Proposal for a Task Force on Shared Governance

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Approved by the Faculty Affairs Committee on January 30, 2001

Shared governance centers around “a collegial system of shared decision-making uniting the responsibilities of those who oversee, administer, instruct at, study at, or have graduated from the CSU.” (Principles and Policies: Papers of the Academic Senate, The California State University, Vol. 2, 1999, p. 21, PDF p. 27) It rests upon relationships of mutual respect and trust, especially among faculty and administrators.

Collegial, shared governance is widely acknowledged to be necessary for the assurance of educational quality and the proper functioning of an institution of higher education. The Board of Trustees of the California State University endorse the principle of university governance as a shard, collegial process in September 1985.

“Collegiality consists of a shard decision-making process and a set of values which regard the members of the various university constituencies as essential for the success of the academic enterprise…

“Collegial governance assigns primary responsibility to the faculty for the educational functions of the institution in accordance with the basic policy as determined by the Board of Trustees. This includes admission and degree requirements, the curriculum and methods of teaching, academic and professional standards, and the conduct of creative and scholarly activities. Collegiality rests on a network of interlinked procedures jointly devised, whose aim is to assure the opportunity for timely advice pertinent to decisions about curricular and academic personnel matters.” (Report of the Board of Trustees’ Ad Hoc Committee on Governance, Collegiality in the California State University(PDF p. 47), adopted by the Board in September 1985)

The Board acknowledged the responsibility of administrative officers to ensure “that there is continual consultation with appropriate faculty representatives on these matters.” Furthermore, according to the statement, “Faculty recommendations are normally accepted, except in rare instance and for compelling reasons.” The Board also recognized “the value of participation by the faculty in budgetary matters, particularly those directly affecting the areas for which the faculty has primary responsibility.”

In May, 1988, the Academic Senate CSU endorsed a paper titled Campus Responsibilities in Collegial Governance. In it, the ASCSU said:

“As a system, the CSU is now fully committed to collegiality. Within this atmosphere it is important that local senates and administrators endeavor to ensure a collegial approach to campus matters and decisions. Joint decision-making and consultation between administrators and faculty are essential to the performance of the educational mission of the various campuses. The academic senates and administrations on each campus should ensure that the senates are the usual mechanisms by which faculty exercise their primary responsibility for curricular policies, academic standards and policies, criteria and standards for appointment-retention-tenure-promotion decisions, the preservation of peer review in academic decisions, and other matters which are delegated to the faculty. The senates and administrations should also ensure that the senates are the usual mechanisms by which the faculty are consulted regarding other professional and education matters such as faculty representation on committees and councils, academic calendars, and fiscal matters which affect instructional programs.” (Principles and Policies: Papers of the Academic Senate, The California State University, Vol. 2, 1999, p. 47, PDF p. 52)

In accordance with this view, Article III, Section 1 of the CONSTTITUTION OF THE FACULTY OF SAN FRANCISCO STATE UNIVERSITY charges the SFSU Academic Senate with formulating policies and procedures regarding:

  1. appointment & review of academic administrators;
  2. faculty appointment;
  3. curriculum & instruction;
  4. Library & research;
  5. student affairs, admissions, retention, awarding of grades & graduation;
  6. business & fiscal matters;
  7. campus development;
  8. academic & professional standards;
  9. mission & goals;
  10. other matters about the welfare & excellence of the University.

The maintenance of such a system of collegial, shared governance is never without its challenges. In recent years, repeatedly, and seemingly with increasing frequency, matters coming to the attention of the Academic Senate and its various committees include concerns about adherence to established processes of shared governance.

Earlier this year (2000) the SFSU Academic Senate endorsed an Academic Senate CSU initiative calling for a review of shared governance within the system. The Senate also called upon President Corrigan and his administration to join with all members of the campus community in a renewed commitment to shared governance. With the intention of fostering concrete actions reflecting such a commitment, the Faculty Affairs Committee of the Academic Senate now proposes that the Senate direct the Executive Committee to establish a Task Force on Shared Governance.

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