University governance and administration

Governance of the University is shared by The Regents, the President and his administration, the Chancellors and their administrations, and the faculty through the Academic Senate. Each of these partners in governance has broad areas of authority and responsibility as provided in the Bylaws and Standing Orders of The Regents.

The Regents comprise the governing board of directors of the public corporation which is the University of California.

The President and the Chancellors, and their respective administrations, are responsible for executing the plans and programs of the University and administering its various affairs.

The Academic Senate is delegated authority in instructional matters and, through its committee system, consults with the administration and The Regents on a broad spectrum of issues.

The Regents 
The Board of Regents is, in effect, the corporation which administers the public trust known as the University of California. The California State Constitution grants to The Regents full powers of organization and government, subject only to such legislative control as may be necessary to ensure compliance with the terms of the University's endowments and the security of its funds. The Regents are vested with broad powers, including the power to delegate authority or functions to its own committees or to the faculty or administration of the University. The Regents have adopted Bylaws and Standing Orders which establish the basic policies of the corporation and the University.

Among the important functions of the Board of Regents is the review and approval of Presidential recommendations on such matters as University and campus academic plans, proposals to establish or disestablish schools, colleges, and Organized Research Units, the University's operating and capital improvements budgets and related enrollment plans, and establishment of certain student fees and tuition (only for non-resident students).

The Board of Regents consists of twenty-six members. Seven of them are ex officio members (the Governor and Lieutenant Governor of the State, the Speaker of the State Assembly, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, the President and Vice President of the Alumni Association of the University, and the President of the University). The Governor, with the approval of the State Senate, appoints eighteen other Regents who serve twelve-year terms. The Board appoints a Student Regent who serves for one year. The Academic Senate has chosen to be represented on the Board by the Chair and Vice Chair of the Academic Council who sit with the Board and participate in its discussions but do not vote.

The Officers of The Regents are its President (the Governor of the State), the Board-elected Chairman and Vice-Chairman of The Regents, and the Board-appointed Secretary, Treasurer, and General Counsel and their associates.

The President 
Appointed by and directly responsible to The Regents, the President is the University's chief executive. All other officers of the University, except the Principal Officers of The Regents, are responsible to the President directly or through designated channels.

The President has full authority and responsibility over the administration of all affairs and operations of the University, excluding those which are the responsibility of the Principal Officers of The Regents. The President may delegate Presidential duties except for services as an ex officio Regent.

Among the President's most notable functions are consultations with the Chancellors and Academic Senate regarding the University's educational and research policies, recommendations to The Regents concerning the academic plans of the University and the campuses, annual presentation to The Regents of a single operating budget and a capital budget for the entire University, and administration of the Office of the President.

The Office of the President is the University's central administrative headquarters. Located in Oakland, the Office performs administrative functions for the University as a whole and provides support to all campus operations. Major Universitywide programs are also conducted by the Office of the President, including Cooperative Extension, the Natural Reserve System, Continuing Education of the Bar, University of California Press, and University Printing Services.

The Office of the President is organized into five vice presidential divisions -- Academic Affairs, Business and Finance, University and External Relations, Health Affairs, and Agriculture and Natural Resources. The Provost and Senior Vice President--Academic Affairs has overall responsibility for the academic and budgetary activities of the University and is the principal link between the central administration and the Academic Senate. The Senior Vice President--Business and Finance is the University's chief business and financial officer. The Vice President--University and External Relations is responsible for advocacy, governmental relations, and communications and public affairs. The Vice President--Health Affairs plans and coordinates health professions training and clinical services provided by the University's teaching hospitals. The Vice President--Agriculture and Natural Resources coordinates the University's statewide agricultural programs and oversees management of the University's Natural Reserve System.

The Chancellors
Chancellors, to whom broad powers are delegated, are the executive heads of all campus activities.

Chancellors are responsible for the organization and operation of their respective campuses, including academic, student, staff, and business affairs; and for discipline within them. Decisions made by Chancellors within the provisions of budget allocations for their campuses and the provisions of policies established by The Regents or the President are final.

Each Chancellor is assisted by various administrative officers -- Vice Chancellors, Deans and Provosts, Department Chairs, and Directors of Organized Research Units.

Campus academic administrative structure
Campuses are organized into Schools or Colleges, or both, which are themselves organized into Departments or Divisions. Some departments are further divided into disciplinary divisions. Administrative, fiscal, and policy responsibility for a School or College is assigned to its Dean or Provost.

The academic leader and administrative head of a Department within a School or College is the Department Chairperson. Chairs are appointed from the faculty ranks by the Chancellor, to whom they are responsible through the Dean or Provost.

Academic Senate 
The University of California has a long tradition of extensive faculty participation in the educational administration of the University through the Academic Senate. The Senate is composed of all regular ranks faculty and major campus and administrative officers and functions as the voice of the faculty in University governance. The Senate advises the President and the Chancellors on many issues of academic policy, including budget matters, the administration of the libraries, and the appointment and advancement of faculty members. In addition, the Senate authorizes, approves, and supervises all courses, except those of certain graduate professional schools, and determines the conditions for admission, certificates, and degrees.

The campus level
On each campus the Divisional Senate operates as a legislative body which meets periodically through the year, and also, as a system of committees run by and for the faculty. The Senate's strength as a system of faculty government derives in large part from its crucial role in assuring faculty quality through its role in the academic personnel review process. Divisional Senate Committees on Academic Personnel (called CAPs or Budget Committees) conduct confidential peer reviews of faculty candidates for appointment and promotion. These Senate committees report their conclusions and recommendations to the Chancellor, who exercises final authority over campus personnel matters.

The Universitywide Academic Senate
The Assembly represents the Senate faculty of the entire University. Assembly members include the chairs of the nine divisions, chairs of major Universitywide Senate committees, and 35 faculty representatives. The Assembly of the Academic Senate meets three times a year to take official action on matters that involve more than one campus.

The Academic Council acts as the executive arm of the Assembly and meets monthly. Members are chairs of major Universitywide committees and chairs of campus divisions. The Chair and Vice Chair of the Academic Council are the official faculty representatives to the Board of Regents.

Numerous Universitywide committees serve to provide consultation and advice to the President and to other officials on a wide spectrum of University activities. These committees regulate undergraduate admissions requirements and student preparation; serve to preserve academic freedom and recommend new academic programs; and advise on decisions relating to academic personnel policy, affirmative action, research, educational policies, planning and budget, the University Press, and faculty welfare.

For further information, see the Manual of the Academic Senate or the pamphlet, The Academic Senate, University of California, published by the Academic Council, available from the Academic Senate Office on each campus.

Key periods in Senate history

  • 1868-1919 -- The Senate is as old as the University. In this early period the Senate's powers were limited to such issues as schedule planning, textbook selection, and student discipline.
  • 1919-1920 -- The Senate expanded its authority. The Standing Orders of The Regents gave the Senate the right to select its own members, to consult in the choice of new presidents, and most importantly, to advise on personnel decisions. Authority for the discipline of students was transferred to the administration.
  • 1923-1950 -- The growth of the campuses brought a geographical expansion of the Senate.
  • 1949-1952 -- The loyalty oath controversy tested the strength of faculty government and led to representative legislative bodies for the Northern and Southern sections.
  • 1963 -- The Senate was reorganized. The two sections were abolished; a division was established on each campus in today's Federal system. The Academic Council became the executive arm of the Universitywide Assembly of the Academic Senate.