Until 1970, the Student Senate was the central representative agency for student participation in University governance. In the 1970 Constitution of the University, which was adopted by the faculty and students with approval of the administration and the Board of Regents, the Academic Senate was created as the primary governing body of the University, composed of faculty and students. In 1998, the new Board of Trustees approved a University Constitution. A revision, which was approved in 2001, reflected membership changes in the Academic Senate. When creating policy that affects the academic area broadly understood, the President will seek the advice of the academic community through its principle representative body, the Academic Senate.
Within the limits established by legislative statute and the authority delegated thereby to the Board of Higher Education and the Board of Trustees, the Academic Senate shall be the primary body to recommend educational policies of the University, including those described below, and to advise the President on their implementation. Policies recommended by the Academic Senate shall be forwarded to the President for consideration. The President may approve or disapprove them, amend them or return them to the Academic Senate for further discussion before final consideration by the President.
In addition to serving on the Academic Senate, students also compose the Student Government Association (SGA). SGA draws it traces from the original Student Council.
Below is a timeline of the history of student governance at ISU.
1911- Faculty-student committees that participate in the administrative and policy-forming activities are listed in the University catalog for the first time.
1923- Student Council is founded.
1951- The University Council is created as the faculty-administrative governing body for the university.
1956-Student Council establishes the Union Board—an organization that revolved around programming and social activities in the student union.
1957-Student Council is renamed Student Senate to reflect its new focus on the advocacy of student interests.
1960- Student Senate begins to assert more of it efforts in policy-making, as seen through their efforts to drop dormitory curfew hours, campaigning for the passage of statewide bond referendum needed to finance University building projects, and participating in campus deliberations on the issue of retention or deletion of "Normal" in the University's official name.
1961-Students are included on some University committees that relate to their interests.
1967- Over raising student concerns regarding rigid general education requirements, depersonalized lecture hall classes, and the quality of teaching, Student Senate convinces the University Council to have students placed in an advisory capacity on the curriculum, general education, and teacher education bodies.
-The University Council establishes a joint faculty-student panel to examine more fully the role of student involvement in school affairs and the composition of student-faculty boards.
1968- University Council named a committee to prepare a "constitution" that would reorganize faculty governance in the University. When the committee asked the Student Senate to comment on that group's relationship to University governance, student officers side-stepped the question and replied that the committee should include student members and that any constitution drafted should encompass the whole University, including students.
-In the fall of 1968 the constitution committee accepts Student Senate’s request, and students and civil service employees are added to the constitution committee.
1969-The constitution committee approves a student proposal that administration, faculty, and students join together to form a single governance body with responsibility for academic matters affecting the whole University.
-University Council increases the number of committees with student members and gives student members full voting power after pressure from Student Senate
-In December a university-wide referendum on the new constitution that established one governing body and formalizes student participation in the governing process is overwhelmingly approved.
1970-The Academic Senate, the new shared governance body composed of faculty, staff, and students, meets for the first time, replacing University Council.
1971- By incorporating students in the governance process, campus order is maintained where other institutions experience student-led disruptions.
1973-The Student Association is formed and becomes the representative group for all students, replacing the Student Senate.
1981-Vice President of Student Affairs Neil Gamsky temporarily breaks relations with the Student Association after the Student Association openly defies new alcohol policy and age restrictions in the residence halls.
1986- The Student Association is overhauled into the Student Government Association, consisting of a legislative branch and an executive branch.
1993-The Student Government Association amends its rules to allow for the appointment of students from underrepresented groups to the Assembly.
2001- The Board of Trustees approves the changes to the composition of Academic senate, increasing the number of students from 19 to 21.
-The Student Government Association replaces the Student Affairs internal committee of the Academic Senate, thus SGA becomes responsible for policies related to student life to Academic Senate.
2002- Students senators of the academic senate and SGA legislators are combined into one position—SGA Senator, who sit on both the SGA Assembly and Academic Senate.
2007- University President Dr. Al Bowman approves SGA’s constitution making Student Government the official voice of students
2009- Academic colleges become represented by student senators for the first time.
2015- Success Week passed