So on Thursday, May 17th I attended this meeting called General Faculties Council (mostly referred to as GFC). You may have on occasion heard the name tossed around by academics, administration or by your SU. Essentially GFC is the highest academic decision making body on campus. Along with the Board of Governors and the Senate, these three bodies are delegated with the academic matters, financial decisions, and community engagement.
In short, the GFC primarily deals with programs of study, rules of academic awards, regulation in regards to academic matters, and determining the university calendar among many other responsibilities. For example, GFC would debate about the finer points of the whole Eyes High initiative and the Strategic Plan.
GFC also splits into three sub committees
- Academic Program Committee: APC has delegated authority to evaluate and approve proposals for the modification, creation, reduction or closure of academic programs
- Research Development and Policy Committee: Support development of research, scholarly and creative initiatives across all units of the University
- University Planning Committee: Provides an essential linkage between academic priorities and resource allocation by meeting in conjunction with The University Budget Committee
Interesting enough, the Post-Secondary Learning Act (PSLA) mandates that the following members exist on the GFC:
- the President, as Chair
- the Provost and Vice-President (Academic), as Vice-Chair
- members by virtue of office, including the Deans, Vice-Presidents, Registrar, and Directors of Information Resources and Continuing Education
- members elected from Faculties
- student members
- appointed members
I’ll draw your attention to the last two points in bold. Your SU President (Hardave Birk), and SU VP Academic (Kenya-Jade Pinto) sit as student members on GFC. Your SU Faculty Representatives (one from each faculty) are appointed to GFC (including yours truly). Collectively, the SU represents roughly 11% of the voting power on this council. This makes us one of the biggest minority bodies on GFC and gives us a pretty strong student voice on academic issues. Each member of GFC is given one vote whether they are a student representative, faculty, or part of administration.
Hopefully this post made you a bit more aware of one of the biggest bodies on campus and how it impacts you. It is very surface level, and I left out a lot of detail on purpose in the interest of being concise. If you’re interested in learning more then here’s a link to the GFC website: http://www.ucalgary.ca/secretariat/gfc. You can also email me at email@example.com or say hi to me in person (I’m usually in Scurfield or the SU office in Machall).
All information that I used in here was found either on the GFC website, the GFC handbook or the GFC orientation presentation.