Committee Chair, 2012-2013: Christine Harrington
The Governance Committee monitors University-wide governance and the governance process in the several schools, considers the impact of policies that affect faculty governance, and conducts regular periodic reviews of the NYU Faculty Handbook.
Resolution regarding Amendment to NYU Bylaw 63(c)
The Governance Committee and Executive Committee presented the following resolution, which was approved at the April 11, 2013 FSC meeting:
In the Bylaws of New York University (Amended and Restated: Effective September 1, 2011), NYU Bylaw 63 (c) Elections and Appointments states:
All elections for members of the Faculty Senators Council will be held prior to May 1, and the name of each representative to the Senate will be transmitted to the Secretary of the Senate within five days.
In the Rules of Procedure of the Faculty Senators Council of New York University (as Amended through May 3, 2012), Rule 1. Representation (d) Time of Elections states:
All elections for members of the Faculty Senators Council shall be held prior to May 1, and the name of each representative to the Senate shall be transmitted to the Secretary of the Senate within five days.
IT IS RESOLVED, that the Faculty Senators Council proposes the following amendment to NYU Bylaw 63 (c):
All elections for members of the Faculty Senators Council shall be held prior to June 1, except in extenuating circumstances, which have been explained in writing to the FSC Governance Committee by June 6. The name of each representative to the Senate should be transmitted to the Secretary of the Senate not more than five days after June 1.
The FSC will discuss in the fall when the Board of Trustees plans to review changes to the University Bylaws.
Selecting & Appointing University Presidents
The Committee created a Background Report on Presidential Search Best Practices and Standard Operating Procedures at NYU.
This topic was discussed at the March FSC meeting, and a resolution recommending the amendment of NYU Bylaws to include provisions for conducting searches for the University President was approved:
Resolution (approved 3/14/13):
Whereas: Faculty participation in, and consultation on searches to select NYU presidents has historically been the norm, and
Whereas: The most recent search departed significantly from that norm, and
Whereas: The current NYU Bylaws include no detailed provisions for how Presidential searches will be conducted, it is
RESOLVED: The Faculty Senators Council recommends that the NYU Board of Trustees amend Chapter IV, Section 25(b) of the NYU Bylaws to include a new section outlining the composition and responsibilities of a Presidential Search Committee that has significant and meaningful elected-faculty representation.
The Presidential Search Committee and its procedures will be governed by NYU’s five principles of Shared Governance, which serve as a framework for ensuring Faculty representation, information, consultation, reasoned justification, and communication (see The Faculty Handbook).
Revised Shared Governance Principles
- The Faculty Senators Council adopted on May 5, 2011 five Resolutions Regarding Shared Governance
- Representatives of the Faculty Senators Council and designees of the New York University Administration reached mutual agreement on the revised language of these five Resolutions
- On November 20, the FSC approved the following five principles of shared governance:
The administration of New York University and the Faculty Senators Council have agreed to the following five principles of joint shared governance, which are now listed in the Faculty Handbook (December 12, 2012):
The Faculty Senators Council (FSC) will have a representative (from the FSC or its designee), on University committees, taskforces, or other University-wide bodies that are convened by the administration to advise on matters that affect faculty in educational and administrative policy.
Transparency with respect to information regarding matters that affect faculty in educational and administrative policy is the norm. The use of “deliberative privilege” is the exception to this norm, requested only in circumstances wherein an individual(s) or the University’s interests would be harmed by public disclosure. In such instances, the University administration will provide appropriate reasons for invoking “deliberative privilege”.
Except under rare, extraordinary circumstances, the University administration will provide a reasonable length of time for FSC consultation and input on all matters that affect faculty in educational and administrative policy. This means that the administration must plan in advance to allow enough time for at least one regularly-scheduled FSC meeting to occur before the consultation period comes to a close on any particular matter.For urgent decisions, such as decisions that must be taken during the summer or winter holiday, when the FSC is not in session, the FSC will establish a “provisional review committee” and a set of procedures for timely consultation and input regarding University administration decisions on matters that affect faculty in educational and administrative policy. All decisions reached by FSC’s provisional review committee are subject to full FSC review and approval. The FSC will promptly convey its final decision on the matter to the administration, which in turn will reconsider the provisional policy, based on new or additional advice provided by the FSC. The administration will then promptly convey its final decision to the FSC.
- Reasoned Justification
When the FSC submits advice in writing to the University administration and the administration does not agree with or accept the FSC’s advice, the administration will provide its reasons for not accepting the FSC’s advice to the FSC in writing and in a timely matter.
Predicated on the understanding the communications will pertain to Senate-related matters relevant to faculty colleagues within the Senators’ schools, and that the communication systems will be used in a reasonable and responsible manner consistent with the norms of civility, the Deans will enable Senators to send emails to faculty colleagues within their schools. Such communication will clearly convey whether its content is an official FSC communication or if it reflects the personal view(s) of the author(s).
Faculty Handbook Amendments
During AY 2011-12 and the summer of 2012 several revisions were made by the Provost’s Office to the Faculty Handbook (FH) with no review or only an incomplete review by the full Faculty Senators Council. Examples include:
- Addition of a “Preamble,” which is a modified version of the “Foreword,” on the front page of the online version of the Spring 2012 FH edition
- Alterations to the policies on Intellectual Property and Conflict of Interest
- Removal of the sentence verifying FSC approval of FH revisions: “All of the material included in this Faculty Handbook has been reviewed by and accepted by the Faculty Senators Council of New York University.”
FSC’s principles of shared governance, along with past practices wherein the Faculty, the Administration and the Board of Trustees work collaboratively to reach mutually agreeable revisions of the FH, underscore the importance of consultation in an academic community.
Resolution on Procedure for Amending the Faculty Handbook (approved November 20, 2012)
WHEREAS the previous NYU Faculty Handbook (2008) contains the following statement on its last page – "All of the material included in this Faculty Handbook has been reviewed by and accepted by the Faculty Senators Council of New York University." – and the new (2012) online and pdf versions omits this important provision; and
WHEREAS the new, 2012 Faculty Handbook was not reviewed by and accepted by the full Faculty Senators Council; and
WHEREAS the new, 2012 Faculty Handbook contains recent amendments to important academic policies, such as the policy on “Intellectual Property” (patents, copyrights, and tangible research property) and on “Conflict of Interest and Conflict of Commitment,” which have not been reviewed by and accepted by the Faculty Senators Council;
RESOLVED that all changes to the New York University Faculty Handbook shall be reviewed and accepted by the Faculty Senators Council before such changes are included in the New York University Faculty Handbook, as has been the practice in the past. If a change to the Faculty Handbook must be made before the Faculty Senators Council is able to review and accept such change, it shall be noted in the Table of Contents and in the amended text that the “change was made administratively,” as occurred for the “Principles and Procedures for Dealing with Allegations of Research Misconduct” in the 2008 edition of the Faculty Handbook. This designation shall remain until the Faculty Senators Council has reviewed and accepted the proposed change; and
RESOLVED that the Faculty Senators Council will post the following statement on its website and widely publicize:
“Unlike the prior edition (2008) of the NYU Faculty Handbook, the new (2012) online and pdf versions of the NYU Faculty Handbook have not yet been presented by the administration for review by and acceptance by the Faculty Senators Council.”
The FSC is in continued conversations with the administration on this matter.