spell out the length of term for various committee members, with most being two years. When policy does not describe committee appointment, the term is considered two years.
A committee member selected to take and often distribute meeting minutes and record notes of committee activities.
There are two types of standing committees. They are:
- standing policy committees—responsible for developing and/or reviewing all university policies which directly affect the academic environment. These committees include the Academic Policy Committee, Curriculum Committee, and the Faculty Affairs Committee.
- special standing committees—exist to advise certain administrative units on matters directly affecting the academic environment and/or to provide such units assistance in the implementation/enforcement of selected policies.
According to PS 01.A.03, a task force “may be established by any unit of the university for the purpose of accomplishing specifically identified unit objectives. The members of such groups may be administratively appointed to ensure that the group has the needed expertise to carry out its task. When appointed to such a group, a faculty member serves in an advisory rather than a representative role.”
Voting members of committees are identified in policy where policy governs the appointment of the committee. When there is no governing policy, all members of the committee are considered voting members.
If a committee does not have an assigned chair, a convener is appointed to hold the first meeting and preside until a chair is elected. It is the convener’s responsibility to report back to the appointer of the committee, usually the President’s Office, the results of chair and secretary elections.
Committee chairs are responsible for:
- calling and presiding over meetings or delegating that responsibility to another committee member in his/her absence
- notifying the appointer of any issues that arise in the committee
- ensuring that members are made aware of any policy pertinent to the committee and its work
- ensuring that members are made aware of the results of the previous committee’s work
- ensuring that the work of the committee is undertaken and carried out to the best of the committee’s ability
- ensuring that meeting minutes are kept and distributed for comment
- notifying the appointer of any membership issues such as vacancies or non-attendance
- submitting a final committee report at the conclusion of the committee’s work for the year
Each committee is provided with a general and brief charge describing what the committee is supposed to do. Committees are encouraged to review and recommend revisions to the charge as they deem appropriate. That information is reported in the final committee report completed at the end of the years.
Some committees’ chairs are appointed, but most are elected. If there is an appointed chair, he/she needs to oversee the selection of a secretary at the first meeting and report that information back to the committee appointer. If the committee has a convener, that person will call the first meeting and oversee the selection of both chair and secretary at that meeting and report results back to the appointer.
A final committee report is due at the end of the academic year. The report includes submission of meeting minutes, summary of committee activities for the year, recommendations about the committee’s charge, and any recommendations the group may have about the committee or its work in general. The report is placed online for the next year’s committee as well as the university community to review.
Committee activities should be recorded in the form of meeting minutes and a final report. Those documents are to be submitted electronically to the committee appointer upon conclusion of the committee’s work for the year.
The secretary of a committee is responsible for taking meeting minutes. The committee chair and secretary may come to agreement on how minutes are to be distributed and voted on.
Many committees have been in place for years without a change to their basic charge. Committee members are encouraged to review and make recommendations about committee function, activities, charge, or anything else that falls under the purview of the committee. That information is provided in the final committee report.
Problems that arise in the committee process should be brought to the attention of the appointer of the committee. He/she will assist in resolving the issue by clarifying policy or referring the issue to a more appropriate party.