Faculty Governance

Composition and Policies

Click on '+' to expand information.
  • Post-Secondary Learning Act Excerpts and Authority of Council

    1. For each faculty of a university there shall be a faculty council.

    2. The faculty council of a faculty of graduate studies shall consist of

        a. the dean of the faculty, who is the chair

         b. the president, and

         c. any other persons who are appointed to the faculty council by the general faculties council.


    Powers of faculty councils

    29(1) A faculty council may

        a. determine the programs of study for which the faculty is established,

        b. appoint the examiners for examinations in the faculty, conduct the examinations and determine the results of them,

        c. provide for the admission of students to the faculty,

        d. determine the conditions under which a student must withdraw from or may continue the student's program of studies in the faculty,

        e. authorize the granting of degrees,

    Subject to any conditions or restrictions that are imposed by the general faculties council.

    (2) A meeting of a faculty council must be held at any time on the summons of the dean of the faculty.

  • GFC Policy Section 55.1.2

    1. With respect to appointments of external members to Faculty Councils, approval of the positions by the Executive Committee, on behalf of GFC, shall suffice.

    (GFC 1976/6/28)

    2. Faculty members on leave should not sit on Councils or committees of Faculties. Concerning the election of departmental representatives to selection committees for department Chairs, it should be left to the Council of each Faculty to decide policy regarding whether Faculty members on leave may participate in such election.

    (EXEC 1975/2/17)

    3. All Faculty Councils must include graduate students (the exact numbers to be determined by each Faculty Council).

    (GFC 2001/5/28)

    4. Where a Faculty Council composition states that the Registrar is a member of the Council, the Registrar or delegate may attend.

    (GFC 1987/3/09)

    5. Section 55 of the GFC Policy Manual regarding membership on Faculty Councils was interpreted by GFC on November 28, 1988 in relation to the definition of "full-time academic staff" used in the Universities Act, as follows:

        At the University of Alberta, for the purposes of serving on Faculty Councils, "full-time academic staff" is interpreted to mean all continuing academic staff (Category A1.0).

        (GFC 1988/11/28)

  • GFC Policy Section 55.5.8 Council of FGSR

    Ex officio includes:

    Vice-Provost and Dean (Chair)


    Vice-President (Research) or designate

    Associate Deans (Graduate) of all the Faculties

    Vice Dean, FGSR

    Senior Administrative Officer, FGSR (Secretary)

    Vice-Provost and University Registrar

    Vice-Provost and Chief Librarian

    Chair, FGSR Academic Appeals Committee (non-voting)

    Director, Centre for Teaching and Learning (non-voting)

    Additional Members:

    One full-time faculty member (Category A1.1) and one alternate from each of the Departments offering a graduate program. Normally this is a graduate coordinator or the associate chair.*

    Twenty graduate students and five alternates from as broad a range of graduate programs as possible, with not more than two members from a given graduate program.**

    Three directly-elected officers and up to three alternates from the Graduate Students' Association.**

    Three graduate program administrators with not more than one member from a given Faculty.***

    *Alternate members shall be named by Departments to attend the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research Council when the regular member cannot be present, and with full voting privileges.

    **Acting under delegated authority from GFC, the Council of the Graduate Students' Association shall appoint the graduate student members.

    ***Acting under delegated authority from GFC, the Graduate Program Administrators' Council shall appoint the graduate program administrators.

    (GFC 1973/6/25; GFC 1974/12/16; EXEC 1982/1/18; GFC 1989/9/25; EXEC 1991/2/4; EXEC 1991/4/8; EXEC 1991/12/9; EXEC 2002/1/14; EXEC 2008/5/5; GFC EXEC 2008/10/06; EXEC 2009/6/15; GFC EXEC 2009/10/06; EXEC 2013/8/26; EXEC 2018/02/12)

  • Statutory Authority of FGSR Council

    GFC Policy

    Section 55.2: Subject to challenge by General Faculties Council, the Executive Committee has accorded to Faculty Councils the authority to deal with special arrangements regarding final examinations. (EXEC 1967/2/15)

    Section 57.2.2 (m) of the GFC Policy Manual states that the general faculties council is empowered to make rules and regulations respecting academic awards (and authority to make rules and regulations in the case of awards for graduate students was delegated to the Graduate Faculty Council). (GFC 1966/12/2)

    FGSR Policy

    The Dean is empowered to act on behalf of Council during the Intersession term, such authorization being on a standing basis and not requiring Council's permission each year. (CFGSR 1975/5/14)

    The FGSR Council delegates the authority for making the final decisions in the following situations to the departments, with no secondary approval being required. The departments, therefore, become the office of accountability for the decisions made.

    a) Admissions (except for the admission of a student from a doctoral program at another institution). b) Readmissions. c) Transfer of a graduate student from one University department to another. d) Approval of the membership of a supervisory committee. e) Approval of the membership of a doctoral candidacy examination committee. f) Restricting access to a thesis. g) First extension of the time limit for program completion. h) First extension of the time limit for completion of program requirements. i) Approval of leaves of absence on medical or parental grounds (negative decisions can be appealed to the FGSR).

    (FGSR Council 2013/05/15)

    The FGSR Council delegates the authority for approving changes to the graduate program requirements to the Dean of the Faculty to whom the department reports, so long as those changes do not result in a program requirement falling below the minimum University standards.

    (FGSR Council 2013/05/15)

    The FGSR Council delegates the authority for making the final decisions in the following cases to the Dean of the Faculty to whom the department reports. The Dean (or delegate), therefore, is the secondary approver on the following decisions. The Dean of the Faculty to whom the department reports is the office of accountability for these decisions.

    a) Approval of the appointment of a final examining committee (master’s or doctoral). b) Approval of the appointment of an external examiner/reader for a doctoral final examination.

    (FGSR Council 2013/05/15)

    The FGSR Council delegates the authority for approving the appointment of the supervisor(s) of a graduate student to the Dean of the Faculty to whom the student’s department reports. The Dean (or delegate) is, therefore, the secondary approver, and the office of accountability for these decisions.

    (FGSR Council 2013/05/15)

    [ Prior to the above changes: The Dean, with advice from the Department, is given delegated authority by FGSR Council to rule on applications for admission and on the membership of supervisory committees. (CFGSR 1957/3/28)]

    The FGSR Council delegates the authority for approving the convocation list for free-standing graduate-level certificates to the Dean of FGSR.

    (FGSR Council 2019/04/24)


    Staff Member Councillors of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research

    Staff member Councillors of the FGSR are department chairs, deans, or their designates who are appointed by General Faculties Council upon the recommendation of the Dean, FGSR. Two important and interrelated functions are generally performed by Councillors:

    Graduate program coordinators* must be tenured or tenure-track faculty. This term also refers to associate chairs, associate deans, directors, or any other individual officially designated as being responsible for the unit’s graduate programs.

    (FGSR Council 2001/11/09)

    1. Unit representatives on the Council of FGSR.

    They attend Council meetings and act as unit spokespersons in all matters relating to graduate programs. They are also responsible for informing faculty and graduate students in their units of decisions, recommendations, and information emanating from the FGSR Council meetings.

    2. Graduate Coordinators (Graduate Program Directors).

    Graduate Coordinators have a duty to ensure that departmental and faculty rules are administered in a fair and equitable manner. This often involves going beyond a mere application of the rules, and may entail using moral persuasion on colleagues and students.

    However, since the various units within the university contain a variety of graduate programs and operate under a diversity of rules, regulations and customs, the exact role of the graduate coordinator will vary.

    Included within these two functions are the following specific responsibilities:

        making recommendations to the Dean concerning the admission of applicants to graduate programs;

        acting as an adviser concerning the appointment of supervisors, supervisory committees, and external examiners;

        acting as an adviser concerning any changes to a student's status or program;

        carrying out FGSR policies relating to graduate students;

        acting as a liaison between FGSR and the unit;

        coordinating financial aid for graduate students, including fellowships and assistantships;

        monitoring the academic progress of graduate students;

        providing advice to graduate students on the rules and procedures of FGSR and the Department; and

        initiating and coordinating graduate students' recruitment activities.

    (CFGSR 1985/5/21; CFGSR 1986/11/28)

  • Procedures of FGSR Council


    A meeting of a faculty council shall be held at any time on the summons of the dean of the faculty. [Post-Secondary Learning Act, 29 (2)]

    Meetings are open to FGSR councillors (or properly appointed alternates) and specific visitors who have been invited by the chair to attend and speak to certain agenda items. Councillors who wish a visitor to be invited for a given agenda item shall inform the chair well in advance of the meeting date and in time for this to be recorded in the agenda. Non–participating observers may attend meetings subject to the will of Council.

    (CFGSR 1991/3/15)

    The dates of FGSR Council ordinary meetings shall be once per month, if sufficient agenda items are received, during the period September through May. Meetings will normally be scheduled on the third Friday of the month (in the months of November and May, dates may have to be set earlier to accommodate timely approval of convocation listings). Ordinary meetings will not be scheduled during the months of June, July and August.

    (CFGSR 1971/3/19) (CFGSR 1991/3/15)

    With reasonable notice, special meetings may be called, with specific and limited agendas, when important matters arise for decision either between ordinary meetings or at a time when pressure of business would not allow them to be adequately disposed of at ordinary meetings. Special meetings may be called either by the Dean or by resolution of FGSR Council. Provisions governing ordinary meetings shall apply to special meetings.

    (CFGSR 1991/3/15)


    Quorum GFC Policy (Section 55.3.1)

    Subject to the approval of the GFC Executive Committee, each Faculty shall establish its own Faculty Council quorum provision(s), on the understanding that nothing in those provisions shall take away from those persons eligible to attend their right to do so. In the summer (ie, the months of May through August), the members of the Faculty Council who are available shall have power to deal with matters that arise.

    (EXEC 09 SEP 2002)

    The following Faculty Council quorums have been approved by the GFC Executive under delegated authority from GFC:

    FGSR Council - 40% of voting membership

    (GFC Exec 2005/01/10)

    A member may at any time make an appeal to confirm that the required quorum of members is present for the proceedings to be in order. A count of members will be taken. If the quorum is confirmed, the meeting will proceed, but if the quorum has been lost the chair will immediately declare the meeting adjourned. However, the remaining members may stay on to discuss Informal Business (see "Order of Business" — "Informal Business").

    (CFGSR 1991/3/15)


    Responsibility for the Agenda

    The Dean, with advice from the Dean's Advisory Committee of Council, shall decide which matters shall appear on the agenda for each meeting of FGSR Council. Agenda items, including the wording of proposed motions (if applicable) shall be submitted in written form and delivered to the Secretary of FGSR Council no later than two weeks in advance of the meeting for which the item is being submitted.

    (CFGSR 1991/3/15)

    Circulation of the Agenda

    Copies of the agenda shall be sent to all FGSR Council members at least one week prior to the date of the meeting.

     (CFGSR 1991/3/15)

    Approval of the Agenda

    Approval of the agenda requires a majority vote.

    Agenda items and substantive motions, which do not appear on the circulated agenda, may not be added at a later time except by a two-thirds vote of councillors present at the meeting. The criterion for deciding whether to add an item to the agenda should be whether the item is an emergency and cannot reasonably be held until a later meeting of FGSR Council; otherwise, in deference to the councillors not present, items should not be added.

    Notwithstanding the paragraph above, informal business items, to be placed at the end of the agenda and dealt with if time permits, may be added to the agenda with the consent of the Chair and the approval by vote of the majority of councillors present at the meeting.

    (CFGSR 1991/3/15)

    In cases where there is a disagreement between the Dean and a member of the FGSR Council related to adding agenda items or substantive motions, an agenda item or motion will be added to the agenda provided the proposed agenda item or substantive motion is submitted to the Dean along with the signatures of five members of FGSR Council.

    (CFGSR 2001/11/09)


    Order of Business

    The business at ordinary meetings of FGSR Council shall be conducted in the following order, subject to the will of Council:

    1. Approval of the Agenda;

    2. Minutes of the Previous Meeting:

        a) Approval;

        b) Matters arising;

    3. Reports of Standing Committees;

    4. Reports of Special Committees and individuals delegated to carry out FGSR Council business;

    5. Unfinished Business (business pending and undisposed of at the previous adjournment; matters postponed to the current meeting);

    6. New Business;

    7. Informal Business (all matters intended to be raised for discussion at FGSR Council meetings without the placing of a related motion before it shall be considered to be Informal Business) consisting of:

        a) Discussion Topic;

        b) Announcements/Reports by the Chair and Councillors;

        c) Report of the Graduate Students' Association;

        d) Question Period;

        e) Other Business.

    (CFGSR 1991/3/15; CFGSR 1992/1/17; updated 2010/3/17)


    Length of FGSR Council Meetings and Agenda Items

    The agenda for FGSR Council meetings shall be set in the expectation that the meeting will not exceed two and one-half hours in length. If this time is exceeded, the meeting shall be immediately adjourned unless the Chair and a majority vote of councillors present agree to an extension.

    Agenda items and their discussion should not normally exceed 20 minutes each in length. Issues requiring considerable time for discussion should be considered for a special meeting of the Council. Informal Business items: questions and answers, reports, announcements shall not exceed five minutes each. The Informal Business portion of the meeting shall not exceed 60 minutes in length.

    (CFGSR 1991/3/15)



    The minutes of FGSR Council meetings are taken by the Secretary and summarized into a written document that is circulated to all councillors with the agenda for the following meeting. Copies of the minutes are available to University of Alberta staff and students upon request. An audio recording is kept of all meetings and may be consulted in cases of query as to the accuracy of the minutes.

    (CFGSR 1991/3/15)

    The recording will be maintained in the FGSR Office until the minutes are approved by FGSR Council.

    (CFGSR 2001/05/11)


    Rules of Order for FGSR Council

    This section contains a selection of major rules of order, which are pertinent to the orderly operation of FGSR Council. These rules shall govern the conduct of the meetings of FGSR Council. In all procedural matters not covered by the rules set out in this section, Procedures for Meetings and Organizations, by MK Kerr and HW King, Carswell Legal Publications, Toronto, 1988, or later editions, shall govern. Copies of this reference are available for consultation in the FGSR Office and in the Office of the Graduate Students' Association.

    (CFGSR 1991/3/15)


    Amendments to a Motion

    An amendment is a subsidiary motion. It provides an alternative form of wording for the question, which is now called the main motion. An amendment must be germane; that is, it must be closely related to or have a bearing on the subject of the motion. An amendment may be moved at any time during the debate on a motion.

    Amendments must be moved and seconded. They are debatable. They may be amended by a motion to amend the amendment. A majority vote is required for approval. If approved, the debate resumes as discussion of the motion as amended. If not approved, the debate reverts to discussion of the motion (or previously amended motion) as previously worded.

    Friendly Amendments are those which are acceptable to the mover and seconder of the motion being amended. If this is so, the mover and seconder may indicate that they accept the amendment and, if there is no objection from any councillor, the motion is revised to the amended form. If any councillor objects, the amendment must be voted.

    (CFGSR 1991/3/15)


    Appeal Against a Ruling of the Chair

    If a councillor considers that a ruling made by the Chair is not in order, an appeal may be made against this ruling. A proper form of this appeal is "I wish to appeal against the ruling of the Chair". In this case, the Chair gives a brief explanation of the ruling, but this is not open to debate. The Chair then asks the meeting to resolve the issue by deciding the question: "Is the ruling of the Chair upheld?" A majority (or tied) vote is needed for approval.

    When the ruling of the Chair is overturned, the Chair is bound to take the necessary remedial action to correct the situation.

    (CFGSR 1991/3/15)


    Debate, Ending of

    After the debate has continued for a reasonable time, the list of members who indicate a desire to speak will become exhausted. If there is little doubt that most views have been expressed, the Chair asks the Council if it is now ready to vote on the question. In many instances the members reply "Question! Question!" or otherwise express their approval.

    It is disorderly to shout "Question!" before the Chair asks the Council to express its opinion because this interrupts the debate. If a member desires that the debate be terminated, the proper procedure is to move a procedural motion to close the debate. This motion is not amendable or debatable and requires a two-thirds majority vote for approval. (See also "Motion to Defer")

    (CFGSR 1991/3/15)


    Debate, Participation in

    Normally only members of Council (or their proper alternates) may participate in debate. However, visitors who have been invited to the meeting by the Chair to address a particular issue may participate fully in the debate of that issue. Visitors may not vote on any issue. Observers may neither participate in debate nor vote.

    In debate on motions, the mover is normally called upon to speak first. In the ensuing debate, councillors may not speak until they are recognized. The Chair will normally allow speakers who have not been heard to speak before a speaker is permitted to speak again (an exception to this occurs when a previous speaker can respond to a question posed by the current speaker).

    When a debate has been lengthy or there is other pressing business on the agenda, the Chair may use discretion to rule that speeches be restricted to a specified time limit, and that councillors only speak once in the debate of the issue at hand.

    (CFGSR 1991/3/15)


    Interrupting a Speaker

    A speaker who has the floor may normally not be interrupted. However, the Chair may interrupt a speaker to maintain order and decorum. If the Chair does not do so, a member may raise this as a point of order or a point of personal privilege. A speaker may not be interrupted because the listener does not agree with what is being said.

    (CFGSR 1991/3/15)



    A motion is a formal proposal that the Council take certain action. To move a motion, the speaker must obtain the floor; that is, the speaker must be recognized by the Chair. A motion must be seconded; a second indicates that the seconder agrees that the motion should be debated and not that the seconder necessarily favours the motion. If no seconder is found, the motion is dead and the meeting moves on to other business.

    Substantive motions shall normally be presented in writing in time to be circulated with the agenda (see "Agenda"). Such motions should include supporting material necessary for the proper understanding of the motion. "Substantive" motions are those which are not regulatory, procedural, or amendments to other motions; they comprise the main business of the Council meeting.

    Unless otherwise stated, a motion requires a majority vote for approval.

    (CFGSR 1991/3/15)


    Motion to Adjourn

    A motion to adjourn is a motion to close the meeting. It must be seconded, is not debatable, and requires a majority vote.

    (CFGSR 1991/3/15)


    Motion to Defer to Another Stated Time (eg, postpone to a future meeting)

    Such a motion enables the discussion of a substantive issue to be put off to a more convenient time. This may permit councillors to obtain more information on the issue, or perhaps to draft amendments. It may also enable the Council to set an issue aside to get on with more pressing matters. This motion is not debatable and amendments may only suggest an alternate time or date for the postponement. It must be seconded and requires a majority vote. If this motion is approved, the deferred motion is automatically included on the agenda of the meeting held on, or the first meeting held after, the date stated for deferral.

    (CFGSR 1991/3/15)


    Motion to Rescind

    This motion allows a previously approved substantive motion to be repealed, if it has outworn its usefulness or is demonstrated not to achieve its intended purpose. This motion is debatable, but cannot be amended. A two-thirds majority vote is required.

    (CFGSR 1991/3/15)


    Notice of Motion

    A notice of motion is a written advance notice that a motion will be presented and debated at a future meeting of the Council. It must be presented within proper time to be circulated with the agenda. For details see "Agenda."

    (CFGSR 1991/3/15)

    For issues of substance, it is the tradition of FGSR Council that a notice of motion be presented at least one month prior to the date of submission of the motion. This enables councillors to discuss the issue and, if necessary, to obtain feedback from their home units and councils. If proper notice of motion is not given, a councillor may view this as reason to move to defer the motion to a later meeting (see "Motion to Defer")

    (CFGSR 1991/3/15)


    Point of Information

    A request for information related to the pending business may be made by a councillor who rises stating words to the effect "I rise to a point of information". Such action shall only be taken when information is needed to comprehend the ongoing discussion. The Chair may use discretion to overrule a point of information if it is seen to be disruptive or frivolous; such a ruling is subject to challenge (see "Appeal Against a Ruling of the Chair").

    (CFGSR 1991/3/15)


    Point of Order

    Any councillor who notices that the proceedings of the meeting are at variance with the governing policies, procedures, or rules of order may immediately make appeal by declaring to the Chair such words as "I wish to appeal on a point of order". Upon being recognized by the Chair, the councillor will explain the perceived breech of regulations. The Chair will then make a ruling on the councillor's appeal. (The Chair may declare a short recess first to consult appropriate references.) The ruling of the Chair is subject to appeal (see "Appeal Against a Ruling of the Chair").

    (CFGSR 1991/3/15)


    Point of Personal Privilege

    A councillor who seeks redress with respect to personal remarks made may appeal to the Chair using such words as "I wish to appeal on a point of personal privilege." The appeal must be made immediately upon hearing the remarks. If the Chair supports the appeal, the speaker concerned is asked to withdraw the statement. This ruling is subject to appeal (see "Appeal Against a Ruling of the Chair"). Failure to withdraw a statement upon request of the Chair can lead to disciplinary action such as requiring the councillor to withdraw from the meeting.

    (CFGSR 1991/3/15)


    Voting Procedures

    Voting shall be by majority vote unless otherwise stated. Normally, the electronic voting system installed in the Council Chamber will be used. If circumstances render this impossible, a reasonable substitute (show of hands, paper ballots, etc) which is acceptable to the councillors will be used. Results of votes will be announced from the Chair. If the vote is close (5 votes difference or less) the Chair will ask the Council whether a re-vote is desired. The count of votes for substantive motions will be reported in the minutes. Abstentions are not counted or recorded unless a councillor indicates a desire that her or his abstention be noted.

    Only councillors or properly appointed alternates may vote in FGSR Council meetings. Each councillor (or properly appointed alternate) shall have one vote on all motions presented at the Council. Some councillor positions have been designated as non-voting memberships; these councillors may not vote. Visitors may not vote.

    The Chair does not vote except to decide a tied vote. In this instance, the Chair may vote for or against the motion (in which case the motion is carried or lost, respectively) or the Chair may choose to abstain (in which case the motion is lost for lack of a majority vote).

    All members of FGSR Council are charged with the responsibility of examining issues before Council and voting as they judge fit on such issues. No member of FGSR Council, regardless of how that person gains membership on Council, is an instructed delegate.

    (CFGSR 1991/3/15)
  • Policies on Standing Committees of FGSR Council

    Graduate Scholarship Committee

    A FGSR Scholarship Committee, responsible to FGSR Council, was established to make recommendations concerning graduate scholarship policy and to adjudicate University of Alberta graduate scholarship applications.

    (CFGSR 1958/1/17)

     View More Information


    Academic Appeals Committee

    An Academic Appeals Committee was established pursuant to GFC policy (Section 1, Academic Appeals Policy). FGSR Council delegated authority to the Committee to hear academic appeals and decide upon them.

    (CFGSR 1973/2/16)

     View More Information


    Policy Review Committee

    A FGSR Policy Review Committee, responsible to FGSR Council, was established to make recommendations concerning the introduction of new graduate policies and the timely review of the existing policies.

    (CFGSR 2008/9/19)

     View More Information


    GSA Representation on FGSR Committees

    As per Section 62 of the GFC Policy Manual, graduate student representatives to FGSR Committees shall be elected by the Council of the Graduate Students' Association and shall represent the Graduate Students' Association.

    (CFGSR 1991/3/15)


    Standing Committee on Specialization and Individual Programs

    The Standing Committee on Specialization and Individual Programs was established by FGSR Council to:

    -examine proposed graduate programs for individual students in departments which do not offer such programs or for individual students in interdepartmental programs and to prepare recommendations for consideration of Council

    -consider requests for changes to individual programs previously approved by Council and to make recommendations on them to the Dean

    -review—at least biennially—the Faculty's regulations and procedures pertaining to individual programs and to issue a report to the Dean's Advisory Committee of Council. (CFGSR 1989/2/17)

    Note: This committee is not currently active.


    Dean’s Advisory Committee

    Dean's Advisory Committee of the following composition:

    -Dean FGSR (Chair)
    -Associate Deans, FGSR
    -3 Graduate Coordinator members of the FGSR Council (one from each of the respective current portfolios of the Associate Deans, FGSR

    -1 Graduate Student selected by the Graduate Students' Association-5 senior administrative staff , FGSR, (selected by the Dean) (ex officio)

    The graduate coordinators (elected by the Council) and the GSA member (selected by the GSA) will normally serve for a term of two years.

    Purpose/Terms of Reference

    1. To advise the Dean, regarding proposal and recommendations to Council on matters of policy, priorities, and objectives;

    2. To advise the Dean on agenda material to ensure that informed debate will take place on important issues and to streamline routine matters;

    3. To help the Dean maintain a focus on the objective of excellence in all aspects of FGSR activity;

    4. To help the Dean preserve and enhance good relations with other units which constitute the Faculty and those which interact with it.

    Meetings will be held once monthy plus at the call of the Chair.

    (CFGSR 2001/11/09)

    Note: This committee is not currently active.