Information for Senators

Selection and terms of senators is covered in Faculty Policies and Procedures, 2.04.

Faculty governance structure. The Faculty Senate is our chief governance body, and senators are representatives of the UW-Madison faculty. The University Committee is the executive committee of the Faculty Senate.

The secretary of the faculty supports the University Committee, the Faculty Senate and other governance committees, and oversees those activities for which faculty have primary responsibilities, e.g., divisional committees, and the academic calendar. The secretary of the faculty is also available to any faculty to discuss concerns and give direction to the best method to address those concerns.

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Senate Orientation

Recording of Senate Orientation, Sept 22, 2020 (MP4, 1 hour)

  • Welcomes by Terry Warfield, outgoing University Committee chair, and Rebecca Blank, Chancellor and Presiding Officer
  • Introduction to Faculty Governance by Terry Warfield
    • Role of Shared Governance on Campus
    • Campus Governance Structure
    • Faculty Governance Structure
    • Connection between University Committee (UC) and Senate
  • (27 minute mark) Introduction to Senate Meetings by Heather Daniels, Secretary of the Faculty
    • Review of Meeting Agendas
    • Review of Meeting Materials
    • Emails and Communication
    • Role of the Secretary of the Faculty Office
  • (43:40 minute mark) Faculty & Shared Governance Panel
    • Lisa Forrest, Faculty Senator
    • Erica Halverson, University Committee member
    • Eric Sandgren, University Committee member

Shared Governance Structure Graphic

Faculty Governance Structure Graphic

Information on Motions & Resolutions


Senators' Responsibilities

  • Senators are the voice for the department in the senate
  • Senators represent their departmental colleagues (1 senator for every 10 faculty)
  • Senators should have a regular place on the departmental meeting agenda and should engage colleagues in discussion about the senate agenda
  • Senators should encourage their colleagues to identify new issues of importance to the faculty
  • Before the senate meeting, senators should:
    • Read the agenda materials
    • Present the issues on the senate agenda to their colleagues at their department meeting and solicit input
    • Be prepared to ask questions and participate in debate


A senator may be represented by his/her named alternate. Subsequent changes in alternates may occur at any time except in the week preceding a senate meeting, and shall be reported immediately to the district chair and to the secretary of the faculty. In the event an alternate is unable to exercise this function, another named alternate from the same district may do so. A senate seat becomes vacant if a senator is absent (and is not represented by his/her named alternate) from four consecutive regular meetings of the senate.

The office of senator shall become vacant on incapacity or resignation, or the absence of a senator from four consecutive regular meetings of the senate. The district chair shall call a special election to fill an existing vacancy.


  • Members of the faculty and full-time members of the academic staff may speak at meetings of the senate, but only senators may offer motions, second motions, or vote. When an individual rises to speak at a meeting or to make a motion from the floor, he/she should state his/her name and department. Lengthy motions should be given to the secretary in writing so the presiding officer can repeat the motion if necessary during debate.
    • All agenda items are open for discussion by any faculty member present
    • Any issue may be raised during the question period in the early part of the meeting
    • Questions filed in writing at least three days prior to the meeting will be distributed at the door
    • No action may be taken unless an item is on the formal agenda
    • Robert’s rules of order, newly revised 11th edition, govern the proceedings of the senate; senators will be more effective if they are familiar with those rules

Attendance - Virtual and In-Person

  • For a virtual Senate meeting: 
    • Connecting:
      • Chrome is the preferred browser for Blackboard
      • The DoIT help desk is available for assistance if you need help connecting.
    • Signing In:
      • Before you enter the meeting, make sure your name includes “Sen” in front of it such as Sen-Joe Smith
      • This will help us keep track of senators/alternates/uc members for quorum and voting. If you forget, you may exit and rejoin the meeting with this addition to your name.
    • Speaking:
      • If you want to ask a question, make a motion or discuss a motion, raise your hand. The raise hand icon can be found in the middle bottom of the screen (a microphone icon will not appear until you are a presenter) . Once it is nearly your turn to speak, you will be elevated to a presenter. The Chancellor will call on you to speak, at that time you will need to unmute your microphone to speak. The icon for the microphone will appear by the raise hand icon. Please state your name and district before sharing your comments, question or motion.
      • Hands will also be raised for seconding a motion.
      • If you raise your hand by mistake or change your mind after raising your hand or have already spoken, you can lower your hand by clicking again on the raise hand icon.
    • Voting:
      The polling function will be used for voting. It will appear on your screen when a vote is going to be taken. Register your vote by clicking on the response. The poll will not disappear from your screen until the voting period is complete.
    • Menu with Chat, Participant List and Settings:
      A purple tab with three lines is located at the bottom right on your screen. Click on it and it will open up a menu. The tabs are chat, participant list and settings. If you wish to chat with an individual, open the participant list and click on the three dots next to their name. One of the options is to send them a private message. Please refrain from using the chat to everyone feature. The setting may be useful to turn off notifications about people joining the meeting.
    • Exiting the Meeting:
      You can either close your browser window or click on the black tab near the top left of the screen with three lines. This will open a menu and Leave the meeting is at the bottom.

    At an in-person Senate meeting:

    • Registration for attendance: Senators, alternates attending as voting members for absent senators, and University Committee members should scan their university ID or complete a paper form at the door.
    • Seating: Senators (or alternates attending as voting members for absent senators) and University Committee members sit in the front section of the auditorium. Votes will only be counted from this section. When a senator is present, his/her alternate should not sit in the members’ section.

Meetings are held at 3:30pm on the first Monday of the month. October, November, December, February, March, April, and May, and will likely be conducted via Blackboard:

2020-2021 schedule:
• October 5th
• November 2nd
• December 7th
• February 1st
• March 1st
• April 5th
• May 3rd

2021 fall: (Tentatively) 272 Bascom
• October 4th
• November 1st
• December 6th

2022 spring: 272 Bascom
• February 7th
• March 7th
• April 4th
• May 2nd

Please send documents for the agenda to the Office of the Secretary of the Faculty (

The agenda and associated documents will be sent to all faculty on the Tuesday prior to each senate meeting, and will be posted: