Student Handbook

Community Governance

Alma College seeks to act in accordance with its belief in itself as a community, and has therefore, formed the Alma College Community Government. Within this governmental design, there is a definite and important role for students as recognized in the Community Government Bylaws.

Article I - Organization of the Alma College Community

Section I: Community Government

The Community Government itself exists to ensure the maximum degree of integration among those empowered to form policies, develop recommendations and/or make decisions pertaining to the functions of the institution and the governance of the community. Further, to facilitate the functioning of those among whom labor is divided, the Community Government recognizes as components of the community, the Faculty Organization and the Student Organization, and acknowledges the right of each to establish its own articles of government.

To assure that their provisions comport with the Constitution and Bylaws of Community Government and with the principles of the College, their constitutions and Bylaws shall be subject to review but not to change by the President’s Advisory Committee.

Responsibilities of the President, Administrative Staff, Faculty, and Students:

1. The President. The internal direction of the College shall be under the President of the College as chief executive officer, subject to direction and approval of the Board of Trustees. The president and faculty shall recommend policies, prepare the curriculum and recommend regulations for the operation and government of the College, subject to the direction and approval of the Board of Trustees.

2. The Administrative Staff. The administrative and management functions are to be carried out by such officer and staff as the president may appoint. These officers shall serve as administrative affiliates to the various committees as hereinafter described.

3. Faculty. Under the leadership and guidance of the provost and within the context of established policies and objectives, the teaching faculty has primary responsibility for determining the curriculum, academic standards, instructional procedures and related educational and academic affairs. It has primary responsibility for general and specific recommendations relating to faculty status. It has additional responsibility to participate effectively and be reasonable in the formulation of plans, policies and recommendations concerning the non- academic and co-curricular matter which relate to academic activities and in the development of the general community programs and activities.

4. Students. As members of the Alma College community, students have the right to participate in the development of community policies and programs to help ensure that individual as well as community interests and objectives are satisfied to help ensure maximum extent possible. Provisions are made herein for students to participate effectively and responsibly in the formulations of plans, policies and recommendations concerning both academic and non-Alma academic matters. They shall, especially for the benefit of future generations of students, be significantly involved in evaluations of the college experience. They shall have primary responsibility to manage student affairs within the context of established policies and procedures.

Alma College students have elected to have themselves represented through the Student Congress. It is the hope of the Student Congress to be representative of all major student organizations, as well as of each individual student. Students are urged to contact a representative of the Student Congress and seek their assistance in the resolution of a problem of the promotion of an idea.

Section 2: The Faculty Organization

The Faculty Organization shall consist of those whom its own Constitution identifies as members.

Section 3: The Student Organization

The Student Organization, as determined by the student body, shall consist of those whom its own Constitution identifies as members.

Section 4: Authorization to Establish Committees

The Community Government, the Faculty Organization and the Student Organization respectively are authorized to establish such standing and special committees as they deem appropriate for conducting their business. Nothing in this Constitution shall be construed as negating the prerogative of the president to establish such committees or task forces as s/he judges appropriate.

Article II - Community Government Committees

The following are established as standing committees of Community Government:

  • Educational Policy Committee (EPC)
  • Academic Standards Committee
  • Teacher Education Committee
  • Co-Curricular Affairs Committee (CO-CURR)
  • Student Life Committee
  • Communications Committee (COM-COM)
  • Campus Conduct Committee
  • Strategy and Planning Council
Section 1: Educational Policy Committee (EPC)
  1. Composition
    • Ex Officio:
      • Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs (primary administrative affiliate)
      • Division chairs
      • Registrar
      • Director of Libraries
    • Elected:
      • One faculty member from each division by the division for three year staggered terms.
      • Three faculty members at large for three-year staggered terms, one from each of the three divisions.
      • Five students for one-year terms.
  2. Functions. Subject to review or approval by the faculty, the Educational Policy Committee shall formulate policy, plan, coordinate, supervise, review and evaluate all educational programs. The Committee shall also submit such matters to the Student Congress for review. 
    The Committee has wide powers of development, review and evaluation, but shall not construe these powers to interfere with the prerogatives of divisions, departments and individual faculty members as determined by the Faculty Organization. Its specific functions include:
    1. To review periodically, curricular and certification programs and graduation requirements and to evaluate these in terms of the stated goals and objectives of the College
    2. To recommend to departments, divisions and the faculty the development of curricular offerings and programs
    3. To develop policies and procedures for review of and action upon requests for curricular changes
    4. To evaluate and act upon program and course proposals
    5. To develop, with the library staff, library goals and programs, and to periodically review and evaluate library policies and practices
    6. To assess periodically the academic calendar and annually review the dates of operation and pattern of course scheduling
    7. 7. To review annually and make recommendations regarding academic priorities.
  3. Certification Programs. Policies and requirements related to certification programs (as administered by the Teacher Education Committee and such other certification committees as may hereafter be established) shall be subject to review and recommendation by the Educational Policy Committee and approved by the faculty.
Section 2: Academic Standards Committee
  1. Composition.
    • Ex Officio:
      • Registrar (primary administrative affiliate)
      • Director of Admissions (without vote except on matters directly related to Admissions as determined by the Committee)
      • Director of Financial Aid (without vote except on matters directly related to Financial Aid as determined by the Committee)
      • Director of Center for Student Opportunity (without vote).
    • Elected:
      • Nine faculty members for three-year staggered terms, three from each division (one elected by division, two elected by faculty at large)
      • Five students for one-year terms.
  2. Functions.The Academic Standards Committee has, as primary responsibility, the formulation of policy recommendations for the review and evaluation of academic standards. Its specific functions include:
    1. To recommend to the Faculty Organization appropriate standards for student admission to the College and to its particular programs and for the academic performance of students. The Committee is charged specifically to recommend academic standards for:
      • Admission to and retention in the college
      • Graduation
      • Academic awards, e.g., term honors, diploma honors, etc.
      • Performance on standardized examinations administered to major segments of the student population, e.g., Undergraduate Record Examination, Graduate Record Examination
      • Eligibility for participation in activities, e.g., intercollegiate athletics
      • Student financial aid and scholarships awarded by the college
      • Admission to and credit assignments in continuing education programs
      • Classification of courses as upper level and lower level
      • College grading scale
    2. To review and recommend standards for admission to, and retention in, programs involving certification;
    3. To advise groups within the college community which establish particular academic awards, e.g., membership in academic societies, graduation with departmental honors;
    4. To administer and/or superintend the administration of academic standards established by the Faculty Organization. To fulfill this function, the committee is empowered:
      • To take final action on recommendations by the director of admissions regarding applicants who do not meet minimum standards for admission and on petitions for re-admission by students dismissed by action of this committee, subject to appeal to the president or her/his designate
      • To assign appropriate status to students in low academic standing
      • To recommend students for academic awards
      • To establish procedures for, and take action on, student petitions regarding exceptions to college standards and requirements
      • To establish procedures for the establishment, maintenance and use of academic records of students, consistent with the Family Educational Rights to Privacy Act of 1974 as amended.
Section 3: Teacher Education Committee
  1. Composition.
    • Ex Officio:
      • Registrar (primary administrative affiliate)
      • Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
      • Chair, Education Department
      • Two faculty members, Education Department, selected by the Chair of the Education Department (without vote)
    • Elected:
      • Three faculty members for three-year staggered terms, one from each division, and with the Social Science representative to be from a department other than the Education Department.
  2. Functions.
    To plan, develop, supervise and review the Teacher Education Program and its implementation. Its specific functions include:
    1. As warranted, recommending changes in the Teacher Education Program to the Educational Policy Committee or to the appropriate administrative officers or the faculty
    2. Recommending to the Educational Policy Committee criteria for accepting students into the Teacher Education Program
    3. Coordinating and evaluating the Teacher Education Program
    4. Within the limits of established criteria, acting upon applications of candidate for the Teacher Education Program during the last term of their sophomore year
    5. Acting upon applications of candidates for student teaching.
  3. Operations.
    1. Actions by the Committee with respect to specific students shall be final. All other matters pertaining to educational policy shall be reported to the Educational Policy Committee; other matters pertaining to administration shall be reported to the Executive Council.
    2. By majority vote of those present and voting, the Committee may, under exceptional circumstances, exclude student members from Committee sessions when specific student records are examined.
Section 4: Co-Curricular Affairs Committee (CO-CURR)
  1. Composition
    • Ex Officio:
      • President of Union Board (without vote)
      • Chairs of standing task forces
      • Chair of Student Congress
      • Co-Curricular Committee
      • Public Relations representative
    • Elected:
    • One faculty member from each division elected by the division for three-year staggered terms
    • Three students for one-year terms
  2. Functions.
    The Co-Curricular Affairs Committee has, as primary responsibility, the formulation of broad policy recommendations, coordination, review and evaluation of all co-curricular programs. To perform its functions, the Committee shall establish Task Forces for Cultural, Chapel and Athletic Affairs. The chaplain and director of athletics shall serve as secondary administrative affiliates and ex officio members with vote on the Chapel and athletic task forces respectively. These task forces shall act in conformity with established policies and shall report their actions to the Committee for information and review.
    The Committee shall not construe its powers to interfere with the primary responsibility of Student Congress for the sponsorship and management of activities sponsored by student organizations. To this end, the Student Congress shall establish a committee to supervise, coordinate, review and evaluate student-sponsored co-curricular affairs; the chair of the Committee shall serve as ex officio on the Community Co-Curricular Affairs Committee.
Section 5: Student Life Committee
  1. Composition
    • Ex Officio:
      • Vice President for Student Life or his designee (primary administrative affiliate)
      • President of Student Congress.
    • Elected:
      • Three faculty members for three-year staggered terms, one from each division elected at large
      • Six students for one-year terms.
  2. Functions.
    The Student Life Committee has, as primary responsibility, the formulation of policy recommendations, guidelines and regulations pertaining to student life on campus, including services to students. Its specific functions include
    1. To recommend to its administrative affiliate policies and guidelines with respect to the varied aspects of student life, and to participate with that person in the preparation of student regulations (e.g., conduct, housing, organization), subject to review by the administration and the Board of Trustees.
    2. To develop recommendations for the establishment and availability of various services to students (e.g., health services, food services, financial aid, student insurance).
    3. To conduct continuing review and evaluation of the activities of student organizations (except the Student Congress).
    4. To assist existing student organizations and to assist in the development of new organizations.
Section 6: Communications Committee (COM-COM)
  1. Composition
    • Ex Officio:
      • Vice President for Student Life or his designee (primary administrative affiliate; without vote)
      • Director of College Communications
      • Advisor to student newspapers and advisor to student annual, as designated by the chair of the English Department
      • Advisor to the radio station
      • Editors and business managers of each student organ or communication (without vote).
    • Elected:
      • Two faculty members for staggered two-year terms elected by the faculty at large,
      • Six students (members of staffs of communication organs not eligible) for one-year terms
  2. Functions.
    The Committee shall concern itself with the professional standards, financing, staffing and the responsibility to the broader campus community of the various on-campus communication organs. Its specific functions include:
    1. To develop policies to govern on-campus communication organs and to evaluate their performance in terms of established policies, guidelines and external regulations
    2. To determine qualifications for staff positions, establish procedures for selection of staff personnel and appoint principal staff members
    3. To arrange for the submission of publications for annual review by members of the journalism profession
    4. To review the budgets for, and ensure the sound fiscal management of, each of the organs of communication.
Section 7: Campus Conduct Committee
  1. Composition
    • Ex Officio:
      • Vice President for Student Life or his designee (primary administrative affiliate; without vote)
    • Elected:
      • Three faculty members for three-year staggered terms elected by the faculty at large
      • • Three students for one-year terms.
  2. Functions.
    The Committee is empowered to act on student infractions when such matters are referred to it by the students involved and/or by the vice president for student life. The Committee’s actions are subject to appeal to the Vice President for Academic Affairs. When the Committee sits in judgment, it will do so without the ex officio member as part of the committee.
    The function of the primary administrative affiliate on this committee is to ensure the development of necessary policies and rules of procedures, which may be annually reviewed by the president and governing structure of the college.
Section 8 - Strategy and Planning Council
  1. Composition.
    • Ex Officio:
      • President (Chair)
      • Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
      • Vice President for Institutional Development
      • Vice President for Finance and Management Services
      • President of Student Congress
    • Elected:
      • One faculty member from each division—Humanities, Social Science, Natural Science—elected by the division for staggered terms
      • Two students, plus one alternate, elected by Student Congress through the Community Government selection process
    • Appointed by the President (one-year terms):
      • Two administrators
      • Two faculty
      • Two students
  2. Functions.
    The Council shall act as an advisory body to the president of the college:
    1. In regular strategic planning, including monitoring implementation of the consideration of modifications in the college’s short- and long-range plans
    2. In identifying priorities for utilization of college resources, including the annual budgets
    3. In review of issues, policies and matters which the president determines to be of significant institutional importance
    4. In making recommendations for the purposes of:
      • Formulating recommendations with respect to matters pertaining to overlapping committee jurisdiction
      • Reviewing proposals for and developing recommendations to amend the Constitution and bylaws of Community Government
      • c. Assuring that the Constitution and operations for the faculty, Student Congress and Community Government are consistent with the mission and principles of the college.

Article III

 - 

Community Government operations

Section 1: Direct Access

All committee reports and recommendations for action will be channeled directly to the chair of the Faculty Organization and the President of Student Congress.

Section 2: Policy Formulation

All committees shall endeavor to develop, formulate and implement coordinated and integrated policies and programs within their respective spheres. In accordance with the community’s basic commitment to shared responsibility, all organs of Community Government shall develop procedures which maximize participation by all interested components of the community in making decisions, developing policies and formulating recommendations.

Section 3: Provost

As chief College community officer responsible for academic affairs, the provost shares with the faculty the responsibility for the initiation of proposals or policy changes relating to academic matters and overall educational activities and objectives. This responsibility does not limit the prerogative of any community organization or of individual members of the community to initiate proposals.

Last updated 7/1/2013