Professor 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.”
A 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.
For the past several years, faculty members and departments (both in and out of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS)) have raised questions about CLAS’ structure.
- With its 25 academic departments and 15 centers/institutes, is it too big?
- How can one college be so diverse as to span the physical, social and natural sciences and the humanities?
- As one college, do they have a big enough voice “at the table?”
In spring 2014 I had the opportunity to ask if faculty and staff wanted to take a deeper dive into assessing the structure of CLAS. Upon survey review, the voices of over 250 faculty and staff in the College indicated their preference to have a conversation about the structure.