Chair of the Academic Senate
Ruth Greenblatt, MD
Office of the Academic Senate
500 Parnassus Avenue
Room MUE-230
San Francisco, CA 94143
Tel: (415) 476-1308
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


1. What is the Academic Senate?

The Academic Senate is the voice of the faculty in the University of California. It represents the Faculty in the "shared governance" of UC. This responsibility is delegated by the Regents and shared with the University administration, both at the campus level and systemwide. The University of California Academic Senate is one of the most highly developed and influential faculty governments in any university. It is the one organization through which the faculty, as a whole or on any of the campuses, can express its views on an issue.

2. Who are the Members of the Academic Senate?

The Academic Senate consists of the President, Vice Presidents, Chancellors, Vice Chancellors, Deans, Provosts, Directors of Academic programs, the Chief Admissions Officer on each campus and in the Office of the President, Registrars and the University Librarian on each campus of the University, and faculty members appointed to the following series:

Faculty Representatives Include:

• Lecturers with full-time teaching responsibilities in any curriculum under the control of the Academic Senate (all new Graduate Programs, all classes offered through the Schools of Dentistry, Nursing, Medicine and Pharmacy) and whose academic title is Senior Lecturer with Security of Employment or Lecturer with Security of Employment

• Each person giving instruction in any curriculum under the control of the Academic Senate whose academic title is
• Instructor
• Instructor in Residence
• Assistant Professor
• Assistant Professor in Residence
• Assistant Professor of Clinical X
• Associate Professor
• Associate Professor in Residence
• Associate Professor of Clinical X
• Acting Associate Professor
• Professor
• Professor in Residence
• Professor of Clinical X
• Acting Professor

Instructors and Instructors in Residence with less than two years' service are not entitled to vote. Members of the faculties of professional schools offering only graduate level courses are members of the Academic Senate, but, at the discretion of the Academic Senate, may be excluded from participation in activities of the Senate that relate to curricula of other schools and colleges of the University.

3. Who Can Participate in Academic Senate Committees and Meetings?

UCSF Faculty are encouraged to participate in Committees and in the work of the Academic Senate. Each Senate member is expected to participate in the functions of the Senate, mainly through service on standing and ad hoc committees. Faculty members appointed to series other than Ladder-Rank, In Residence or Clinical X participate in many Academic Senate Committees.

4. Do I Remain a Member of the Academic Senate if I Transfer to Emeritus Status or take a leave of absence or Sabbatical?

Your membership in the Senate does not lapse because of a leave of absence or sabbatical or by virtue of transference to emeritus status.

5. How is the Academic Senate Organized?

An Academic Senate exists at each University of California campus and is referred to as a Division of the Statewide Senate. The UCSF Division of the Academic Senate has a total of 19 Committees - organized into 14 Standing Committees and four (4) Faculty Councils - each representing one of the Health Science Schools (Dentistry, Nursing, Medicine and Pharmacy) and the "Committee on Committees".

UCSF faculty elects the members of the "Committee on Committees" (COC). The COC in turn appoints all Officers of the UCSF Senate (Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary and Parliamentarian) and all members of the 14 Standing Committees. Members of the faculty elect Faculty Council members from their respective schools.

Most of the UCSF Divisional Committees generally correspond with Statewide Committees and the UCSF Committee on Committees also appoints representatives from UCSF faculty to these Committees. These are referred to "Statewide Representatives". There are also two Statewide Academic Senate bodies that include representatives from each campus. These are the Academic Assembly and it’s executive committee, the Academic Council.

The Academic Assembly meets several times each year, by teleconference and face-to-face meetings.  The Academic Council meets monthly. Four (4) faculty members from the San Francisco Division represent UCSF as Delegates to the Academic Assembly. The Chair of the UCSF Division represents UCSF on the Academic Council.

Meetings of the UCSF Academic Senate Division may be held two - three times a year; the majority of the Senate's work is done at the Committee level.

6. How many Academic Senate Committees are there?

At UCSF, there are 20 campus-wide standing committees of the Senate, including a Faculty Council for each of the four schools. In addition, many ad hoc committees and task forces are formed each year to address issues affecting the faculty.

8. What is the role of the Chair of the UCSF Division of the Academic Senate?

At UCSF, the Chair of the Senate: participates in meetings of the Chancellor, Vice Chancellors and Deans; represents UCSF at all Statewide meetings of the Academic Assembly and the Academic Council; Chairs all Division, Coordinating Committee and Executive Committee Meetings; appoints special Ad Hoc Committees and Task Forces of the Senate; reviews and makes recommendations on all new Graduate Programs evaluated by the Graduate Council; leads the development and review of policies that affect UCSF faculty; works with the Director of the Senate Office to ensure adequate support and resources for Senate Committees and ensures a smooth transition for Committee Chairs from one academic year to the next.

9. How are Officers and Committee members selected?

The Committee on Committees (COC) selects all of the Officers of the UCSF Division as well as Committee Chairs and members of the fourteen Standing Committees. These selections are subject to approval of the Faculty as a whole at the last meeting of the UCSF Division of the Senate, which generally takes place in June. The process of selection and appointment to Senate Committees takes place in the Spring after faculty have submitted their "Preference for Senate Service" form.

Each spring, the faculty are asked to volunteer for Senate committees. The Committee on Committees uses these volunteer lists to appoint Committee members, ensuring that Committee appointments meet the requirements of both the Statewide and Division Senate Bylaws as well as ensuring that all Schools are represented on each Committee. The Committee has responsibility to appoint replacements when Faculty members are unable to complete Committee service.

Members of Faculty Councils are elected by the Faculty from their respective schools.

10. What are the terms of Office for Senate Committee Appointments and for the Senate Officers?

Appointments to Standing Committees of the UCSF Division can range from one to three years. Appointments to Committees of the Statewide Senate are for terms of either two or three years.

The Chair, Vice Chair and Secretary serve for a fixed term of two years. The Vice Chair automatically becomes the Chair following service as Vice Chair for two years. The Parliamentarian is appointed for a one-year term.

11. What if I don’t have time or haven’t been selected to serve on a Committee? Are there other ways I can participate in Senate activities?

YES! There are many ways to participate. 1) All faculty are encouraged to attend and participate in the three Division meetings of the UCSF Academic Senate; 2) The Academic Senate Office provides the Chair of the Senate and each Committee Chair with the names of faculty members who have expressed interest in serving on a Senate Committee. Throughout the year as projects and issues arise, you may be called upon to participate in an Ad Hoc Committee, Task Force or other organized group to assist with a particular project or review; 3) The Academic Senate posts on its website draft reports of Current Issues and Reports Under Consideration. All faculty are encouraged to visit the Senate’s web site regularly and to provide feedback and input when these reports are in the draft stage; 4) Let the Chair of the Senate know that you would like to become a mentor for Junior faculty and 5) Communicate with Committee Chairs and Senate Officers regarding issues that are important to you. YOUR VOICE IS IMPORTANT!!

12. Who Provides Support to Academic Senate Committees?

The Senate Office employs a staff of professional analysts whose combined experience, education and training enable them to provide a high level of support to the Officers and Committees of the Senate. Committees are supported by designated Senate staff who assist with the day to day functioning of Senate Committees as well as in the preparation of reports, presentations, the collection and analysis of data, administration of Senate grant funds, organization of Senate Awards and the preparation of surveys, polls and ballots for various Committee and Senate business. The Senate staff helps to supplement the Faculty voice in shared governance at UC. The Senate Office also maintains regular communication with the Statewide Senate as well as the other campus Divisions on behalf of the Faculty.

13. Do I have to be a faculty member in an Academic Senate series to apply for Academic Senate Grants?

Yes and No.

The Senate Office administers three different grants:

  1. Travel Grants - You must be a faculty member with an appointment to an Academic Senate series to qualify for application.
  2. Individual Investigator Research Grants –Appointment to an Academic Senate series is not a requirement, although there are some restrictions (see Individual Investigator Grants) for more information.
  3. Shared Equipment Grants – Appointment to an Academic Senate series is not a requirement, although there are some restrictions (see Shared Equipment Grants) for more information.

14. When can I apply for Academic Senate Grants and what are the amounts of funding?

Travel Grants are available on an ongoing basis until funds are depleted. The Senate Office receives travel grant funds at the beginning of each Fiscal Year (July 1-June 30) Funds are awarded for Airfare ONLY in a one-time payment of up to $500 based on actual airfare costs Due to funding limitations and the desire to assist as many faculty as possible, only one travel grant will be awarded per academic year.

Individual Investigator Research Grants - There are two cycles of funding – One in the Fall and one in the Spring. Check the Academic Senate’s Web Page for these Deadlines and Instructions. The maximum grant award is currently $35,000 for a one-year grant. Grants in this category can fund personnel, equipment, travel and supplies for new research, a lapse in funding or a new research direction.

Shared Equipment Grants - There is one cycle of funding in February, with funding awarded in March. Check the Academic Senate’s Web Page for the Deadlines and Instructions. The maximum grant award in this category is currently $40,000. These grants are intended for large, specialized items of equipment that cannot be purchased with ordinary sources of support and typically would be used by multiple investigators, but which would significantly enhance research opportunities.


Academic Senate Presentation:
New and Junior Faculty Orientation 9/2005.

Last Webpage Update: 5/28/15

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