Committees and Task Forces Policy

  • Custodian of Policy: President
    Relevant Minnesota State System Policy: n/a 
    Effective Date: December 2015
    Last Review: 2015
    Next Review: Fall 2022

    Rationale

    Minnesota State University Moorhead has a committee and task force structure that is designed to advise the administration on various University activities that are critical to the mission, via a process that honors the principles of shared governance. Committees and task forces are composed of appointed faculty, staff and students who provide their time and expertise in service of the MSUM mission.

    This policy sets forth required operational principles for these groups, and defines a general charge for each category of committee. Specific committee names, charges and membership are found at: https://sp.mnstate.edu/sites/committees-and-task-forces.

    Part 1. Establishment of New Committees

    Proposals from any member of campus, or group, to establish new committees or task forces, or to discontinue an existing committee or taskforce, are considered via the Meet and Confer process. An Ad Hoc Committee on Committees will be formed, via the Meet and Confer process, every two years to review and make recommendations about the status of existing committees and task forces. This review should be done in odd years to align with the biennial Faculty Association committee appointment process.

    Part 2. Authority and Responsibility

    All committees and task forces are advisory to the President or her/his designee and are responsible for reporting their recommendations to the Faculty Senate, Student Senate and other representative bodies. Recommendations from a committee require a recorded vote.

    Part 3. Definitions

    Advisory Committee. A group of diverse stakeholders that convene regularly to provide advice and hands-on support to another group.

    College Committees. A committee, on which the majority of the members are faculty, and is charged with considering areas and activities of primary importance to that academic unit. (e.g., College Curriculum Committees, 19A Peer Review Committees, Ad hoc Grade Appeal Committees).

    Compliance Committees. A committee that is created and operates under federal, state or other external guidelines, and is charged with ensuring compliance with these external regulations.

    Programmatic Committee. A committee charged with considering curricular issues of academic programs where two or more departments share equivalent responsibility for offering the requisite coursework. Recommendations from Programmatic Committees are made to the appropriate dean/s and are shared with the departments involved in the program. These recommendations do not replace departmental recommendations on curricular issues.

    Steering Committee. A committee that is advisory to the administration about the strategic direction for a specific project or initiative. Any Steering Committee recommendations regarding any affiliated academic program, do not replace departmental recommendations on curricular issues.

    Student Affairs Committee. A committee, on which the majority of voting members are students, that is charged to consider non-academic areas and activities of primary importance to students. Student Affairs Committee recommendations are made to the President, or her/his designee.

    Task Force. A group charged with making recommendations to the President about an institutional concern. A Task Force has an ending date, and appointments will only continue beyond this date after consultation between the President and the appropriate bargaining units and/or Student Senate.

    University Committee. A committee charged with considering areas and activities that impact the University community as a whole. University committees have a defined membership established by the administration in consultation with relevant bargaining units and Student Senate as appropriate. University Committee recommendations are made to the President, or her/his designee.

    Working Group. A Task Force that does not have a set ending date.

    Part 4. Procedures

    1. Appointment. For the majority of Committees, Task Forces, Centers and Working Groups, the appointment process is done in compliance with the represented collective bargaining agreements. For all appointments, the administration reserves the right to appoint administrative members (or a designee) based on position or expertise. The same is true of student appointments to all committees, which are done by the Student Senate. Efforts should be made to ensure diversity and inclusion of people and ideas when making committee appointments.
    2. Terms of Service. Faculty committee appointments shall be for two years, beginning with the start of spring semester in even-numbered years, such that appointments are considered to be from January 1 to December 31. Non-faculty appointments occur throughout the year as necessary and serve the duration of the academic year. The exceptions are: a) The Institutional Review Board (IRB) has three-year terms for faculty, and b) The Faculty Athletic Representative (FAR) has a three-year term.
    3. Oversight of Committee Work. Each type of committee either reports to, or is advisory to, a designated person. The administration will identify that individual at the beginning of each academic year, and that individual is responsible for:
      • Attending the first meeting of the committee to review the charge and expectations for that year.
      • Acting as a resource for the committee chairperson as needed and ensuring that any recommendations are brought through the appropriate consultative process.
      • Ensuring that the committee submits a report of their activities and/or recommendations at the end of year.
       
    4. Committee Chairs.
      • Depending on the type of committee, the committee chair will either be appointed by the administration, or determined by the committee members through a democratic process.
      • Committee chairs are responsible for setting agendas, scheduling meetings, overseeing the preparation and distribution of meeting minutes, and for presiding over meetings. This includes ensuring that all committee members have the opportunity to add relevant items to the agenda and to speak for and against proposals that fall within the committee charge, and deciding whether there is time available for discussion by visitors.
      • Committee chairs will take into consideration when faculty are on duty prior to scheduling meetings, and/or notifying faculty about the availability of extra duty day pay for meetings scheduled outside of those times. Committee chairs are also encouraged to facilitate student participation by being sensitive to the issues of the roles and responsibilities of student members, and by being mindful that Student Senate is not in operation over breaks during the semester or during the summer.
      • Committee chairs will ensure that when at all possible, meeting times are scheduled in a manner that aligns with the class schedule, and except in matters of extreme urgency, all committee members will receive advance notice of meetings and meeting agendas. The schedule, agendas and meeting minutes will be made available to the campus community by a process determined by the administration.
       
    5. Confidentiality. Certain committees are charged with work that involves confidential matters. In such cases the committee does not report to the Faculty Senate and its meetings are not open. Committee chairpersons of such groups shall inform members about the confidential nature of their work.