S&F Task Force on the Re-organization of Faculty Governance
Major points from the literature on faculty governance and our comments:
Kezar, Adrianne. What is More Effective to Governance: Relationships, Trust and Leadership,
or Structure and Formal Processes? (2004)
Dr. Kezar notes that structural changes in governance have shown effectiveness
when committees have clear charges and defined roles. Rewards for governance also
shape effectiveness by attracting strong people to the various roles. However, this
approach is limited and further studies have shown that focusing on strong
leadership, good relationships, interpersonal dynamics, and very importantly, trust
has more influence on effectiveness than structure. Trust includes accountability on
the part of ultimate decision makers, seeing that feedback is followed and
commitments are kept. Structural approaches can enhance efficiency and a
relationship/trust approach can enhance effectiveness.
Comments from the Task Force: We recognize that our look at structural changes
are only one facet of improving governance at SSU. Our main impetus for changing
the structure derives from all the vacancies in governance currently and the
incredible workload for faculty from governance to fill all the seats on our
committees as demonstrated by the info graphic we produced last semester.
Miller, Michael T. Improving Faculty Governance: Cultivating Leadership and Collaboration
in Decision Making. (2003)
Miller was the lead researcher for the National Data Base on Faculty Involvement in
Governance Project. The National Data Base on Faculty Involvement in Governance
Project begun at the University of Alabama between 1994 and 1999 and was
completed at San Jose State University in 2000 and 2001.
From the database project they learned that “faculty governance units tend to hurt
themselves more than others who may inhibit their behavior.” Miller argues that if
governance units want more respectability they must learn. . .”to become more
systematic and purposeful in their actions and behaviors.”
One of his recommendations for improving faculty governance regards
representation:
Make a Commitment to Representative Training
This recommendation argues that because faculty governance uses a system of
elections it is de facto committing to life as a democratic organization. “The challenge
for those elected, then, is how to learn to hear the voices of their constituents and it
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S&F Task Force on the Re-organization of Faculty Governance
is in this regard that faculty governance is generally less sophisticated than student
governance” (emphasis ours).
Here are examples collected about how student governance leaders work to hear
their constituents voices:
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Senators meet with academic Deans and Department Chairs;
Senators have an open meeting once a semester with students in their
college/major;
Senators keep a webpage of issues before the general student government that
can impact the college/major;
Senators visit an academic department every other week during a semester;
Senators sit at tables in open areas of the college/department, will to talk to any
student who comes by and hear their concerns;
Senators make announcements at all-college/department faculty meetings;
Senators visit classes and make a quick announcement about wanting feedback;
Senators visit student groups affiliated with the college/department and ask for
feedback or input about topics or issues to be considered;
Senators distribute “interest forms” asking for ideas, topics, or issues to be
considered, and the interest forms can be submitted anonymously and;
Student senators meet with faculty senators to discuss issues that might be
similarly discussed.
“For faculty senate leadership, then, the challenge is to develop a set of habits
among faculty senators and a sense of responsibility to share information and gather
input about important issues.”
Comments from the Task Force: Our approach to reducing the size of the Senate
itself is one idea toward improving the quality of representation in the Senate. The
Senate Analyst’s survey in 2008
(http://www.sonoma.edu/senate/reports/SchoolRepsReport07_08.pdf) found that
most representatives on the Senate represent their departments instead of their
Schools. We thought that by reducing the number of reps, faculty could more easily
follow the spirit of our current by-laws which request that reps attend the
department chair meetings. Additionally, one idea was to group departments
together, based on the idea that people already naturally represent their department
and might find it relatively easy to add a few more. We ask the Schools to consider
this information when discussing representation on the Senate.
Gayle, Dennis John; Twearie, Bhodndradtt; White A. Quinton, J. Governance in the
Twenty-First Century University: Approaches to Effective Leadership and Strategic
Management. (2003).
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S&F Task Force on the Re-organization of Faculty Governance
This is a report from the Association for the Study of Higher Education, the ERIC
Clearinghouse on Higher Education and the George Washington University
Graduate School of Education and Human Development. It offers “approaches to
effective leadership and strategic management in the twenty-first university, using a
distinctive entry point: the perceptions and attitudes of university leaders toward
the institutional structures and organizational cultures within which we lead and
manage our universities, together with the implications of these attitudes for the
central concerns of higher education.”
They discuss the national issues impacting most universities and the potential
impacts on shared governance. They organize their report under the following
topics: governance and teaching and learning; governance, information technology
and distance education and resource allocation and governance. Shared governance
includes faculty, administrators and trustees. As part of this report, they discuss a
1998 research project of a group of American Council on Education fellows that
surveyed research and doctoral universities, comprehensive universities and
baccalaureate colleges about the perceptions of governance shared by faculty,
administrators and trustees.
This 1998 research came to the following conclusions. The top four areas where all
agreed that faculty rather than administrators should have primary roles were:
curriculum, academic policies, tenure/promotion, and other personnel issues such
as faculty recruitment and conditions of employment. 77% of baccalaureate and 80%
of comprehensive institutions “assigned high rankings to the significance of
teaching and learning as a focus for governance.” Most faculty leaders thought
information technology should make information widely available, but this was not
the general experience. Most respondents did not perceive a direct link between
budgetary issues and the governance process. A large majority of faculty leaders
and vice presidents indicated that organizational culture “was, in principle, a major
catalyst for, or constraint on, shared governance.”
One of the conclusions from this report argues: “In essence, universities and colleges
are ordered sociopolitical and socioeconomic communities of students, teachers,
scholars, and leaders. There is no substitute for community dialogue that includes
trustees, administrators, faculty, and students about the relationship between
teaching, research, and governance structure. Yet leaders must be prepared to find
that such dialogue might reveal new differences in attitudes and values that might
not have been previously anticipated, but need to be addressed. In such cases, it may
be possible work patiently with identified collegial networks and eventually to fold
multiple perspectives together while creating rolling coalitions for change by
developing an increasingly shared vision of the future.”
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S&F Task Force on the Re-organization of Faculty Governance
Comments from the Task Force: We ask that faculty look at our ideas and ask if the
governance structure is aligned with the university mission. Does our initial idea
represent a stronger link between governance and teaching/learning? How should
faculty governance be linked to budgeting, if at all. What role can information
technology play toward improving governance at SSU? What other roles do you see
faculty governance having at SSU? How could that be expressed in our
organization?
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S&F Task Force on the Re-organization of Faculty Governance