Academic Council

Academic Council Page

Description from Faculty Handbook:

The Academic Council and its committees support the teaching and scholarly work of the Seminary and assist the Rector and the Academic Dean in the oversight and conduct of the academic program, the maintenance of the academic integrity of the programs of study and by making recommendations relating to academic policies and procedures.

  • Membership – The Rector, while not a member of the Academic Council, attends and is always invited to address the Council.  The Academic Council shall be composed of the following members:
    • Voting Members – have a right to participate in all Academic Council meetings and to vote.  The following individuals are Voting Members:
      • Full-time academic faculty members, as outlined in this Handbook;
      • The Director of the Library.
    • Non-voting Members – have a right to participate in and to speak at all Academic Council meetings but do not enjoy the right to vote.  The following individuals are Non-voting Members, unless they have full-time faculty status, in which case they are Voting Members:
      • Part-time Faculty Members;
      • The Vice-Rector of St. John Vianney Theological Seminary;
      • The Rector of Redemptoris Mater Missionary Seminary (RMMS) or his representative;
      • The Prefect of Studies of RMMS; and
      • The Registrar.
    • Observers – Each year, seminarians resident at St. John Vianney Seminary or one of the parish houses shall elect a Student Academic Representative, who may attend meetings of the Academic Council as an Observer, but shall have no voting privileges.  At the request of the Chair, he may make a presentation or respond to questions of Academic Council members. The Directors of the Spirituality Year, Spiritual Formation Program, Pastoral Formation Program, and Human Formation Program, if not full-time faculty members, or other individuals from inside or outside the Seminary, may be invited by the Academic Dean to participate at a particular meeting to offer their expertise or experiences on a specific issue.
  • Responsibilities – The Academic Council shall be responsible for:
    • evaluating, assessing, making recommendations concerning, and implementing the academic program in regard to curricula, programs, academic standards, degree requirements, student academic affairs, and the Library;
    • reviewing proposals from the Pre-Theology and Theology Cycles which can benefit from the consideration of the Council as a whole;
    • formulating recommendations and proposing policy initiatives on matters related to the academic programs;
    • electing members of standing committees, as described below;
    • electing one standing representative and two alternates to serve on the Reconciliation Board for faculty grievances (see Section VII.C.2.c.);
    • recommending means of investigating or responding to specific academic issues;
    • reviewing and proposing changes to this Handbook;
    • reviewing the addition of new academic programs and degrees to be offered by the Seminary; and
    • attending to other academic matters as requested by the Rector or the Academic Dean.
  • Meetings – The Council shall meet at least three times per academic year.  The Academic Dean will propose the order of business to be transacted at each meeting, publish and distribute a copy of the meeting agenda, and provide the opportunity for the introduction of new business from the floor.  Each voting member of the Academic Council has the right to introduce new business by submitting agenda items in advance of the meeting or by introducing new items from the floor.  The Academic Dean chairs the Academic Council meetings.
  • Committees – The Academic Council has the following standing committees: Awards and Rank, Library, and Faculty Development.  Each standing committee will meet at least once per year.  Within two weeks of the conclusion of each meeting, minutes should be sent to the Academic Dean and to the other members of the committee.  Special care shall be taken of those matters that require confidentiality.  The Academic Dean will ensure that minutes of committee meetings which are not confidential shall be made available to all Academic Council members.

Membership on committees is by election by the Academic Council unless otherwise determined in this Handbook.  Council members are cautioned to avoid electing those related by affinity, as defined below, to serve on the same committee at the same time.  The Academic Dean shall ensure that ballots for elections contain a complete list of all eligible candidates, as delineated for each committee.  The Dean shall maintain records of all elections and ensure that rotation of membership occurs as described below.

Eligibility for some committee positions is determined by the Cycle to which faculty members are assigned, however all voting members of the Academic Council are eligible to vote for any committee member, regardless of which Cycle to which the voting member is assigned.

Conflicts of Interest – A conflict of interest is any “relationship with another person or organization that would impair or appear to impair a [faculty member’s] independent judgment in the discharge of his/her duties” (Pastoral Handbook of the Archdiocese, no.  Affinity, one type of conflict of interest, is defined as a family relationship by blood or by marriage (canons 108-109), membership in the same institute of consecrated life, or a spiritual relationship such as regular confessor or spiritual director.  Situations of conflict of interest are particularly likely in the work of the Awards and Rank Committee and grievance procedures.

Before discussing any business related to particular faculty members, committee members should be reminded by the committee Chair of the need to report potential conflicts of interest between each committee member and the individual under discussion and, if a conflict exists, to recuse him or herself.  If the faculty member is not sure, he or she should present the facts to the committee, then excuse him or herself while the remaining members of the committee take a secret vote to determine whether or not this constitutes a conflict of interest.  The majority shall determine the case. Should the vote be inconclusive, the case shall be taken to the Rector, who shall make the decision (see Pastoral Handbook, no. b  and c).

One or more members of a committee may also request consideration of another member’s potential conflict of interest.  Should that committee member object, after he or she presents the case, the committee shall discuss the situation without that member present, then take a secret vote.  The majority shall determine the case.  Should the vote be inconclusive, the Rector shall make the decision.