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Faculty Governance

The Council of the Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change (the “Faculty Council”) – a committee of the Senate of York University – is the governing body that establishes policy and regulations in all Faculty matters, both directly and through its standing committees.

Rules & Procedures of Faculty Council

The Council of the Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change is a committee of the Senate of York University, and is responsible for academic governance in areas defined by Senate (Rules of Senate, s. 8.3). Faculty Council is the governing body that establishes policy and regulations in all Faculty matters, both directly and through its standing committees. Faculty Council shall have the power to legislate on all matters of policy pertaining to the Faculty, and to establish standing and special committees and their terms of reference.

Subject to the approval of Senate, the Council shall function in accordance with these Rules and Procedures and such other rules, regulations, procedures, and policies as the Council may from time to time establish.

1.1 Membership of Faculty Council shall be composed of the following, all of whom shall have the right to vote unless otherwise specified:

  1. the Dean and Associate Deans
  2. all full-time faculty members, including the Chair and Vice-Chair of Council, and cross-appointed faculty
  3. two contract faculty members, while holding appointments in the Faculty
  4. one student from each undergraduate degree program (if no representative is elected from a particular undergraduate degree program, that vacancy may be filled by a representative from another undergraduate degree program)
  5. one student from each graduate degree program (if no representative is elected from a particular graduate degree program, that vacancy may be filled by a representative from another graduate degree program)
  6. Librarian
  7. the Executive Officer (ex officio)
  8. two staff members (YUSA)
  9. the Secretary of Council (non-voting)

1.2 The following officers of the University are ex officio members of Council, without the right to vote:

  1. the President and Vice-Chancellor
  2. the Vice President Academic and Provost
  3. the Chair of Senate
  4. the Secretary of Senate

2.1 The officers of Council and their respective duties, are as follows:

2.1.1 Chair. The Chair of Faculty Council presides over all regular and special meetings of Council. While presiding, the Chair shall maintain order and decorum in Council proceedings, in accordance with basic principles of collegial governance. The Chair acts as the official spokesperson for Council. The Chair shall serve on such committees and in such capacity as is specified below (see s. 10 “Standing Committees”).

2.1.2 Vice-Chair. The Vice-Chair of Council presides over Council meetings in the absence of the Chair, or when the Council moves into Committee of the Whole. In the event that the Chair is temporarily incapacitated or otherwise unable to carry out their responsibilities, the Vice-Chair shall fulfil this role. Where the position of Chair becomes vacant prior to the end of the normal term, the Vice-Chair shall fill this position and a new Vice-Chair elected. The Vice-Chair is identified as the Chief Teller and Chief Returning Officer for all elections.

2.1.3 Secretary. The Secretary of Council attends all meetings of Council and prepares minutes of all proceedings. The Secretary is responsible for the proper maintenance of Council’s records, as well as its correspondence.

2.2 The Chair and Vice-Chair shall each be elected for a two-year term by Council from among its members according to such procedures as it may establish, and they may be re-elected. The Dean shall appoint an administrative staff member to serve as the Secretary in a non-voting capacity.

3.1 Quorum: A quorum of Faculty Council shall consist of the Chair or Vice-Chair of Council and ten voting members, a majority of whom must be full-time faculty members. If both the Chair and Vice-Chair are present, the latter shall count as one of the ten voting members.

3.1.1 If Council or any of its standing or special committees is unable to perform its duties due to lack of quorum, and if pending business before Council or said committee is deemed urgent, the Chair may refer it to the Executive and Planning Committee for resolution.

3.2 Regular Meetings: Regular meetings of Faculty Council shall be held once every calendar month, from September to May inclusive.

3.2.1 Notice of meetings shall be sent six days in advance and shall also be posted at that time.

3.2.2 Meetings shall adjourn after ninety minutes or earlier, unless a two-thirds majority votes in favour of a motion to continue the meeting.

3.3 Special Meetings: A special meeting must be called by the Chair at the written request of five members of Faculty Council. Notice must be given to members of Faculty Council six business days prior to the date set, and notice shall also be posted at that time. A special meeting of Council may deal only with business specified in the notice.

3.4 All meetings of Faculty Council and its committees shall be open to non-members within York University; they may not vote, nor may they take part in deliberations. However, the Chair may invite certain non-members to attend Council; such guests may speak, but they may not vote.

3.4.1 A meeting of Faculty Council or its committees may be closed in whole or in part by a simple majority vote of members present and voting. The reasons for such closing shall be recorded in the minutes.

3.5 Audio and Visual Recording: Audio or visual recordings of Council meetings, sharing or distribution of such recordings, whether live or through audio or video streaming, are not permitted except with the agreement of the Chair.

Unless otherwise specified in the notice of meeting, the usual order of business for meetings of Faculty Council shall be:

  • Call to Order
  • Remarks from the Chair
  • Communications and Inquiries 
  • Notice of New Business
  • Minutes of Previous Meeting 
  • Business Arising from the Minutes 
  • Reports of the Dean and Associate Deans
  • Reports of Standing Committees
  • New Business (for which notice has been given)
  • Adjournment

5.1 A member may bring a matter before Council by asking the Executive and Planning Committee through the Secretary to add the matter as new business to the agenda for the following Faculty Council meeting. If such notice has not been given, the Chair shall entertain a request to include new business subject to majority consent of members present without discussion.

6.1 Members wishing to speak must first be recognized by the Chair, and all remarks shall be addressed to the Chair.

6.2 Members may speak only once to a question, and for no more than five minutes. A member who wishes to speak more than once or for more than five minutes may do so with permission of the Chair.

6.3 When a question is under debate, no motion shall be received by the Chair except for one of the following purposes:

  • To adjourn Council
  • To adjourn the debate
  • To put the question
  • To refer the matter to an appropriate committee
  • To amend

6.3.1 A motion to adjourn Council or the debate is always in order. No member may speak to such a motion for more than three minutes. A motion to refer to an appropriate committee, unless it is defeated, precludes amendments to the main question. The Chair may request that a motion be put in writing before being debated or put and may call a brief recess for it to be prepared.

7.1 Voting in Council meetings shall be limited to those members of the Council who are present at the time a vote is taken.

7.1.1 For voting purposes under normal circumstances, members must be physically present at Council meetings. When Council meetings are held electronically under emergency provisions, members must be connected to the session at the time of meeting proceedings by means defined by the Chair of Council, with particulars of said meeting being provided by the Secretary.

7.2 Except as otherwise provided in these rules and procedures (e.g., section 11) or in the Council’s general parliamentary authority (section 8), a motion shall be decided by a majority vote of the members present and voting.

7.3 The Vice-Chair may vote on any motion.

7.4 In the event of a tie, the motion is defeated. The Chair may vote to break a tie.

7.5 The usual method of voting shall be by show of hands. However, a count of the vote may be recorded at the request of the Chair or any member.

Unless otherwise specified, Council will follow the latest edition of Bourinot’s Rules of Order for parliamentary procedures.

9.1 Unless otherwise specified, quorum for committees shall be three voting members.

9.2 Unless otherwise specified, all committee members may vote.

9.3 The usual term of service on a committee shall be two years.

9.4 Committees may establish and appoint such subcommittees as they deem necessary to carry out their duties.

10.1 The standing committees of Faculty Council are as follows:

  • Undergraduate Pedagogy, Academic Standards, and Awards Committee
  • Graduate Pedagogy, Academic Standards, and Awards Committee
  • Tenure and Promotions Committee
  • Equity Committee
  • Communications Committee
  • Research Committee

10.2 Executive and Planning Committee

10.2.1 Terms of Reference: The Executive and Planning Committee shall be responsible for:

  • Establishing term-of-Council priorities
  • Directing the flow of Council business
  • Reviewing and approving the agenda of Faculty Council
  • Maintaining oversight of the work of Council committees
  • Overseeing the nomination and election of Council committee membership
  • Resolution of urgent business left pending due to lack of quorum by Council or one of its committees (as per section 3.1.1)
  • Such other powers and duties as may from time to time be determined by the Council including the conduct of the business of the Council during the Summer term between meetings of the Council as Summer Authority.
  • Conducting searches for subcommittees to make recommendations of appointment for all full-time academic hiring. Committee membership may supplement its membership with such additional or alternative members as it deems necessary to include for each search, and shall include an Affirmative Action & Equity representative, and ensure appropriate expertise.

10.2.2 Membership: The members of the Executive and Planning Committee shall be as follows:

  • Faculty Council Chair and Vice-Chair
  • The Dean and Associate Deans
  • The Graduate and Undergraduate Program Directors
  • One representative from the Equity Committee
  • One faculty member-at-large
  • One PhD graduate student, one Master’s student and one undergraduate student
  • The Director of the Office of Student and Academic Services
  • Secretary (staff, non-voting)

10.3 Undergraduate Pedagogy, Academic Standards, and Awards Committee

10.3.1 Terms of Reference: Working in close consultation with undergraduate academic programs, the Undergraduate Pedagogy, Academic Standards, and Awards Committee shall be responsible for reporting and making recommendations to Council on all matters relating to undergraduate curriculum and academic policy and planning. The committee shall ensure that Senate-mandated academic policies and procedures are adhered to. Its functions shall include:

10.3.2 Membership: The members of the Undergraduate Pedagogy, Academic Standards, and Awards Committee are as follows:

  • Associate Dean Teaching and Learning (ex officio, non-voting)
  • Undergraduate Program Director (Chair, non-voting)
  • Undergraduate Degree Program Coordinators
  • Two faculty members-at-large
  • One student representative from each undergraduate program
  • One PhD student representative
  • One representative from the Equity Committee
  • One representative from the Communications Committee
  • Two staff members
  • Administrative Assistant (staff, non-voting)
  • Secretary (staff, non-voting)

10.4 Graduate Pedagogy, Academic Standards, and Awards Committee

10.4.1 Terms of Reference: Working in close consultation with graduate academic programs, the Graduate Pedagogy, Academic Standards, and Awards Committee shall be responsible for reporting and making recommendations to Council on all matters relating to graduate curriculum and academic policy and planning. The committee shall ensure that Senate-mandated academic policies and procedures are adhered to in all areas pertaining to graduate curriculum and programming. Its functions shall include:

  • Review of all proposals to create or modify graduate courses or programs, or to close existing programs.
  • Oversight of academic honesty, petitions, and appeals procedures at the graduate level
  • Review procedures for graduate recruitment and admissions
  • Allocation of graduate-level student awards

10.4.2 Membership: The members of the Graduate Pedagogy, Academic Standards, and Awards Committee are as follows:

  • Two full-time faculty members (one Geography appointment and one Environmental Studies appointment)
  • Graduate Program Directors (Co-chairs; non-voting)
  • Associate Dean Research, Graduate Programs, and Global Affairs (ex officio, non-voting)
  • Graduate Degree Program Coordinators
  • One representative of the Equity Committee
  • One staff member
  • Four graduate student representatives (two each from Geography and Environmental Studies degree programs)
  • Administrative Assistant (staff, non-voting)
  • Secretary (staff, non-voting)

10.5 Tenure and Promotions Committee

10.5.1 Terms of Reference: The Tenure and Promotions Committee is the primary adjudicating committee for all applications for tenure or promotion within the Faculty. As such, it makes the principal substantive assessment and recommendation on candidates’ tenure and/or promotion. It is also responsible for formulating and periodically reviewing unit-level tenure and promotion standards. When exercising the function of a tenure and promotion adjudicating committee, quorum shall be a minimum of six full-time faculty members, a majority of whom shall have tenure.

10.5.2 Membership: The members of the Tenure and Promotions Committee are as follows:

  • Six full-time faculty members, the majority of whom shall have tenure
  • One undergraduate and one graduate student representative
  • Secretary (staff, non-voting)

10.6 Equity Committee

10.6.1 Terms of Reference: The responsibilities of the Equity Committee are as follows:

  • Identify and raise equity issues to ensure that all members of the Faculty fulfill their commitment to equity
  • Provide advice to Council and committees and faculty members on equity dimensions of their work, including developing proposals to enhance equity in the Faculty for Council approval, as appropriate
  • Provide advice to Council and committees on equity dimensions of their work
  • Each Equity Committee member (faculty, staff, and/or student) shall normally sit on one other Council committee, so that each committee shall have one representative from the Equity Committee.

10.6.2 Membership: The members of the Equity Committee are as follows:

  • Three full-time faculty members, one of whom shall serve as co-Chair
  • Three staff members, one of whom shall serve as co-Chair
  • One YUFA steward (ex officio, non-voting)
  • One YUSA steward (ex officio, non-voting)
  • Secretary (staff, non-voting)

10.7 Communications Committee

10.7.1 Terms of Reference: The responsibilities of the Communications Committee are as follows:

  • Oversight of the flow of information and communications and outreach across all platforms within the Faculty and to external communities and individuals.

10.7.2 Membership: The members of the Communications Committee are as follows:

  • Associate Dean Teaching and Learning (ex officio, non-voting)
  • Associate Dean Research, Graduate Studies, and Global Affairs (ex officio, non-voting)
  • Two full-time faculty members, one of whom shall serve as Chair
  • Undergraduate Program Director
  • Graduate Program Directors
  • One representative from the Equity Committee
  • Four staff members
  • One undergraduate student and one graduate student
  • Secretary (staff, non-voting)

10.8 Research Committee

10.8.1 Terms of Reference: The Research Committee is responsible for enhancing, promoting, and supporting research in the Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change. It is responsible for making recommendations to Council in all areas pertaining to research and research policy as follows:

  • Recommend research-related policy matters to Faculty Council and the Dean’s office
  • Engage in continual short- and long-term planning around strategies, goals, publications, and other approaches that strengthen a dynamic and collaborative research culture, including external relations and global affairs
  • Adjudicate faculty research grants
  • Review Risk Assessment and Human Participants Research applications for activities associated with unfunded research and research involving minimal risk
  • Provide advice to the Dean on faculty research-related awards, particularly prestigious awards

10.8.2 Membership: The members of the Research Committee are as follows:

  • Associate Dean Research, Graduate Studies, and Global Affairs (ex officio, non-voting)
  • EUC Representative on Senate Academic, Policy, Planning and Research Committee
  • Three full-time faculty members
  • Three students (one undergraduate, two graduate)
  • Research Officer
  • Secretary (staff, non-voting)

These rules and procedures may be amended in a duly called and constituted Faculty Council meeting by a two-thirds vote of those present, provided that the written motion to amend has been distributed with the meeting call.

Governance Structure