V. Statement of Principles.
The subcommittee also decided that its recommendations
should be guided by a statement of shared principles. That statement follows:
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:
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.
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.
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
While colleges share many features of business organizations,
they also differ in important ways. Such ways include:
For such reasons, governance structures in the academy
may vary from those in business, government, or religious institutions.
the distinctive charters of educational bodies as expressed
in mission statements
their distinctive outcomes or goals, especially the
development of knowledge both in individual students and in the wider culture
their special relationship to local governments and
their central commitment to free academic inquiry and
Deeper sharing entails participation in earlier stages.
values-formation - developing broad organizational commitments
goals-clarification - developing specific objectives
for certain time frames
procedures-definition - developing means to attain these
implementation - accomplishing these objectives
assessment - studying the effectiveness of policies
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:
Again deeper sharing entails participation in decision-making
and recommending processes.
decision-making - making judgments that become policy
formal recommendation - recommending policy to decision-makers
consultation - discussing issues and potential policies
information-provision - providing information useful
to the policy process
information-reception - being informed about policies
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:
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.
Size of committee
Term of service
Pattern of representation
Position in the decision-making process
Recruitment procedures and incentives for service
Other institutional support (e.g., secretarial, released-time,
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.
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.