By Laws of the General Faculty Council (last update: May 2020)


I.    Name


The name of this body shall be the University of Virginia General Faculty Council (hereafter the "Council").

II.    Representation

The Council represents General Faculty (hereafter the "GF") and Senior Professional Research Staff (hereafter the "SPRS") at the University of Virginia (hereafter the "University"). These GF and SPRS positions are categorized as follows:

A.    General Faculty (GF)

These positions are tenure-ineligible, salaried faculty positions that focus on teaching, research, professional practice in an academic discipline, or clinical service; or provide high-level administrative or professional services in support of the institution's academic mission.  The related governing policies are:


General Faculty Members whose primary responsibilities include teaching, research, professional practice, or clinical service without encompassing the full scope of responsibilities expected from tenure-track faculty positions (e.g., an academic general faculty member could have primary responsibilities for research with minimal or no responsibility for classroom instruction, or have primary responsibilities for teaching and/or clinical practice without research obligations).


a.    Administrative General Faculty Members who perform work directly related to the management of the educational mission and general activities of the institution, department, or subdivision thereof, and whose position is normally within three reporting steps of the president (e.g. the dean of a school).
b.    Professional General Faculty Members who perform work requiring advanced learning and experience acquired by prolonged formal instruction and/or specialized work experience, normally limited to professional positions serving education, research, medical, student affairs, and other such activities.

B.    Senior Professional Research Staff

This category includes those designated as SPRS (Research Scientists, Senior Scientists, Principal Scientists and Law Librarians) under the University's Policy on "Professional Research Staff - Terms and Conditions of Employment."The related governing policy is: 

III.    Mission

The Council exists to represent the interests of the GF and SPRS to the University, to advise the University on matters pertaining to the GF and SPRS, and to provide service to the University.

IV.    Responsibilities

A.    To provide a channel of communication between the Council's constituents and with the University Administration including the President and the Executive Cabinet (
B.    To provide a channel of communication between the Council's constituents and with the Faculty Senate and Staff Senate.
C.    To promote the interests of the GF and SPRS.
D.    To advise the University President and Administration with respect to policies and procedures of importance to the GF and SPRS, including but not limited to rank and status, review, reappointment, and promotion; grievance and disciplinary procedures; general policies and handbook; evaluation and compensation; and benefits and leave.
E.    To consult actively with the Council's GF and SPRS constituents and to keep them informed. Council chair shall call meetings of the full GF and SPRS whenever the Council judges such a meeting to be appropriate.

V.    Definition of Council Year

The May meeting represents both the start and end of a Council year.  Two things happen at the meeting:  new officers are elected to committees and leadership; and GFC members will be recognized as starting, continuing or completing their terms as described below.

VI.    Membership

A.    There shall be a minimum of 18 and a maximum of 21 elected, voting members of the Council.
B.    Members of the Council shall serve for a term of three council years, commencing in May of the year in which they are elected.
C.    The seat of an elected representative shall be deemed vacant when the incumbent resigns from the council, is no longer a member of the GF or SPRS, or no longer holds a position in the area that she or he was elected to represent.
D.    Elected Council Members shall serve with the expectation of consistent attendance at scheduled Council meetings. If Council Members are unable to attend a regularly scheduled Council meeting, they should designate a non-voting person from their represented area to attend the meeting in their place and/or should assign a vote proxy to another Council member, as well as notify the Council Chair of their absence. If a Council member misses three consecutive Council meetings without explanation, and fails to send a designee or to assign a vote proxy to another Council member, the seat will be considered vacant.

VII.    Election Procedures

A.    Nominations

The Council shall seek nominations for seats from all represented areas, including the twelve Schools and other entities.  The Council is committed to seeking broad representation through the nomination process.  Historically, areas represented by Council members have been: Administration (including Student Affairs), Arts & Sciences, Athletics, Education (including the School of Education and Human Development and the School for Continuing and Professional Studies), Engineering, Health Sciences, Libraries, Professional Schools (including Architecture, Batten, Commerce, Darden, and Law), Senior Professional Research Staff and At-Large.  These Council Areas and their definitions shall be reviewed and revised as necessary by the Elections Chair in coordination with the Data Management Committee and approved by the Council prior to each election cycle. Data Science will be included commencing with the election cycle that occurs during the 2020-2021 academic year.

B.    Eligibility to vote

1.    All those represented by the Council (see II) shall be eligible to vote in elections for Council membership.
2.    Eligible voters may vote only for At-Large candidates, and candidates from the area in which they hold an appointment

C.    Eligibility for Council:

Persons eligible for election to Council shall:
1.    Be currently GF or SPRS;
2.    Have been GF or SPRS for at least 12 months prior to nomination;
3.    Expect to hold appointments that extend through the first year of the term of office;
4.    Have served no more than one immediately preceding term on the Council.

D.    Conduct of Elections

1.    Council shall elect an Elections Chair annually to implement the elections procedure;
2.    Persons running for election or re-election to Council shall be ineligible to serve as the Elections Chair;
3.    The Elections Chair shall be responsible for soliciting nominations, collecting platform statements from nominees, distributing ballots, tabulating ballot results, and communicating the results to the Council Chair;
4.    The Council Chair shall report results to the council membership and notify nominees regarding election results;
5.    Election procedures:
a.    There shall be annual elections for Council membership;
b.    For each election, there shall be a public call for nominations;
c.    The ballot shall list the names and platform statements of all nominees who are eligible to serve on the Council;
d.    At least one candidate for each vacant Council seat must be listed on the ballot;

e.  The candidate receiving the most votes for each position will be elected to that position;
f.    Tie votes shall be resolved by a run-off, which will be held during the second stage of the election;

g. Beginning with the 2020-2021 academic year, elections will occur in two stages. In the first stage, all nominees will be for vacant seats from named represented areas. In the second stage, any nominee who was not elected in the first stage may be listed as a nominee for any vacant At-Large seats on the Council.
h.    Election procedures are posted on the GFC website.  These election procedures shall be reviewed and approved by the Council each September.
6.    In order to provide continuity of membership, the three-year terms of Council members shall be staggered so that approximately one-third of the members of the Council shall be elected each year.
7.    Resignations shall be submitted in writing to the chair of the Council.
8.    If three or more vacancies occur on the Council during the first six months following an annual election, a single mid-term election will be conducted to fill those vacancies. Vacancies occurring after the mid-term election will be filled during the normal annual election.
a.    If a seat is vacated with 1.5 years or less remaining in the term, a new member shall be elected to that seat with a full three-year term. This shall count as the member's first term.
b.    If a seat is vacated with more than 1.5 years remaining in the term, a new member shall be elected to fill the remaining term, and this shall count as the member's first term.
c.    Elections Chair shall monitor that the filling of vacant seats mid-cycle doesn't compete with the rules about staggering terms set out above in point #6.

VIII.    Officers

A.    Chair

1.    During the May meeting of each year, the Council shall elect from its members a Chair and Chair-Elect for a term of one year. The Chair shall be its presiding officer. It is expected that the Chair-Elect shall assume the Chair position for the following year.
2.    The Chair will serve as an At-Large member of the Council during his/her term as Chair.  If the Chair has remaining time in his/her three-year term, the Chair will vacate his/her regular seat on the Council.  A new member will be elected in the regular spring elections to fill the incoming Chair's seat.
3.    The Chair of the Council shall be responsible for soliciting agenda items and for establishing and circulating the agenda at least one week prior to each meeting and for convening Council meetings.
4.    The Chair or the members designated by the Chair shall poll the Council membership by phone, email or other electronic means as needed when issues arise between meetings. These discussions will be reported at the next Council meeting and relevant information will be recorded in the meeting minutes.
5.    The Chair-Elect shall convene Council meetings in the absence of the Chair, and shall assist the Chair in the performance of the duties of that office.
6.    The Chair shall appoint a Council member to act as a Treasurer.
7.    The Chair shall be responsible for new Council member orientation.
8.    The Chair shall be an ex officio member of all standing committees.
9.    Reference chart of Chair flow (serve, At-Large, etc...)

B.    Past Chair

1.    The outgoing Chair shall serve as Past Chair during the year following his/her tenure as Chair. The Past Chair will continue to serve as an At-Large member of the Council during his/her term as Past Chair. The Past Chair provides institutional memory for the Chair, Chair-elect and Council as a whole. The immediate past Chair shall remain a member of the Executive Committee for one year.

C.    Ex-Officio Council Membership

1.    The Council invites the Faculty Senate Chair to have an ex-officio seat on the Council and encourages regular attendance at its monthly meetings for the purpose of open communication and coordination of interests.

D.    Secretary

1.    During the first meeting in May of each year the Council shall also elect one of its members Secretary.
2.    The Secretary shall be responsible for:
a.    Ensuring that the minutes of meetings of the Council are recorded. The minutes shall include an announcement of the next meeting and a general call for agenda items. Minutes shall be distributed in a timely fashion and be made publicly available when approved;
b.    Maintaining all past and current files of the Council on the GFC website.

E.    Treasurer

1.    The Treasurer shall be appointed by the Chair.
2.    The Treasurer is responsible for monitoring and reporting on Council financial transactions.

F.    Communications Chair

1.    During the first meeting in May of each year the Council shall also elect one of its members to serve as Communications Chair.
2.    The Communications Chair shall be responsible for:
a.    Appointing a webmaster to maintain the Council website, who will work in conjunction with the Communications Chair and Secretary of the GFC to oversee content.
b.    Managing publicity about and outreach for the Council;
c.    Arranging informational and social events for the GF and SPRS;
d.    Keeping records of all Communication Committee meetings and correspondence.

G.    Policy Chair

1.    During the first meeting in May of each year the Council shall also elect one of its members to serve as Policy Chair. The Council may appoint co-chairs with the understanding that the Policy Chair Position will nonetheless have only one vote on any committee external to the GFC.
2.    The Policy Chair shall be responsible for:
a.    Circulating proposed, new or revised University policies to Council and Policy Committee members.
b.    Collecting, collating and submitting to the University administration comments and suggested revisions to proposed, new or revised University policies.
c.    Presenting to the Council the Policy Committee's recommendations for other actions (e.g., summary documents, advocacy letters, public resolutions).
d.    Serving as liaison to the Executive Vice President and Provost regarding policies;
e.    Ensuring that relevant policies are readily available via the Council website and other appropriate means, including providing them to the Communications Chair;
f.    Working with the University Administration to promote the interests of the GF and SPRS;
g.    Keeping records of all Policy Committee meetings and correspondence.

H.    Elections Chair

1.    During the first meeting in May of each year the Council shall also elect one of its members to serve as Elections Chair.
2.    The Elections Chair shall be responsible for:
a.    Implementing Election Procedures as outlined in the "Procedure for Elections" which is posted on the Council website and reviewed each September;
b.    Keeping written records of election results;
c.    Reviewing and revising the election procedures annually;
d.    Keeping records of all Elections Committee meetings and correspondence.

I.    Bylaws Chair

1.    During the first meeting in May of each year the Council shall also elect one of its members to serve as Bylaws Chair.
2.    The Bylaws Chair shall be responsible for:
a.    Reviewing and suggesting revisions to the bylaws of the General Faculty at least every four years;
b.    Keeping records of all Bylaws Committee meetings and correspondence.

J.    Data Management Chair

1.    During the first meeting in May of each year the Council shall elect one of its members to serve as Data Management Chair.
2.    The Data Management Chair shall be responsible for:
a.    Obtaining and maintaining the database of the GF and SPRS of the University;
b.    Reviewing Council's constituent allocation every year and revising as appropriate;
c.    Updating the database and email list;
d.    Ensuring that there is an updated list with which to revise the GF and SPRS email lists (gf-roster and one for each of 9 constituencies) in the fall prior to annual elections;
e.    Assisting other committees with projects that require data, such as surveys or data analysis;
f.    Keeping records of all Data Management Committee meetings and correspondence.

K.    Council Executive Committee

a.    The officers of the Council (A, B, D, E, F, G, H, I and J above) will form the Council Executive Committee. The Council Chair will call meetings of the Council Executive Committee as needed. In the event of an officer vacancy, members of the Council will elect a replacement. The Secretary shall keep records of all Executive Committee meetings.

IX.    Conducting Business

A.    Council shall meet a minimum of 9 times per year at a time and place designated by the Council chair, currently the second Wednesday of each month, excluding June, July and August.
B.    Special meetings of Council may be called at the discretion of the Chair or on request made to the Council Chair in writing by any one of the following:
1.    Any three members of the Council.
2.    Any five members, or more, of the full GF and SPRS.
3.    The University President or members of the Executive Cabinet.
C.    The agenda for each meeting, along with supporting papers, shall be distributed by the Chair to all Council members at least one week prior to the meeting whenever possible. The agenda shall likewise be distributed to the GF and SPRS members as appropriate.
D.    A quorum shall consist of 50% of filled council positions.
E.    Method of voting may be show of hands, voice vote, or may be conducted electronically as deemed appropriate by Council chair.
F.    All measures shall pass by a simple majority when a quorum of Council members is present and voting. If polling is conducted electronically, a quorum shall be established by responses from 50% of filled council positions within a set time frame established when the vote is called.  The time frame for responses shall be no less than 24 hours.
G.  Robert's Rules of Order Revised shall govern in all cases in which they are applicable and not in conflict with these Bylaws.
H.    All Council meetings shall be open unless the majority of the Council members present vote to go into executive session. Representatives of absent members may remain during an executive session.
I.    The Council may establish or discontinue standing and ad hoc committees.

J.  Council may provide for membership on such committees by persons who are not members of Council, but the chair of any committee and the majority of members of a standing committee must in all cases be elected members of the Council.
K.    At the May meeting, GFC members, including those newly elected if they are present, will sign up for service on committees. An additional call for committee membership shall be made at each September meeting.
L.    GFC committee Chairs will keep an up-to-date membership list for their committee.
M.    The Chair of each GFC committee will aspire to hold at least two face-to-face meetings of the committee membership each year.  The goal is to generate ideas, stimulate involvement, build relationships and improve communication between committee members.
N.    The Chair of each GFC committee will aspire to report to the full GFC at each regularly scheduled meeting or as otherwise needed.  The full GFC will vote on any necessary business submitted by any individual committee.

X.    Changes to the Bylaws of the Council

A.    In the case of changes or amendments to the Bylaws, the Bylaws Chair, in coordination with the Elections Chair, shall be responsible for administering voting procedures.
B.    Any member of the Council may propose changes to the Bylaws of the Council at a regular meeting of the Council. To be approved, the proposal must receive the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the voting members of the Council.
C.    Such changes will be administered by the Bylaws Chair, and shall be submitted by the Elections Chair to the GF and SPRS for a vote to be returned via e-mail or written mail, or to be included in the annual online Spring election cycle.
D.    Adoption of changes to the Bylaws shall require an affirmative vote by two-thirds of the GF and SPRS members returning ballots.

XI.    Authorization

These Bylaws shall be reported to the GF and SPRS for approval according to the procedures listed for changing the Bylaws and shall be presented, when approved, to the University President and Executive Cabinet. Approved 1994, amended March 1996, amended March 1999, amended March 2002, amended May 2003, amended March 2009, amended March 2012, amended March 2013, amended March 2014, amended May 2014, amended May 2019, amended May 2020.