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Academic Governance


The purpose of this policy is to ensure that creation, elimination, and changes to academic policies, procedures, practices, and leadership are handled in a manner that ensures alignment with the Board of Trustees and mission of Brigham Young University–Hawaii (“BYU–Hawaii” or “university”) and reflects due diligence, consistency, and adequate participation by stakeholders.


Academic policies and other documents that govern the various academic affairs of the university are categorized with respect to the level of participation of various academic and university bodies in the process of developing, recommending, endorsing, and approving creation, elimination, and changes to those policies. Academic units are expected to follow those procedures and involve the various stakeholders as specified in Section 4 of the Academic Governance Policy. Participation by stakeholders implies that the stakeholders’ voices and feedback will be carefully heard and considered even when those voices are in opposition with those at any subsequent level. Good faith efforts to factor concerns and diverse opinions are expected at every level. Likewise, once matters are resolved and policy established, good faith efforts are expected to follow those policies at every level regardless of whether the outcome was a match with any individual’s specific expectation.

The proper procedures for making changes to this policy are given in Table 1 of the Academic Governance Policy as follows:

Major Revision: Category B
Minor Revision: Category F
Elimination: Category B

3. Implementations


Academic – Any personnel, organizations, policies, procedures, or practices that are overseen by the Academic Vice President (AVP).

Minor revision – Minor revisions do not materially change the intent, scope, or application of a policy or procedure that has a significant impact on the daily operations, responsibilities, procedures, or expectations for one or more key constituents of the academic campus community. Minor amendments can include, but are not limited to: editorial changes that clarify, but do not substantively alter, the existing meaning of the policy or procedure; the addition or removal of specific examples; updates of titles and names; and updates to references to applicable law or regulations.

Major revision – Any changes that are not considered minor revisions.

Board of Trustees – Governing body of Brigham Young University–Hawaii composed of the First Presidency and other individuals as appointed by the First Presidency.

President’s Council (PC) – Governing body, subject to the direction of the Board of Trustees, composed of the President (council chair), vice presidents, and the Assistant to the President, University Communications.

Deans Council (DC) Governing body, subject to the direction of the Board of Trustees and the PC, composed of the deans of each faculty; the chair of the Faculty Advisory Council; the Director, Library and Academic Success; the Associate Academic Vice Presidents (AAVP), and the AVP (council chair).

Enrollment Services Committee (ESC) – Advisory body composed of the Director, Ho’okele; the Director, Library and Academic Success; the Academic Advisement Manager; the Registrar; the Dean of Students; the AAVP over Curriculum & Assessment; and the AVP (committee chair).

Faculty Advisory Council (FAC) – Advisory body composed of one representative from each faculty unit and the University Library. Council members are elected by faculty members of their respective academic units. A member of the FAC is elected chair annually by council members.

University Curriculum Council (UCC) – Governing body composed of representatives from each faculty unit, the Director of the Holokai Curriculum, and the AAVP over Curriculum and Assessment (council chair).

3.2 Alterations to or elimination of existing academic policies, procedures, documents, and organization

In general, alterations to academic policies, procedures, documents, and organization occur in four steps, (1) initial development of the proposed changes, (2) recommendation by the appropriate body, (3) endorsement of that recommendation by the next level of governance, and (4) approval by the highest relevant authority. In some cases, the steps of recommendation and/or endorsement are not required. At each level, it is anticipated that collaborative means such as counseling together and working toward consensus will be employed by the body involved. The identity of the associated development, recommending, endorsing, and approving bodies are categorized for various approval protocols in Table 1. Any member of the councils involved in the process can ensure that other relevant stakeholders (e.g. faculty members, other employees, students) are involved in policy deliberations as relevant. For example, deans or the FAC chair will often take policy matters discussed in DC back to individual faculty units for vetting and then represent the feedback thus obtained back to DC prior to any recommendations, endorsements, or approvals.

Table 1: Categories of protocols for revision, elimination, or creation (Section 4.3) of academic policies and other academic governing documents or structures

CategoryDevelopmentRecommendationEndorsement(s)Final Approval
AFaculty members, FAC, DC, AVPUniversity Faculty general voteFAC, DC, PCBoard of Trustees
BFaculty members, FAC, DC, AVPUniversity Faculty general voteFAC, DCPC
CFaculty members, FAC, DC, AVPUniversity Faculty general voteFAC, DCAVP
DFaculty members, FAC, DC, AVP
University Faculty General Vote
HAssociate AVPDC
IAssociate AVPAVP

Note: The following categories apply to curriculum changes

JFaculty Unit(s) affected by the curriculum changeUCCDC, PCBoard of Trustees
KFaculty Unit(s) affected by the curriculum changeUCCDCPC
LFaculty Unit(s) affected by the curriculum changeUCCDC
MFaculty Unit(s) affected by the curriculum changeUCC
NFaculty Unit(s) affected by the curriculum changeDC
OFaculty Unit(s) affected by the curriculum changeAVP (may be delegated to AAVP over Curriculum and Assessment

The category from Table 1 applicable to major revisions, minor revisions, and elimination of each academic policy or procedure is indicated on the official posted document for each (i.e. see individual policies or procedures for applicable categories from Table 1). The application of these categories to other academic governing documents structures is shown in Table 2. Categories applicable to this policy are also listed in Table 2.

Table 2: Application of protocols from Table 1 to revisions and elimination of other academic governing documents or structures

ObjectMajor RevisionMinor RevisionElimination
Academic CalendarAEnot applicable
Academic Faculty StructureAnot possibleA
Academic Governance PolicyAHA
Faculty HandbookBHB
Holokai CurriculumJLJ*

* Eliminating the Holokai Program requires replacement with a different General Education Program.

3.3 Curriculum

Curriculum changes employ categories J–O as shown in Table 3:

Table 3: Application of protocols from Table 1 to curriculum changes

Type of Curriculum ChangeCategory
New degreeJ
New courseM
Change course numberM
Inactivate courseM
Make inactive course activeM
390R Special Topics/SectionsO
Program revision: increase/decrease core/elective total credit hoursL
Program revision: remove course from core/elective poolM
Program revision: add course to coreL

Program revision: add course to elective sectionO
Sequencing modificationsO
New course requiring course feeK
Increase or add course fee for existing courseK
Decrease or remove course fee from existing courseO
New major/reactivate (generally requires elimination of another major program)J
New minor/certificate/reactivateJ
New Emphasis/ConcentrationL
Change certificate to minor (or vice versa)L
Change course information (title, catalog entry, decrease prerequisites, add co-requisite, equivalency, frequency, grading method)O

Increase prerequisitesL
Change title of majorL
Change title of minor or certificateL
Eliminate majorJ
Eliminate minor/certificateJ
Change Holokai curriculum categoryL

3.4 Creating New Academic Policies or Procedures

The creation of new academic policies and procedures use the same categories defined in Table 1 according to the principles identified in Table 4.

Table 4: Policy or procedure scope Category (from Table 1)Category (from Table 1)
Affects the work and functionality of faculty and multiple university divisions beyond academicsA or B
Affects the work and functionality of faculty and other entities of Academics but does not impact other university divisions (if FAC, DC, or the AVP are uncertain about impact on other university divisions, Category B applies) C (if FAC, DC, or the AVP are uncertain about impact on other university divisions, Category B applies)C (if FAC, DC, or the AVP are uncertain about impact on other university divisions, Category B applies)
Affects student enrollment, records, and/or registration and other university divisionsE
Affects student enrollment, records, and/or registration but does not impact other university divisions (generally minor changes to university catalog)G (if FAC, DC, or the AVP are uncertain about impact on other university divisions, Category E applies)

3.5 Faculty Advisory Council

The bylaws and rules governing the election of members and officers, terms and conditions of appointment, transaction of business, implementation of duties assigned herein, and other responsibilities not contained herein are given in the FAC Charter. With respect to this Academic Governance Policy, the FAC and/or its chair assumes the following duties:

A. Meet regularly (at least monthly during the academic year) with the AVP to coordinate communication and discussion of matters pertaining broadly to the university faculty and to provide to the AVP feedback on academic affairs, faculty concerns, and compliance with this Academic Governance Policy.

B. Assist with convening and facilitating discussions regarding creation, changes, or elimination of policies or other academic governing documents or structures for which categories A–D apply (see Table 1). This may include organizing and conducting electronic communications, surveys, faculty meetings, and discussions in individual faculty units.

C. Endorse by majority vote creation, changes, or elimination of policies or other academic governing documents or structures for which categories A–C (Table 1) apply. This endorsement is intended to include an audit that the applicable process outlined in this Academic Governance Policy has been satisfied.

D. Monitor transactions with academic policies and ensure that the provisions of this Academic Governance Policy are being consistently followed. Receive and vet complaints from campus stakeholders regarding any issues of alignment between practice and this policy. Communicate concerns to the AVP and assist with correcting the course.

3.6 Deans

3.6.1 Renewal and replacement

Deans typically serve for five-year terms. These terms may be renewed once. Generally, service past two total terms (ten years) is not approved. Dean appointment renewals are approved by the AVP in consultation with the President. Appointment of a new dean is recommended by the AVP to the PC. Recommendations endorsed by the PC are forwarded to the Board of Trustees for final approval.

One semester ahead of the end date of a dean’s current term, the AVP will consult privately either by electronic means or face-to-face with each full-time member of the relevant faculty unit. During the consultations, the AVP will solicit each person’s thoughts regarding retention and/or replacement of the dean including recommendations for possible successors. If the dean will be replaced (due to the term limit; unavailability of the dean to continue; or preference of the current dean, the AVP, or the faculty), the AVP will identify at least the top two candidates from these consultations, interview them, and identify them to the members of the faculty unit. The AVP will then request written or verbal feedback from the members of the unit regarding these candidates. This feedback is not a vote. Deans are appointed by the AVP following approval from the Board of Trustees. Nevertheless, the AVP will factor the preferences of the faculty unit members heavily in making the recommendation to the PC and the Board of Trustees.

The AVP may release the dean prior to the end of the current term at the dean’s request, when there is sufficient concern expressed by members of the faculty unit concerning the dean’s performance and efforts to rectify the situation have failed, or when it is in the best interest of the university as judged jointly by the AVP and the President.

3.6.2 Expectations

Deans are the fundamental leadership of faculty units. It is expected that deans will lead their unit in a manner aligned with the mission and vision of Brigham Young University–Hawaii. In addition to overseeing the normal business of an academic unit (curriculum, student success, faculty development and success, hiring, finances, travel, etc.), deans are expected to develop the culture of the faculty unit in a positive fashion such that collaboration, vision, consensus-building, and fairness are priorities.

3.7 Consensus and Majority Vote

To the extent possible, deliberations in the various bodies identified in this policy strive for group consensus rather than relying on a majority vote. This practice increases the likelihood of alignment with the university mission and the Board of Trustees while also avoiding the silencing of minority opinions that may ultimately have important bearing on the wisdom of the proposed changes. Efforts to understand and factor such minority opinions should always be made, especially during the development phase of the proposed change. Complete consensus may not be feasible with large bodies such as a faculty unit or the entire faculty, but the principle of not silencing minority voices, especially early in the process, should be applied generously.

For categories A–D in Table 1 which require a vote of the entire university faculty, the recommendation to create, change, or eliminate an applicable academic policy or other academic governance document or structure will proceed forward to the next level only after a vote that constitutes a 2/3 majority (rounded to the nearest integer) of all regular full-time faculty members regardless of whether they voted. If the proposed creation, change, or elimination is supported by 1/3 or fewer regular full-time faculty members, the matter will be considered settled and revisited only if a new independent proposal is tendered. If the voting outcome fall between the 1/3 and 2/3 range, the matter may be discussed and revised further until a 2/3 majority agree or the proponents decide to abandon the proposal.

3.8 Policies from other divisions or the President's Council

The AVP will ensure that policies created or revised outside of Academics that impact the workflow, compensation, or benefits of employees within Academics are made known and opportunity provided for discussion with and feedback from those affected by the policy or the change prior to PC approval. In general, ESC, DC, and FAC are the venues to facilitate the information and discussion. Again, the good faith efforts described in Section 2 to involve stakeholders broadly and to consider and factor concerns at all levels apply.

3.9 Grievances

Occasionally, a condition may arise in which one or more provisions outlined in this policy have not been followed. In such cases, employees are encouraged to work through their line management or through the FAC to make the issue known to the AVP. Good faith efforts should be made by all affected parties to resolve the matter informally and make the necessary adjustments to follow the policy. In the event that these efforts do not resolve the matter, employees are referred to the University Grievance Policy and the means provided by the Human Resources Department to resolve those grievances.

4. Related Policies and Procedures


Policy Owner: Academic Vice President

Executive Sponsor: Academic Vice President

Approved by President’s Council: 06/29/2020

Modified 4/11/2023

Full revision history maintained by the Office of Compliance & Ethics