UFS Parliamentarian:
Kerin E. Coughlin (NYCCT)

UFS Chairs:

Robert S. Hirschfield, Political Science, Hunter: 1968-1971

Ralph Sleeper, Philosophy, Queens: 1971-1972

Nathan A. Weiner, Electrical Technology, College of Staten Island: 1972-1974

David Valinsky, Statistics, Baruch: 1974-1978

Ann M. Burton, History, Brooklyn: 1978-1981

Henry Wasser, English, College of Staten Island: 1981-1986

Shirley U. Wedeen, Education, Brooklyn: 1986-1990

Robert A. Picken, French, Queens: 1990-1994

Sandi E. Cooper, History, College of Staten Island: 1994-1998

Bernard Sohmer, Mathematics, CCNY: 1998-2002

Susan G. O’Malley, English, Kingsborough Community College: 2002-2006

Manfred Philipp, Biochemistry, Lehman College; 2006-2010

Sandi E. Cooper, History, College of Staten Island: 2010-2012

Terrence Martell, Finance, Baruch, 2012-2016

Katherine Conway, Business, BMCC, 2016-2018

Martin Burke, History, Graduate Center & Lehman, 2018-


The City University of New York system consists of thirteen senior colleges, seven community colleges and five independent graduate schools.  It was formally created in 1961 from the original four senior colleges of the City of New York, initially linked under the Board of Higher Education. The Bylaws of the current Board of Trustees, created in 1976 when the State formalized its responsibility for the University, provide for a University Faculty Senate:

Bylaw 8.10 – University Faculty Senate There shall be a university faculty senate, responsible, subject to the board, for the formulation of policy relating to the academic status, role, rights, and freedoms of the faculty, university level educational and instructional matters and research and scholarly activities of university-wide import. The powers and duties of the university faculty senate shall not extend to areas or interests which fall exclusively within the domain of the faculty councils of the constituent units of the university.  Consistent with the powers of the board in accordance with the educational law and the Bylaws of the board, the university faculty senate shall make its own Bylaws providing for the election of its own officers, the establishment of its own rules and procedures for the election of senators, for its internal administration and for such other matters as is necessary for its continuing operations.

As the faculty governance body of the University, the Senate is composed of representatives elected from each of the constituent colleges, proportional to the size of the faculty. Full-time and adjunct faculty have representation.  Senators serve a three-year term.  A Chair and Vice-Chair are elected for two-year terms.  These two officers and seven at-large members are elected each May for the following academic year.  This nine­ member Executive Committee acts for the full Senate when plenary meetings are not scheduled.

The Senate represents the faculty to the Board of Trustees, to the central administration and, on occasion, to college administrations and public authorities.  It coordinates educational campaigns to inform the public at large and the political authorities about the academic achievements of faculty, the success of students and the value of the University to the city and state. By its authority to appoint faculty representatives to the Faculty Advisory Council of the Research Foundation, the Senate routinely works to expand research opportunities for its colleagues and to advance their work. In founding the CUNY Academy for the Humanities and Sciences, the Senate supported an initiative that encourages scholarship and communication across the University. The Senate has created University-wide seminars for faculty development and retraining which have covered a wide range of disciplines and study areas from classical literature to computer applications.

The standing committees of the Senate are devoted to protecting and strengthening the scholarly and academic environment of the University – Academic Freedom, Libraries and Information Technology, Status of the Faculty, and Student Affairs.  The Senate also supports special advisory committees to Vice Chancellors, including Budget Advisory and Academic Affairs.

At the six annual Plenary meetings of the Senate, issues of particular concern to the faculty are explored through invited guests, reports  of the Chancellor and Vice

Chancellors, panels, and special presentations. The Senate deliberates and votes upon policy statements, resolutions, and reports covering issues of concern to faculty — from questions involving academic freedom at home and abroad to rights and responsibilities of faculty on their campuses. Proceedings of Plenary sessions are sent to all Senators and Alternates, college governance leaders, the chancellery, and college presidents.

Each year the Senate sponsors a fall and spring conference with a notable keynoter, attracting approximately 100 participants.  The conferences center on both governance and academic policy issues.  Conference proceedings are published and distributed throughout the University community. The Senate also publishes a blog on its website, a unique record of the issues of the day that also serves as a forum for the expression of faculty points of view.

In the course of an academic year, the Senate provides recommendations of faculty to serve on University-wide task forces, search committees, and study groups. The Chair of the Senate is an ex officio member of the Board of Trustees without vote. Members of the Executive Committee are assigned by the Chair of the Senate to each of the functioning committees of the Board, with vote, and to such other formal bodies as the board overseeing the CUNY B.A. Degree, the City University Legislative Action Council (CLAC), and the CUNY Athletic Conference.  The Senate works with the Office of Academic Affairs to help form and maintain Discipline Councils across the University. The Chair of the Senate also convenes quarterly meetings of the Council of Faculty Governance Leaders, comprising top-elected faculty chairs of campus senates and councils.

Since its establishment in 1968 the University Faculty Senate has spoken forcefully on matters of concern to the faculty of the whole University.

Adopted on March 2, 1968 by the Conference on a University Senate, for recommendation to the faculties of The City University of New York; ratified by the constituent units in March 1968. Amended in April 1969, November 1971, October 1978, November 1979, May 1992, November 1995, October 22, 2013, and March 24, 2015.