The governance of Eastern Mennonite University is the responsibility of EMU’s Board of Trustees, administration, faculty, and the Mennonite Education Agency. Governance policy and procedure create a framework for the various entities of the university community to participate in pursuing the mission and goals of the university. The Constitution of the Faculty defines the mission and responsibilities of the Faculty Assembly and the Faculty Senate as participants in the governance of the university, and establishes policies and procedures of their operation in this capacity. These policies and procedures are intended to foster broad participation in university decision-making and community life and accountability among administration, faculty, and stakeholders in a spirit of mutual trust and respect. The faculty acknowledge that the Board of Trustees has the ultimate decision-making responsibility and authority.
Article I: Mission and Purpose
The mission and purpose of the Faculty Assembly and Faculty Senate are the same as the current mission, vision, and values of the university.
What does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God? — Micah 6:8
EMU prepares students to serve and lead in a global context.
Our community of learning integrates Christian faith, academic rigor, artistic creation, and reflective practice informed by the liberal arts, interdisciplinary engagement, and cross-cultural encounter.
We will open new pathways of access and achievement for all students who aspire to grow as unifying leaders equipped with intercultural competence, oriented toward peace and justice, and rooted in an active faith modeled on the life and teachings of Jesus.
EMU’s mission and vision are grounded in the enduring biblical values of Christian discipleship, community, service, and peace.
These values are embodied throughout the university in our distinctive commitment to peacebuilding, social justice, cross-cultural engagement, and sustainability. Rooted in the Anabaptist tradition, we follow Jesus’ call to bear witness to truth, serve with compassion, and walk boldly in the way of nonviolence and peace.
Mission and values approved by EMU Board of Trustees, June 23, 2017.
Vision approved by EMU Board of Trustees, November 9, 2019.
Section 1. Faculty Assembly
A. Purpose: The purpose of the Faculty Assembly is to create a forum in which faculty can participate in decision-making processes of the university, giving voice to the faculty perspective in relation to decisions affecting quality of life and the well-being of the university. The Faculty Assembly will meet at least twice each semester, and the president of the Faculty Senate or a designee will prepare agenda and preside. The Faculty Assembly is empowered to:
- Elect members and officers to the Faculty Senate.
- Meet and discuss any issue pertaining to the well-being of the university community.
- Amend the Constitution of the Faculty with a 2/3 vote: Requires a quorum of 60% of eligible faculty with one week’s prior electronic notice regarding the proposed amendment, and at a duly called meeting and/or through electronic polling.
- Conduct a referendum on any action of the Faculty Senate with a 2/3 vote: Requires first securing petition of 7 eligible faculty members who are not Faculty Senators, a quorum of 60% of eligible faculty, with one week’s prior electronic notice regarding the proposed referendum, and at a duly called meeting, and/or through electronic polling.
B. Eligibility: Tenure and non-tenure track faculty, including part-time and adjunct faculty, educator professionals, and librarians with faculty status are members of Faculty Assembly (“eligible faculty”), with the exception of the president of the university, provost, and deans. Educator professionals may include certain directors, head coaches, and other non-faculty personnel who work with students in educational capacities. The role of educator professional is conferred by the provost to individuals who are best represented in Faculty Assembly.
Article II: Jurisdiction and Responsibility of the Faculty Senate
Section 1. The faculty are an integral component of the university structure and, along with the Board of Trustees and executive administration, are responsible for the well-being of the university community. The faculty are directly responsible for the academic program provided at EMU, for supporting holistic personal development in students, and for conducting academic inquiry.
Section 2. The Faculty Senate exercises the delegated authority of the faculty. In representing the faculty and seeking the well-being of the university community, the Faculty Senate is authorized to:
Approve recommendations for academic policies that cross academic divisions.
Approve recommendations for policies regarding faculty, tenure, rank, promotion, sabbatical, faculty development, and other policies affecting the life and welfare of the faculty.
Convene the Faculty Assembly on a regular basis to present issues, invite broader discussion, or secure broad-based approval.
Present recommendations on any issue pertaining to the well-being of the university community.
Article III: Faculty Senate Membership and Duties
Section 1. Membership
Tenure and non-tenure track faculty, including part-time faculty, educator professionals, and librarians with faculty status will be eligible for election to the Faculty Senate. Exceptions include the president of the university, provost and deans. Candidates are eligible when they have been in their position for two years or more.
Section 2. Makeup of the Senate
The Faculty Senate will consist of ten to twelve senators, with parameters as follows:
A. Faculty Senators will be chosen annually by Faculty Assembly members from a slate of eligible candidates nominated to the Election Committee. The Election Committee of the Senate will coordinate the election of senators. Elections shall employ approval voting.
B. The Faculty Senate will seek appropriate representation from graduate and undergraduate programs, each of the three schools, educator professionals, and our satellite sites.
C. Faculty Senate Officers:
- The Senate President-elect will be chosen bi-annually by election of Assembly members from a slate of eligible candidates nominated to the Election Committee. The Election Committee of the Senate will coordinate the election of the President-elect. Elections shall employ approval voting.
- The secretary will be chosen annually by the senators from among the elected senators.
- A vice president will be chosen bi-annually (during the first year of the Senate President’s two-year term) by the senators from among the elected senators.
Section 3. Election and terms
A. Senators will be elected for a term of two years and serve a maximum of two consecutive terms.
B. An exception to the consecutive term limit will be made for any faculty who is nominated and elected to be president-elect during their second term, thus requiring a third consecutive term to fulfill the presidency. [see below]
C. The President-elect will be chosen biannually by election of the Faculty Assembly from a slate of eligible candidates nominated to the Election Committee. Eligible candidates are faculty who have served at least one year on Senate. The Election Committee will coordinate the election of the president-elect among the faculty at large. After one year as president-elect, the person will serve as president for a two-year term.
D. Senators will serve staggered terms, with roughly half the Senate being up for election in any given year. The Senate will determine when and how to fill vacated, unexpired terms.
Section 4. Administrator Attendance
The university president or provost is invited to regular attendance of the Faculty Senate. In addition, the Senate may on occasion ask/invite additional members of the administration and/or program directors to attend the Senate or Senate Committee meetings to discuss or address issues.
Section 5. Duties
A. The Faculty Senate will be the legislative body of the faculty and will act on behalf of the faculty and/or Faculty Assembly in making decisions or approving recommendations that pertain to university well-being. Faculty senators will represent the interests of their respective constituencies by regularly attending Senate meetings and communicating the opinions and perspectives of those in their division. The senators will report to the members of their respective constituent groups on the work and actions of the Senate. See Appendix A on Senate Constituent Groups.
B. Senators may also serve as liaison to designated university committees, university departments or groups of EMU stakeholders.
C. If governing bodies for schools or academic divisions are functioning on a regular basis (such as Undergraduate or Graduate Council) the Faculty Senate will select one senator to sit on each body to streamline communication and reporting.
D. The Faculty Senate president and president-elect (or vice-president) will represent Faculty Senate on President’s Cabinet and to the EMU Board of Trustees (or substitutes, if necessary to ensure graduate and undergraduate representation).
E. The Faculty Senate will regularly schedule meetings with faculty to process proposed changes in academic policy or quality-of-life initiatives, from faculty to administration or from administration to faculty (for example, changes in faculty standards, faculty concerns, curriculum, teaching loads, benefits and budget priorities). The Faculty Senate will facilitate faculty participation in response to such proposals and make changes to such proposals that reflect faculty voice and act on Faculty Assembly action in which the established voting requirements have been achieved. The Faculty Senate will facilitate the meeting of the Faculty Assembly and the Assembly voting process.
Section 6. Meetings
The Faculty Senate will meet at least once a month during each semester of the regular academic year and at least once during the summer months. Senate meetings shall be open to all members of the faculty, although only elected senators have voting privileges unless otherwise indicated. The Senate reserves the prerogative to call for executive session. A quorum shall consist of two-thirds of its voting members. Passage of motions and recommendations requires an affirmation of at least two-thirds of those Senators in attendance.
Special Meetings. The Faculty Senate must schedule a special meeting at the written request of the university president, at the request of any five faculty senators, or at the request of seven faculty members.
Article IV: Faculty Officers and Duties
Section 1. Officers
The officers of the Faculty Senate will consist of a president, president-elect (or vice president), and a secretary. The Election Committee will coordinate the election of the president-elect by members of the Faculty Assembly. The president will serve a two-year term as president following at least one year as president-elect. The president-elect is required to have served a prior term of at least one year as a senator.
A. Faculty President
The presiding officer of the Faculty Senate will be the faculty president. If the faculty president is unable to preside over a meeting, the president-elect or vice president will preside. Together with the president-elect or vice president, the president will represent the Faculty Senate to the Board of Trustees but will not have voting privileges on this body. The Faculty President will receive 3 SH release-time during each year of service.
B. President Elect or Vice President
In the absence of the faculty president, the president-elect or vice president will assume the functions and duties of the president. The president-elect or vice president will help oversee and coordinate the activities of the Senate committees and assist the Faculty Senate president as requested. Together with the faculty president, the president-elect or vice president will represent the Faculty Senate to the Board of Trustees, without voting privileges. The president elect will always serve the same functions as the vice president as well as prepare for the transition to faculty senate presidency the following academic year.
The secretary will take minutes of decisions of the Faculty Senate and serve as custodian of the records and papers of the Senate. The secretary will maintain a record of the following: a list of membership of the Faculty Senate and its officers and the terms for which they were elected, minutes and resolutions of the Senate, correspondence of the Senate, and the past agendas of the Faculty Senate. The secretary will conduct such correspondence of the Faculty Senate as the Senate designates and will take minutes at Faculty Assembly meetings.
Article V: Faculty Senate Committees
Section 1. The Faculty Senate will have standing committees to which the Senate president will refer matters for study and a report before these matters come to the floor of the Senate for action. A majority of those present and voting may take up matters immediately without referral to committees or may set aside a committee report.
A Senator who is derelict in attending to the business of a standing committee may be removed from that committee by the Executive Committee upon recommendation of the standing committee chair. The Senate president will report this action to the Senate, and the secretary will notify the removed Senator’s constituency.
Section 2. The Executive Committee
A. The Executive Committee will consist of the Senate president, president-elect or vice president, and secretary. The Senate president shall serve as chair of the Executive Committee.
B. The Executive Committee will set the agenda for Faculty Senate meetings.
C. The Executive Committee will regularly review the actions of all Senate committees and will provide appropriate leadership and direction for their proper functions.
D. Immediately after the annual organizational meeting of the new Faculty Senate, the new Executive Committee will meet and make recommendations for Senate committee assignments. Each senator will be assigned to at least one committee based on preference and/or the needs of the Senate.
Section 3. The Constitution and Election Committee
A. Membership of the Constitution and Election Committee will consist of a minimum of two senators. No single school will have more than one member on the Constitution and Election Committee.
B. The committee will supervise the elections. The outgoing Chair of the Constitution and Election Committee will preside. The Constitution and Election Committee will obtain nominations for Senate seats and Senate president-elect from the faculty, post a slate of candidates for Senate, monitor a secret-ballot elections process and post the results in a timely manner. In the event of a contested election, the committee will conduct a full investigation and make recommendations to the Senate.
C. In the event of resignation or removal of an elected officer or representative to the Senate, the Constitution and Election Committee shall coordinate a special election to fill the vacancy.
Section 4. Academic Committee
The purpose of this committee is to assist the faculty and administration to identify and sustain a “single organizing academic frame of reference” for the university as a whole. Specifically, the committee will address:
A. The academic program and curriculum.
B. Academic policies and their coherence with the EMU Vision and other policies.
C. Professional development/promotion requirements for faculty.
D. The effective and efficient use of finances, time, and faculty energy toward sustaining an Anabaptist university of distinction.
E. Graduate and Undergraduate Council matters through conversation with the Faculty Senate representatives to those bodies (or other equivalent groups).
Section 5. Quality of Life Committee
The purpose of the Quality of Life (QOL) Committee is to promote faculty well-being, development, wholeness, and sustainability by monitoring and improving the academic work environment. Quality of life is enhanced when the work environment promotes collegiality, growth opportunities, cross-disciplinary communications, family health, and financial well-being. The ultimate goal of the Quality of Life Committee is to promote faculty effectiveness.
Article VI: Faculty Senate By-Laws and Amendments
Section 1. Amending the Constitution may occur by the following process:
A. An initial review for congruence of the proposed amendment by the Constitution and Election committee.
B. Recommendation of the Faculty Senate to the Faculty Assembly.
C. With a quorum of 60% of eligible faculty, and at a duly called meeting or by electronic polling, a 2/3 vote for faculty approval.
D. Subsequent approval by the university president’s cabinet and the EMU Board of Trustees.
Appendix A: Senate Constituent Groups
All eligible members (as defined by section 1-B) will be divided into constituent groups. At least one member of the group shall be a member of the Faculty Senate and will serve as leader of the group. Senate will use these groups to help discern the voice of members on issues that emerge during Senate’s work. Members may use their Senate leader as a liaison to the Senate when they have concerns to voice.
Formation of Constituent Groups:
A. New groups will be formed by the Senate Executive Committee every two years (perhaps with a different leader, depending upon Senator term-lengths). The Provost’s Administrative Assistant will provide the Senate Executive Committee with a list of eligible members for each semester.
B. The groups will be formed randomly with an approximately equal number of educator professionals, part-time faculty, and adjunct faculty on each.
C. Each Senator will make an effort to form a sense of community in his or her group in order to foster healthy two-way communication.
Approved by EMU Faculty on 3/24/08
Approved by President’s Cabinet on 4/9/08
Approved by the Board of Trustees on 6/28/08
Approved by EMU faculty on 4/18/11
Approval by EMU faculty on 4/8/13
Approved by Academic cabinet on 9/4/2013
Approved by President’s cabinet on 10/30/2013
Approved by the Board of Trustees on 11/16/2013
Approved by the EMU faculty on 11/21/2016
Approved by the EMU faculty on 4/8/2019
Approved by Faculty Assembly Vote 2/12/2020