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Faculty Senate Charter


for the

Approved by the Medical School Council – June 20, 2012
Approved by Dean Paul Rothman and the ABMF - June 27, 2012
Approved by the faculty electorate - August 20, 2012

In order to provide a mechanism for the Faculty, Fellows and Students of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine to participate more effectively in the deliberations and governance of the Institution, the President of the Johns Hopkins University established THE COUNCIL OF THE MEDICAL SCHOOL.  The Council was established in 1970, and its goals, composition, and procedures are set forth below.  The first charter amendment was approved by the Medical School Council September 15, 1993, by Dean Johns September 27, 1993, and by President Richardson September 27, 1993.  The Council was renamed the Faculty Senate in 2012. 



1. The Faculty Senate (hereafter referred to as “Senate”) shall on its own initiative consider matters of concern to the Medical School.  The Senate shall report its proposals and recommendations to the President of the University and the Dean of the Medical School, directly or via the Advisory Board of the Medical Faculty (ABMF).

2. The Senate shall be informed by the Dean’s Office at an early stage of any proposals affecting the overall policy, long-term objectives, or major commitments of resources of the Medical School originating in the ABMF or the Dean’s Office.

3. The agenda of the ABMF shall contain items referred from the Senate and, likewise, the agenda of the Senate shall contain items referred from the ABMF.

4. The Chair and Vice-Chair of the Senate shall serve as members of the ABMF.

5.  The Chair of the Senate shall serve as a member of the Strategic Operations Committee of Johns Hopkins Medicine.

6. The Senate shall be informed at an early stage of plans for all standing committees and ad hoc committees of the Medical School, and may nominate individuals for consideration by the Dean for membership thereon.

7. The Senate may request inclusion of items in the agenda of all Departmental faculty meetings.  The Senate may request that the Dean call special meetings of the faculty or other segments of the academic community and may submit items to the Dean for inclusion in the agenda of those meetings.


For the purposes of electing representatives to the Senate, the Medical School community shall be divided into the following electorates:

 1. Departmental Faculty: Those members of each Department who are full-time faculty at any rank or who are part-time faculty at the rank of Professor, Associate Professor, or Assistant Professor shall constitute a separate electorate and shall elect members to the Senate in a proportion of one representative for each 100 members or fraction thereof, up to a maximum of three representatives per Department.

2. Part-time Instructors: Two members shall be elected by and from those members of the faculty holding the rank of Instructor Part-time.

3. Other functional unit: At least one member shall be elected from any other functional unit recognized by a majority vote of the Senate.  The specific number of members from each functional unit will be determined on a case-by-case basis by a majority vote of the Senate.

4. House Staff Council: One member shall be elected by and from the Johns Hopkins Hospital House Staff Council.

5. Graduate students: One member shall be elected by and from the Graduate Students. 

6. Postdoctoral fellows: One member from the basic sciences and one member from the clinical sciences shall be elected by the Graduate Medical Education Committee.

7. Medical students: One member shall be elected by and from the medical students.

When a new Department (or other major functional unit) is created, or when one currently represented on the Senate is abolished or its functional status is significantly altered, that fact may be called to the Senate’s attention by the Chair or any member of the Senate.  Appropriate action will be taken on the recommendation of the Executive Committee.

All elected members of the Senate shall have voting privileges.


1. Selection of nominees: In April of each year, a representative of the Senate shall request in writing from each member of each electorate with an upcoming vacancy, two nominations for each post to be filled, to be returned within 10 calendar days.  The three individuals receiving the largest number of nominations for each post shall, with their permission, constitute the list of nominees.  No individual shall be affiliated with more than one electorate for the purposes of voting or serving.

2. Election of members: In May of each year, a representative of the Senate shall send a ballot listing the three nominees to each member of each electorate.  Responses must be received within 7 calendar days.  The nominee receiving the greatest number of votes for each position will be elected.


1. Terms of office shall be three years for Faculty, and one year for House Staff, Graduate Students, Postdoctoral Fellows and Medical Students.  The term of office shall begin on June 1 and end on June 30, so that both incoming and outgoing members may attend the June meeting.
2.  No member may serve more than two consecutive terms. A member elected to two consecutive terms may be re-elected to the Senate after a one term absence from Senate membership.
3. Should a vacancy arise prior to the February Senate meeting, the unexpired term shall be filled at a special election of the appropriate electorate in the manner described in III.  A vacancy in the final year of a term arising at or after the February meeting will not be filled until the next regular election as set forth in III.


Officers of the Senate shall be a Chair, a Vice-Chair, and a Secretary, who must be members of the Senate.  The Senate shall elect these officers annually by a majority vote by secret ballot at the June meeting.  Nominations for these offices shall be made from the floor at the meeting at which the election takes place

1. Chair: The following are the duties of the Chair:

a. Preside over meetings of the Senate and its Executive Committee.

b. Represent the Senate as a member of the ABMF and Strategic Operations Committee of Johns Hopkins Medicine.

c. Appoint Committees of the Senate.

d. Carry out charges placed upon him or her by the Senate.

e. In general have those responsibilities expected of the Chief Executive Officer of a representative body.


2. Vice-Chair: The following are the duties of the Vice-Chair:

a. Assume the duties of the Chair in the Chair’s absence.

b. Represent the Senate as a member of the ABMF.

c. Prepare the agenda for Senate meetings, with guidance from Senate members and approval of the Executive Committee.


3. Secretary: The following are the duties of the Secretary:

a. Assist the Vice-Chair with preparation of the agenda for Senate meetings.

b. Review the minutes of Senate meetings and oversee the distribution of documents and communication to members of the Senate.

c. Assume the duties of the Chair and/or Vice-Chair in their absence.


4. The term of office of the Chair, Vice-Chair, and Secretary shall be one year from July 1 through June 30 of the succeeding year.  Each officer shall be eligible for re-election to that office for the year immediately succeeding.  The term limit is three consecutive years for each office.

a. If the Chair’s office is vacated, the Vice-Chair becomes Chair and serves in that capacity through the ensuing June 30.  At the first Senate meeting after the Vice-Chair becomes Chair, a new Vice-Chair shall be elected to serve through the ensuing June 30. If the Vice-Chair assumes the office of Chair after January 1, the partial term shall not count towards the three year term limit.

b. If the Vice-Chair’s office is vacated, the Secretary becomes Vice-Chair and serves in that capacity through the ensuing June 30.  At the first Senate meeting after the Secretary becomes Vice-Chair, a new Secretary shall be elected to serve through the ensuing June 30.  If the Secretary assumes the office of Vice-Chair after January 1, the partial term shall not count towards the three year term limit.

c. If the Secretary’s office is vacated, a new Secretary shall be elected to serve through the ensuing June 30 at the first Senate meeting after the office is vacated.  If the new Secretary assumes the office after January 1, the partial term shall not count towards the three year term limit.


1. Executive Committee: The Executive Committee shall consist of the Chair, the Vice-Chair, and the Secretary.  The Executive Committee shall meet as deemed necessary.

2. The Senate may appoint ad hoc or standing committees as required for the transaction of its business.  The chair of a Senate committee must be a Senate member.


1. The Senate shall have a budget, an Administrative Assistant, and office space for the Administrative Assistant.

2. The Senate shall meet monthly from September through June, and on the special call of the Chair. A quorum shall consist of one-third of the full Senate membership.

3. Senate meetings shall be open to the Faculty, Fellows, House Staff, and Students as observers.  The Senate may, upon majority vote of the Senate members present, call for a closed session.

4. The minutes of Senate meetings shall be taken and prepared by an Administrative Assistant, presented to the Secretary for review within 7 days of the meeting, and distributed to the Senate members by electronic mail within 14 days of the meeting.  Approved minutes shall be available for inspection by members of the electorate.

5. Upon petition of twenty-five or more of the electorate, items shall be included on the agenda of the Council for its next meeting.

6. When a Senate member is unable to attend a meeting, he or she may appoint a substitute from his or her electorate to serve in his or her place.  When the Senate Chair has been so informed in writing and the Chair has informed the Senate of that fact, such substitute shall enjoy the same privileges as the member who appoints him.

7. If a Senate member is absent from four consecutive meetings the Chair may call for his or her resignation and another representative from that electorate will be elected.

8. It is the responsibility of each Senate member to maintain open communications with his or her electorate.  Circulation of Senate minutes and the placing of Senate items on the agenda of Departmental meetings are two possible means toward that end.

9. It is recognized that special circumstances may arise where a provision of this Charter is not applicable or possible. In such circumstances, upon recommendation of the Executive Committee and approval of two-thirds of the full Senate, appropriate exception may be made.

10. Robert’s Rules of Order, current edition, shall govern the Senate in all cases to which they are applicable, and in which they are not inconsistent with the Senate charter.


Amendments to this Charter must be submitted to the Senate and voted upon at a scheduled Senate meeting.  Amendments must be approved by two-thirds of the members present.  Approved amendments shall be submitted to the electorate for their approval.  A majority of the electorate who vote will be required for approval.  After approval by the electorate, the revised Charter shall be submitted to the Dean of the School of Medicine and the President of the University.