University of California at Berkeley

What's New at the Senate

 by John M. Quigley

Berkeleyan has generously offered the Senate this regular column to communicate more effectively with our 2,400 members. Our membership extends to the entire Berkeley faculty, of whom approximately 2,250 are on campus. For those less familiar with who we are and what we do, the Senate is the faculty governing body of the university.

We are empowered by the Board of Regents to exercise direct control over academic matters of central importance to the university. Apart from its delegated authority over courses and conditions for admissions and degrees, the Academic Senate exercises an active advisory role in virtually all areas of campus policy, including those affecting research, instruction, faculty welfare and the academic environment.

This column will bring you news of current activities at the Senate. It may also provide an opportunity for those Senate members who have not participated in Senate activities to become engaged. To that end, all Senate members are invited and encouraged to submit their views on matters of importance to them as faculty members, including topics discussed in this column.

Active communication is important to achieving the goals we have set for this year: innovation and implementation. A variety of innovative proposals have been developed by committees of the Academic Senate throughout the past year -- relating to curriculum, admissions, and long-term academic and fiscal planning.

I intend to take those ideas developed by colleagues and see them through to completion. At the same time, I hope to be able to foster and encourage new ideas to improve existing procedures and processes, from streamlining the Academic Personnel Process to finding efficiencies in the Senate's mode of communicating.

To facilitate improved communication among our membership, we are proceeding in a deliberate manner to encourage electronic distribution as far as possible. It will take awhile to replace the distribution of "hard copy" with its modern equivalent. However, when the transition is complete, two-way communication will be easier -- and we'll save a bit of money and a couple of trees along the way.

The Senate home page on the World Wide Web will be up and running in a matter of days, and its address will be widely publicized. The Senate web site will be the principal form of distribution for The Notice, the monthly newsletter produced by the Academic Council and for The Voice of the Senate produced by the Berkeley Division.

We'll also include the roster of Senate committees, current issues, frequently requested documents and news of Senate activities. These publications can then be accessed electronically and downloaded "world wide" for your perusal.

The 1996-97 Divisional Council has discussed these new initiatives regarding communication. We recognize that not all faculty have computers or access to the web from their offices. We intend to press for completion of the campus plan for computer access.

Until these concerns are resolved, we will proceed slowly. During the coming academic year, we will continue to make hard copy of all documents and communications available to all those who find it more convenient. As a courtesy, we expect to provide hard copy indefinitely to emeriti faculty, if desired.

In the coming weeks, the Senate will ask its members if they prefer to receive copies of Academic Senate correspondence by campus or electronic mail this year.

For those who choose, we will correspond by electronic means to the extent possible. If your electronic mail address changes, please report it to the Academic Senate by email:

acad_sen@uclink.berkeley. edu

Please feel free to contact me about this or any other issue of concern to you or to your colleagues. To contact the Senate chair directly, via

email, use the following address:


John Quigley is chair of the Academic Senate for 1996-97. His column will appear the third Wednesday of each month.


Copyright 1996, The Regents of the University of California.
Produced and maintained by the Office of Public Affairs at UC Berkeley.
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