About the University Senate



San Diego State University (SDSU) operates under a shared governance philosophy — where each member of the community (whether faculty, student, staff, or administrator) has an opportunity to weigh in on matters of policy and procedure. SDSU's governing bodies include the Office of the President, the University Senate, and Associated Students.

The University Senate considers a wide range of issues; its duties are broadly outlined in Section 2 of the University Senate Constitution:

  • The Senate shall consider policies with respect to the general welfare of the University. It shall review established policies, consider new policies, and study matters of concern to students or faculty members.
  • It shall formulate educational policy, including admissions, curricula, and criteria for the granting of degrees. It shall analyze established and proposed policies of instruction and consider variations in policy in exceptional cases.
  • It shall advise the President in the selection of administrative personnel.
  • It shall maintain adequate communication within the University community. Any member of the University community may request a member of the Senate to transmit to the Senate (for discussion and possible action) topics coming under the jurisdiction of the Senate.
  • It shall appoint University Senate Committees. It shall establish rules and procedures for Senate Committees and shall establish procedures for the Senate.
  • The ultimate authority to recommend approval of candidates for graduation shall reside with the tenured and tenure-track faculty. Following formal advice of the tenured and tenure-track faculty, only the members of the Senate who are elected as professors shall vote in the matter of approving the list of candidates for graduation.

The term University Senate signifies a diverse membership base.

Elected members include:

  • Professors, who are apportioned annually; each major academic unit (the seven Colleges plus the SDSU Imperial Valley campus) shall elect the number of Senators equivalent to 8% of the tenured/tenure-track full-time equivalent faculty positions (FTEF) assigned to that unit. This method of appointment shall always yield at least one Senator for each major academic unit.
  • Library Faculty (3)
  • University Services faculty (1 SSP AR)
  • Lecturers, (eight); the electorate shall consist of all lecturers.
  • Coaches (one); the electorate shall consist of all coaches.
  • Staff (six, non-Management Personnel Plan [MPP]); the electorate shall consist of all permanent and temporary non-MPP staff, including probationary staff. One staff Senator position shall be reserved for an SDSU Imperial Valley Campus staff member.
  • Managers (one, Management Personnel Plan [MPP], Classes 1 and 2); the electorate shall consist of all MPP staff, Classes 1 and 2.

Ex-officio voting members include the:

  • President of the University or designee
  • Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
  • Vice President for Business and Financial Affairs
  • Vice President for Research and Innovation
  • Vice President for Student Affairs and Campus Diversity
  • Vice President for Development and University Advancement
  • Associate Vice President for Faculty Advancement and Student Success
  • Dean of SDSU Global Campus
  • Five students chosen by Associated Students -- two of the five should be graduate students selected in consultation with the Dean of Graduate Study
  • A professor emeritus chosen by the San Diego State University Retirement Association

Ex-officio voting members have full rights. However, they shall not vote in the election of Senate Officers or in elections for the three at large permanent faculty University Senate Executive Committee. Ex-officio non-voting members include the:

  • The president or designee of the University's chapter of the faculty unit's collective bargaining unit
  • Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
  • Associate Vice President for Curriculum, Assessment and Accreditation
  • SDSU Alumni (two), chosen by the SDSU Alumni Association
  • The immediate past chair of the University Senate

Non-voting ex-officio members may be recognized and participate fully University Senate deliberations. 

Senate Officers are elected annually, and include the:

  • Chair, an elected Senator who shall be the Chair of the Faculty
  • Vice Chair, who shall be faculty and an elected Senator
  • Secretary, who shall be an elected Senator
  • Treasurer, who shall be an elected Senator
  • Parliamentarian, who is appointed annually and need not be a member of the Senate