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

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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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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Celebrating 20 Years of PSU’s Capstone Program

capstonePSU’s Capstone Program turned 20 this year! I wondered if we take for granted what it really means for PSU and our students to have a curriculum that embodies our urban university mission and our “Let Knowledge Serve the City” motto. I mean 20 years is a long time. I admit, I feel a bit smug when I hear of other universities struggling to create meaningful community engagement opportunities and hands-on student learning experiences; after all, we have been doing it for decades!

What are Capstone Courses?
Capstone courses are part of our University Studies portfolio, along with Freshman Inquiry, Sophomore Inquiry, and Junior Clusters.

In Capstone courses, students bring together the knowledge, skills, and interests developed to this point through all aspects of their education, to work on a community project. Students from a variety of majors and backgrounds work as a team, pooling resources, and collaborating with faculty and community leaders to understand and find solutions for issues that are important to them as literate and engaged citizens.”

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Celebrating Our 2015 Graduates…And Their Shoes

Eric Noll, Outgoing ASPSU President (left) Rayleen McMillan Outgoing Vice President (right)

Eric Noll, Outgoing ASPSU President (left)
Rayleen McMillan, Outgoing Vice President (right)


On Sunday, June 14, PSU held its university-wide 2015 Spring Commencement Ceremonies. I attended ten ceremonies throughout the week, and witnessed great excitement, joy and recognition at each. The accomplishments of our students was evident in their speeches; faculty, family and friend recognitions; and plans for the future.


We all came to PSU as a grain of sand. PSU was our oyster and turned us into pearls.”

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How PSU’s Academic Leadership Team (ALT) Works

academic leadership at psuA number of recent conversations in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS), budget forums and meetings with department chairs provided me the motivation to write about the role of PSU’s Academic Leadership Team (ALT). The members of ALT are the schools/colleges and Library deans, the vice provosts and the provost.

A piece of trivia: ALT was formally known as the Deans’ Council before it underwent a name change two years ago to better reflect its purpose and function.

When it comes to ALT, shared governance and leadership is always part of the equation.

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