The Faculty Council was formally organized in 1947 as an attempt to proportionally represent the faculty of Indiana University to university administration and Trustees. Prior to 1947, faculty had met informally and without broad representation when pressing issues faced the university and her faculty.

President Herman B. Wells gave initial direction to the nine Deans, fifteen faculty, and assorted ex-officio members, citing timely concerns about post-war planning, faculty reimbursement for travel to scholarly meetings, establishment of a university press, women's studies, and the uniformity of the grading scale. These business items would grow in range and scope over the next thirty years, and the University Faculty Council became the primary academic and faculty policy maker at Indiana University.

After Indiana University became a multi-campus system in the late 1970's, the University Faculty Council continued in its tradition of campus service and faculty governance. At current, the council consists of an elected body of faculty and ex-officio members who canvas faculty and staff for campus consensus on pressing academic and administrative matters, and provide campus and university service through numerous campus committees and the University Faculty Council.