The authority of Faculties vis-à-vis the Undergraduate Council in the Dissolution and Approval of Undergraduate Programs

[Advice to Bruce Madewell, Chair of the Division, Peter Rodman, Chair of the College of Letters and Science, James Quinn, Chair of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, and Joe Kiskis, Chair of the Undergraduate Council 11/24/03]

CERJ was asked to advise on the questions: 1) what authority does the Undergraduate Council exercise over the proposed conversion of Division of Biological Sciences into the College of Biological Sciences? and 2), what authority does the Undergraduate Council possess vis-à-vis the Faculties in curricular matters generally?

Davis Division Bylaw 121 reads in part:

B. This council shall have the following duties:

1. In consultation with the Faculties of the schools and colleges, to establish policy for undergraduate education on the Davis campus and to advise the Chief Campus Officer on all matters pertaining to undergraduate education.
. . .
3. In consultation with the Faculties of the colleges offering undergraduate instruction, to approve or decline to approve the establishment and discontinuation of undergraduate programs.

In a previous letter to Peter Rodman (28 October 2003 [see above]), the Committee on Elections, Rules, and Jurisdiction advised that any change in the curriculum, including the dissolution of an academic program such as DBS and its reconstitution into a college must be "submitted to the formal consideration of the faculty concerned" (Standing Orders of the Regents 105.2.b and Academic Senate Bylaw 51, clarified by Legislative Ruling 4.84).  CERJ concluded that:

not only must the plan for the dissolution and reconstitution be referred to the Faculties of L&S and A&ES, but that those plans require the approval of those Faculties and cannot move forward without it.  Approval of the Faculties is a formal action requiring a vote of the Faculty Assembly or a mail ballot in accordance with the bylaws of each of the two faculties.

In light of our previous opinion, we conclude that the language of DDB 121 requiring only "consultation" between the Undergraduate Council and the Faculties is too weak and suggests, in a highly misleading manner, that the Faculties ultimately must defer to the authority of the Undergraduate Council.  This bylaw may have been constructed by analogy with the bylaws governing the Graduate Council.  But there is an important difference:  ASB 50.A grants explicitly subordinates Faculties to the Graduate Council on certain matters, but there is no parallel subordination on undergraduate matters.  We, therefore, reaffirm our previous opinion.

[Note:  subsequent to our advice Davis Division Bylaw 121.B was amended to clarify the role of the Undergraduate Council.]

[Note:  Advice given on 10/28/2003 (see above) also concerns the conversion of the Division of Biological Sciences into the College of Biological Sciences.]