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Senate Elections

Below are descriptions of official policies established in the University Senate Rules, available HERE in their entirety.

When does the Senate election process start?

The process for conducting college elections to identify colleges’ representatives on Senate takes place every spring, in the middle of the spring semester.

What happens on the Senate’s side?

Per Senate Rules, the Senate's Rules and Elections Committee (SREC) gathers information on the numbers of full-time students in each college (graduate students belong to the college in which their degree program is homed, not the Graduate School) and the number of faculty in each college.

For purposes of Senate election exercises, “faculty” are considered to be: full-time tenure/tenure track faculty (Regular, Special, Extension, Librarian Title Series) with the rank of assistant professor or higher; (b) full-time non-tenure track faculty (Clinical, Research Title Series) with the rank of assistant professor or higher; and (c) full-time lecturers and instructors.

Based on these numbers, the SREC apportions seats to each college – from year to year, a college may gain or lose a seat(s) based on fluctuations in the numbers of faculty and students. Even if a college loses a seat, all senators currently seated remain members of Senate – no senator ever loses a seat because of a drop in the number of seats apportioned to that senator’s college.

The apportionment of Senate seats is calculated using the method of equal proportion used by the Census Bureau in calculating Congressional seats.

The apportionment is based on a complex “population value”, Pu, calculated as:

Pu = 1/2 (Fu/Fe + Su/Se)

where Fu is the number of eligible faculty, Su is the number of full-time students in the unit, Fe is the total number of eligible faculty in all units, and Se is the total number of eligible students in all units.

A formula is used to calculate “priority values” for the nth seat (i.e. 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc.) for each college according to:

Priority value for the nth seat of each college = Pu/[n(n-1)]1/2

The seats are assigned based on the above priority values until all seats are allocated. In case of a tie in granting the last seat, the college with smaller number of allocated seats up to that point is awarded the seat. Any further tie is resolved by a random draw.

In mid-spring, SC staff will send an email to each college dean with information about how many seats the college currently has, the number of seats they are apportioned to have in the coming academic year, the number of senators whose terms will end, and, most importantly, the number of seats the college must fill in its springtime election. (Colleges that do not need to conduct an election receive an email notification of that.) Colleges have until last spring to conduct their elections AND submit results to the SC office.

Upon receipt of the results, the SREC will review college procedures and the election results. If the SREC encounters a problem with a college’s election process, it shall contact the dean of the college.

What happens on the College’s side?

Upon receipt of the email with information about apportionment, the faculty of the college must conduct its election for senators. The election must be conducted by secret ballot by a procedure approved by the faculty of the college. When the election is complete and results are in, the college must send to the SC office the following information:

  • A copy of election procedures, which must include any college policy under which faculty employees have been extended voting privileges for senator elections by the authorized college faculty body; and
  • The names of the elected Faculty Senators whom the college faculty proposes for seating in the Senate, along with their email address and UKID.
  • SC staff will ensure that letters of appointment are sent to each senator, typically by late spring. The letters of appointment will also include a sheet on which newly elected senators can request appointment to one of the Senate’s committees. Although senators are asked to note their top three choices, senators are typically only assigned to one committee.