The Academic Senate works behind the scenes to most students, but their actions greatly affect student life. Academic Senate consists of all tenured and tenure-track faculty at UC Davis; they are a division of the UC systemwide Academic Senate.

In contrast, lecturers and part-time faculty are members of the "Academic Federation". The student government has a similarly named body called the ASUCD Senate.

They have an amazingly complex set of bylaws, which even includes a Committee on Committees. If you want to know why some University academic policy is the way it is, most likely that policy will trace back to Academic Senate. They also control undergraduate scholarships to a large degree.

In addition, Academic Senate essentially controls the direction that curricula and departments will take on a University-wide level. When a professor wants to teach a new course, the proposal must pass through the Senate's Courses Committee, which then determines what appears in the catalog. They also periodically review entire departments, and see if it meets the University's goals. Of course, this is faculty reviewing itself, so changes at this level are far less drastic than at the Administration level. They also award the Distinguished Teaching Award.

Academic Senate also serves as the union for all tenured and tenure-track faculty, and it has a lot of power in negotiation with the UCD Administrative Officers. However, their opinions are not always heeded — 67.2% of faculty voted against Moving to Division I-AA Athletics. Senate was not happy about this.

Undergraduate representatives are appointed through ASUCD University Affairs.

see also ASUCD Academic Senate Representatives and Student Sounding Board

17 February 2012 Election

There were three motions to be voted on, all of which stemmed from the November 18, 2011 UC Davis Police Response to Occupy UC Davis. 2,693 were eligible to vote.

Motion Concerning the Chancellor’s Judgment
Yes: 312
No: 697
Five-Resolution Vote of Confidence
Yes: 586
No: 408
Motion Concerning Police Action
Yes: 635
No: 343
(Seriously?! That many Nos?)