Under the 2011 UO Constitution, the faculty has authority over “all academic matters as commonly understood in higher education”:
1.2 The University of Oregon is governed by the President and the Professors in accordance with the 1876 University of Oregon Charter. ORS 352.010. 1.3 Sole faculty governance authority at the University of Oregon resides in the Statutory Faculty. This authority extends to all academic matters as commonly understood in higher education. The Statutory Faculty may delegate its authority but must retain oversight responsibility.
This summer President Schill and Provost Coltrane made an attempt to be more specific:
From: Scott Coltrane
Sent: Sunday, October 2, 2016 9:48 PM
To: firstname.lastname@example.org; Chris Sinclair
Cc: Mike Schill
Subject: Fw: Academic principles
Bill and Chris,
I wanted to share with you the attached Statement of Principle Regarding Academic Policies that Mike and I have approved to help us determine if a policy is academic or not. The Policy on Policies uses language from the Constitution (see citations on the attachment), but there is still the question of what “commonly understood” means. Based on research from AAU peers, AAUP, etc., this seemed like an appropriate baseline. We do feel it is important to have an articulated standard to help guide us through the policies process. We look forward to hearing your thoughts.
SCOTT COLTRANE | Provost and Senior Vice President
email@example.com | 541-346-3186
202 Johnson Hall
1258 University of Oregon | Eugene, OR 97403
Statement of Principle Regarding Academic Policies
Primarily, we see academic policies as those addressing curriculum, academic standards, academic standards of admission, academic freedom, tenure and promotion, major changes to academic programs, grading standards, and student life as it relates to the educational process. Additionally, academic policies are more likely than not going to include policies relating to faculty status; this area includes appointments, reappointments, decision not to reappoint, promotions, the granting of tenure and denial. See AAUP’s Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities Section 5.
Policies which have broad applicability to university employees but do not differentially treat faculty are not considered academic. For example, key control to buildings, parking, purchasing regulations, or information technology matters relevant to all users, such as training, security and email use.
Regardless of whether a policy or proposal is deemed “academic” and thus proceeds through the academic policy process, the input of the senate or individual faculty members is always welcome through the public comment process for interested stakeholders.
Approved by President Michael Schill and Provost Scott Coltrane
Miscellaneous Policy References and Citations
A “University Policy” (Policy) is a policy that
- Has broad application or impact throughout the University community
- Must be implemented to ensure compliance with state or federal law
- Is necessary to enhance the University’s mission, to ensure institutional consistency and operational efficiency, or to mitigate institutional risks
- Is otherwise designated by the Board or the [University] President as a University Policy.
Excluded from the definition of a University Policy are things such as, but not limited to, implementation guides, operating guidelines, internal procedures, and similar management controls and tools.
An academic policy is one that addresses curriculum, academic standards, academic standards of admission, academic freedom, tenure and promotion, major changes to academic programs, grading standards, student life that relates to the educational process, or other matters of an academic nature as commonly understood in higher education.
Proposals regarding majors, programs, minors, certificates, courses, and degree requirements are not considered policies for process purposes.
 University of Oregon Policy I.03.01, Section 3.1
 University of Oregon Policy I.03.01, Section 3.2; University of Oregon Constitution, Section 1.3 (emphasis added)
 University of Oregon Policy I.03.01, Section 5.3