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  The Academic Senate is one of three branches in the system of shared governance in the University of California: The Board of Regents, which sets broad policy; the Administration, which directs the organization of the University and its finances; and the Academic Senate, which directs the educational function and provides faculty advice to both the Regents and the Administration. According to the Standing Orders of the Regents, the Academic Senate exercises direct control over the authorization and supervision of all courses and curricula, determination of admission and graduation requirements, and approval of all manuscripts published by the University of California Press.

     The Senate exercises its advisory role in the areas of faculty appointment and promotion, budget priority and policy, library policy, research policy, academic freedom, faculty privilege and tenure, faculty welfare, faculty and student affirmative action, campus planning, and computer policy. The Senate takes part in searches for deans, chancellors, and presidents and is called upon to recommend faculty for service on administrative committees. These overlapping functions are managed through close consultation between the Senate, the Regents (two members of the systemwide Academic Senate sit regularly with the Board of Regents -- without vote), and the systemwide and campus Administrations. All faculty in the professorial, in-residence, clinical (X), and lecturer with security of employment academic series are members of the Academic Senate (in accordance with Regents Standing Order 105.1) and are encouraged to participate in its functions. The President of the University, the Vice Presidents, the Chancellors, and the Vice Chancellors are also members of the Academic Senate and regularly attend its meetings.

     On each campus, the divisional Academic Senate operates as a legislative body which meets periodically through the year, and also as a system of appointed committees run by and for the faculty. The San Diego Division of the Academic Senate functions primarily through these committees, as well as through elected officers. The governance instrument of the Academic Senate is the Manual of the Academic Senate, University of California (Systemwide), with the Manual of the San Diego Division of the Academic Senate containing specific Bylaws and Regulations pertaining to the Senate on the UCSD campus.

     The legislative body of the San Diego Division is the Representative Assembly, which consists of 86 members (ex officio members and representatives of departments and colleges). The Representative Assembly meets six to eight times throughout the year and acts on committee recommendations on various matters.
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