The Syracuse University Senate and its committees, explained

Frankie Prijatel | Staff Photographer

Chancellor Kent Syverud speaks at a University Senate meeting on Dec. 4, 2014.

What is the University Senate?

The University Senate is the academic governing body of Syracuse University. It is composed of faculty, students, staff and administration members and is broken down into 17 standing committees. The senate acts mainly in an advisory capacity to Chancellor Kent Syverud.

The Senate has the power to approve new curricula, including courses and programs of study; recommend faculty for promotion and emeritus status; as a grievance body; and propose new policy or changes.

Who is in the Senate?


Lucy Naland | Presentation Director


Lucy Naland | Presentation Director


Lucy Naland | Presentation Director


Faculty members are elected by their colleges and students are elected by the Graduate Student Organization or the Student Association. Administrative members are appointed by the chancellor. Any member of the SU community may become a member of a committee if participation is needed.

 The Senate sees representation of the following: Faculty; students; professional librarians; exempt professional staff; non-exempt full-time and regular part-time secretarial, clerical, and technical staff; and administrators.

List of all 2016-17 members

Agenda Committee

The Agenda Committee

Chair: Can Isik

The chair of the agenda committee serves as the presiding officer at all University Senate meetings. The role of the Agenda Committee is to set the Senate agenda, guide the committees and ensure the Senate work runs smoothly. It is able to assemble search committees or ad hoc committees when necessary and appoints a committee to evaluate the chancellor and vice chancellor for academic affairs every five years.

Standing Committees

Most of the work of the University Senate is carried out in the seventeen standing committees, which report to the full Senate at least once a year. The standing committees take up issues either on their own or as referred by the Agenda Committee. According to the University Senate bylaws, the committees are:

Academic Affairs

Chair: Ian MacInnes

The Academic Affairs committee is responsible for matters regarding the academic planning process of SU and and the consideration of academic priorities and organization. The committee advises and consults with the vice chancellor for academic affairs, a position currently held by Michele Wheatly.

Academic Freedom, Tenure and Professional Ethics

Chair: Thomas Keck

This committee considers issues regarding academic privileges and responsibilities of all members of the SU community. It considers issues relating to academic freedom, professional ethics and investigates all cases that involve sexual harassment complaints concerning the faculty.

Administrative Operations

Chair: Thom deLara

The Administrative Operations committee deals with matters regarding business and finance; design and construction; parking; physical plant; food service; the University bookstore; public safety; the Carrier Dome; and auxiliary enterprises.

Appointment and Promotions

Chairs: Craig Dudczak, Margaret Hermann

This committee is educated on standards for original appointment, promotion and granting of tenure to SU faculty. They then audit decisions of appointment, promotion and tenure. They have jurisdiction in all appeals regarding violation of academic freedom or professional ethics.

Athletic Policy

Chair: Chris Johnson

This committee is concerned with the impact SU policies and practices have on student athletes and may recommend changes in policy if necessary.

Budget and Fiscal Affairs

Chair: Bruce Carter

The Budget and Fiscal Affairs committee participates in the development of university-wide budgets and advises the chancellor and the cabinet. The committee has within its influence all long-range financial plans.

Computing Services

Chair: Currently Un-elected

Computing Services is responsible for advising and consulting with administrators on issues regarding SU’s computing facilities, including plans for receiving and distributing resources.


Chair: Tiffany Koszalka

This committee reviews all requests for curriculum changes and recommends action to the Senate. While it may make suggestions regarding specific departments, it is primarily concerned with matters that affect SU in its entirety.


Chair: James Duah-Agyeman

The Diversity Committee reviews, makes recommendations and advocates for university policies, practices and programs regarding diversity. The committee reports regularly on underrepresented groups in enrollment, staffing, equal opportunity and access and grievance procedures.

Honorary Degrees

Chair: Chris Day

The Honorary Degrees committee recommends candidates for honorary degrees and handles nominations.


Chair: John Dannenhoffer

The Instruction Committee studies issues including teaching load, class size, use of graduate assistants, testing and other related issues at both undergraduate and graduate levels. It also decides on course grade appeals in accordance with university policy, and strives to maintain a balance between teaching and research.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered Concerns

Chair: Francine D’Amico

This committee focuses on improving the campus climate for LGBT faculty, staff and students, educates campus leaders about LGBT issues and facilitates public dialogue on those issues.


Chair: Gianfranco Vidali

The Library Committee reports to the Senate on resources and long-range plans of SU libraries and consults with administrators on matters of library policy and procedures.


Chair: Jamie Winders

This committee is responsible for stimulating, assisting and coordinating university groups interested in research. It reports on research activities and findings as it strives to promote a balance between teaching and research.

Services to Faculty and Staff

Chair: Sharon Hollenback, Bron Adam

This committee communicates with the chancellor regarding policies that govern faculty and staff, and concerns itself with faculty services including orientation, housing, payroll deductions, insurance and health services.

Student Life

Chair: José Marrero Rosado

The Student Life Committee is responsible for all matters involving student life, including activities and organizations, health and recreation, advising and counseling, university environment and living conditions. It consults regularly with the vice president for student affairs — currently Rebecca Reed Kantrowitz — and serves as a liaison between students and the Senate, Student Affairs, Academic Affairs and other administrative offices of SU.

Women’s Concerns

Chairs: Margaret Thompson, Marianne Hanley

This committee is concerned with the development, oversight and monitoring of issues pertaining women faculty, administrators, staff and students at SU. Issues of importance concern curriculum, pay equity, affirmative action, sexual harassment, climate and advancement of women.


The University Senate meets in full monthly and all meetings are held at 4 p.m. on Wednesdays in Maxwell Auditorium. Syverud presides at meetings and conducts them in accordance with the bylaws.

During the meetings, committees present reports and the Senate considers motions or resolutions proposed by committees or senators, approves new curricula and attends to other topics that may arise. If a committee is presenting a report, it must be distributed to senators before the meeting, in addition to an agenda and minutes from the previous meeting. All senators and committee chairs may address the Senate and non-senators may speak by consent of a majority of the body. Only Senate members have voting rights at the meetings.

October Meeting

The October Summary is presented each year at the October meeting. The summary is an overview of the work done by the previous year’s Senate and is distributed to senators for review and affirmation. The Senate then decides on recommendations for faculty promotion or emeritus status that were not received in time for the April meeting earlier that year.

April Meeting

The Senate makes the April Recommendations each year at the April meeting. They recommend to the Board of Trustees that qualified students be granted degrees at graduation ceremonies, that recommended faculty members receive a promotion and that retiring faculty being recommended for emeritus status are endorsed.


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