Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.). General Faculty Committee
At its meeting of March 24, 1939 the Northwestern University Senate resolved to convene a conference between the Board of Trustees and an appropriate Senate committee to discull an impending revision of the University Statutes. A committee was appointed consisting of Andrew C. Ivy (Chairman), Walter W. Cook, Frederick S. Deibler, Addison Hibbard and John W. Spargo, with a mandate to consider the possibility of establishing a representative faculty committee to implement the senate resolution. On April 8, 1939 the committee recommended that a standing committee be created to represent the several faculties and Senate before the Board. Further, it recommended that the committee be democratically elected from the four upper academic ranks of the faculty, that its first task would be to consider the revised statutes and that it should be called the General Faculty Committee.
The General Faculty Committee was then authorized by the Senate “... to consider any matters of general university policy on its own initiative or matters referred to it by faculty of the separate schools, by individual members of the university faculty, by the President, the Dean of Faculties, or by the Deans of the Schools”. The GFC, as an advisory body would not have the power to commit either the Senate or any of the separate faculties on issues. It was to approach the Board through the President and the Dean of Faculties.
Membership consisted of elected representatives from each school on the basis of one representative for each fifty fulltime members. Hence the College of Liberal Arts was accorded three representatives, the Graduate School two and all other Schools one each. Each representative served for two years and could be re-elected at the end of their term. The committee selected its own officers. The first General Faculty Committee meeting occurred on May 17, 1939.
The GFC met ordinarily once a month scheduling special meetings when needed. Membership provisions were changed in 1941, to avoid developing a membership with a vested interest. Subsequently each member served for three years with one third of the committee elected each year in order to provide a rotating membership.
Over the years the GFC grew in importance since it was the only committee elected by the faculty with representatives from each school. In later years other committee were formed with direct ties to the GFC. In 1964 for example the Committee on Educational Policies (CEP) was established by the university administration to assist the administration with major educational problems. Henceforth GFC condidered only questions pertaining to university-administration-faculty relationships. The Chairman of the GFC serves as an ex-officio member of the CEP.
In 1965 a Committee on Committees was created to recommend faculty members for appointment to various university committees. This committee is comprised of three GFC and three CEP members. In 1969 the Budget Resources Advisory Committee (BRAC) was formed to work with the Chancellor, President and other administrative officers in develping the annual and long range (five-year) budgets. BRAC includes three GFC and four at large members. In addition the chairman of BRAC also serves on the University Sentate Steering Committee with was established in 1968. The GFC Chairman also serves together with the Dean of Students and the President of the Associated Student Government (or their delegates) on the University Conciliation Board.
A further strengthening of the GFC occurred in 1974 with an increase in membership that reflected the increased size of the faculty. The membership, increased from 15 to 21, currently includes: one representative each from the Schools of Education, Journalism, Law, Management, Music and Speech; a combination of four from the Medical and Dental Schools; six from the College of Arts and Sciences; two from the Technological Institute; and three at large members. The Graduate School and Evening Division representatives were dropped.