Frequently Asked Questions

Our shared governance system encompasses all major areas of the University. It involves all major groups (faculty, staff, administrative and professional faculty, undergraduate students, graduate and professional students, and administrators). This system requires an informed and knowledgeable citizenry and allows for transparent, comprehensive, and open communication amongst governing bodies and the Virginia Tech community.

The University Council Constitution and By-laws stipulate the membership of University Council and each of the committees, commissions, and councils. The Office of the Vice President for Policy and Governance (OVPPG) is responsible for tracking the membership of each of these bodies and ensuring that vacancies are filled properly.

At the beginning of the spring semester each year, the OVPPG solicits new membership from the Faculty Senate, Staff Senate, Graduate and Professional Student Assembly, Student Government Association, Faculty Organizations, assorted administrators, commission chairs, deans, etc. Each of these groups then conducts its own nomination/election process and reports its outcome to the OVPPG by mid-April. For commission vacancies, the name of one person elected for each vacant seat is to be provided. For committee or council vacancies, the names of two nominees for each vacant seat are to be provided; from the two nominees, the President will select one to serve. Governance terms are between one year and four years in length and expire on June 30th. The goal is to have each committee and commission roster completed soon thereafter.

Once membership rosters have been completed (reflecting the Constitution and By-laws to the letter), new members are notified of their roles, and committee/commission chairs are provided with their respective membership roster.

By the beginning of the academic year, all membership rosters are posted on the governance website. Thereafter, rosters are updated periodically as necessary.

  • Board members, administration, faculty, staff, and students share a committment to: trust, collaboration, communication, transparency, inclusiveness, honesty, and integrity
  • An institutional culture of good will, good intentions, and commitment to common values
  • A shared commitment to focus the practice of shared governance on the university's strategic goals, aspirations, and challenges

Policy Matters Anytime a commission is proposing a new policy or making significant revisions to existing policy statements, a resolution is needed. Policy matters, which are a primary responsibility of the commissions, should be highlighted and documented in resolution format to be submitted for discussion by University Council.

Significant Actions Significant actions commissions may consider that do not necessarily fall into the category of "policy actions," may require or benefit from passage of a formal resolution. For example, the approval of a new degree program should be highlighted through a resolution and brought to the attention of University Council for approval.

Commissions may be asked to review proposed procedural guidelines and advise the administrative officers responsible for implementing a particular policy. Generally, such advice is given by commission members without a formal resolution; procedural matters are not generally sent to University Council for approval unless it is embedded in a new policy statement.

Legal or Financial Implications When resolutions have legal or financial implications for the University, the commission chair or relevant administrator should consult with University Legal Counsel or the Budget Office BEFORE initiating official review and approval through a commission and University Council. When unsure of the implication, consult the Secretary of University Council.

Matters pertaining to tuition or fees are the purview of the Board of Visitors and should not be put forward through the commissions or University Council. Consult the Secretary to University Council with questions.

A quorum is defined as the minimum number that must be present to conduct business. Business transacted without a quorum (e.g., votes taken) are null and void. For more information, read What is a Quorum and Whose Vote Counts.

To learn more about getting invovled in governance at Virginia Tech, please visit the Get Involved page.

  • Planning Agendas
  • Chair meetings and be familiar with parliamentary procedures
  • Post meeting schedule
  • Write resolutions and share with the Faculty Senate, Staff Senate, Student Government Association, and Graduate Student Assembly
  • Be mindful of financial, legal, and HR implications of proposed resolutions and seek guidance
  • Ensure meeting minutes are written, and then forward those minutes to the Secretary of University Council after approval
  • Forward items needing University Council action to the Secretary of University Council by the deadline
  • Mentor incoming chair