Making Shared Governance Work

we-need-youProfessor Brad Hansen, Presiding Officer of the Faculty Senate, and I share a common goal of increased participation and collaboration between faculty, administrators and our board of trustees to support student learning and success.

I invited Brad to write a guest blog on this subject:

This definition of shared governance was proposed by Gary Olsen in the Chronicle of Higher Education:

“Shared governance is a delicate balance between faculty and staff participation in planning and decision-making processes, on the one hand, and administrative accountability on the other. It has come to connote two complementary and sometimes overlapping concepts: giving various groups of people a share in key decision-making processes, often through elected representation; and allowing certain groups to exercise primary responsibility for specific areas of decision-making. The key to genuine shared governance is broad and unending communication. When various groups of people are kept in the loop and understand what developments are occurring within the university, and when they are invited to participate as true partners, the institution prospers. That, after all, is our common goal.”

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Convocation 2016 Highlights and Looking Ahead

convocation166It is a tradition to start the new academic year with our Faculty and Staff Convocation (video). Faculty Senate Presiding Officer, Professor Brad Hansen, kicked off the September 21 event with a welcome speech.

He recognized the contributions of Professors Gina Greco and Bob Liebman, our most recent past presiding officers, Faculty Secretary Richard Beyler, and the approximately 60 Faculty Senators. He spoke of the recently formed task force to examine the feasibility of teaching intensive faculty ranks, the implementation of Post-Tenure Review, the newly formed Academic Quality Committee, and an adhoc committee on Liberal Education.

Professor Hansen let the audience know that the Senate will engage in work related to the Strategic Plan and that they look forward to working more closely with our Board of Trustees.

Recognition of fconvocation164aculty and staff
Convocation is a time we recognize new faculty and staff, faculty receiving promotion and tenure, and excellence award recipients. A preview of PSU’s new video, Do Something Great, reflected the attitudes embodied by our students, faculty, staff and alumni. Continue reading

How the Strategic Plan is Impacting PSU

strategicplanThe Portland State University Board of Trustees approved our strategic plan in December 2015.

Some have expressed that we went through a large-scale, campus–wide planning effort, and spent a lot of time and money, but are skeptical that little will change as a result of the plan and it will be business as usual.

I share with you some of the work and prioritization taken place in the last few months to demonstrate the plan’s strong impact.

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A Better Campus Community through Participation

communityRecent events had me thinking about PSU’s level of internal community engagement. In the past few weeks, I attended a first anniversary session for faculty, the monthly College of Arts and Sciences (CLAS) Research Brown-Bag, Second Thursday Social Club, my monthly Drop-in Provost Sessions, the Administrative Briefing, a “First Thursday” at a Pearl District Gallery featuring work of faculty in the Arts, and our Winter Symposium.

While a number of faculty and staff participated in these events, attendance was minimal. Even the Second Thursday Social Club that attracts about 100 faculty and staff each month reflects a small percentage of our total PSU faculty and staff.

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Highlights from the 2016 Winter Symposium

winter symposium-photo2Faculty, staff and administrators met last week for PSU’s 2016 Winter Symposium. The symposium theme was “What Does It Mean to be Educated in the 21st Century?” A weighty question, but one that captured the purpose of the symposium and our desire to delve deeper into critical conversations about liberal education, the constant changing nature of higher education, our students, and on what we know about knowledge, disciplines, and teaching.

The daylong, over twenty-year tradition is an opportunity for colleagues to learn, share ideas and formulate actions on relevant academic issues. President Wiewel kicked off the event by punctuating the importance of this question for PSU. He referenced our history, changes in PSU’s recent past, our current environment and a look forward to opportunities. The President cited a number of goals and initiatives that call for addressing the symposium’s focus in PSU’s new Strategic Plan. He carried that commitment throughout the day by his participation at the entire Symposium.

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Closing in on the Strategic Planning Finish Line

sp1The University has spent 18 months working on our new strategic plan. A diverse Strategic Planning Development Team, eight Topic Teams, and thousands of individuals have helped develop and shape the plan.

There is still work to do before the plan is presented to our Board of Trustees in December, but much has been accomplished to-date. The Strategic Planning website is rich with material that chronicles the Board’s charge to the University, working reports, opportunities for input and feedback, newsletters, process charts, the project management plan, trends in higher education, and just about everything one would want access to in a strategic campus-wide planning effort.


Last week’s ‘Sliders and Suds’ event was yet another opportunity for faculty and staff to provide input on the latest draft.

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Falling Short on Academic Program Prioritization?

GolfballIn October 2013, I proposed the Faculty Senate engage in an Academic Program Prioritization (APP) process.

A blog post managed by PSU’s Academic Program Prioritization Committee (APPC) states that, “APP uses a scoring process, driven by academic priorities, to review the portfolio of all academic programs at PSU and assign them to one of a small number of categories, with supporting rationale and recommendations.”

You can also refer to a visual representation of APP for more details.

A brief history of APP accomplishments to-date:

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