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Faculty Senate approves streamlining procedures

STANFORD -- The Faculty Senate hopes to streamline the way it conducts business with a two-year experiment that will allow its Steering Committee to consider some routine, non- controversial agenda items at special administrative sessions.

Senators unanimously approved the proposal at their meeting Thursday, Oct. 13.

The Steering Committee will have the option of scheduling one or more special meetings each quarter in lieu of, or in addition to, a Thursday afternoon senate meeting to take up a variety of matters, including:

Agenda and relevant documents will be distributed to the full senate before an administrative session, and elected and ex officio members of the senate will be allowed to attend but not vote.

If five senate members request, any item scheduled for the administrative session will be placed instead on the agenda of a regular senate meeting. Also, at the next regular senate meeting, five elected senators may appeal a vote taken by the Steering Committee in administrative session.

Four members of the seven-member Steering Committee will constitute a quorum.

English Professor John Bender presented the proposal, saying that senate meetings are so consumed with reports and relatively minor actions that time is not sufficient for full discussion of important academic issues.

The plan was developed last year by the Steering Committee and the Committee on Committees, which Bender then headed. This year he serves as vice chair of the Steering Committee. Originally scheduled for consideration last June 2, the streamlining proposal was delayed because of the press of other senate business.

In addition to Bender, Steering Committee members are Robert Simoni (chair), biological sciences; Steven Boxer, chemistry; Brad Efron, statistics; Phyllis Gardner, molecular pharmacology; Stephen Krasner, political science; and Gail Mahood, geological and environmental sciences. Provost Condoleezza Rice and Academic Secretary Marlene Wine are ex-officio, non-voting members of the Steering Committee.



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