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 Holden Thorp (Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs) 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 (8 Council members).
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 invites members of the campus community to report on issues of interest such as Health Services, diversity, academic integrity, campus planning, and academic programming.