The University Faculty Council (UFC) was formed in 1984 as a successor to the Faculty Advisory Panel with a charge to “provide information and advice to the President and the Provost regarding faculty interests and concerns as they bear upon the life and operation of the institution.” The UFC’s birth represented a significant recognition of the principle of shared governance at the University of Richmond by providing the faculty with an institutionalized method of communication with senior administrators.

In April 2013, some members of the UFC brought forward a proposal to examine faculty governance at the University of Richmond. The UFC agreed to the proposal and voted to form a Subcommittee on Faculty Governance “to examine current governing structures and, if the subcommittee deems it necessary, to recommend the consideration of possible changes.”

In August 2013, the UFC designated seven faculty members to serve on the Subcommittee on Faculty Governance. The Subcommittee included representation from each of the five schools: three members from the School of Arts & Sciences and one each from the Robins School of Business, the School of Law, the Jepson School of Leadership Studies, and the School of Professional and Continuing Studies.

Despite the historical importance of the UFC, the Subcommittee determined that the faculty at the University of Richmond could deliberate and express its wishes more effectively with a new representative body. After examining the UFC charge, the university committee structure, and models for faculty representation and shared governance at other colleges and universities, members of the Subcommittee concluded that the UFC has become an insufficient vehicle for developing partnerships and enacting shared governance across the institution. Shared governance requires forums in which the interests and priorities of the community as a whole can be discussed and aligned, so that all feel vested in the future of the institution.

The Subcommittee on Faculty Governance began its work with a review of governance procedures at a number of other institutions. The Subcommittee also considered the recommendations for effective shared governance provided by The Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities, which was jointly developed and formally endorsed by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), the American Council on Education (ACE), and the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) in 1966.

From Fall 2013 to Fall 2014, the UFC Subcommittee drafted a proposal for a University Faculty Senate, a representative body organized to better accomplish these ends. The Subcommittee worked with the administration and a subcommittee of the Board of Trustees. It solicited feedback from the university faculty at multiple times during the process.

The final proposed Charter was presented to the Faculty and to the Board in November 2014. It was subsequently voted as approved by both the Faculty and the Board. Implementation occurred during the spring and summer of 2015, at which time the University Faculty Council ceased to exist.