(Pix © Larry Catá Backer 2016)
University faculty organizations serve as the institutional voice of the faculty in the complex but important operation of shared governance. This role distinguishes universities from other corporate enterprises, and brings them closer to models of public organizations in which principles of democratic participation are essential for the legitimacy of the organization and its operations (e.g., On the Institutional Role of a Faculty Senate: Part 1(May 4, 2012)).
The essence of the institutional character of faculty organizations is its role as a representative of the faculty and its perspectives. That representative role can be preserved only to the extent that the faculty organization itself is controlled by and reflects the will of the faculty, especially in its relations with other stakeholders, principally the administration of the university. Under this model of shared governance, faculty, administration, and board of trustees are three distinct actors which together comprise the critical institutional elements of governance.
Yet in some public research universities, the representative role of the faculty organization has been challenged. In some of these institutions, there has been efforts, sometimes successful, to include within the faculty organization a substantial number of voting members who represent the administration within the faculty organization itself. This post considers the issue of administration membership within a faculty organization, its effects on shared governance, and advances a suggestion that recasts the role of the administration and its officials within a faculty organization.