senate

Frequently Asked Questions

Please email your revised Plan of Organization and any supporting documents to senate-admin@umd.edu or contact the Senate Office at 301-405-5805 with any questions or concerns.

  1. How often does a College-level Plan of Organization have to be reviewed?
  2. Who needs to review the Plan of Organization?
  3. How does a College revise its Plan of Organization?
  4. Can the APT Section be separate from the Plan of Organization?
  5. Does the College need to vote to approve the Plan before it can be submitted for review?
  6. Why does the Senate need to review College-level Plans of Organization?
  7. Do department-level Plans of Organization need to be reviewed by the University Senate?
  8. What is the Senate's review process like?
  9. How does the ERG Committee evaluate the Plan of Organization?
  10. What is the Shared Governance Checklist?
  11. How long does the Senate's review take?
  12. When does the revised Plan of Organization take effect?
  13. Where can I find the status of my College's Plan of Organization review?


1. How often does a College-level Plan of Organization have to be reviewed?

Article 11 of the University Plan of Organization states that each College-level (meaning each College or School, department or other academic unit, and the Library) Plan of Organization must be reviewed every ten years.

2. Who needs to review the Plan of Organization?

Plans of Organization must first be reviewed and revised by the College. Colleges may undertake reviews at any time, but must review the Plan at least every ten years. The review must be conducted by an elected committee composed of faculty, staff, and, students. A College's review should take place under the conditions specified in the version of the Plan of Organization last approved by the University Senate and the President. For example, if the College's Plan states that the Plan should be reviewed by a committee elected from the College Assembly, then the College should follow this process.

Colleges then submit their revised draft Plan of Organization to the University Senate at senate-admin@umd.edu for a Senate-level review. The Senate recommends that Colleges submit a final draft of the Plan in order to avoid asking the College to vote on multiple versions before and after the Senate review. At the Senate level, the ERG Committee and the Faculty Affairs Committee take responsibility for reviewing the Plan of Organization and its APT section.

After these Senate committees vote to approve the Plan, the College Assembly must vote to approve the finalized version of the Plan. This vote should again take place under the conditions specified in the version of the Plan last approved by the University Senate and President.

Once the committees and the College have approved the revised Plan, it will be submitted to the Senate Executive Committee and the full Senate for approval. Once approved by the Senate, the Plan will be reviewed and approved by the President of the University. The new Plan of Organization will be in effect following presidential approval.

3. How does a College review its Plan of Organization?

A College's review should take place under the conditions specified in the version of the Plan of Organization last approved by the University Senate and the President. For example, if the College's Plan states that the Plan should be reviewed by a committee elected from the College Assembly, then the College should follow this process. Once the group responsible for revising the Plan of Organization has agreed upon a final draft, it may submit this draft to the Senate for review.

4. Can the APT Section refer to an APT policy that is separate from the Plan of Organization?

Yes. In some cases, Colleges find it helpful to separate the APT policies and procedures of the College from the Plan of Organization so that these policies may be amended more easily without involving a review of the entire Plan of Organization. In these cases, the Plan of Organization should still have a section that describes the APT Committee, and the section should note that the policies and procedures of the APT Committee are specified in a separate College APT Policy.

If a College separates its APT policies from the Plan of Organization, it should note that the APT policies will still need to be reviewed by the Faculty Affairs Committee. When submitting the Plan of Organization, the College should include a copy of the APT Policy as well.

5. Does the College need to vote to approve the Plan before it can be submitted for review?

No. Once the group responsible for revising the Plan of Organization has agreed upon a final draft, it may submit this draft to the Senate for review. The Senate actually recommends that the College send a draft Plan that has not yet been voted on by the College Assembly. Often during the review process, revisions become necessary, and submitting a draft for a preliminary review allows the Senate and the College to work out any revisions. With this approach, Colleges can avoid asking the College Assembly for multiple approval votes on different versions.

The College Assembly will need to vote to approve the final version of the Plan that will be sent to the Senate Executive Committee (SEC) and the Senate.

6. Why does the Senate need to review College-level Plans of Organization?

Article 11 of the University of Maryland Plan of Organization for Shared Governance states that each College or School, department or other academic unit, and the Library Plan must be submitted to the Senate for approval or disapproval, and that the newly revised Plan of Organization must be approved by the Senate in order for it to go into effect.

7. Do department-level Plans of Organization need to be reviewed by the University Senate?

No. The University of Maryland Plan of Organization for Shared Governance specifies that the Plans of each department or other academic unit in a College should be filed with the Faculty Advisory Committee of the College, which will review it for compliance with the University and College Plans of Organization. The University Senate does not need to review these Plans. However, the Senate can serve in an advisory role if questions arise.

8. What is the Senate's review process like?

A full description of the Senate's review process can be found here.

9. How does the ERG Committee evaluate the Plan of Organization?

The ERG Committee uses a Best Practices in Shared Governance Checklist to evaluate Plans of Organization. The committee's original checklist was approved by the Senate and President. The committee usually reviews the Plan over the course of a few meetings and it compares the Plan to the items on the checklist to determine if the Plan correlates to the shared governance standards the committee has developed. However, the checklist is not a perfect tool and occasionally the committee also conveys concerns or comments that are not well captured in the checklist.

The ERG Committee understands that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for Plans of Organization and shared governance, and understands that there may be specific reasons why the Plan cannot match certain standards in the checklist. In these cases, the committee will often welcome a representative from the College to a committee meeting for a more in-depth discussion of these issues.

10. What is the Shared Governance Checklist?

The Best Practices in Shared Governance Checklist is a tool the ERG Committee uses to evaluate Plans of Organization. The committee uses the checklist to determine if Plans meet the standards it has developed related to shared governance at the University of Maryland. The committee will compare the revised Plan to the items on the checklist as it completes its review.

11. How long does the Senate's review take?

The review timeline differs for each College Plan of Organization. When a Plan is first submitted to the Senate, the review will begin as soon as possible. The ERG and Faculty Affairs Committees each meet approximately once a month during the academic year (September to May), and each committee will strive to complete its review as soon as possible. It can sometimes take each committee a few meetings to come to a consensus on the entire Plan or section. After a Plan of Organization is returned to a college with questions or suggested revisions, the Senate recommends that the College respond as soon as possible, but understands that any revisions may take time.

Once the review process at the committee level is over, the College Assembly will need to vote on the final Plan of Organization. After the College has approved the Plan, it will be sent to the SEC and the Senate for approval. Like the committees, the SEC and the Senate meet approximately once a month during the academic year. Because the Senate and the SEC transition at the end of every academic year, they generally do not consider any business (including Plans of Organization) after mid-April, so any Plans of Organization that are finalized after that point would be presented to the SEC and/or the Senate in September of the next academic year.

12. When does the revised Plan of Organization take effect?

After the Senate completes its review of the Plan of Organization and votes to approve it, it will be sent to the President of the University for review. The Plan of Organization must be approved by the President before it can go into effect. Until a new Plan of Organization is approved by the President, the College is still governed by the last approved version, and the College must continue to follow the specifications of the approved Plan. For example, if a College has a Plan of Organization that was approved by the Senate in 2000, the 2000 Plan will continue to govern the College and determine the procedures for its Plan of Organization review until the President of the University approves the revised Plan of Organization.

13. Where can I find the status of my College's Plan of Organization review?

If the College's Plan of Organization has been sent to the University Senate for review, its status can be found in the Senate's legislation system. Each Plan of Organization will be assigned a Senate Document Number and entered into the Senate legislation system. The legislation system is searchable by Senate document number, bill name, academic year, and/or activity status (whether the bill is currently under review). If you would like to find the status of the review of your College's Plan of Organization, click here and search by the name of the College. All current Plans of Organization approved by the Senate and the President can be found here .You may also contact the Senate Office at senate-admin@umd.edu or 301-405-5805 at any time.