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Pursuant to the Wilfrid Laurier University Act, Senate has broad jurisdiction over the university’s academic matters, including the power to establish educational policies of the university, deal with curriculum matters, determine policies related to tenure and promotion of faculty, determine standards of admission of students, and engage in long-range academic planning.

Consistent with the principles of bicameral governance, to the extent a decision made within the jurisdiction of Senate touches on an area of Board jurisdiction – for example, an expenditure of funds – the Board will be engaged in the decision. Some of these areas of overlap are outlined explicitly in the Act. Section 19(a), for example, states that Senate is responsible for making recommendations to the Board regarding the establishment, maintenance, modification or termination of an organizational structure, such as an academic unit. Senate also has broad powers to make recommendations to the Board regarding policies concerning internal allocation or use of university resources, and any matter relevant to the operations of the university.

Senate meets approximately eight times each year. There are also 11 Senate standing committees, which perform a wide variety of tasks, including:

  • Evaluating requests for new programs and the modification of current programs;
  • Overseeing the program review process;
  • Evaluating Senate by-laws and regulations;
  • Considering the university’s fiscal responsibility for maintaining academic programs;
  • Reviewing policies and priorities in regards to teaching and learning, research and student life;
  • Reviewing and making recommendations on applications for promotion and tenure;
  • Considering student appeals; and
  • Considering nominations for honorary degree recipients.


Karen Jack