Frequently Asked Questions

Senate Representation FAQs

  • Who Serves on the Senate?
  • Who is eligible for PTK Faculty Senator seats?
  • How are the Staff Categories divided in the Senate representation structure?
  • What are the term years for Senate seats?
  • Senate Election Process FAQs

  • When can someone run for the Senate and what is the process?
  • Am I eligible to run for the senate?
  • How can I become a Senator?
  • What is the time commitment if I am elected to the Senate?
  • If I am changing my majors, can I run for election in my new college?
  • What College do I run in if I am a double major?
  • What happens if I am an undergraduate student and I change Colleges between when I am elected and the start of the fall semester, or in the middle of my term of service?
  • What if I change classifications within the University (e.g. contingent to regular, non-exempt to exempt, divisions to colleges, entry-level PTK to non-entry level; part-time to full time) during my term of service?
  • What if I am a faculty member taking a sabbatical or leave of absence during my Senate term?
  • Can Senate candidates campaign?
  • When and how are election results announced?
  • How are vacancies filled if a Senator steps down or is ineligible?
  • Are there other ways that I can be involved with the Senate aside from serving as a Senator?
  • What do Senate committees do?
  • How are vacancies filled on committees?
  • Senate Representation FAQs

    1. Who Serves on the Senate?

    Senators are elected representatives of all constituencies of the campus community, including faculty, staff, graduate and undergraduate students. In addition, members of the campus community who do not meet the eligibility criteria for inclusion in the Faculty, Staff, or Student constituencies are represented by single Senate seats. These are referred to as single-member constituency seats, and include single representatives for: part-time undergraduate students, part-time graduate students, emeritus faculty, head coaches, contingent II staff, part-time professional track faculty and all visiting faculty, and professional track faculty with entry-level titles (as defined in question 2 below). A summary of the Senate seats is available here. For specific information, please see: http://www.senate.umd.edu/elections/apportionment/. A complete listing of all of the current senators can be found at: http://www.senate.umd.edu/senators/. The Senate is composed of approximately 207 elected Senators and 15 Deans for a total size of 224 Senate seats.

    2. Who is eligible for PTK Faculty Senator seats?

    The Plan of Organization defines eligible faculty as full-time professional track faculty with a title included in the University of Maryland Policy on Professional Track Faculty (II-1.00[G]) and Librarian I faculty, except for faculty with entry-level or term-limited titles. The exclusion of entry-level or term-limited titles excludes faculty with the following titles: Faculty Assistant, Faculty Research Assistant, Junior Lecturer, Research Associate, Post-Doctoral Scholar, and Post-Doctoral Associate. These faculty are represented on the Senate in a single-member constituency, and so are not eligible to serve as professional track faculty Senators representing a College or School. Visiting faculty are also ineligible to run for these seats.

    3. How are the Staff Categories divided in the Senate representation structure?

    Staff are represented by the following four categories: Exempt Staff from Divisions, Exempt Staff from Colleges and Academic Affairs, Non-Exempt Staff from Divisions, and Non-Exempt Staff from Colleges and Academic Affairs.

    The Plan of Organization Review Committee developed a mechanism for dividing staff for representation purposes by the home unit of the staff member's appointment at the University:

    Units included in Divisions: Division of Administration and Finance (VPAF), Division of Research (VPR), Division of Student Affairs (VPSA), Division of University Relations (VPUR), Division of Information Technology (DIT), Office of the President (PRES).

    Units included in Colleges and Academic Affairs: College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (AGNR), School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation (ARCH), College of Arts and Humanities (ARHU), Robert H. Smith School of Business (BMGT), College of Behavioral and Social Sciences (BSOS), College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences (CMNS), College of Education (EDUC), A. James Clark School of Engineering (ENGR), College of Information Studies (INFO), the Graduate School (GRAD), Philip Merrill College of Journalism (JOUR), the University Libraries (LIBR), School of Public Policy (PLCY), School of Public Health (SPHL), the Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost (SVPAAP), Undergraduate Studies (UGST), the Office of Extended Studies, and the Universities at Shady Grove.

    Staff members are eligible to run and vote in the elections for the constituency group related to their home unit. If you are a staff member and have a question about which constituency group you belong to, please contact the Senate Office.

    4. What are the term years for Senate seats?

    Generally, terms for Faculty and Staff Senators are three years, and terms for Student Senators and Senators representing single-member constituencies are one year and renewable for up to three consecutive years. In the 2016-2017 Senate elections, some newly-elected Senators were given shorter term years, as a result of the reapportionment of the Senate. All faculty and staff seats on the Senate are staggered, to ensure that not all Senators vacate their seats at the same time. Our goal for staggering seats is to have one-third of faculty and staff Senators vacate their seats at the end of each year. Because the 2016 reapportionment added and subtracted seats from the Senate, the Senate agreed to adjust the stagger of Senate seats appropriately by assigning term years. Term years for Staff Senators were assigned based on the Spring 2016 election results. In any case where a Senator was given a shorter term length, he or she is eligible to run for another three-year term in the next election cycle.

    Senate Election Process FAQs

    5. When can someone run for the Senate and what is the Process?

    The Senate has a timeline for the candidacy and election periods for all constituencies. Typically, Senate elections are held annually from January through March. To find the dates for the candidacy and election periods, go to: http://www.senate.umd.edu/elections/timeline.cfm.

    Elections for full-time tenured/tenure-track (T/TT) and professional track (PTK) faculty are held within their units and the Senate Office is notified of elected Faculty Senators (faculty should contact their Dean or unit head for more information). Senate elections for staff (exempt, non-exempt, and contingent II), undergraduate and graduate students (full & part-time), emeritus faculty, part-time PTK faculty, and PTK faculty with entry-level titles, are conducted by the Senate Office on our website. These elections consist of two parts: a sign-up period and an election period.

    • Sign-Up Period: constituents interested in running for a seat on the Senate submit their names for placement on the electronic ballots. Candidates also submit a statement to be included on the ballot and seen by their peers during the elections.

    • Election Period: members of the campus community review the candidacy statements and vote for new Senators. The electronic voting system will automatically route you by category to your ballot (e.g. BSOS Undergraduates vote for BSOS Undergrad Senators, Exempt Staff from Divisions vote for Exempt Staff from Divisions, etc.)

    The Senate Office notifies the campus community annually with information on how to run for the Senate and when to vote for new Senators.

    6. Am I Eligible to Run for the Senate?

    All members of the campus community are represented on the Senate. Senators are categorized by their primary appointment within the University and are only eligible to run based on their faculty, staff, or student status. For instance, full-time staff members who take classes part-time are eligible to run as a staff member but not as a student, and students who work on campus are eligible to run as a student but not as a staff member. Staff must be a part of the campus community for one year before being eligible to run for the Senate. Faculty must have been under contract at least since August of the academic year during which the election is held before serving. Students must fulfill the Senate's eligibility requirements. Specific eligibility guidelines can be found at: http://www.senate.umd.edu/elections/eligibility.cfm

    7. How can I become a Senator?

    You must submit a candidacy application at the start of the spring semester by going to: http://senate.umd.edu/elections/run.cfm As part of your application, you will need to submit a candidacy statement (no more than 200 words). This statement can be edited up to the candidacy deadline by logging back in through the link above. Members of your constituency can vote for you by going to: http://senate.umd.edu/elections/vote.cfm

    8. What is the time commitment if I am elected to the Senate?

    Senators are expected to attend Senate meetings approximately once a month and to review materials before each meeting. The Senate meets nine times each academic year, and does not meet during the winter or summer breaks. Each meeting is one hour and 45 minutes from 3:15pm-5:00pm. Meeting materials are available online one week prior to each meeting. The current meeting schedule can be found here: https://senate.umd.edu/meetings/schedule.cfm.

    9. If I am changing my majors, can I run for election in my new college?

    No. You can only run for a seat in the College that you are registered in at the time of the election.

    10. What College do I run in if I am a double major?

    Students with double majors will be able to run for election in the College of their primary major. University databases identify a primary College for advising and other purposes in cases of double majors, and the Senate's election system should route students to the appropriate College during the sign-up period. The Senate Office will verify the primary College with the Registrar's Office after the sign-up period and ensure that students are placed on the ballot for the appropriate College. Students will be informed before the elections begin if they have been placed on a different ballot due to verification of the primary College with the Registrar's Office.

    11. What happens if I am an undergraduate student and I change Colleges between when I am elected and the start of the fall semester, or in the middle of my term of service?

    Because undergraduate senators are apportioned by College and elected by undergraduate students in a specific College, changing Colleges would generally make a Senator ineligible to serve in their elected role. A student Senator who changes Colleges would need to inform the Senate Office by emailing senate-admin@umd.edu. The student Senator would be replaced, but the student would be eligible to run in the next election cycle to represent his or her new College. To fill the vacancy created by the change in College, the next runner-up in the most recent elections would be asked to serve.

    12. What if I change classifications within the University (e.g. contingent to regular, non-exempt to exempt, divisions to colleges, entry-level PTK to non-entry level; part-time to full time) during my term of service?

    Senate representation is based on current roles and classifications at the University. Changing classifications would typically make a Senator ineligible to serve, since they are no longer a member of the group they were elected to represent. A Senator whose classification changes after the election would need to inform the Senate Office of this change by emailing senate-admin@umd.edu. The Senator would be replaced, but would be eligible to run in the next election cycle to represent the new constituency. The next runner-up in the most recent elections would be asked to serve in the vacancy created by the change in classification.

    13. What if I am a faculty member taking a sabbatical or leave of absence during my Senate term?

    If a full-time faculty Senator decides to take a sabbatical or leave of absence during their Senate term, the College or Department which elected the Senator must elect a replacement Senator for the length of the absence. The Department Chair or College elections manager should inform the Senate Office of this change by emailing senate-admin@umd.edu with the name of the replacement Senator and the length of the absence.

    14. Can Senate candidates campaign?

    The Senate Office does not endorse or fund candidate campaigns. If you choose to campaign, you must abide by the University guidelines for advertising (e.g. flyers or posters). A complete list of guidelines can be found at: http://www.stamp.umd.edu/reservations/event_management_handbook.html#advert

    15. When and how are election results announced?

    Election results are sent via email to candidates and the campus community the day after the voting deadline. All results will also be posted on the Senate website at: http://www.senate.umd.edu/elections/results.cfm

    16. How are vacancies filled if a Senator steps down or is ineligible?

    If a student, staff, or single-member Senator becomes ineligible, the next runner-up from the most recent elections will be asked to fill the vacancy. If the next runner-up declines to serve, the Senate staff will ask the next runner-up, until the vacancy is filled. If there is no runner-up or none of the runners up wish to fill the vacancy, the Senate Office will either run a special election or fill the vacancy during the spring semester elections, depending on the time of year in which the vacancy occurs.

    If a full-time faculty Senator steps down or otherwise becomes ineligible, the College or unit will elect a replacement. The Department Chair should send the name of the elected replacement Senator to the Senate Office by emailing senate-admin@umd.edu.

    17. How can I get involved with the Senate aside from serving as a Senator?

    As a member of the University community, you are invited to volunteer to serve on any of the Senate's standing committees. You do not have to be a Senator to serve on a Senate committee. Each April, a University-wide email will announce the open volunteer period. At this time you may sign-up online to serve on a committee that has vacancies for your constituency and category. When you sign up, only those committees with open spots will appear on your preference form. The Senate Committee on Committees makes final placements of volunteers on committees and volunteers are notified during the summer.

    18. What do Senate committees do?

    Senate committees receive charges from the Senate Executive Committee or from members of the committee itself. After research and deliberation, committees write reports in response to charges and submit them to the Executive Committee for consideration. As a committee member, you would be responsible for studying materials, attending meetings, and contributing to the discussion on major policy implementation, changes, and review.

    For examples of current legislation please click here: https://www.senate.umd.edu/sms/index.cfm?event=currentBills

    Faculty and Staff committee members serve a two-year term. Ex-Officio members, Graduate Students, and Undergraduate Students serve one-year-terms on committees.

    19. How are vacancies filled in committees?

    When the Senate Office becomes aware of a vacancy on a committee, the Senate Chair-Elect, acting on behalf of the Senate Committee on Committees, will review the list of unplaced volunteers from the most recent committee volunteer application period and determine a suitable replacement. If no suitable replacements exists, the seat will remain vacant until the next committee volunteer period, and the Committee on Committees will choose an applicant to fill the vacancy at that time.