Roots of the Faculty Senate
The College Council
The following statement is found on page 20 of the Catalogue of The Oregon Agricultural College for 1908-1909 (William Jasper Kerr, President):
"The College Council is composed of the President of the College, the professors, and assistant professors. This body considers all general questions relating to the educational work and policy of the College; arranges and correlates the courses of study, and determines the requirements for admission and graduation. The different committees of the College Council, representing the several schools of instruction, have charge of the enrollment and progress of students in the respective schools, and investigate the records of all candidates for graduation."
Similar but shorter statements regarding the College Council appear in later catalogs up to about 1932 when Kerr's term as President ended. By 1929-30, the Council's statement of function was to "consider such matters of general policy and institutional interest, particularly those involving the welfare of the institution as a whole, as may be referred to it by the President or the Administrative Council.
The Administrative Council
The 1908-1909 OAC Catalogue also described the Administrative Council as follows:
"The Administrative Council consists of the President of the College, the Director of the Experiment Station, and the Deans of the different schools. The function of this council is to consider and determine the larger questions of policy and administration."
Similar but longer statements regarding this council appeared in later catalogs, but also disappeared in about 1932.
Starting in about 1938-39, a pamphlet was published annually on 'Faculty Organizations and Committees.' It lists the twenty-four members, deans and other officers of administration under President George Peavy, of the Administrative Council, described as "the legislative body of the faculty of Oregon State College."
The Administrative Council Minutes of March 21, 1944, report that "President Strand announced that for some time he has had in mind to propose a study of the plan of faculty organization now in operation together with possible improvements...the Council requested the President to appoint a committee to study the problem..." A Committee on resident Faculty Organization was appointed on March 30, 1944, and was charged to study the problem of "placing faculty deliberative action on a broader base..." After extensive study, the committee reported its findings and recommendations to the President in a report dated December 1, 1944.
The Faculty Council
At its meeting on January 12, 1945, the Administrative Council approved the establishment of the Faculty Council whose functions and structure were reported to the faculty in the January 20, 1945, issue of the OSU Faculty Bulletin:
"The Faculty Council is composed of the Administrative Council and elected members from the various schools and divisions. Educational policies of long-term, general interest affecting the College as a whole are passed by the Faculty Council. It has general legislative powers only; all administrative functions are reserved to the President and his administrative appointees. The term 'general legislative powers' is defined to mean the power to determine policy in fields in which faculties have traditionally determined policy. The Council has complete freedom, however, to discuss any matter concerning the welfare of the institution. The President may veto measures passed by the Council."
President Strand presided at the first meeting of the new Faculty Council on March 9, 1945, and noted that "the Faculty Council as now constituted is perhaps the first faculty body at Oregon State College including elected representatives..."
The minutes of February 11, 1954, reported that "the Executive Committee had decided to recommend some consideration to possible enlargement of the Faculty Council..." President Strand appointed a committee (C.E. Maser, Chairman) to "consider and recommend possible changes in the Faculty Council." The special committee reported on April 14, 1955, with recommendations to adopt new Bylaws, and to study and redefine the objectives of the Council and of its relationship to the general Council and Committee structure of the institution. Some changes in Bylaws were adopted on May 19 which included the creation of a new Committee on Committees. This body was appointed on June 9, 1955, and with two other, Committee on Bylaws and Committee on Objectives of the Faculty Council, began intensive studies. On November 9, 1956, the Bylaws Committee (Ralph Bogart, Chairman) reported and recommended new Bylaws for the Council's consideration.
The Faculty Senate
New Bylaws were adopted by the Faculty Council on December 13, 1956, which resulted in a change in name to the Faculty Senate of Oregon State University. Other changes included significant changes in apportionment, particularly in the representation from the School of Agriculture which had previously been limited to one representative each for the on-campus Experiment Station and Extension faculty. The first meeting of the Faculty Senate was held on January 10, 1957.
The current Bylaws of the Faculty Senate which are published in the October 1978 edition of the Faculty Handbook show a first date of approval by the Faculty Senate on November 12, 1964, and with many subsequent revisions. Principal revisions in the new Bylaws, which took effect in 1965, were to include only elected members and only four ex-officio members (later increased to five but soon dropped to two), and to transfer the chairmanship of the Senate to the Dean of Faculty. Representation by the combined ROTC departments was also added.
On September 15, 1976, President MacVicar visited informally with members of the Faculty Senate and others, and suggested and encouraged the Senate to consider any changes in its structure or operation which might enhance its effectiveness as a representative body of the faculty. In February 1977, the Executive Committee appointed a special task force to assist the Senate and the Bylaws Committee to develop proposed revision in the Bylaws for the Senate's consideration.
The current Bylaws reflecting the present organization of the Faculty Senate were approved in principle in May 1977 and formally adopted in October 1977. The new Senate President, Warren Hovland, elected by the resident faculty of the Oregon State University, took office on January 12, 1978. The new office of the Faculty Senate, with its own staff and operating budget, was in full operation by Spring, 1978.