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Faculty Senate

The Mission of the University of Montana Western Faculty Senate

In the early 2000s, the Faculty of the University of Montana Western, in collaboration with the senior administration established a Faculty Senate with agreed upon operational guidelines or “Articles” for the purpose of shared governance. The Faculty Senate is made up of elected representatives from each of the academic departments on campus and share in many different decision-making processes through a formalized and approved process. Embedded within the structure of shared governance, the mission of the Faculty Senate is to provide a democratic form of government for the coordination of the University’s academic program; maintenance of academic freedom and academic responsibility; the promotion of creative and responsible inquiry, thought, and expression in an atmosphere of scholarly excellence; and the protection of a vital balance among the various academic programs of the University, free of prejudice or undue partiality. Above all, the mission of the Faculty Senate of the University of Montana Western is to promote and support the attainment of excellence by all elements of the University’s academic program and by all members of its academic community.

Senate Members

Bradley Wood (Biology)
Brian England (Business & Technology)
Thomas Stiles (Secretary, Education)
Bethany Blankenship (English)
Neil Foley (Environmental Sciences)
Megan Kelly  (Vice Chair, Equine Studies)
Daniel Chapman (Fine Arts)
Megan Chilson (Health and Human Performance)
Bill Janus (History, Philosophy, and Social Sciences)
Tyler Seacrest (Chair, Mathematics)

Non-voting ex officio members are

Michael Reid (Chancellor)
Johnny Maclean (Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs)
Raina Mortenson (ASUMW President)

About Faculty Senate

The Faculty Senate was enabled by the collective bargaining agreement between The University of Montana – Western Faculty Association and the Montana University System Board of Regents signed on July 1, 1999.


The MFT, as the elected bargaining agent, retains exclusive right to negotiate and reach agreement on all matters pertaining to salaries, benefits, and terms and conditions of employment. Without waiving this right, the MFT and the Board recognize the desirability of a democratic governance system for Faculty in areas of academic concern. Such a governance system shall be implemented through a democratic process open only to tenure-track members of an academic unit who regularly teach seven (7) or more credit hours per semester herein called the Faculty Senate. The Chancellor, VCASA and academic deans are ex officio non-voting members of the Faculty Senate. As such they may attend all regular Faculty Senate sessions but may attend executive sessions by invitation only. Matters of academic concern may be initiated by the Faculty, Faculty Senate, VCASA or by the Chancellor. The matters which shall be reviewed and recommended by the Faculty Senate, in accordance with regulations of the Board, shall include:

  • Specific curricular changes submitted by the faculties of the various academic units through the appropriate University committee;
  • General requirements for various degrees and nomination of candidates for graduation;
  • General requirements for admission and retention of students and guidelines for student recruitment;
  • Development, curtailment, discontinuance, or reorganization of academic programs;
  • Issues that pertain to the academic affairs of the University and matters of critical concern about the welfare and administration of the University;
  • Establishment of committees and other bodies deemed necessary to carry out the responsibilities under this provision.

In accordance with Board policy, faculty representatives shall have the right to address the Board at their meeting in support of the Faculty Senate positions. Nothing in this article shall be interpreted or held to contradict the Management Rights spelled out in Section 11.100 of this agreement; or block the administration from timely action on any matter presented to the Faculty Senate without a recommendation from the Faculty Senate. It is understood that the role of the Faculty Senate is to make recommendations to the administration on academic issues. While giving consideration to these recommendations, the administration is not required to adhere to any Faculty Senate recommendation.