SENATE COMMITTEE ON COMMITTEES AND RULES
Revisions to Standing Rules: Article III – Other Functions of the Senate
Implementation: Upon Approval By the Senate
In 2021, the Senate will mark its 100th anniversary. Established, in part, to cope with Pennsylvania State College’s growing size and complexity, the Board of Trustees established a representative Senate to oversee the curriculum, replacing the general assembly of all college faculty. From 1921 through 1966, the President of Penn State chaired the Senate, consisting primarily of administrators. The modern Senate, which includes predominately faculty, and elected Senate Officers, was established under the administration of President Eric Walker as part of a general reform of shared governance.
Despite its extensive digital archives, dating back to its founding, relatively little is known about the Senate’s history. As the Senate approaches its centennial year, the Senate appointed a special Centennial Committee to begin to document the Senate’s history, and make the information readily accessible to both the Senate and the University Community.
The process of uncovering and documenting Senate history is a slow and methodical process, requiring faculty support over a long period of time. To institutionalize this data-gathering process, the Senate would benefit from appointing a historian, and associate historians both to keep contemporary records on major Senate events, and to investigate the archives to learn about its past.
Among their duties, these individuals will work to create and update a web site devoted to the history of the Senate, prepare displays of historical information about the Senate, work with the university archivist and librarians, conduct oral histories of past Senate officers, and write papers about the history of the Senate. Over time, the Senate historians would build and maintain an ongoing historical record of the Senate. From the work of the historians, future senators will be able to read about the experiences of their predecessors, thus helping them contextualize contemporary controversies and policy questions.
The proposed revisions to the standing rules would establish a Senate Historian, appointed from among the elected Senators for a three-year term. The Chair may appoint associate historians, potentially including non-senatorial faculty or graduate students, to assist the Historian in preparing informational reports, and maintaining the Senate’s online resources.
That Article III – Other Functions of the Senate is hereby amended as follows:
Please note that the following contains bold text for additions and strikeouts indicating deleted text. Deleted text is notated with [Delete] [End Delete]. Added text is notated with [Add] [End Add].
(a) The Chair of the Senate shall appoint, from elected Senators, a Senate Historian to serve for a three-year (renewable) term. The Chair may appoint Associate Historians to serve as a resource to the Senate Historian for a one-year (renewable) term.
(1) The Senate Historian and Associate Historians shall file an annual informational report with the Committee on Libraries, Information Systems, and Technology to include:
(i) A summary of the major issues, debates and legislative initiatives of the Senate in the preceding year.
(ii) A transcript of any remarks made to the full Senate by candidates seeking election as either a Senate officer, or as the Academic Member of the University Board of Trustees.
(iii) Brief biographical descriptions of the Senate officers, the Parliamentarian and the Academic Member of the University Board of Trustees.
(iv) Photographs of Senate proceedings from the prior year.
(2) The Senate Historian and Associate Historians shall, on an ongoing basis, create content for the Senate web page concerning the history of the University Faculty Senate.
Section [Delete] 13 [End Delete] [Add]14 [End Add]
Senators representing the Senate on extra-senatorial committees, boards, and commissions shall report actions of these bodies to the Senate when requested by the Senate Council or the Chair.
SENATE COMMITTEE ON COMMITTEES AND RULES
- Jonathan Abel
- Michael Bérubé
- Renee Borromeo
- Victor Brunsden, Vice-Chair
- Ann Clements
- Dennis Jett
- Beth King
- Binh Le
- Richard Robinett
- Nicholas Rowland
- Keith Shapiro, Chair
- Ann Taylor
- Rodney Troester
- Matthew Woessner