UDC News


October 6, 2008






President Sessoms announced today that the Board of Trustees of the University of the District of Columbia (“UDC”) has authorized the establishment of an Interim Academic Senate (“AS”) consisting of faculty, administrators, students, support staff, and other members of the University community as the chief deliberating body for the consideration of important academic issues impacting the well-being of the University. This body replaces the former University Senate, effective immediately.  The role of the AS is to make recommendations to the Provost and the President on policies and standards on the following academic matters:


·        Admission and retention of students;

·        Award of degrees and certifications;

·        Curricula, scholastic requirements, and academic programs; and

·        Safeguarding of academic freedom.


The role of the AS is to facilitate open and frank communications between the President, Provost, the faculty and staff which ensures that they have an important voice on academic policies and standards.  The goal is also to provide a forum for collaboration between faculty, students, administration and staff.   The Interim Chairman of the Academic Senate, Shelly Broderick, Dean of David A. Clarke Law School and Trustee Dr. Rita J. Kirshstein, Ph.D., Managing Director, American Institutes for Research, Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee on Faculty Engagement will convene an Executive Committee meeting within the next few weeks.  On the revamping of the Senate, Trustee Kirshstein, said, “The establishment of the Academic Senate provides a wonderful opportunity for UDC faculty to become more involved across the University at this important phase of the University’s development into the premier urban land grant university in the country.”






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The Board of Trustees created the University Senate by Charter in June 1995 to provide input on academic issues confronting the University and has dissolved it because it has not met its responsibilities under the charter.  Its failures include: not responding to requests from the Board of Trustees for information, not performing the functions outlined in the Charter such as production of attendance records, minutes, records of votes, notices and agendas for each meeting. These continuous actions and refusal to respond to inquiries from the Board and its Ad Hoc Committee on Faculty Engagement prompted the Board’s action. This lack of input and perspective on vital University issues did not serve the students, faculty or UDC community.


The new academic senate will be drawn from a broad section of the campus including the following:


·        One full-time faculty representative from each academic department or division and one faculty representative from the Learning Resources Division.

·        The Interim Chair sitting as the Dean of the David A. Clarke School of Law.

·        One faculty representative appointed by the President.

·        One administrator appointed by the President.

·        One student representative appointed by the President.

·        Three adjunct faculty appointed by the President.

·        The President of the Undergraduate Student Government Association.

·        The President of the Graduate Student Government Association.


Non-voting membership shall be the following, serving as ex officio:

·        The Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

·        The Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.


The terms of office shall be:

·        Elected representatives shall each serve a term of two years.

·        Appointed representatives shall serve at the pleasure of the President.


The Board supports the efforts of the President and other academic leadership to review and reorganize, as necessary, the academic programs and the structure of the University to better meet the academic and fiscal challenges of providing quality public higher education opportunities for the citizens of the District of Columbia.  The Board looks forward to the input of the entire university community in assisting the President in creating the new UDC. The decisions of the AS will play a significant role in this review and reorganization.





            The University of the District of Columbia is the fully-accredited sole public source for accessible, inclusive, affordable, and comprehensive public higher education in the District of Columbia and provides additional life-long learning opportunities. The University delivers quality instruction and uses student-centered approaches to empower and benefit both individuals and its local communities.  The University, an urban land grant institution, is a very diverse community, a gateway to the world, and a significant investment engine for the District of Columbia.  The University is located at 4200 Connecticut Ave, NW Washington, and is conveniently located at the Van Ness/UDC stop on the Red Line of Metro.  For more information on other University activities, contact Mike Andrews, Senior Director for Communications and University Spokesperson at (202) 274-5685 or visit the University’s web site at www.udc.edu.