The General Faculties Council was provided for in The Universities Act. Originally called General Faculty Council; in 1970, the name was changed to General Faculties Council. The Post-Secondary Learning Act (PSLA), proclaimed on March 17, 2004, stipulates that GFC is responsible for the academic affairs of the University, subject to the authority of the Board of Governors.
The GFC is faculty-dominated and provides institutional leadership on the issues of institutional policy and priorities, and has responsibility for the academic affairs of the University. Areas of responsibility include: courses of study; time-tabling; appointment of examiners; examinations; conferring of degrees; University Calendar; Library; establishment of faculties, schools, departments, chairs, and courses of study; academic awards; and admission standards. The GFC makes recommendations to the Board of Governors with respect to affiliation of other institutions; academic planning; campus planning; building program; budget; regulation of residences and dining halls; and procedures with respect to appointments, promotions, tenure anddismissal.
The President connects the two governing bodies, as Chair of GFC and as a voting member of the Board. Recommendations from GFC to the Board are transmitted through the President.
GFC consists of 113 voting members who meet eight times per year to perform their duties, according to the Post-Secondary Learning Act (2004) and the needs of the university. The 113 voting members comprise: the President, as Chair; the Provost and Vice-President (Academic), as Vice-Chair; members by virtue of office, including the Deans, Vice-Presidents, Registrar, and Directors of Information Resources and Continuing Education; members elected from Faculties; student members; appointed members.
The standing committees of the GFC are: GFC Executive Committee, Academic Planning and Priorities Committee, Research and Scholarship Committee, Student Academic Appeals Committee, and Teaching and Learning Committee. The President is an ex officio member of all GFC Standing Committees.
Note: A number of former GFC Standing Committees were dissolved on June 30, 2012: Academic Awards Committee; Academic Program Committee; Appointment, Promotion and Tenure Committee; Committee to Hear and Determine Student Academic Appeals; Continuous Learning Committee; GFC Steering Committee; Learning and Instructional Development Subcommittee; Libraries and Cultural Resources Committee; Program Coordination Committee; Program Coordination Committee; Research Development and Policy Committe; University International Grants Committee; University Planning Committee; University Research Grants Committee; University Teaching and Learning Funding Committee.
Other GFC Standing Committees dissolved in recent years include: the Facilities and Information Technologies Committee, dissolved October 16, 2014; the Ad Hoc Review Committee for Non-Academic Misconduct, dissolved February 4, 2010; the Facilities and Services Planning Committee, dissolved January 31, 2008; and the Calendar Submissions Committee and the Committee on Admissions and Transferability, both dissolved July 1, 2006.