1. What is The Council of Faculty?
First, a little history: The Council of Faculty (formerly the Council of Faculty Representatives; note that the Constitution has been revised and is in the final stages of approval) was established in 1971 by Senate chairpersons and other faculty members from the two State universities and four State colleges of Washington. At its 20 May 1971 meeting, the University of Washington Faculty Senate ratified the constitution and approved membership in the Council. The first meeting of the officially established Council was held 7 August 1971.
Today, the faculty governance organization (senate, all college, etc.) of each public college or university in Washington elects a faculty legislative representative. These six representatives form the Council of Faculty. Each representative is an active classroom teacher/scholar who maintains contact with his or her faculty and the state legislature.
2. What is the Council of Faculty’s statewide role?
The council seeks to transcend individual institutional agendas to address the statewide higher education needs of the citizenry of Washington. The Council of Faculty thus offers the most current, accurate and complete perspective of the 6,000+ public higher education faculty in our state.
Higher education faculty dedicate their lives to teaching and scholarship in service to Washington’s public interest. Our top priority is providing the highest quality teaching and research for the citizens of our state. While we have input on administrative and academic issues on our individual campuses,* the Council of Faculty provides the only outlet for faculty from all of Washington’s public baccalaureate institutions to have a statewide voice on issues of higher education.**
3. Why is faculty input important to the legislative process?
As caretakers of the classroom, faculty are on the front lines of higher education with our students everyday. Faculty respond directly to the ever-changing world faced by our graduates and to the initiatives and directives of the state legislature. Faculty are in the best position to speak realistically about the challenges, opportunities and feasibility of legislative proposals relating to university teaching and research.
The faculty perspective should be an essential element of any discussion or planning process concerning the vision, direction and governance of higher education in the State of Washington. The Council of Faculty provides the conduit for this critical interaction with the legislature and the governor.
* Faculty are delegated specific duties by the Regents or Trustees and the Presidents of our respective institutions. These usually include decisions about admission standards and graduation requirements. Depending on the campus, faculty also participate in budgeting, planning and student affairs management.
** The Council of Faculty works closely with faculty unions on matters of contract and labor issues. Currently, four of the six member institutions are represented in contract negotiations by unions. We welcome faculty unions as partners advocating on behalf of university faculty.