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Actions of the University Senate

The University Senate and Senate Council remain dedicated to transparently communicating our concerns to the campus community. Our commitment lies in prioritizing our students and upholding academic integrity and excellence. 

The University Senate is open to evaluating and assessing our current processes. We are willing to evaluate and determine whether there are better ways to incorporate the perspectives and expertise of staff members and students, whose input we have always valued and integrated into our procedures.

Once again, we offer our time, energy, and resources to a process that involves genuine collaboration, evidence-based decision-making, and a partnership between the administration and the University Senate.  

Together, let us explore avenues for enhancing our work without dismantling the valuable structures and authorities we hold dear. Many of you share our belief that the current University Senate structures are crafted to secure optimal educational outcomes for our students, both in the present and in the long term.

University Senate Approved Resolutions and Campus Communication



In the President campus communication on April 28, 2024, the faculty will determine academic requirements. Doesn't this mean faculty will. have more authority in the colleges and departments?

It is very important to read the revised GRs and ARs developed by the President.

 The president states in his April 28th video message, "faculty will determine important matters such as academic requirements, credit-bearing curriculum, course offerings, and the educational functions related to their students ( 1.13 min)and faculty will have greater local control over the credit-bearing curriculum..... to propose innovative programs of student and credit-bearing curricula. (2:30 min)." T

In the April 29, 2024, Opinion Editorial-Board Chair E. Britt Brockman states," we [Board of Trustees] will not be removing the responsibility or authority of our faculty to define grades, an excused absence, and plagiarism; develop course/program content; or consult faculty before the closure of programs or departments."

Unfortunately, the President and Chair Brockman neglected to provide significant information that is clearly reflected in the proposed revisions of the GRs and ARs that eliminates decision-making authority and only advisory or recommending authority. 

Presented below is the President's current codified language in the revised regulations defining faculty primacy over the curriculum and the role of faculty.

  • GRIV: "Subject to the approval of the Board and in keeping with the shared governance
    principles established in these Governing Regulations, the faculty has primary
    responsibility for the content, quality and effectiveness of the credit-bearing
    curriculum.1 Because faculty members at the department, school and college levels
    have the greatest expertise as to what is needed within respective disciplines, these
    faculty members should make recommendations to the Provost, the President and
    the Board of Trustees on credit-bearing curricula, courses, certificates and diplomas
    offered at the University."
  • Responsibility is not decision-making authority. All recommendations are within the limitations of the GRs, AR, and Rules of the Graduate Faculty. (AR I). Those limitations are clearly stated in the revised GRs:
    • GRI.B "..the primary role of the faculty — particularly at the department, schools and college levels — in the review, development and implementation of the institution’s credit-bearing curriculum." 
    • AR I. 2.5.c. ( formerly GR I)  Department Faculty Functions: " Within the limits established by the Governing Regulations, the Administrative Regulations, Rules of the Graduate Faculty or the rules of the faculties of the school or college of which the department is a part, the department faculty has jurisdiction over the implementation of the credit-bearing curricula. The department faculty has primary responsibility for the development of policies on such matters as academic requirements, courses of study, course offerings, graduate and research programs and service functions."

The proposed GRs and ARs do not provide a clear definition of what constitutes academic requirements. The reason given by the President for revising the GRs and ARs was the need to clarify what is included in educational policy. Now we are less clear.

What current authorities are delegated to faculty in departments and colleges? How will this change with the President's Draft of Principles?

The departments and colleges currently have a significant amount of delegated authority over final educational policies. Review the excel file to see what is currently delegated

The current published version of draft principles state, "Colleges should empower curriculum committees, composed of faculty, to make decisions and, in some cases, recommendations about courses, content, programs and initiatives" and 'The Provost will ensure that programs and curriculum meet our expectations for quality and do not create unnecessary duplication or redundancy between and among disciplines."

The President's suggested draft principles aim to shift faculty decision-making authority to an advisory role, reserving the final say on all educational matters solely for the Deans, Provost, and President. This centralized framework lacks transparency procedures and sidelines democratic checks and balances processes, thereby undermining accountability.

Why is the President moving so quickly to cause changes in the Governing Regulations concerning the University Senate?

This is an important question. The president’s FAQ indicates the urgency is started three years ago with “The UK-PURPOSE: The Strategic Plan to Advance Kentucky 2021.” However, no work commenced on the revising the Governing Regulations until Workgroup 5 gave the February 23rd presentation. Hence, no urgency had been indicated.  At the February 23 Board meeting, President Capiluoto instead described to the Board an urgency due to recent changes in SASCOC  Standards for Accreditation.  

A comparison of the new February 2024 Standards with the previous 2018 Standards showed they were no changes in the pertinent parts. Moreover, in the March 12th Herald Leader article the President indicated the reason for the urgency was instead ensuring compliance with Senate Joint Resolution 98, a directive for CPE to develop some recommendations to the General Assembly on statewide higher education.However, neither SJR 98 nor the subsequent CPE recommendations to the General Assembly contained any directive for urgent action by UK in relation to the University Senate, Hence, it remains unclear why there is any urgent requirement for action to change the UK University Senate. 

What is the difference among "curriculum leadership", "academic freedom," and decision-making authority over educational policies?

The President has repeatedly said that “faculty have primacy over our curriculum” and he has assured us that that will not change. What is the difference between what he calls “curriculum leadership” and “academic freedom,” and the University Senate’s current decision-making authority over education policies?

Curriculum leadership focuses on guiding the development and adoption of the curriculum while academic freedom pertains to the rights of scholars, educators, and students to pursue knowledge and intellectual inquiry without interference. Decision-making authority over educational policies involves the power to make evidence-based decisions regarding the formulation and implementation of policies that govern educational systems or institutions. While each of these concepts plays a vital role in ensuring the effectiveness, integrity, and inclusivity of education systems, they represent distinct aspects of the educational landscape. 

Eliminating the University Senate’s decision-making authority will mean that the administration (Deans, Provost, President) may have the final say on what programs are created and dismantled in the future at UK.

What do we mean by educational policy? Is there unclarity on its definition in the Governing Regulations?

UK's Governing Regulations do clearly define educational policy. For example, the Governing Regulation VII.E.3.c on authority of College Faculties (within the University Senate Rules framework) states:

Within the limits established by these Governing Regulations, Administrative Regulations, University Senate Rules, and Rules of the Graduate Faculty of the University, the faculty of a college shall determine the educational policies of that college, including primary responsibility for the development of policies on such matters as academic requirements, curricula, course offerings, undergraduate, graduate and research programs, professional programs, and service functions,” (emphases added here). The President’s Workgroup 5 report to the Board of Trustees (on Feb. 23) did not cite the existence of this clear Governing Regulation.

Governing Regulation IV.C. further describes the University Senate responsibilities related to educational policy:

"3. Make final decisions for the University on curricula, courses, certificates and diplomas offered at the University." and  "4. Adopt policies for the University academic calendar, and establish the annual calendar on Recommendation by the University Registrar. 8. Determine the conditions for admissions..."

Is the President's FAQ correct that “found UK to be the only one of the 26 institutions which did not allow for involvement of its governing board and/or administration in educational policy decisions”?

This statement is totally false. The current Governing Regulations clearly state the following:

  • “the Board of Trustees shall make the final University decision on the establishment or closure of degree-granting academic programs.” (GR IV.C.2)
  • that the college deans and Provost are voting members of the University Senate (GR IV.A)
  • “The President is the Chair of the University Senate” and that the “President may call meetings of the University Senate” (which he has done previously). GR IV.B, GR III.A.2
  • “The President is … an ex officio member … of the various college faculties” that might recommend educational programs to the University Senate. (GR III.A.2)

Is the University governance structure an outlier from the list of official University benchmark institutions?

It is unclear as to why the President’s Workgroup 5 and its consultant Deloitte gathered information instead on institutions in the SEC rather than using the University of Kentucky official benchmark list. Recently, Board of Trustee Chair Brit Brockman stated in his HL OpED, " We are an outlier. And despite criticisms, that fact has never been substantively disputed." As apparent from the data below, it is indeed a fact that has been substantively disputed.

The University of Kentucky has an official list of 20 benchmark institutions. Of the 20 official benchmarks, UK’s Governance structure, with final education policy-making by the University is not an outlier.  

Here are examples of evidence supporting the statement that UK is not an outlier: 13 of the 20 the University of Kentucky’s official benchmark institutions have institutional governance structures that include senates with delegated decision-making authority and responsibilities over educational policies, including admissions as well as some advisory responsibilities.

Pennsylvania State University - University Park: To serve as the sole legislative body representing the University faculty as a whole. Its actions shall be authoritative on all matters that pertain to the educational interests of the University (all graduate, professional, and undergraduate instruction, research, and continuing education) and on all educational matters that concern the faculties of more than one college, subject, after consultation, to revision and orders of the president of the University.

Among the matters within the legislative jurisdiction of the Senate are:

(1) instructional program

(2) courses and programs of study

(3) academic admissions standards

(4) retention and graduation requirements

(5) University-wide unspecified scholarships, honors programs, and honors designation

(6) academic standards for intercollegiate athletic participation

(7) access to library and information systems for academic purposes.

University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign : Except as otherwise provided in these Statutes, each senate shall determine for its university matters of educational policy, including but not limited to: requirements for admission to the several colleges, schools and other teaching divisions; general requirements for degrees and certificates; relations among colleges, schools and other teaching divisions; the academic calendar; and educational policy on student affairs. Neither the powers conferred on the senates by this paragraph (c) nor the powers conferred by Article II, Section 1b shall extend to matters over which the college is given jurisdiction by Article III, Section 2c.

Note: Workgroup 5 Benchmarked 26 Institutions, including SEC Peer Institutions (13), Contiguous Campus Peers Institutions (6) (see, and KY Public Institutions (7), which are U of L, KyStateU, WKU,EKU,NKU, Murray State, MSU.

  Official Institutional Benchmarks for UK Academic Decision-Making Authority    Advising Responsibilities
1 University of Michigan - Ann Arbor           x
2 University of Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh           x
3 University of California - Los Angeles x- including admissions         x
4 University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign x- including admissions         x
5 University of Washington - Seattle           x
6 University of Texas - Austin           x
7 University of California - Berkeley x- including admissions         x
8 University of California - Davis x- including admissions         x
9 University of Wisconsin - Madison **              x
10 Pennsylvania State University - University Park  x- including admissions         x
11 University of Florida*           x
12 Texas A&M University*           x
13 Ohio State University - Columbus**           x 
14 University of Virginia x- including admissions         x
15 University of Minnesota-Twin Cities  x- including admissions         x
16 University of Maryland - College Park x- disapproval stoppage authority         x
17 University of California - San Diego x- including admissions         x
18 Purdue University - West Lafayette x- including admissions         x
19 University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill x- including admissions         x
20 Rutgers  - New Brunswick** x- including admissions         x
  University of Kentucky x- including admissions        x

* SEC Institutions

** The Contiguous 8. The eight institutions that have established schools in Agriculture, Engineering, Medicine, and Pharmacy on a single, contiguous campus.

I heard the University Senate is trying to eliminate the Clinical Title Series faculty appointment. Is this true?

This rumor is factually incorrect. The Senate does not have authority to decide faculty personnel Administrative Regulations, as they are not educational policy. The Senate charged the Senate Faculty Affairs to offer recommendations for administrative consideration in the area of faculty personnel issues, such as how tenure/non-tenure eligible faculty appointments relate to academic freedom/academic free speech. 

This consideration was prompted when then-Associate Provost for Faculty Advancement Sue Nokes had presented an annual report to the Senate Council on CTS faculty numbers.  National discussions of tenure and academic freedom/free speech were ongoing. Thereafter President Capilouto issued a free speech policy statement to the Board that was campus circulated.  Reasonably, the Senate committee considered the question of how does tenured (RegTS, Special TS, Ext. TS, Librarians) vs. nontenure status of faculty (e.g. CTS, Lecturers) relate to academic freedom/free speech. 

In the course of investigating issues related to tenure eligible vs. non-tenure eligible faculty lines, the committee noted, among its many important findings, that the College of Medicine's proportion of CTS faculty was greater than what is specified in Administrative Regulation 2.6.VIII.C. The committee's noting of this fact was not intended to be an attack on or recommendation for elimination of CTS faculty. It is unfortunate that it has been portrayed as such, when this is far from the truth.

Can the current University governance structure jeopardize my program accreditation requirements?

No. The University Senate maintains accreditation compliance of programs and the institution through GR IV. C.1.  

"Determine the broad academic policies of the University, including the similar academic policies that may be made necessary by governmental or accreditation agencies, and make rules to implement 
these policies." 

Accreditation associations do not prohibit any program at the University of Kentucky from following the institutional required academic approval processes. Many accreditation organizations, such as SASCOC and the Department of Education, create standards that are in line with accreditors.