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Having a voice

Deadline approaching for Senate elections at Memorial

Campus and Community

By Michelle Osmond

Approval of new undergraduate and graduate programs, recommendations for delivery of the fall and winter semesters and endorsing the Strategic Framework for Indigenization.

These are just a few of the decisions made by Memorial University Senate this past year.

With the deadline approaching for Senate election, President Vianne Timmons has one piece of advice: Get involved.

“Everyone has a role to play in how Memorial makes academic decisions,” Dr. Timmons said. “Good governance comes from active participation and I encourage faculty who are interested in the future of academics at Memorial to seek a nomination. Be part of our amazing team.”

Senate oversees academic matters at Memorial and ensures that faculty, administration and students have a voice in decisions made.

And they’re looking for more voices.

How it works

Similar to most universities, Memorial has a bicameral governance structure: The Board of Regents manages finances and operations while the Senate oversees academic matters.

Senate is comprised of a number of elected and appointed members. Ex-officio members are members who are on Senate because of their role at Memorial, such as the deans of each faculty or school.

For every ex-officio member of Senate there must be two members of faculty on Senate.

Seats are allocated to faculties and schools based on the number of eligible faculty members in each one with each faculty/school having a minimum of two seats and a maximum of six.

Senators are elected by the eligible members in their faculty/school, typically for a three-year term.

The work of Senate is supported by 13 Senate sub-committees, which have various responsibilities ranging from Academic Unit Planning to Undergraduate Studies to Academic Appeals.

A full list with more details can be found here.

Stepping up to the plate

Nominations are now open to fill some empty seats on Senate.

Dr. Edward Kendall
Photo: HSIMS

Dr. Edward Kendall joined the Planning and Budget Committee of Senate in 2010 and was then elected to Senate in 2014.

He had been involved in Senate at other universities and developed an appreciation for how important university committees are to the efficient operation of the institution.

“Not doing this work has negative implications for all of us. It delays resource allocation, ties up process and hampers the implementation of new initiatives,” he said.

“Faculty need to take ownership of the academic direction of the institution. It isn’t good enough to respond to questionnaires; faculty must oversee the process and speak to issues proactively. This will help the institute and provide a bigger picture perspective for the member.”

Dr. Kendall says that universities work best through collegiality and that the biggest benefit for him is working with faculty from across campus.

For him, committee work, including Senate, offers opportunities to exercise that collegiality. Participation also counts toward a faculty member’s service requirement.

Nominations for Senate members and committees are open until Wednesday, Feb. 17.

More information on vacancies can be found here. Questions can be directed here.

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