In October of 1968, Bucknell University President Charles Watts II established the Committee on University Governance to review and determine a new governance system for the University. The resulting proposal was rejected by the Faculty in May of 1970. Subsequently, a faculty committee, the Committee of Four, was established in the summer of 1970 to write a proposal for the governance of the University that would be accepted by the faculty. The Association of Bucknell Students requested significant changes to the resulting document. As the proposal was required to be ratified by both the faculty and students, a final committee, the Senate Conference Committee, was established to revise the proposal to satisfy faculty and students. The faculty and the Association of Bucknell Students approved the establishment of the University Senate in the fall of 1971.
The University Senate was established in 1971 as a single body that was representative of the major groups of the University community. According to the 1974 Faculty Handbook the University Senate “investigates, considers, and determines the policies subject to the approval of the Office of the President and the Board of Trustees on matters within its competence which it deems of common concern to the University Community.” The University Senate constitution additionally stated that the functions of the Senate included the following: “to engage in the general planning of the University’s goals and policies for both immediate and long-range purposes; to review the curricula of the University; to review and determine the policy for academic scheduling; to review and determine policy on intercollegiate and intramural athletics; to review and determine University regulations and to review and determine policy regarding the functioning of the University as an ecological system.”
Members of the University Senate included faculty, students and administration. The main body of the University Senate had 34 members, with the Faculty electing 17, two being elected from each college and the others elected at large. There were 10 student members elected by the student body and 7 representatives from administration. The various committees of the University Senate consisted of additional faculty, staff and students. The University Senate consisted of the following committees:
Committee on General Policy and Resources
Committee on Instruction
Committee on Academic Schedule
Committee on Information Resources
Committee on Admission and Financial Aid
Committee on Supplementary Activities
Committee on University Regulations
Committee on Governance and Judicial Bodies
Committee on Regulations, University Services and Supplementary Services
The governance structure of the University was revised in 1978 upon the recommendation of the Special Committee on Governance of the University Senate. The recommendation advised disbanding the University Senate in favor of a three tiered system consisting of committees, councils and advisory boards. The University Senate was formally disbanded in May of 1978.