UNH Faculty Senate

Motion on a joint shared governance document
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UNH FACULTY SENATE
MOTION # XIII-M15

on a joint shared governance document

 

1.  Motion presenter:   David Richman

2.  Date of Faculty Senate discussion:  4/20/09

3.  Rationale:

On 7/22/08, members of the Agenda Committee and the Faculty Senate’s standing committee chairs met with the President’s Cabinet for a day-long working session to develop a statement expressing the group’s consensus on guiding principles and working guidelines for effective shared governance at UNH.  Regarding spheres of responsibility and authority, the group agreed that the faculty has primary responsibility and authority in the following domains:  teaching and learning, curriculum, research, academic standards, terms of faculty appointment and promotion, student life in areas related to the educational process, and policy review.  In each of these areas, the faculty exercises its responsibility and authority, understanding that its actions are subject to review by the president and Board of Trustees.  The president and board, in turn, recognize that they will concur with faculty judgment in these domains “except in rare instances and for compelling reasons which should be stated in detail”, as indicated in the Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities.  The group agreed that the administration has primary responsibility and authority in the following domains:  accreditation of the university, strategic planning, budgeting, repair and renovation of the physical assets, advancement (fund raising), risk management, and policy development and compliance.  In each of these areas, the administration has a positive duty to consult with faculty before taking action and to take into account faculty objections or concerns before, during, and after effecting decisions.  The shared governance document also lists five source documents and twelve guiding principles that should inform interactions between the administration and faculty, in order to assure effective decision making.

The senate chair said that the attached joint document on shared governance will help in the future when personnel changes or misunderstandings may occur.  The 12/12/05 senate motion on shared governance has served faculty well; and this new document enhances that effort, by putting in writing explicit agreement by the university administration.  The senate chair said that he would ask that the president make a formal statement to confirm the document as a guide to university policy.  [That statement is attached.]

4.  Motion:

The Faculty Senate accepts the shared governance document and the principles therein.

5.  Senate action:  passed with thirty-three ayes, no nays, and five abstentions

6.  Senate chair’s signature:  Marco Dorfsman

Forwarded to:  President Mark Huddleston, on May 5, 2009

Forwarded to:  Provost Bruce Mallory, on May 5, 2009

Forwarded to:  Lisa MacFarlane, on May 5, 2009

---------- Forwarded message ----------

From: Huddleston, Mark <Mark.Huddleston@unh.edu>

Date: Fri, May 29, 2009 at 8:07 AM

Subject: RE: Motion 15/ Shared Governance

To: Paula Salvio <pmsalvio@gmail.com>

Cc: "Mallory, Bruce" <Bruce.Mallory@unh.edu>, "Dorfsman, Marco" <marcod@cisunix.unh.edu>

Paula, I am writing to confirm my acceptance of the shared governance document that Marco and Bruce drafted earlier this year.  I appreciate their good efforts, and look forward to working with you in the spirit of that document in the coming year.

SHARED GOVERNANCE

at

THE UNIVERSITY OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

Prepared by

Marco Dorfsman, Chair of the Faculty Senate

Bruce L. Mallory, Provost and Executive Vice President

Background

On July 22, 2008, the UNH Faculty Senate leadership and the President’s Cabinet met for a day-long working session on “Developing Effective Shared Governance at the University of New Hampshire.”  The session was facilitated by ML Hannay.  The agreed-upon goal of the day was to develop a statement expressing the group’s consensus on guiding principles and working guidelines for effective shared governance at UNH.  To arrive at such a statement, we agreed that it would be important to create a shared vision of the “solved state” in which processes and decisions could withstand changes in personnel over time.

            The working session was informed by a series of source documents, including:

v     Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities (1966, 1990; American Association of University Professors, American Council on Education, Association of Governing Boards)

v     The Role of the Faculty in Budgetary and Salary Matters (1972, 1990; American Association of University Professors)

v     Faculty Senate Motion on Shared Governance (#X-M2), December 12, 2005

v     Draft Statement on Shared Governance, Faculty Senate (Agenda Committee, April, 2008)

v     An Invitation to Dialogue:  Shared Governance at the University of New Hampshire (Bruce L. Mallory, April, 2008)

Spheres of Responsibility and Authority

            We agree that the faculty has primary responsibility and authority in the following domains:

            Teaching and learning   

            Curriculum

            Research

            Academic standards

            Terms of faculty appointment and promotion

            Student life in areas related to the educational process

            Policy review

In each of these areas, the faculty exercises its responsibility and authority understanding that its actions are subject to review by the President and Board of Trustees.  The President and Board, in turn, recognize that in the first instance they will concur with faculty judgment in these domains “except in rare instances and for compelling reasons which should be stated in detail” (Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities).

            We agree that the administration has primary responsibility and authority in the following domains:

            Accreditation of the University

            Strategic planning

            Budgeting

            Repair and renovation of the physical assets

            Advancement   (fund raising)

            Risk management

            Policy development and compliance

            In each of these respective areas, the administration has a positive duty to consult with faculty before taking action, and to take into account faculty objections or concerns before, during, and after effecting decisions. 

Guiding principles

            We discussed a range of guiding principles that should inform interactions between administration and faculty in order to assure effective decision-making and excellent performance.  These principles include:

1)      Shared governance is a best operating practice, grounded in continuing, open, and reciprocal dialogue.  Continual consultation with the appropriate constituencies builds mutual trust and goodwill.  Shared governance should always presume the good will and honest intentions of administration and faculty.  Flexibility is important, especially when it is not immediately clear what the consequences of a decision might be or who the appropriate groups are that should be consulted on a given matter.

2)      Shared governance asks that we see things from all sides, not just our own, and that we “put ourselves in the others’ shoes.”

3)      Anticipatory approaches will be more likely to result in successful shared governance than after-the-fact discussions.  It is important to communicate and consult regardless of circumstance. 

4)      To inform is not to consult; consultations require informed participants who respect historical and present contexts.

5)      Shared governance implies that all “sides” must continue to communicate even under the most difficult circumstances.

6)      Keep communication open but do not let constant consultation lead to paralysis

7)      Sufficient time for shared governance on particular issues should be allocated in order to recognize the urgency, circumstances, and potential long term impacts of decisions.

8)      Rationales for decisions should be communicated early and widely.

9)      Shared governance requires clear communication of multiple perceptions about causes and remedies of any given challenge.  Accurate definition and specification of the problem are essential components to guide decisions.

10)  Shared governance may include processes of shared implementation in addition to shared decision-making. 

11)  Shared governance requires a budget system that serves academic priorities rather than defining those priorities.  

12)  Shared governance principles should be explicit, published, honored, and re-visited on a regular basis.

March, 2009

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