Faculty Council is a committee of five elected faculty members whose purpose is to represent the best interests of the faculty in all aspects of the college. According to the Faculty Code, the Council “shall take an overall institutional view for planning, communicating with the Board of Trustees, and for reviewing and integrating the policy decisions of faculty committees and administrative offices.” The Code also asserts that Faculty Council “shall confer with administrative officers on all matters pertaining to budget, financial aid, governance, general welfare of the college and general faculty personnel issues.” Lastly and largely, Faculty Council “shall serve as a forum for faculty ideas and concerns.”
- Steve Waksman, Chair (2024)
- Darcy Buerkle (2024)
- Nathan Derr (2025)
- Tina Wildhagen (2024)
- Will Williams (2025)
Faculty Committees Elections
Faculty committee elections are based on the Hare method of voting.
1. If I have one favorite candidate I prefer above all others, how do I vote?
Put a “1” next to that person’s name.
2. Is there anything else I can do to increase my candidate’s chances of winning a seat?
3. What if I have a favorite, but also prefer some of the remaining candidates to others. How do I vote?
Put “2”, “3” etc. next to the other candidates in order of your preference.
4. If I do that, do I diminish the chances of my favorite winning a seat?
5. If I consider two candidates tied—exactly equal—is there any way for me to indicate that with my votes?
No. You must choose to rank each candidate for whom you want to vote with a distinct number.
6. What if I see the name on the ballot of someone I’d hate to see elected. How do I vote?
Leave a blank next to that person’s name.
7. Besides that, is there anything else I can do to diminish that person’s chance of winning a seat?
8. I can understand the directions for voting, but I don’t understand how ballots are counted. Doesn’t that put me at a disadvantage against someone who knows how the count is done?
No. There are no strategies which can be used by someone who knows how the count is done to gain an advantage over someone who doesn’t.
9. Why do we use the Hare system at Smith?
In 1958 the Faculty adopted the Hare system because it is designed to produce committees comprised of people representing various viewpoints in numbers proportional to how many people in the electorate at large hold those viewpoints.
It allows like-minded constituencies to assure themselves representation on a committee, while at the same time disallowing well organized constituencies from packing a committee.
Since 1958 at least four ad-hoc committees to study voting at Smith have been appointed, roughly in 10-year intervals. After each study the Faculty has confirmed its decision to maintain the Hare system.
10. Is there any other voting method which could accomplish the same thing without such a mystifying method of counting ballots?
None known to anyone on this faculty.
11. If I were willing to invest the time, how long would it take me to understand the counting intricacies of the Hare method so that it would no longer mystify me, and I could answer questions like these for myself?
About 30 minutes.
1. The Faculty Council shall consist of five tenured members of the faculty elected by the faculty. Its membership shall include at least one representative from each division. The members of the Council shall be elected for staggered terms of three years and shall not be eligible for re-election for a period of three years. Faculty members elected to Faculty Council for a three-year term shall have agreed, to the extent that it is practical, to serve all three years of the terms for which they are elected. Each elected member who serves a full three-year term on Faculty Council shall receive one semester of credit toward the total number of teaching semesters required for eligibility for the next sabbatical. Faculty members elected to substitute for elected members on leave shall be eligible for election to a full term after a period equal to their time of substitute service has elapsed.
2. One member of Faculty Council shall serve as an ex-officio non-voting member of the Committee on Academic Priorities and another member of Faculty Council shall serve as an ex-officio nonvoting member of the Committee on Faculty Compensation and Development. Two other members of Faculty Council shall serve as full members of the Committee on Mission and Priorities. Members of the Faculty Council shall report to the Council on such activities of such committees as are relevant to the work of the Council. A representative of the Committee on Tenure and Promotion shall be assigned to report relevant activities to the Council. All members of Faculty Council shall serve on the Advisory Committee on Resource Allocation.
3. The Faculty Council shall set its own agenda and choose its own Chair, and shall report to the faculty at its regular monthly meetings. These reports shall include information of the deliberations of the Committee on Mission and Priorities, as appropriate.
The Faculty Council shall meet regularly, and it shall meet jointly with the President and/or Provost and Dean of the Faculty to share information and discuss plans and priorities for the College. The Council may invite to meetings with the President and/or Provost members of relevant committees should it regard the presence of such members as necessary to the business being discussed.
4. The Faculty Council shall be the regular means of direct communication between the faculty and the Board of Trustees on all matters except questions of tenure and promotion. The Council may invite to meetings with the Board of Trustees members of relevant committees should it regard the presence of such members as necessary to the issues being discussed. The Faculty Council shall be responsible for any review of and recommendations concerning the governance of the College. The Faculty Council shall advise administrative officers on all faculty appointments to extra-curricular duties (e.g., standing appointed committees, task forces, ad hoc committees, and individual appointments to administrative offices).
5. The Faculty Council shall take an overall institutional view for planning, communicating with the Board of Trustees, and for reviewing and integrating the policy decisions of faculty committees and administrative offices. It shall confer with administrative officers on all matters pertaining to budget, financial aid, governance, general welfare of the College, and general faculty personnel issues. The Faculty Council shall serve as a forum for faculty ideas and concerns. Individual members of the faculty may propose topics for the consideration of this committee.
6. The Faculty Council shall have the power to review administrative practice, particularly in areas where faculty members do not participate directly. The Faculty Council shall oversee faculty nomination and election procedures.