The Council was founded in response to the report of the Task Force of Undergraduate Education. The Provost's office established the UGC in October 1995 to implement the recommendations of the Task Force. Co-chairs Edward Macias (Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor) and Gerhild Scholz Williams (Vice Provost and Associate Vice Chancellor), convene a group of students, faculty and administrators (10 each) who meet two times a semester. The agenda is set by the Steering Committee (9 Council members).
The work of the Council is done by a number of subcommittees that regularly report to the Council. Subcommittee members are drawn from the Council and from the university community at large depending on the issues raised. Council members discuss and approve all action proposals. Issues addressed by the Council have been advising, spoken/written English skills, Washington University as an intellectual community, exam scheduling, communications, student housing, among others. Upon recommendation of its membership, the Council also has invited members of the campus community to report on issues of interest such as Health Services, issues of diversity, academic integrity, campus planning, and special academic programming.