Committee Chair, 2011-2012: Christine Harrington
The Committee created several resolutions regarding shared governance that were passed by the FSC. Last May, the FSC passed a resolution concerning shared governance principles: representation, information, consultation, reasoned justifications, and communication:
- Shared governance means that input from the faculties’ duly elected representatives (FSC) is central to the process of “consulting with faculty”
- The Faculty’s Senate Council will have representatives, selected by the FSC, on University Committees, Taskforces, or other like bodies dealing with all matters that affect faculty and university policy
- The Faculty Senators’ Council functions as the personnel committee for the faculty. As such, it is obligated to represent the faculty’s interest in dealing with the administration, and to insure that the faculty is informed on issues that pertain to them and impact their well-being. It has been common practice by the administration to impose a rule requiring confidentiality with respect to deliberations on certain topics, such as, but not limited to, benefits. This practice is referred to as “deliberative privilege”.
- This practice prevents the faculty from obtaining timely knowledge concerning issues that affect them
- This practice prevents the administration from obtaining valuable feedback from the FSC, and when appropriate, from the entire faculty
- The Faculty Senators’ Council does not support the practice of a code of confidentiality, also known as “deliberative privilege”, except in cases concerning information specific to individuals, whose privacy rights transcend the need for transparency, and cases involving university negotiating positions with external financial entities.
Consultation (revised May 2012)
- Consultation is a means to obviate potential crises of confidence that can occur when a decision-making group within an organization unilaterally imposes its decisions on the organization, and
- The quality and effectiveness of academic policy making depends on consultation between informed faculty representatives and the other principals in the University’s decision-making process, and
- Shared governance means seeking and evaluating faculty input before decisions that affect faculty are made and adequately responding to faculty input,
- That when a decision is not pressing, a reasonable length of time for consultation must be provided. During semesters, this means at least a few weeks in order for at least one FSC meeting to occur. For decisions that must occur during the summer, when FSC is not in session, the FSC will establish, before its last meeting of the spring semester, an internal structure for timely consultation and input to administration decisions that affect the faculty.
- Accountability is an important element of the consultation process
- When FSC advice is not taken, the Administration will provide, in writing, its reasons for not accepting the FSC’s advice developed through the process of consultation
- Access to information is fundamental to policymaking
- The FSC Senators will circulate, through their Schools and departments, the agreement FSC worked out with the Administration which allows Senators access to email addresses of all faculty for the purpose of communicating with the faculty (their constituents)
- FSC Senators are obligated to keep their respective faculty informed on an ongoing basis
In October these principles were incorporated into the FSC rules and procedures. The Committee also supported including the language on shared governance into the Faculty Handbook and the FSC passed a resolution in December with proposed revised language in the Handbook. In January, FSC members met with Carol Morrow (Associate Provost for Academic Operations), Peter Gonzalez (Assistant Provost for Academic Appointments), and Julie Boden Adams (Associate General Counsel) to discuss revisions to the Handbook.