(Pix (c) Larry Catá Backer 2015)
In September 2012, I noted a substantial issue of transparency at large universities. Focusing on the situation at Penn State I explained:
I have been writing of the obligations of transparency in its two principal forms. As communicative transparency, this embodies the obligation on the part of the speaker to provide a sufficient amount of information in a timely manner that conveys what is necessary for stakeholders to understand actions undertaken, or that acknowledges communication received or that explains the nature of basis of a decision. As engagement transparency, it provides information sufficient for stakeholders to fully participate in decision making to the extent appropriate to the decision. I have also suggested the challenges to institutional programs of actions in the face of failures of communicative and engagement transparency, and the potential for significantly adverse distraction from even significantly positive institutional objectives. (On the Importance of Transparency and the Relentless Pursuit of Knowledge in the Sandusky Affair--Governance in a New Era; see also here, here, and here)
Penn State has addressed the issue of communicative transparency, and has become something of a model for communication to its stakeholders. Penn State, however, has been slower to fully embrace engagement transparency in a more meaningful way. The issue of engagement transparency thus comes back to the University Faculty Senate. For its January 2014 meeting, the Senate will engage in an open discussion (what we call a forensic), led by Ann H. Taylor, Senator representing Earth and Mineral Sciences and the Director of the John A. Dutton e-Education Institute, about the need for greater engagement transparency in the development of university administrative regulations--especially those that directly impact faculty.
This post includes Professor Taylor's description of the issue and some brief observations: