3.7.5 Faculty Role in Governance

The institution publishes policies on the responsibility and authority of faculty in academic and governance matters.

Judgment of Compliance

PVAMU SACS Accreditation - Judgement Compliance

Narrative of Compliance

Prairie View A&M University publishes policies regarding faculty responsibility and authority in academic and governance matters. Texas A&M University System Policy 12.04 allows for the creation of an academic council or faculty senate for each member institution [1]. Prairie View's three faculty governing bodies, the Faculty Senate, the University Academic Council, and the Graduate Council, advise the administration of the University, as do faculty members who serve on committees under the Office of Research Compliance and on the Distance Learning Council. All groups address the role of faculty members in matters of academia and governance.

Faculty Senate
The constitution of the Faculty Senate, available from the University website under the "Faculty & Staff" portal, clearly states that the group's purpose is "to facilitate faculty participation in academic governance" and further that "the decisions and recommendations of the Faculty Senate shall be reported directly to the faculty and the President of the university. No Prairie View A&M University officer or Texas A&M University System’s officer or body shall exercise control over the Senate’s recommendations" [2]. Members come from each academic unit and advise on issues involving curriculum, academic standards, student honors, academic personnel, development, educational policy, budget priorities, facilities, and other matters affecting University welfare. In April 2004, for example, the Senate sent resolutions on faculty development and on evaluation of administrators to the President of the University for consideration [3]. The governing capacity of the Faculty Senate is reinforced in the Faculty Handbook [4].

University Academic Council
While the Faculty Senate is the primary body for faculty participation in governance, the University Academic Council also advises on academic matters. Its responsibility is to "review, develop and recommend to the President of the University, through the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, and the Deans, any and all policies, proposals, procedures and actions relating to the development, maintenance, and continuous improvement of quality undergraduate education at Prairie View A&M University" [5]. Any new courses or programs at the undergraduate level must be presented to, reviewed by, and approved by the University Academic Council before proposals move on to the Provost and Office of Academic Affairs as shown in the attached curriculum change flow chart [6]. Examples of course inventory deliberations can be seen in council minutes, such as the report from a February 2006 meeting [7]. The council's by-laws, including descriptions of six standing committees, are available online in PVAMU Administrative Procedures [5].

Graduate Council
The Graduate Council mirrors the University Academic Council for the University's growing number of graduate programs. Faculty come from all colleges and schools to advise on academic policy related to graduate education such as admission and curriculum, and to appoint faculty at the appropriate membership level, and to review master and doctoral programs [8]. For example, in 2003 the Council was asked to approve administrative changes to the programs in juvenile justice and psychology to accommodate the four new graduate degrees [9], and in 2004 members discussed policies for provisional admission and dismissing students from programs [10].

Office of Research Compliance
With the increase in graduate programs and the research profile of Prairie View A&M University, the roles of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) [11], Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) [12], and the Institutional Biosafety Committee become even more vital. Faculty serve on all three bodies to review and approve research protocols that comply with state and federal laws as well as ethical practices in research involving human or animal subjects.

Distance Learning Council
For online courses, an additional advising body oversees the development of academically sound distance learning programs. The University Distance Learning Council has membership from every academic unit on campus, particularly "those faculty members who are active in distance learning or are preparing to embark upon distance learning activities." As explained in PVAMU Administrative Procedure 80.07, faculty members work to develop rules and procedures governing online course delivery and are charged with advising on matters of instructor training [13].

Finally, faculty are invited to give input in matters of academic improvement and governance through events like the 2006 Strategic Planning / Enterprise Risk Management Retreat [14] and annual Faculty and Staff Conferences [15].

Supporting Documentation and Links

Comprehensive Standards 3.7.5

© 2009 Prairie View A&M University