About Senate

What is the Senate?

The Senate is the highest academic governing body at UBC and is one of two bodies that run the university (the other being the Board of Governors, which manages the financial and business aspects of the university). Both bodies are given their powers by the B.C. University Act, the law passed by the Legislature of British Columbia which governs all post-secondary education in the province. Contrary to some student beliefs, the Senate is not and is not part of a student union!

What does the Senate do?

In short, anything that has to do with academics on campus, the Senate makes and enforces the rules surrounding them. The UBC Academic Calendar is a comprehensive guide to all programs, courses, services, and policies at UBC. The Calendar also serves as a record of many University academic policies and procedures. It is the Senate that creates and passes the majority of the policies found in the Calendar, which range from rules regarding the examination process for courses to the beginning and end of term dates, to the steps involved for student discipline. The Senate creates policies (and hears appeals) on topics such as admissions, examination policy, academic discipline, and student awards. The Senate also approves course curriculum and new departments, as well as confers degrees all degrees.

The Senate meets once a month as a whole, and those meetings are open to the public. This is where all new policies are debated and passed, and where other business (such as conferring degrees) also takes place. Most of the Senate’s work, however, is done through its committees. There are 13 Senate standing committees (and a number of sub-committees and working groups too) and each committee creates and maintains specific university policies. For example, the Academic Policy committee deals with Academic Concessions while the Awards Committee assists the faculties in establishing rules for Dean’s Honour Roll and Degree with Honours.

Click here for the nitty-gritty details of the Senate’s responsibilities.

Who Sits on the Senate?

  • President
  • Chancellor
  • Academic Vice-President
  • Deans (12)
  • University Librarian
  • Director of Continuing Education
  • Representatives of Affiliated Colleges (4)
  • Faculty Members (24)*
  • Joint Faculty Members (12)**
  • Convocation (12)
  • Students (18)
  • Professional Librarians (1)

Students representatives are elected for a one-year term while all other elected representatives are elected for a three-year term.

* 2 per faculty
** Joint faculty members are elected at-large from all faculties

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