College Governance

In chartering Williams College on June 22, 1793, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts vested the legal responsibility for the affairs of the college in the president and trustees. But at Williams the governance of the college is shared deeply with the faculty as well.

Three key members of the senior staff are drawn from the faculty for terms of service: dean of the college, dean of the faculty, and provost. Faculty carry a considerable share of the responsibility for creating and implementing college policies as well, through their work, often with students and staff, on faculty standing committees and on other college-wide committees and advisory boards, and, as a whole, at meetings of the full faculty–the central venue for faculty governance, where the curriculum is approved annually and other important matters are discussed and voted upon.

Students, too, are actively involved in governance, working collaboratively with deans and other administrators on policies and issues of interest, and serving as members of several standing committees.

This system of shared governance is at the heart of the college’s enduring excellence and the strength of its community.

The officers of the college are the president, secretary, treasurer, and one or more vice presidents or chief officers who, along with the dean of the faculty, dean of the college, and provost, make up the college’s senior staff.