Gallaudet University operates in accordance with the principles of shared governance. The Board of Trustees has fundamental responsibility and ultimate authority for institutional legal, fiscal, academic and operational well-being. The faculty, administration and the Board of Trustees each have primary responsibilities, which overlap and intertwine. When one of the constituencies initiates action that has implications for the institution as a whole, it is incumbent on that group to ensure that other constituency concerns are addressed and incorporated into recommendations for change. The governance documents for faculty are the University Faculty Handbook and the University Faculty Bylaws.

The University Faculty Handbook is a statement of policies and procedures, which includes conditions of employment. The responsibility for developing and proposing amendments rests with the faculty. In the spirit of shared governance, the University Faculty shall work with the administration to develop proposals for amendments to the University Faculty Handbook that can be recommended to the Board of Trustees for approval.

The University Faculty Bylaws is primarily a statement of how the University Faculty shall operate and as such is a faculty document. The faculty has responsibility for initiating changes to the document and for acting on such proposals. The University Faculty will keep the administration and the Board of Trustees informed of all changes it makes to the bylaws.