Because of the University of California's strong tradition of shared governance, faculty routinely participate in campus decision-making through service on several kinds of committees: departmental committees, Academic Senate committees, administrative committees, and other campus or systemwide committees.

Departmental Committees

The committees in academic departments vary in number and makeup, but most departments have standing faculty committees to deal with curriculum, undergraduate and graduate affairs, and academic personnel decisions. Some have an executive committee advisory to the department chair. Large departments may have committees dealing with space, lab, or equipment safety, TA training, or other issues pertinent to the field. Excluding committees dealing with tenure and promotion, most departments name student representatives to serve on committees. Service on a department committee may be a good way for junior faculty both to meet their senior colleagues and to begin developing a career record of service. Discuss with your department chairperson about becoming involved in department governance, at an appropriate level for one's rank/step.

Academic Senate Committees

Academic Senate committees establish academic policy and advise senior administrators on a variety of issues including budget, allocations of faculty positions, establishment and disestablishment of academic programs, faculty hiring, award of tenure, faculty welfare, degree requirements, academic freedom, affirmative action, capital projects, computing and technology, research, library, effective teaching, scholarships and prizes, and the Senate's own organization. Visit the Academic Senate's page on committees for a full list and their functions.

Administrative Committees

Administrative committees are usually appointed by the Chancellor or by one of the vice chancellors and may include faculty, students, and staff. Administrative committees address non-academic issues which are of concern to all campus constituencies, such as safety, bicycle paths, distribution of student fees, animal care, buildings and grounds.

Other Campus or Systemwide Committees

Other campus or systemwide committees can be formed for a variety of purposes ranging from determining award recipients to policy revisions, and beyond.


Service to Discipline

You serve your academic discipline by agreeing to participate in conferences, by serving on editorial boards or as an outside reader for scholarly journals, by giving guest lectures at other institutions, by consulting, and by other means of disseminating knowledge in the field. One criterion for gauging the vitality of an academic department is the level of faculty service to the discipline as a whole.


Service to Community

Faculty research can lend itself to immediate transfer to society through, for example, better manufacturing processes, improved governmental operations, or as a creative performance. Even if your research seems relatively inaccessible to the public at large, you may enrich community life through public lectures presenting simple explanations of your work, or by sharing your expertise with the news media. In addition, some faculty find their analytical or organizational skills valuable to a wide variety of community volunteer organizations and governing boards. The Academic Personnel website has a PDF of various service opportunities, linked here.