Instructional Council

Section: II.  INST - 140
Approved By: Dr. Ivan Harrell, 6/07/19
Last Review: May 2019
Last Revision: 12/05/18
Prior Revisions: 6/08/09, 7/26/11
Initial Adoption: unknown


It is the policy of Tacoma Community College to fully support, implement, and recognize the strength of a shared governance system through which the constituents of the college may participate in the development of policy, practice, and procedure. The primary body through which faculty participate by recommending academic policies and practices and communicate on matters other than compensation, workload, and work conditions is the Instructional Council.


This Policy defines the purpose and the policies of the Instructional Council.  The Instructional Council shall function as the primary faculty component of the college’s shared governance structure.  The faculty has primary responsibility for such fundamental areas as curriculum, subject matter and methods of instruction, research, faculty status, and those aspects of student life which relate to the educational process. (From AAUP Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities)

Instructional Council will develop and make recommendations to the College Council and/or President’s Cabinet about academic policies and practices, and provide a venue for the sharing of issues and information between the faculty and the administration.  The Instructional Council will address academic issues pertaining to student learning and success.  However, it will not supplant the role of the faculty union in bargaining the terms and conditions of faculty employment. The Instructional Council will meet every second Monday of each month from October through June of the academic year, 2:30-4:30 p.m.

Application of Policy

This policy applies to all college faculty and instructional administrators.


Instructional Council—The body through which the faculty participate in in shared governance through the formulation of academic policies and practices and communication on matters impacting instruction.

College Council— An advisory group reflective of and accountable to relevant stakeholders.  The college council makes recommendations to the President and/or President’s Cabinet on proposals, policies, and procedures affecting college-wide operations and matters affecting the general welfare of the college.

President’s Cabinet—Consisting of the college president, chief of staff, executive vice-president, and all other vice-presidents at the college, the President’s Cabinet provides oversight on college policy, budget, institutional planning, and accountability and make appropriate recommendations to the Board of Trustees,

Faculty Forum—Open to all faculty, Faculty Forum provides faculty with the opportunity to share information, questions, concerns and issues related to instruction. An elected faculty member serves as the Faculty Forum Facilitator who leads Faculty Forum discussions and brings faculty issues and concerns forward to Instructional Council.

Instructional Council Roster—The official roster for Instructional Council of voting members and their alternates.  Non-voting members may be part of the roll call, but will not be on the Roster.


See the American Association of University Professors Statement on the Government of College and Universities.

APPENDIX A:  Primary Committee/Subcommittee Structure

APPENDIX B:  Responsibilities for Instructional Council Voting Members


1.    The Instructional Council is composed of the following voting members:

a.   One (1) representative from each instructional department or program recognized by the college as an operational unit for the purpose of offering or supporting instruction.  The department/program representative is a full-time faculty member chosen by the faculty who comprise the particular instructional program during the first program/division meeting each Fall.  An alternate will also be elected during this meeting, and the alternate will serve in the place of the elected representative if that representative is unable to attend an Instructional Council meeting.

b.  Five (5) at-large, full-time faculty members nominated during the full faculty meeting each Fall and voted on prior to the October Instructional Council meeting. After the five at large members are determined by balloting, the two faculty with thesixth and seventh highest vote counts will become alternates to serve if an at-large member is not able to attend an Instructional Council meeting.

c.  One adjunct faculty member elected from each Division of the college at the first Fall division meeting by all faculty members in attendance.  If one division does not identify an adjunct faculty member willing to stand for election prior to the October Instructional Council meeting, nominations will be sought for an at-large adjunct faculty member, which will be voted on by all adjunct faculty prior to the November Instructional Council meeting.  One alternate adjunct faculty representative from each division will also be elected at the first Division meeting in the Fall.

d.  A standing representative from Learning Support Services and the President of TCCFT or designee.

Voting members for each program/department, along with the designated alternates, shall be communicated to the office of the Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs at least one week prior to the October meeting for inclusion on the Instructional Council roster.  Only members identified on this official roster shall be allowed to vote.  Voting members may only represent one program/department and have only one vote.

2.  Non-voting members of Instructional Council shall include:

a. Chairs or their designees from each of the Instructional Council-affiliated “primary committees” (see Appendix A).  Committees that are officially represented at Instructional Council will be approved by Instructional Council.

b. The Faculty Forum Facilitator

c. The two co-chairs of Instructional Council (see section 3).

These members may suggest items for the agenda and advance recommendations to the floor to be moved upon by voting members.

3.      a.  The Instructional Council is co-chaired by an elected faculty representative and the Chief Academic Officer of the College.  The Co-Chairs are non-voting members of Instructional Council.  The Faculty Co-Chair may serve more than one elected term but not consecutively.  If a new Faculty Co-Chair was a voting representative of IC, their former role as voting member shall be filled by the appropriate alternate (either from the program/department or the at-large alternate). 

b. Faculty will elect a Faculty Co-Chair Elect every Fall quarter with their term beginning in January.  The Co-Chair Elect may be any full time faculty member, and may serve simultaneously as Co-Chair Elect and as a voting member of IC (Sections 1a and 1b above). The Co-Chair Elect will serve in this “Elect” capacity for one full calendar year.   In the second calendar year the Co-Chair Elect will become the active Co-Chair. 

c. If the Faculty Co-Chair is absent for a meeting, the Co-Chair Elect will assume the role of Faculty Co-Chair.  If the Faculty Co-Chair is unable to fulfill their term, the Faculty Co-Chair Elect will serve out the remainder of that term, in addition to their own full term in the second year of their service.

d.   A Council of Past Co-Chairs shall exist and shall consist of all previous faculty co-chairs of IC who are still faculty members at the college and whose schedules allow. 

e. If the position of Co-Chair Elect becomes vacant for any reason, a member of the Council of Past Co-Chairs will be asked to fill the position until new elections for Co-Chair Elect can be held.  Elections for a new Co-Chair Elect shall be held within 40 instructional days of the Co-Chair Elect’s vacancy and will be run by the current Faculty Co-Chair.

(See Appendix B for specific duties of the Faculty Co-Chair, Co-Chair Elect, and Council of Past Co-Chairs positions.)

4.   All college faculty are invited to attend and participate in the Instructional Council’s deliberations and discussions.  College and Instructional Administrators are also invited to attend the Instructional Council meetings and participate fully in discussions.  However, only voting members of the Council or their designated alternates may vote on forwarding an item to the College Council and/or President’s Cabinet for consideration. 

5.   The Instructional Council will conduct business utilizing Robert’s Rules of Order.

6.  Only voting members of Instructional Council or their designated alternates who are present at an Instructional Council meeting may vote on recommendations coming before Instructional Council. 

7.   A simple majority of Instructional Council Representatives (51% of those attending the meeting when a recommendation is considered) may agree to recommend an academic policy or practice to the College Council or President’s Cabinet for consideration.  At the time an academic policy or practice is considered by the Instructional Council, a recommendation for further review and approval should be attached.  This recommendation will suggest further review or action by other college committees, councils, or the President’s Cabinet.

8.   Concerns by the President’s Cabinet to a recommended academic policy will be reported to the Instructional Council by the chief academic officer of the College in a reasonable time to allow reconsideration and dialogue prior to implementation.

9.   Faculty Forum provides a venue for faculty to discuss issues outside the presence of College or Instructional Administrators. These discussions will occur outside of Instructional Council and will be presided over by an elected Faculty Forum facilitator or, when the Faculty Forum facilitator is unable to attend, the Instructional Council faculty co-chair. If the outcome of these discussions warrant timely consideration by Instructional Council, the Faculty Forum facilitator will present them to Instructional Council voting members at the open Instructional Council meeting. If faculty determine that the outcomes or recommendations warrant a more formal presentation, the Faculty Forum facilitator, Instructional Council faculty co-chair, or faculty designee may prepare a white paper or an issue paper on the matter which outlines the details of the issue, the possible impact the issue may have on the institution, the recommended solution or action, and a primary contact who is willing to serve as the liaison for the issue.

10.   All faculty, as well as instructional committees that fall under the purview of Instructional Council, may submit ideas for the agenda of the Instructional Council.  Faculty are encouraged to submit their requests to their Instructional Council representative(s) who may then submit requests to the co-chairs.  The faculty co-chair will then work with the chief academic officer of the college and the Faculty Forum facilitator to determine the agenda for each meeting.  The office of the chief academic officer will distribute the agenda to all faculty, instructional administrators, and other stakeholders as deemed appropriate a week before the Instructional Council meeting.

11. The minutes of the Instructional Council meetings will be published for the TCC community in keeping with the recommendations of the current shared governance model. These minutes shall include all actions taken by the council as well as recommendations pertaining to the action taken.


APPENDIX A: Primary Committee/Subcommittee Structure

This committee structure is subject to change. 

 Instructional Council structure

Responsibilities of Committees/Subcommittees

1.    Each primary committee shall have a committee member that regularly attends Instructional Council to represent the committee.  This person would not be a voting member of Instructional Council.

2.    All subcommittees shall report to their primary committees as necessary and the primary committees decide what needs to move on to Instructional Council.

3.    For time sensitive issues, subcommittees may receive approval from their primary committees to bring items directly to Instructional Council for informational reasons before they are addressed by the primary committee itself.

4.    New instruction-related committees that wish to form will bring their request to Instructional Council to be approved. 

5.    Current instruction-related committees that wish to dissolve will bring their request to Instructional Council to be approved.

6.    All committees will keep active rosters and post agendas/minutes in the appropriate location as per the Tacoma Community College shared governance policy & procedures document.


APPENDIX B:  Responsibilities of Instructional Council Faculty Co-Chair, Co-Chair Elect, Voting Representatives, and Council of Past Co-Chairs

Duties of the Faculty Co-Chair:

  • Co-Chair the monthly IC meetings with the Chief Academic Officer
  • Coordinate election of Faculty Co-Chair Elect, with the Co-Chair Elect position to be filled no later than the second Monday of December in normal circumstances, and within 40 instructional days in the case of a vacancy in the Co-Chair Elect position.
  • Set agendas for the monthly IC meetings with the Chief Academic Officer, the Faculty Forum Facilitator, and the Co-Chair Elect
  • Serve as one of three faculty representatives on College Council
  • Attend TCC Board of Trustee meetings as an observer and report back to faculty as needed
  • Communicate and coordinate with faculty about issues relevant to instruction
  • Meet with TCC President and other administrators as a member of the Faculty Leadership Team (along with the Union President, the Faculty Forum facilitator, and the Faculty Co-Chair Elect)
  • The Faculty Co-Chair is eligible for one-third release for their duties

Duties of the Faculty Co-Chair Elect

  • Attend Faculty Forum and Instructional Council each month
  • Attend all College Council meetings as an observer
  • Set agendas for the monthly IC meetings with the Chief Academic Officer, the Faculty Forum Facilitator, and the Faculty Co-Chair
  • Assume the responsibilities of the Faculty Co-Chair if they are unable to fulfill those duties, either for one meeting or for the duration of their term (a member of the Council of Past Co-Chairs may assist in this matter if needed)
  • with TCC President and other administrators as a member of the Faculty Leadership Team (along with the Union President, the Faculty Forum facilitator, and the Faculty IC Co-Chair
  • The Co-Chair Elect would be eligible to receive 1 full PAU per quarter but not release time

Duties of Voting Representatives

  • Prepare for and attend all Instructional Council meetings.
  • Inform the alternate* about current Instructional Council issues and arrange for alternate attendance at meetings in case of absence.
  • Communicate with faculty peers about current Instructional Council issues. Representative members are responsible for communicating to their respective department/program.
  • Communicate with program/department faculty about current Instructional Council issues.
  • Represent and vote on issues on behalf of constituents.
  • Be willing to serve on additional Instructional Council-related tasks.
  • Be familiar with Robert’s Rules of Order.

*Alternates will fulfill the duties of the respective voting member in case of absence.

Duties of the Council of Past Co-Chairs

  • Provide guidance and support for the current IC Faculty Co-Chair and Co-Chair elect as needed and as their schedules allow.
  • Council of Past Co-Chairs may be convened by the current Faculty Co-Chair, Co-Chair Elect, or by any member of the Council of Past Co-Chairs.
  • Members of this Council are eligible for 1/3 PAU during quarters where the Council is actively involved in supporting the work of Instructional Council.