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Join the Senate

Do you care deeply about UVA?
Do you have an interest in strengthening and making a difference in our community?
Do you want to be part of something bigger than yourself or your department?
Would you like your voice to be heard?

The Staff Senate serves as the representative voice for staff in matters relating to the University (read our mission). We are a relatively new organization consisting of 80 members (40 senators and 40 alternates). We represent 24 departments and over 5,000 staff at UVA.

As a member of the Staff Senate, you have the opportunity to

  • Collaborate with staff from across grounds and to be a part of a community that cares deeply about the well-being of staff at UVA.
  • Provide input and help to shape UVA programs and policies that are of particular interest to staff.
  • Gain a deeper understanding of how the University works, how decisions are made and what offices around grounds do.
  • Connect with UVA leadership. Staff Senate hosts senior leadership at monthly meetings and provides time for staff to engage in a conversation with the top administrators.
  • Provide your coworkers a voice in University governance.
  • Hear first about upcoming UVA initiatives.
  • Develop professionally and try on a different hat. The Senate provides many opportunities to serve in leadership roles, as project managers, as program coordinators or as project leads.
  • Network and gain greater access to additional leadership opportunities on grounds.

What is involved in serving?

The Senate is comprised of 40 senators and each senator has an alternate who can attend meetings when he/she is unable. Both senators and alternates serve three-year terms. Each senator and alternate is asked to set aside dedicated time each month for Staff Senate membership responsibilities: Up to 4-6 hours a month for senators and 2-4 hours a month for alternates.  

As a senator or alternate, you represent the concerns and interests of the employees in your organizational unit and to serve those staff members well, it is important to be an active member, which involves attending monthly Senate meetings (optional, but encouraged, for alternates); being in regular communication with the staff in your organizational unit and sharing their ideas, questions and concerns with the Senate; and participating in the work of the Senate by serving as a Senator coordinator, on a working group or in other ways that suit your time and talents. 

Who is qualified to serve on the Senate?

YOU - as long as you are a part-time (receiving benefits) or full-time staff member and have worked at UVA for at least one year as of August 1. Every staff member can make a valuable contribution to the Staff Senate. There are no “right” qualifications and no voice is more important than another. We need your individual talents, whether it is your vision for how we can make UVA a better place to work, your passion to seek out solutions to common issues, or your commitment to serving staff and the UVA community. You can play a role in serving a greater cause and improving the work lives of your fellow staff members. Your voice, your ideas and your contribution to UVA matter.  Attend a Staff Senate meeting if you would like to get a taste of what it would be like to serve.  

What kinds of things does the Senate do?

  • We partnered with University Human Resources (UHR) to revise the education benefit—as a direct result of our research and input, the EB was expanded to include tuition coverage.
  • We successfully increased staff access to information about compensation at UVA—UHR created and posted a Compensation 101 video, and Senate members created a detailed Q&A document.
  • We influenced some of Intramural-Recreational Sports’ policies and procedures—based on staff feedback, they have implemented changes related to processing payment, hiring instructors, Hoo’s Well programming and discounted memberships.
  • Learn more about what our committees have accomplished.

Want to learn more?

I’m ready! How do I join?

Each organizational unit in the Academic Division of the University is represented on the Staff Senate, and each unit has a particular number of senators and alternates depending on how many total staff members work in that unit (1 senator and 1 alternate for every 200 staff members). Every June, the Staff Senate holds elections for open seats in each of the units. If your unit has an open seat, your representatives will contact you in March or April to let you know (or please feel free to reach out to your represenatives to inquire). At that time, submit your name to be included on the ballot.