V. Statement of Principles.


The subcommittee also decided that its recommendations should be guided by a statement of shared principles. That statement follows:
 
  1. The central values guiding any structural revisions should stem from the mission statement of the college. That is, any proposed structural changes should support or enhance the quality of education offered at the college.

  2.  
  3. There is an important sense in which all persons possessing faculty rank share a common commitment to the education of students and to the wellbeing of the institution as a whole. Proposed revisions should be heedful of the value of this broader faculty community.

  4.  
  5. However, differences between categories of faculty work - i.e., between teaching, academic support, and administrative roles - do exist both in customary practice and in college by-laws. These differences may be addressed in proposed revisions of governance structures, including such issues as spheres of special responsibility or roles in specific decision-making processes.

  6.  
  7. While colleges share many features of business organizations, they also differ in important ways. Such ways include:
  8. For such reasons, governance structures in the academy may vary from those in business, government, or religious institutions.
     
  9. Discussions of shared governance entail questions about stages of participation. This issue refers to the different points in the policy-making process when participation occurs. Such stages include:
  10. Deeper sharing entails participation in earlier stages.
     
  11. Discussions of shared governance also entail questions of types of participation. This refers to the different ways in which communication occurs. Types of participation include:
  12. Again deeper sharing entails participation in decision-making and recommending processes.
     
  13. Developing models of good governance entails considerations not only of committee structures/practices but also of the characteristics of the persons performing these functions. In general, this means examining such issues as:
  14. Proposed revisions to existing structures should reflect a clear understanding of the need for efficiency, speed, and flexibility in institutional decision-making as well as for the value of broader involvement in the policy process.

  15.  
  16. Proposed revisions should demonstrate a clear promise of improved effectiveness over current practices. That is, new models should not merely create a new set of problems or inefficiencies.

  17.  
  18. Because of the ultimate legal authority of the Board of Trustees in establishing institutional policy and practice, many decisions by administrators or faculty are ultimately recommendations to that body. Nevertheless, it is incumbent upon the faculty as a whole to develop and present sound practices that are consistent with those in the broader community of colleges/universities and sensitive to the special needs of Elon College and its students.



Return to Report of the Academic Council Subcommittee on the Role of Faculty in Shared Governance.