College Governance

Campus Governance Model for Carleton College

Responsibility for the operation of the College is imposed by law upon the Board of Trustees. The Board must assign the functions to a range of administrative officers, faculty, and other individuals or groups. At Carleton, much of the policy regarding the life of the College falls naturally into two categories: educational policy, which is established by the FACULTY, and a number of other matters of campus governance, on which policy is formulated by the COLLEGE COUNCIL. Certain aspects of College life may require the creation of COLLEGE COMMITTEES. In particular, there is a BUDGET COMMITTEE, which formulates recommendations regarding annual budgets and longer-term financial plans. While the Board of Trustees cannot lawfully abrogate the duty to review, ratify, or reject decisions made in the performance of those functions which are delegated to campus committees, administrative officers, faculty, or the College Council, it recognizes that the orderly running of the College depends on a high degree of decentralization of responsibility for formulation and administration of policy.

Educational Policy

Faculty Meeting
By long-standing tradition, at Carleton and in higher education in the United States generally, trustees have delegated formulation of educational policy to the faculty. The Carleton faculty will exercise that responsibility in their monthly meeting, under the direction of their elected President, with the assistance of a standing committee, to be known as the EDUCATION AND CURRICULUM COMMITTEE (ECC).

Function of ECC: The ECC will function as a hearing and policy formulation committee reporting to the faculty. They are responsible for the articulation of educational policy and will receive occasional reports from those College committees (e.g., Academic Standing Committee) that are primarily concerned with educational or curricular matters. The faculty meeting will be the final voting authority on all matters of educational policy.

Membership of ECC: The provost and an associate provost of the College, five regular faculty members (including the Co-chair and the Co-chair-elect), five students. The provost of the College is Cochair of the ECC. One faculty member is from the social sciences, one is from natural sciences/mathematics, two are from combined humanities and arts and literature, and one is elected at-large, i.e., without specific divisional representation. One of the previous five members is elected by the faculty to serve as Co-chair-elect for one year and then Co-chair for two years.

Procedure of ECC: The ECC will normally meet weekly during the term. Their meetings will be public and minutes will be kept and circulated among the campus community. The provost and faculty co-chair will be responsible for the agenda of the committee, and will normally include matters on the agenda at the suggestion of any member of the committee.

Members of the ECC, including student members, will be invited to attend and participate in those faculty meetings where formal resolutions from ECC are on the agenda. In addition to those five students, other students who have demonstrated ongoing and substantial interest in a resolution to be debated by the faculty may petition the chairs of ECC to be allowed to attend the faculty meeting. Students may participate in discussion during the meeting and remain present for the voting upon ECC resolutions. A majority of faculty present at a meeting may approve ECC resolutions. ECC resolutions will be circulated in writing in advance of the faculty meeting, and the faculty will not approve an ECC resolution at the meeting where it appears on the agenda for the first time. ECC resolutions must, in other words, appear on the agenda of two faculty meetings (they need not be successive meetings) before they may be approved; students may be present and participate in debate at all such meetings. Any ECC resolution amended on the floor of the faculty meeting must be returned to ECC for deliberation before it can be submitted to the faculty meeting for a vote; this procedure need not apply to minor changes in wording accepted by ECC members present at the meeting.

General Policy

College Council

Function: The mission of the Council will be the development of policies in areas having to do with matters other than educational policy or curriculum. Where appropriate, the Council will make recommendations to the Board of Trustees for action. As the need arises for policy formulation (e.g., a new policy on sexual harassment in the workplace), the Council will establish subcommittees, to consist of members of the Council and appropriate other members of the community, to meet, consult, and produce policy recommendations. The membership of these subcommittees will be determined by consultation among the president of the College, the president of the Faculty, and the president of CSA. Chairs of these subcommittees, normally members of the Council, will also be named by the three Presidents. Subcommittee membership may be reviewed by the Council.

The Budget Committee will be a standing subcommittee of Council. Its membership will consist of the provost of the college as chair, the vice president and treasurer, one faculty member and one student member of the Council, one faculty member elected by the faculty for a three-year term of service, one student nominated by CSA Senate, and such other members of the community as will be determined by the three presidents. The Budget Committee will advise the vice president and treasurer in the construction of the annual budget and in the development of a longer-term financial plan. To that end it will conduct hearings and make recommendations to Council throughout the process of construction of the budget. The Council will make the final budgetary recommendations to the Board of Trustees.

Membership: The president of the college will serve as chair. In addition, the membership will include:

  • 3 Senior Administrative Officers
  • 2 Staff
  • 5 Faculty
  • 5 Students
  • 1 Alumnus or Alumna (Observer)
  • 1 Trustee (Observer)

Senior Administrative Officers will be selected by the president, and their terms of service will be determined by the president. One staff representative will be elected by and from the salaried staff (monthly payroll) and one by and from the hourly staff (bi-weekly payroll); terms for each will be two years, elections for each to be held in alternating years. The president of the faculty and the chair of the Faculty Affairs Committee will serve on the Council ex officio during their entire terms of office. Three other members of the faculty, one of them to be without tenure, will be elected at large by vote of the faculty meeting for two-year terms. The President of the CSA will serve on the Council ex officio. The other four student members will be elected by the student body for one-year terms, to run concurrent with the academic year. The Board of Trustees and the Alumni Board will each designate a representative to attend Council meetings as a non-voting observer.

Procedure: The Council will meet regularly during the term. Council meetings will be open to all members of the College community unless the nature of the business justifies a closed executive session. Policy proposals may be approved by a majority vote of Council members attending a meeting; a quorum of 10 will be required to transact business. Proposals for Council consideration may be placed on the agenda by action of the President or by petition of any five members of Council.

Subcommittees will normally meet weekly until their work has been accomplished, when they will disband. The Budget Committee will also meet weekly, but, as a standing subcommittee, will not disband. Subcommittee meetings will be advertised and open to the public, and subcommittees will be expected to publish and circulate minutes to the campus at large as well as to members of the Council.

The campus community, as well as the Alumni Board and the Board of Trustees, will be immediately informed of Council actions. The Board of Trustees need not respond to every action of Council.

College Committees

Function: In general, College Committees are created by action of the Council or senior administrative officers to examine special areas or programs or to help administer policy. The committees are responsible for making reports to the appropriate administrative officer. All College Committees serve only for the year in which they are established; although many are routinely re-established each year, this provides an opportunity for Council and senior administrative officers to review the necessity for the existence of any or all of them.

Membership: College Committees are made up of students, faculty, and staff primarily selected for their competence, concern and effectiveness in the exercise of each committee’s responsibility. The faculty members are ordinarily selected by the Faculty Affairs Committee, the students by the CSA Senate, and the staff by the president of the college.

Amendment to the College Governance System
Changes in the nature or operation of the governance system may be proposed by the Council or by the faculty meeting, the CSA Senate, the president of the college or the Board of Trustees. If not of a fundamental character, they may be adopted by a two-thirds vote of the Council (subject to the ultimate approval of the Trustees). More serious changes, after discussion by the Council, should be referred to the Trustees for final action.

Last Revised: February 6, 2021

Adopted by the Board of Trustees March 18, 1992, upon recommendation of the College Council.

Amendment adopted by the Board of Trustees June 15, 1995, upon recommendation of the College Council.

Revised and approved by the Carleton faculty May 11, 2020. Approved by the Board of Trustees February 6, 2021.

For: Faculty, Staff, Students

Last Reviewed: July 11, 2023

Maintained by: President's Office