Work of the Senate

2015-16 Senate Annual Report

Members of the full Senate meet four times each year in plenary sessions. 

2016-17 Plenary Dates:
  • September 21-22, 2016
  • December 1-2, 2016
  • March 2-3, 2017
  • May 4-5, 2017

During the academic year, much of the Senate's work is accomplished at the committee level.  Senate members strive to communicate the needs and views of Albertans to the University and the Alberta government, and to interpret to the public the many different facets of the University.  To accomplish this, ad hoc committees or working groups may be set up to consider specific issues or undertake particular projects.


Senate Standing Committees

Executive Committee

  • Guide Senate strategic planning and ensure continued focus on Senate’s mission and mandate
  • Advise the Chancellor and University regarding future directions for Senate resources and endowments
  • Design plenary sessions to support Senate’s mandate to inquire, promote and connect – ensuring Senators are informed and constructively engaged on issues related to the public interest in the University
  • Create working groups or task forces to examine issues in post-secondary education that merit further inquiry

Campus Inquiries and Initiatives Committee

  • Explore issues and opportunities that may benefit the University
  • Explore connections and supports that may enhance campus communities as destinations for local, national and international visitors
  • Enhance Senate relationships with Faculties and increase awareness of the role and work of Senate
  • Review applications for Senate funds and make recommendations to Senate Executive Committee

Community Engagement Committee

  • Explore issues and opportunities that may enhance the University’s relationship with the community
  • Coordinate community conversations and engage key communities outside Edmonton in informal consultations process that welcomes perceptions and suggestions
  • Support ongoing efforts to build awareness in rural and Aboriginal communities of opportunities at the University of Alberta
    • Council on Aboriginal Initiatives co-chaired by the Chancellor and Deputy Provost and includes members appointed by the Senate
      • Guide the incorporation of Indigenous knowledge an cultural appropriateness in University programs, encouraging supports to Aboriginal students and respect for all Aboriginal peoples
Honorary Degrees Committee
  • Review all nominations and select outstanding honorary degree recipients from diverse backgrounds and fields of endeavour for the University’s highest honour:
    • leading academics in all disciplines and creative minds in arts and performance
    • public intellectuals and opinion-makers
    • visionary leaders and exemplary public figures
    • community builders and philanthropists
  • Expand opportunities to celebrate and profile recipients in the community

Nominating and Review Committee

  • Encourage diverse community representation on Senate
  • Interview and recommend outstanding applicants for publicly elected positions
  • Review Senate policies and procedures outlining Senator roles and responsibilities 
  • Identify possible opportunities to enhance the operational efficiency and effectiveness of Senate

U School Committee

  • Advise and support the U School program team regarding:
    • Development of U School ensuring Open Minds/Beyond the Classroom learning guiding principles are reflected in program planning, communications and activities
    • Creation and expansion of opportunities for elementary and secondary students from schools in socially vulnerable, Aboriginal (First Nations, Métis and Inuit) and rural communities to spend a full week immersed in learning at the University of Alberta together with their teachers, classmates and school volunteers
    • Pilots for additional on-campus experiences for elementary and secondary students from higher needs communities
    • Identification of community needs and direction of funds from the Chancellor's Cup Gold Tournament to support U School program development

Honours Working Group

  • Nominate individuals whose extraordinary intellectual or artistic achievements or significant service to society set a standard of excellence and merit a University of Alberta honorary degree
  • Collaborate with individuals on and off campus in planning forward for potential nominations
  • NOTE – as with nominations received from the academy or the public, working group nominations are reviewed and adjudicated by the Senate Honorary Degrees Selection Committee

Senate Representatives

Senate provides community representation to a variety of committees, boards and working groups on campus.  Additionally, we provide support to both Faculties and admissions processes through the following roles:

  • Senate Faculty Liaisons - act as bridges to the individual Faculties to provide support and report back to Senate on issues arising for the Faculties
  • Senate Lay Observers - act as observers in the admissions process for quota programs
If you are looking to fill a Senate representative role, please contact the Senate Office.