Academic Senate

About the Senate


  • Since 1963 each California State University campus has had an Academic Senate
  • A system-wide Senate was also created but has no authority over matters delegated to the individual campuses by the Chancellor or the Board of Trustees

Why do we have a Senate?

“The Legislature recognizes that joint decision-making and consultation between administration and faculty or academic employees is the long-accepted manner of governing institutions of higher learning and is essential to the performance of the educational missions of these institutions…”

California Higher Education Employer-Employee Relations Act
(HEERA, signed into law on 9/13/78)

The Academic Senate is the official voice of the faculty and the primary consultative body in areas established by its constitution:

  • educational and other university policies
  • academic personnel policies
  • selection of administrative officials of university and foundations
  • university administrative regulations and practices, including preparation of University Manual

Faculty and Shared Governance

Faculty recommendations are normally accepted, except in rare instances and for compelling reasons. The collegial process also recognizes the value of participation for the faculty in budgetary matters, particularly those affecting areas for which the faculty has primary responsibility.

CSU Board of Trustees, 10/14/85


  • 35 senators proportionally represent constituencies
    (colleges plus library and related areas)
  • 2 CSU academic senators, 1 staff representative, 1 student representative
  • Total = 39 members
  • Meet the Senators


  • Chair, Vice Chair, and Executive Committee
    (one representative per constituency and one CSU Senator)
  • Standing Committees:
    • Academic Affairs
    • Academic Programs
    • Budget
    • Elections and Procedures
    • Faculty Affairs
    • General Education
  • Organizational Chart


  • Referrals sent by individual faculty or committees as well as administrators are intended to investigate and recommend on university policy, procedure, or practice
  • Senate standing committees write reports on referrals with recommendations
  • Senate votes on recommendations after two readings and sends to President if approved
  • President can accept, modify or reject but has 30 instructional days to respond
  • EC may refer President’s response back to Committee. Senate may pass their recommendation only by 2/3 of those casting vote
  • Referral Flowchart (PDF)

How can you participate in Shared Governance?

  • Provide input on a referral
  • Write and send a referral
  • Volunteer for Senate standing committees, university committees, search committees and other Senate appointed positions
  • Run for Senate office (3-year term)
  • See Service Opportunities

How can your department and college support the Senate and Shared Governance?

  • Incorporate and value participation in the Senate and Senate appointed positions in RTP criteria
  • Provide support to faculty that participate (e.g., don’t schedule them for class on Wednesdays from 3-5 pm)
  • Support your senators (do you know who they are?)