Governance of the college

Board of trustees

Legal authority for the operation of the college, under the charter granted by the State of Oregon, rests with the board of trustees. A charter and bylaws (Bylaws of the Reed Institute) provide for a minimum of 30 and a maximum of 50 trustees, of whom one is the president of the college. Four trustees are selected by the alumni association, one annually, each for a term of four years. The other trustees are elected by the board, with a nominating committee ordinarily presenting names for consideration; such trustees serve for a term that is normally five years, but these terms are renewable.

A chief responsibility of the board of trustees is to select the president of the college. This task is undertaken by a search committee appointed by the chair of the board and containing equal numbers of trustees and members of the faculty. The board also approves faculty appointments, which are recommended by the president and approved by an academic affairs committee of the board. Other important responsibilities of the board include oversight with respect to financial matters, investment of the endowment and risk management, and leadership in fundraising.

In general, the board operates through a committee structure that includes an executive committee, academic affairs committee, budget policy committee, buildings and grounds committee, development committee, investment committee, nominating committee, student life committee, and such special committees as the chair or the board shall deem necessary. In all of these matters the president and other college officers are concerned to provide leadership and assistance to the board.

The board of trustees meets three times a year, in Portland.

Organization of the college

See the college organization chart.


Audrey Bilger, President. Eliot 312, extension 7500 (503-777-7500)

The president is appointed by and responsible to the board of trustees. The president is the chief executive officer of the college, the presiding officer of the faculty, and the representative of the faculty to the board. The president is an ex-officio member of Committee on Academic Policies and Planning (CAPP) and presides at meetings of the Committee on Advancement and Tenure (CAT). The president recommends the appointment, promotions, salaries, academic tenure, and other conditions of employment for the members of the faculty and for administrative officers. Within budgetary and other limits set by the board of trustees or its executive committee, the president also employs other required staff members of the college. Responsible for recommending budgets for the management and operation of the college, the president is responsible for sound financial conduct of the college. The president reports on the state of the college and makes recommendations on desirable changes or clarification of policy at each regular meeting and at appropriate special meetings of the board. The vice president for college relations, the dean of the faculty, the vice president for student life, the vice president/treasurer, the vice president and dean of admission and financial aid, and the dean of institutional diversity report to the president.

Dean of the faculty

Kathy Oleson, Dean of the Faculty. Eliot 318, extension 7257 (503-777-7257)

The dean of the faculty is the chief academic officer of the college. Working with the Committee on Advancement and Tenure (CAT), the dean oversees and coordinates the recruitment of new faculty members and the evaluation and advancement of the existing faculty. Working with the Committee on Academic Policies and Planning (CAPP), the dean oversees and assists in the planning and development of educational policy and the academic program. The dean is an ex-officio, non-voting member of both committees and is the chair of CAPP. The dean is the representative of the faculty to the president and to the external community. The dean is the second administrative officer after the president and may act for the president in his absence.

Student life

Karnell McConnell-Black, Vice President for Student Life. Eliot 218, extension 7270 (503-777-7270)

Student life works collaboratively and directly with students to provide guidance and resources designed to optimize the quality of student life in and beyond the classroom. The departments within student life provide a wide range of programs and services intended to complement and enhance each student's academic experiences.

Students are invited to contact the dean's office for guidance regarding their progress and engagement at the college, including questions relating to administrative and academic requests and issues relating to college policies and procedures.

If you are a student and have questions or concerns about your Reed experience, or if you are a staff or faculty member and are not sure which department in student life you should contact for your particular concern, please call Megan Simón (503-517-7396) or stop by the Dean’s office in Eliot 218.


Faculty Code

The Faculty Code is the academic policy document for the college. The faculty formulates and administers educational policy, including but not limited to requirements for admission; procedures for registration, withdrawal, and transfer; graduation requirements; curriculum; grading and examination policy; student living, conduct, and academic discipline; and other areas not under the purview of the trustees or other decision-making body. As the faculty adopts or changes policies, it is the responsibility of the Administration Committee and the registrar to update the Faculty Code.

Students may refer to copies of the Faculty Code in the library, the dean of the faculty's office (Eliot 318), or the registrar's office (Eliot 311).

Faculty constitution and bylaws

The faculty constitution and bylaws set forth the rights and responsibilities of the faculty and the processes by which the faculty participate in the governance of the college. It is jointly ratified by the faculty and the board of trustees.

Under Article I, section 3,

"The Faculty, in cooperation with the President and the Dean of the Faculty as Chief Academic Officer, is charged by the Board of Trustees with the fundamental responsibility for the formulation, revision, and continuous review of educational policy. The Board of Trustees shall make no alterations in the basic educational policy of the College without a prior and full review by the Faculty."

The president is responsible for the operation of college facilities and the financial administration of the institution. He or she is assisted in these matters by the dean of the faculty, the vice president and treasurer, the vice president and dean of student life, the vice president for college relations, and other administrative officers. The president is also the presiding officer of the faculty.

Much of the work of the faculty as a policy-making and administrative body is accomplished through the five divisions and through standing and special committees provided for by the faculty constitution. The most important standing committees include the Committee on Academic Policies and Planning (CAPP), the Committee on Advancement and Tenure (CAT), the Community Affairs Committee (CAC), the Administration Committee, the Committee on Admission and Financial Aid, the Library Board, and the Off-Campus Study Program Committee.

The faculty constitution is the document that makes provision for community government.

"The faculty may join with the student body to institute procedures and set policies for such matters of joint concern as they may jointly deem appropriate and as do not infringe on the authority and responsibility of the Board of Trustees" (Article X).

Faculty meetings

"When business is brought to a meeting of the Faculty by a Faculty committee with student members, those student members may be requested by the chair of the committee to attend and participate in a full discussion of that business.

"A sign-up sheet for non-participating student observers shall be provided outside the President's Office at the time of the release of the Agenda for all meetings other than Grade Reviews. A total of eleven seats shall be allocated for student observers at each meeting. One of these seats shall be reserved for a Quest reporter. The remaining ten seats shall be open to the first ten students signing up for the meeting. The Faculty reserves the right to move into closed session at any time by means of a vote of a majority of those members present" (Faculty Bylaws Article I, Sections 5 and 7).

"Representatives of the Senate, nominated by the Student Body President in consultation with the President of the College, may participate as non-voting discussants during Faculty consideration of proposed community legislation. Senate representatives shall participate at such meetings at the invitation, and under the sponsorship, of the President of the College" (Community Constitution, Article III, Section 5).

The minutes of the faculty meetings, except for portions dealing with grade reviews or with confidential matters, are released to the community after they have received faculty approval. They are available for perusal in the registrar's office and may be reviewed by students with permission of the dean of the faculty.

Faculty searches

"All faculty vacancies shall be announced to the academic community. Each Search Committee shall provide opportunity for students in the Departments concerned to meet with prospective candidates for Faculty appointment when they are visiting the campus, and subsequently for the students to discuss their views concerning the candidates with the Committee orally or in writing" (Faculty Code, Chapter VII D).

Faculty committees

Below are the major college committees with a description of their function, and those committees that have student representatives are so noted. Student representatives to those committees are appointed by the president on the recommendation of the student senate.

Academic Policies and Planning (CAPP)

"The academic Faculty shall select annually the members of a Committee on Academic Policies and Planning. The President and Dean of the Faculty shall be ex officio, non-voting members of this Committee. The dean, or in his or her absence, a Chair selected by the Faculty members of the Committee from among its members, shall preside at meetings of the Committee. . . . The President shall refer to the Committee for discussion all issues relating to the assignment of Faculty FTEs or to Faculty awards and workloads. These shall include: requests for leaves and sabbaticals; requests for replacements for leaves, sabbaticals, resignations, and retirements; assignment of temporary FTEs and new positions; approval of job descriptions for regular and temporary appointments; staffing. . . . in the humanities and other interdisciplinary programs; the appointment of faculty members to committees. . . The Committee shall work with departments and divisions in order to maintain a working knowledge of the current curriculum and to formulate and maintain a long-range plan of curricular priorities from which it may initiate and shall review all proposals relating to the curriculum and educational goals of the College" (Faculty Constitution Article IX). See also SCAPP.


"The Administration Committee shall consist of the Registrar, the Dean of Student Life, and one faculty member from each Division.  The President shall appoint the Chair of the Committee from the latter group.  The President may, when he or she deems it advisable, appoint additional members of the Faculty to the Committee.  The Administration Committee shall have the responsibility of recommending to the Faculty scholastic disciplinary actions for underclass students.  The Committee shall be responsible for interpreting the Faculty Code, for taking such actions as are delegated to it by the Faculty, and for proposing such changes in policy as are within its field of competence.  The Committee shall share with the Registrar the responsibility for issuing revised editions of the Faculty Code at regular intervals" (Faculty Bylaws, Article IV, Section 4.A).

Admission and Financial Aid

"The Committee on Admission and Financial Aid consists of the Dean of Admission (ex officio), Dean of Financial Aid (ex officio), the Vice President/Treasurer (ex officio), at least six Faculty members appointed by the President, and at least two students appointed by the President, with the advice of the President of the Student Body.  The committee shall assist the professional admissions staff in their review of applications for admission; shall supervise the awarding of financial aid to new and returning students; and shall formulate policy regarding admission and financial aid to students" (Faculty Bylaws, Article IV, Section 4.B). Students are appointed to this committee.

Advancement and Tenure (CAT)

"The Academic Faculty shall select annually a Committee on Advancement and Tenure. The President shall preside at Meetings of the Committee, but shall not be a member of the Committee. The Dean of the Faculty shall be an ex officio, non-voting member of the Committee. The Committee shall select from among its members a Secretary who shall keep minutes of the meetings and other records, who shall preside in the absence of the President, and who shall serve as the representative of the Committee in presentations to the Faculty" (Faculty Constitution, Article VII, section 1).

"The President shall refer to the Committee for its advice on the membership of search committees and search committee recommendations and all recommendations by the President to the Board of Trustees relating to the appointment of new members or changes in title, salary or term of service of any existing member of the faculty, including members of the Committee. The President shall also seek advice of the Committee on performance of administrative officers in their roles as Faculty members and may seek advice of the Committee on performance of other staff members of the College. The Committee shall have the responsibility for assembling and evaluating the evidence upon which its advice is based. The recommendations of the Committee and the rationales thereof shall be submitted to the President in writing" (Faculty Constitution, Article VII, Section 2).

Art Collection Management

This committee makes recommendations to the president about the proper uses and display of Reed's art collection, use of the art gallery, and use of the Vollum lounge for the display of art. The committee includes two students.

Bookstore Board

Policy for the bookstore is formulated by the bookstore board of managers, which consists of three members of the faculty, four students, and (ex-officio) the vice president/treasurer, the bookstore manager, and the controller. The committee includes four students.

Community Affairs

"The Dean of Student Life shall use this committee as a forum for testing and seeking advice about faculty opinion on issues and policies regarding the conduct of that office, and on general matters of student welfare. The Community Affairs Committee shall represent the views of the Faculty to the Student Body Senate, and shall review all enactments of the Senate, except for allocations of Student Body funds. At the request of either body, the Community Affairs Committee and the Senate shall meet jointly for discussion of issues of mutual concern.  In no event will meetings be less frequent than once each month when the College is in session" (Community Constitution Article II).

Fellowships and Awards

The fellowships and awards committee nominates students for nationally competitive awards such as the Beinecke, Carnegie, Churchill, Goldwater, Marshall, Mitchell, Rhodes, Truman, and Watson. It also assists seniors and recent graduates who apply for a Fulbright scholarship and the Sperling Studentship.

Library Board

The library board passes on matters of general library policy, subject to the approval of the faculty, and apportions book and periodical funds. It consists of the college librarian, chair (ex officio), one faculty member from each division (appointed by the president of the college), and three students (appointed by the president of the student body). The board includes three students.

Institutional Review Board (IRB), previously called Human Subjects Research Committee

The federal government requires all academic and research institutions that receive federal funding to review all research involving humans for ethical protection of human subjects. Senior theses, projects conducted outside of classroom assignments by students, and certain classroom projects (those in which the data collected will be public presented or widely disseminated or that deal with vulnerable populations such as children, prisoners, or populations granted special protection) require review. Consult website for details.

Physical Plant Committee

This committee makes recommendations to the president about the proper use of space in campus buildings and other facilities and is consulted about new facilities when the president so requests. 

In addition to most of the committees listed above, the following committees include students in their membership:

Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD)
Computing Policy
Gray Fund
Off-Campus Study Programs
Reed Union

Community constitution

The faculty and student body jointly enacted a constitution of the Reed community, according to which they share responsibility for the governance of community affairs. The constitution outlines the process by which the student body senate and the faculty Community Affairs Committee initiate and review community legislation. It provides that

"Except for committees (such as the Committee on Advancement and Tenure) dealing primarily with personnel issues, or committees (such as the Administration Committee and the Graduate Awards Committee) dealing with student academic standing and awards, or committees dealing with programs (such as graduate study) not designed for undergraduates, all committees established under the Constitution and Bylaws of the Faculty shall either have voting student members or shall work in relation to such parallel committees as may be established under the Student Body Constitution" (Article V, Section 2).

"When parallel committees (such as the Faculty and Student Committees on Academic Policy and Planning) have been established, the faculty and student committees shall meet together at least once each semester, and at any other reasonable time when either committee requests a joint meeting.  Student committees shall routinely send to their faculty counterparts copies of all their minutes, memoranda, working documents, and recommendations, except those pertaining to meetings defined as "closed" to the community at large in the Bylaws of the Constitution of the Reed College Student Body.  Faculty committees shall routinely send to their student counterparts copies of all their minutes, memoranda, working documents, and recommendations, except those pertaining to meetings defined as "closed" to the Faculty at large in the Bylaws of the Constitution of the Faculty" (Article V, Section 3).

Student body constitution

"A. The Student Body Senate shall be the representative body of the Reed College Student Body for all its legislative, executive, and judicial purposes, and shall represent the interests of the Student Body to the Faculty, the Administration, and the Trustees of Reed College.
B.  The Student Body Senate shall establish policies and adopt bylaws, to which it shall conform in the discharge of all its responsibilities.  The Senate shall authorize and, when necessary, organize and control student activities; supervise Senate boards and committees and recognized student organizations; allocate, distribute, and supervise Student Body funds; establish policy for the use of the Student Union Building; appoint student members of committees; and take such other actions as it judges necessary for the welfare of the student body" (Student Body Constitution, Article II)


Reed has 24 departments grouped into five divisions. Each of these departments offers a major, requirements for which can be found in the catalog. The chairs of these departments are listed here.

Each department is required by Chapter VII.C of the Faculty Code to hold a meeting of faculty and student majors in the department at least once a year to discuss departmental courses, staffing, and other departmental matters.


For purposes of educational administration, the college is divided into five divisions: The Arts; History and Social Sciences; Literature and Languages; Mathematical and Natural Sciences; and Philosophy, Religion, Psychology, and Linguistics. The chairs and secretaries, elected annually, are listed here.

During their first two years at the college, students are under the academic jurisdiction of the general faculty. Their scholastic record is reviewed by the Administration Committee and by the faculty as a whole, and academic discipline--where necessary--is administered by the faculty. Later, students come under the jurisdiction of the division in which they major.

Each division, in accordance with Chapter VII.D of the Faculty Code, will schedule at least one meeting a year to discuss divisional matters. The dates and agendas of these meetings are publicized to the community so that underclass students may attend one or another of the meetings on the basis of their anticipated major.

Student Committee on Academic Policy and Planning (SCAPP)

The Student Committee on Academic Policies and Planning (SCAPP) is a student committee parallel to the faculty's Committee on Academic Policies and Planning (CAPP). By yearly mutual agreement, three members of SCAPP regularly participate as non-voting members in all meetings of CAPP except those defined as closed to the faculty at large (generally, those dealing with staffing questions). CAPP and SCAPP send to one another copies of their minutes, memoranda, working documents, and recommendations.

(Page last modified: November 29, 2023)