2004-2005 Faculty Senate Committee Chairs Guide

Composition of the Committee:
Senate Committees were formed last spring through the work of the Committee on Nominations and Appointments, composed of the caucus chairpersons. Early August is a good time to create a document with contact info for members of the committee (mailing addresses, phone numbers and email addresses), a copy of the committee charge from the Senate bylaws, and any other information or reports relevant to the work of the committee. The latter information is especially important for new members of the committee.

Establishing Goals for the Year:
It is important for the chair of the committee to help facilitate the setting of goals for the year. Using an email group for your committee, circulate a draft of goals and objectives for the coming year. We hope all committee chairs can meet with Deseriee Kennedy and myself for a sixty minute meeting on the mornings of Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday August 9-11. These meetings will take place in Arena Dining room A.

Scheduling Meetings:
All committees will meet during the Faculty Senate Retreat on September 24 in the Plant Biotechnology Building. In scheduling subsequent meetings, consider the schedule for the senate for the year so that reports or recommendations from your committee may be first presented to the Executive Committee, and then to the whole Senate if necessary. The 2004-05 Senate schedule is posted on the senate web site. In consultation with all of the members of your committee, establish a regular time and place for your committee to meet. In general, committees should plan to meet about 3 times per semester. A good place to hold meetings is the Faculty Senate Conference Room (203) in the University Center. To reserve this room, contact the administrative office at the University Center (4-3451) or you can make reservations at the University Center web page. Once you have set a meeting schedule, please send this to the Senate Information Officer so that it can be posted to the Senate web site.

The Executive Committee:
According to Faculty Senate bylaws, chairs of all standing committees also serve on the Faculty Senate Executive Committee. As the Executive Committee reviews reports and proposals for the senate-at-large, it is an important step in the work of your committee. As some committees have related areas of responsibility, it is important for you to attend these meetings, even if you are not on the agenda. The schedule for Executive Committee meetings is also on the Senate web site.

Setting the Agenda and Keeping Minutes:
One of the primary responsibilities of the committee chair is to set the agenda for each meeting. About a week prior to the meeting, send an email to the members of your committee with the agenda for the upcoming meeting. This email should also include a copy of the minutes from the previous meeting, and any relevant reports. In general, it is best to send this information in the text of your email rather than as attachments. Sending a message with the agenda and minutes in advance of the meeting will ensure that your committee comes informed and prepared. A good approach to taking minutes is to have a member of your committee do this on a laptop during the meeting. Good minutes record the basic topics covered during the meeting, and any decisions made by your committee. Good minutes will help to keep your committee on task, and help to inform a member of your committee who may not be present.

Working with the Information Officer:
The Faculty Senate web site serves as an important source of information as well as an archive of committee work and action by the senate. You can find goals set by committees in previous years. You are encouraged to use the web site to post your committee schedule for the year, minutes from meetings and any reports. All minutes and other reports sent to the information officer should be sent in the TEXT OF THE EMAIL, AND NOT AS ATTACHMENTS. The Faculty Senate Information Officer this year is Robyn Blakeman.

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