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Faculty Trustee Elections

June 5, 2024

Faculty members can be elected or appointed to serve on a board of trustees at an academic institution. These individuals are entrusted to represent the interests of the faculty and staff at their university and other key voices such as students, alumni, and community members.

When electing leaders, a faculty voting system and clear procedures need to be in place to ensure the integrity of the results. Faculty trustee elections, like faculty club elections, can set the tone and direction of what’s to come. These trustees play a role in making key decisions on issues from finance to policy and strategic planning for the organization’s future.

Oftentimes, faculty trustees bring a wealth of expertise in academia to the table ranging from teaching, research, and familiarity with faculty concerns. As voices of the institution, these members of trustee boards advocate for the faculty they serve and determine what priorities and issues should be addressed.

Faculty Trustee Requirements

Faculty representation is key to the overall success of academia. They ensure that diverse perspectives, expertise, and interests are heard, considered, and communicated throughout critical decision-making processes. Just as voting for faculty association leaders is important, so is electing the right people to the board of trustees who will represent their school and constituents well.

Different universities may have varying requirements for someone who wants to become a faculty trustee on their board. State universities in California, for example, require trustees to demonstrate excellence during their time at the university, whether through teaching or another acceptable university service. 

How Trustees Are Selected

While faculty trustees may be appointed, they are usually elected by specific stakeholders like faculty, alumni, and donors. Typically, trustee candidates are nominated, interviewed, and evaluated based on a university or college’s established qualifications for the position. The trustee candidate must align with the school’s mission and strategic goals. 

Once elected or selected, the board of trustees members serve for a set number of years as determined by the academic institution. Members may be eligible for another term at the end of the one they are currently serving.

Faculty Trustee Election Committees

To ensure every election is fair and balanced, most boards have an election committee that communicates with voters, sharing important information about the election process and the candidates or issues up for vote. Through their efforts, transparency and integrity are upheld.

The election committee also determines who is eligible to run for the board, adheres to established bylaws, counts ballots, and reports results. By implementing clear and consistent election procedures, the committee reduces the chances of potential disputes and guarantees candidates can participate on equal grounds. The committee may also address concerns or complaints during the election process.

Voting for Trustees

Many academic institutions have turned to electronic voting to make voting more accessible and convenient for their voters. With ElectionBuddy, there’s no such thing as ‘too busy to vote.’ Voters can receive reminders through email or text to encourage them to make their voices heard–this, in turn, boosts voter overall engagement. 

There’s no limit to what can be included on a ballot with online voting. In addition to electing leaders, online voting allows voters to provide commentary and feedback. ElectionBuddy offers customizable ballot options for any type of election!

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