University Senate Governance


Did you know that the University of Minnesota is considered to have one of the strongest and most active shared governance systems among large research universities? Faculty, students, and staff* system-wide participate in University Senate governance. Shared governance provides an opportunity for diverse voices of the University community to participate in discussions and weigh in on many of the key issues facing the University.  

We take great pride in the fact that the University of Minnesota is one of the only Big 10 institutions to include civil service and professional and academic (P&A) staff in its University Senate governance system. University Senate governance also prides itself on having a successful collaborative relationship with both the administration and the Board of Regents.

Timeline: 1912: University Senate established; 1969: Faculty/Student Senates established and students added to U Senate; 1993: faculty-like P&A added to U Senate; 2004: Staff added to U Senate; 2011: P&A and Civil Service Senates establishedUniversity Senate governance at the University of Minnesota is steeped in rich tradition. The umbrella body, the University Senate, was established in 1912 and consisted only of faculty members at that time. Students, faculty-like academic professionals, and staff were added subsequently. The University Senate now contains within it four senates: the Faculty Senate, the Student Senate, the P&A Senate, and the Civil Service Senate.

Much of the work of the senates is conducted through their committees. Each senate has an executive, or consultative, committee. Under the five consultative committees, there are 22 standing committees and 14 standing subcommittees. Most committees consist of faculty, student, civil service, P&A, and, where appropriate, retirees, alumni, and ex officio members.

The shared governance system is established in the University Senate Constitution, which is approved by the Board of Regents. The scope of authority of the senates and their committees is specified in each of their constitutions, bylaws, and rules.

Broad engagement by the University community in shared governance leads to a better University for everyone. Please consider getting involved in this important endeavor, and feel free to contact my office with questions.

Signature of Vickie Courtney

Vickie Courtney, director, University Senate Office and University Awards and Honors

*Due to restrictions imposed by federal and state labor law, unionized staff and the faculties who have voted for collective bargaining (Crookston and those at Duluth except the Medical/Pharmacy schools) do not participate in the governance system.

News & Updates

Whitney MooreLeveraging Positivity:

Moving Beyond the Simplistic Idea of “Think Positive”

Presented by Whitney Moore, career counselor

Friday, October 5th, 2018, 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
Moos Tower 2-530 (TC East Bank Campus)
or via WebEx at

All too often we hear positivity being associated with certain personality types, being naive, living a charmed life, or facing little hardship. This is simply not accurate! An ability to leverage positivity in everyday life is possible for anyone who chooses it, but can often be more complex than just "thinking positive." 

Senate committee chairs and vice chairs, members of the Intercollegiate Atheletics Committee, University Senate Office staff, and their guests enjoyed the September 8th Gopher football game against Fresno State at TCF Bank Stadium. Not only was it a beautiful evening, the Gophers won! Awesome!

Approved minutes of senates and their committees will be posted on Fridays, when available.

P&A Senate, April 6, 2018
In these minutes: Government Relations Update; University of Minnesota System Economic Impact Study; P&A Consultative Committee Report; Subcommittee Reports; Civil Service Senate Report; Elections; Introduction of New University of Minnesota Retirees Association Liaison