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Senate and Faculties of Vancouver Island University Quick Facts

The Senate of Vancouver Island University was formed in January 2009 in response to the BC Government’s introduction of legislation establishing Vancouver Island University as a special purpose, teaching university consistent with Bill 34 amendments to the University Act.

The Senate’s power and duties include (but are not limited to):

  • regulate how its meetings and proceeding are conducted, including determining the quorum necessary for the transaction of business and how a vice-chair, who is to chair meetings in the absence of the president, is annually elected
  • set criteria for awarding certificates, diplomas and degrees, including honorary degrees
  • set curriculum content for courses leading to certificates, diplomas and degrees
  • set qualifications for admission
  • set criteria for academic standing, academic standards and the grading system
  • set criteria for awards recognizing academic excellence
  • set policies and procedures for appeals by students on academic matters and establish a final appeal tribunal for these appeals
  • set residency requirements for awarding credentials for courses and programs
  • set policies concerning examinations and evaluation of student performance, curriculum evaluation and student withdrawal

Senate must advise the Board of Governors, and the Board of Governors must seek advice from Senate, on the development of educational policy for the following matters:

  • the mission statement and the educational goals, objectives, strategies and priorities of the special purpose, teaching university
  • the establishment, revision or discontinuance of courses and programs at the special purpose, teaching university
  • the preparation and presentation of reports after implementation by the special purpose, teaching university without prior review by the senate of new non-credit programs or programs offered under service contract
  • the priorities for implementation of new programs and courses leading to certificates, diplomas or degrees
  • the establishment or discontinuance of faculties
  • the evaluation of programs and educational services
  • the library and resource centres
  • the setting of the academic schedule
  • the qualifications for faculty members
  • the adjudication procedure for appealable matters of student discipline
  • the terms for affiliation with other post-secondary bodies
  • the consultation with community and program advisory groups concerning the special purpose, teaching university’s educations programs
  • other matters specified by the board

The Senate is comprised of 37 members, which include:

  • Chancellor
  • President (Chair of Senate)
  • Provost and Vice President Academic
  • 8 Deans representing each Faculty
  • Chief Librarian
  • Registrar (non-voting)
  • 16 faculty, two members elected from each Faculty
  • 4 students elected by the students
  • 1 alumni member, appointed by the President on nomination by the Alumni Association
  • 2 support staff elected by support staff
  • 1 Board appointee (non-voting)

Senate Standing Committees

Senate conducts its business through seven Standing Committees as follows:


The majority of Senate is drawn from the Faculties. Together, the Senate and the Faculties, along with the Board, reflect a truly bicameral governance structure, whereby the academy (comprised of Faculties) has a much greater legislated role in the governance of the institution than ever before.

As defined by legislation, a Faculty is an educational administrative division of a university constituted by the Board as a Faculty under section 39 of the Act, or the dean and faculty members of a Faculty, as the context requires. The Faculties of each university may be constituted by the Board on the recommendation of the Senate. The Dean of the Faculty is the Chair of the Faculty of which they are the Dean.

Policy 91.02, approved by Senate, states that Faculties shall create and maintain Faculty Bylaws establishing rules for their conduct while at the same time reflecting the unique characteristics of individual faculties while meeting certain requirements, including adherence to transparent, representative, and consensus-building processes. A general rule made by a Faculty must be approved by Senate.

Section 40 of the Act outlines the powers and duties of faculties, summarized as follows:

  • make rules governing its proceedings, including quorum (bylaws);
  • provide for student representation in the meetings and proceedings of the faculty;
  • make rules for the governance, direction and management of the faculty;
  • determine courses of instruction;
  • subject to an order of the president to the contrary, prohibit lecturing and teaching in the faculty by persons other than appointed members of the teaching staff of the faculty and persons authorized by the faculty;
  • subject to the approval of senate, appoint examiners;
  • subject to an appeal to the Senate, decide on applications and memorials (a petition) by students;
  • deal with all matters assigned to it by the board or senate.

At VIU we have eight Faculties approved by the Board:

The Faculty of International Education was discontinued by the Board of Governors in June 2021

How can you get involved in governance at VIU?

  • Talk to Senate or Standing Committee members
  • Become a member of Senate or one of its Standing Committees
  • Read the Meeting Highlights
  • Ask Questions!

How to get on the Senate agenda