David J. Williams, Chairperson University Senate David J. Williams

Welcome to the Purdue University Senate website.  Established in 1964, we will celebrate our 50th anniversary next fall.  Ours is a “university” senate rather than a “faculty” senate.  According to our founding document, “the University Senate is the governing body of the faculty and it exercises the legislative and policy-making powers assigned to the faculty, subject only to review and check by the faculty by established procedures. Therefore, subject to the authority of the Board of Trustees and in consultation with the President, it has the power and responsibility to propose or to adopt policies, regulations, and procedures intended to achieve the educational objectives of Purdue University and the general welfare of those involved in these educational processes.” 

While the vast majority of the 102 Senators that make up this body are tenured or tenure-track faculty from all the colleges and schools at Purdue University, we also have representatives from our staff, students, and regional campuses amongst our ranks with voting privileges, along with a variety of administrators who function as advisors.

We have a new President at Purdue who, in his first six months on the job, followed through on his promise to work with faculty in making major decisions that impact the University.  His bold decision to freeze tuition for two years was taken after consultation with Senate leadership.  And Senate leadership sits on the President’s Council for Budget and Affordability.  These are but two examples of the current state of shared governance at Purdue University.

Having served in the Senate as Chair of the Student Affairs Committee, and the Faculty Affairs Committee for five years, I know the real work of the Senate is done in the standing committees, and the chairs and members of these committees are invaluable to the success of the Senate.  Once again we have a very busy year ahead of us.

There is no question we live in challenging times for higher education throughout the nation.  Minimal salary increases at best, rising healthcare costs, reduced benefits, and fewer tenure track positions are but a few of the issues impacting us all.  Combine this with ever-increasing institutional costs, increases in the student loan rate for new borrowers, and a sluggish economy, and one could say the future looks rather bleak.  But this is the world in which we live and work, and through our collective willingness to face these challenges head on we have the opportunity to implement innovative new ways of doing things that will not just help Purdue continue to move forward, but will establish Purdue as a national leader in affordable quality higher education.

As your Chairperson, this is my goal for the year.  I ask you to join me in this pursuit with vigor and resoluteness.  

We encourage everyone to let us know your concerns and ideas. Please feel free to contact me or any member of the Senate leadership listed below.

University Senate Leadership:

Chair - David J. Williams
Vice Chair - Patricia Hart
Secretary of Faculties - Joe Camp
Steering Committee Chair - David A. Sanders
Faculty Affairs Committee Chair - A. Charlene Sullivan
University Resources Policy Committee Chair - Richard Johnson-Sheehan
Educational Policy Committee Chair - Harold Kirkwood
Student Affairs Committee Chair - April Ginther
Nominating Committee Chair - Michael Hill
Advisory Committee Chair - David J. Williams

We look forward to an interesting and productive year.