EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE: Senior Governing Body of the Senate

  • Staff committees, periodically meet with central administration, approve substitute members and substitute chairs (in cases of illness or faculty leaves of absence), function as a rapid-reaction Senate
  • Consists of Senate President, Vice President, Past President and all chairs of standing committees

Chair: Senate President Laurie Zoloth,


Budget and Planning

  • Interact with University budget and planning processes to discern whether they are aligned with academic values and Faculty interests.
  • Report to the Senate and to relevant University officers any concerns with respect to advancing the academic mission of the university or the quality and sustainability of the Faculty.
  • Provide suggestions on behalf of the Senate to relevant University officers and planning committees regarding the direction and general welfare of the University and the role of the budget in meeting institutional objectives.
  • Develop and coordinate information and expertise regarding best practices with respect to specific issues and general budgetary and planning processes in order to fulfill the Committee’s and the Senate’s goals and responsibilities.

Chair: Bobby Calder, 

Committee on Cause

  • The Committee on Cause is one of two bodies involved in review of disciplinary matters involving Faculty. (The other is the Faculty Appeals Panel (FAP), which considers both denials of tenure and, as is relevant here, disciplinary matters involving major sanctions that threaten a Faculty member's status with the University.) The work of the Committee on Cause is entirely reactive and it is not expected to generate an agenda for its mission. Like FAP, it may be called upon to act at any time during the calendar year.
  • The role of the Committee on Cause is outlined in the University Disciplinary Procedures section (page 30) of the Faculty Handbook: "The Faculty Committee on Cause provides an initial evaluation of appeals by faculty members in cases where the administration has imposed a minor sanction or is pursuing suspension or termination for Cause. Each fall, the Faculty Senate’s Executive Committee will nominate seven Faculty Senate members to serve on the Committee on Cause.  Two of the nominees must be non-tenure eligible faculty members.  The President of the Faculty Senate will send the names of the seven nominees to the Faculty Senate’s membership. The Faculty Senate will then consider those names and, by majority vote, approve the seven members of the Committee on Cause or propose other candidates to serve on the Committee on Cause."
  • The Committee on Cause does not begin consideration of a case until a unit of the University has actually imposed a sanction, and, within 20 days of the imposition of such sanction, the faculty member has requested in writing review by the Committee. (Faculty members seeking resolution of issues that might lead to the imposition of sanctions should be advised to seek the assistance of a faculty ombudsperson; see page 23 of the Faculty Handbook).
  • The Committee's job is to advise the Provost "as to whether, in its opinion, there is probable cause for the imposition of the proposed reprimand or minor sanction" and "on the reasonableness of the [sanction]" in light of the facts presented by the administration and the Faculty member and "without making formal findings of fact."

Chair: Mark Segraves,

Educational Affairs

  • The committee is to develop expertise and collate information regarding best practices with respect to specific educational issues.
  • This acquired knowledge will be provided to the Senate as summaries and a common resource to increase Faculty awareness of educational resources and opportunities within the university should be created.
  • With a goal of maintaining open communication, this committee provides Senate approved recommendations to relevant University officers and planning committees regarding:
    • the direction of education and academic objectives. The goal of this charge is to ensure future policy changes align with academic values and Faculty interests.
    • the use of/need for resources for undergraduate and graduate education/research training. 

Chair: Baron Reed,

Faculty Handbook

  • The Faculty Handbook constitutes the contract between the Faculty and the University.
  • The charge of the Faculty Handbook Committee is to: 
    • Solicit ideas for suggested changes to the Faculty Handbook from Faculty Senators and members of the Faculty at large.
    • Encourage Faculty Senators to distribute the Faculty Handbook to Faculty members and to solicit their suggestions for improvements to the Faculty Handbook.
    • Evaluate suggestions for revisions to the Faculty Handbook and draft such revisions as appropriate.
    • Present such draft revisions to the Faculty Handbook to the Executive Committee of the Senate for approval, amendment, and/or rejection with subsequent submission to the Faculty Senate as a whole for same.
  • Chair: Lois Deming Hedman,

Faculty Rights and Responsibilities

  • An important component of the Senate’s commitment to shared governance involves attention to Faculty rights and responsibilities.  This committee is both pro-active in its initiatives as well as responsive to the specific concerns voiced by its constituency.  Maintaining an awareness of peer institutions and national trends, the committee serves as a conduit for Faculty voices. Recent examples include internet privacy, and the ombudsperson program.  If indeed a thriving, productive Faculty is at the heart of every great university, it is hoped that this committee, as a component of our elected body of representatives, will contribute to the overarching well-being of our community.

Chair: Sylvester Johnson,


  • Establish and revise senate rules and propose changes to bylaws.

Chair: Ravi Jagannathan,

Non-Tenure Eligible

  • Identify issues and best practices related to non-tenure-eligible faculty through discussion with students and NU constituents, as well as with NU administrators, and/or colleagues at other institutions.
  • Address issues and promote best practices related to non-tenure-eligible faculty through internal committee work, collaboration with other Senate committees, as well as with administrators, et al.
  • Report to the Senate and constituents at large on the issues and incorporate feedback/suggestions for resolution.

Chair: Heather L. Colburn,

Research Affairs

  • Handles issues that impact research-related activities, broadly defined, led by Faculty. These include university support for research-related activities, relationships with the Institutional Review Board, the administration, the student body, other research institutions, and society at large. The committee is interested in identifying obstacles to the optimal pursuit of research-related activities and working, together with Faculty and the University, on ways of reducing or removing them.

Chair: André Luiz de Gouvêa,

Salary and Benefits

  • Salaries, health, education and other benefits including childcare

Chair: Robert Gordon,

Secure Faculty Survey

  • Develop, implement, evaluate biennially (every two years) faculty survey

Chair: Martin P. Block,

Social Responsibility

  • The Social Responsibility Committee has a broad mandate for the upholding of fairness, decency, social concerns and responsibilities within our community.  This includes but is not exhausted by: adherence to and operating upon the highest standards of environmental concern; fair and good working-conditions for all  NU employees, including those working on campus but not employed directly by the university such as food-providers and construction-workers; monitoring and seeking to prevent instances of injustice in the university’s disciplinary procedures.

Chair: Joshua Hauser,

Student Affairs

  • The committee will work collaboratively with Northwestern students on matters of mutual interest.

Chair: Karen E. Springen,