Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Presentation: "Institutionalization of Faculty Role in Shared Governance: The Faculty Senate at Penn State University"

(Pix © Larry Catá Backer 2015)

Last week I was pleased to have been invited to speak to Chinese and Japanese academics about the concept of shared governance from its origins, through its golden age to the challenges that have emerged in recent years (for more see, here, here, here, here, here, and here). The focus of the study was the organization, operation and challenges of the University Faculty Senate at Pennsylvania State University.

The group of administrators and graduate students was organized by Hideto Fukudome, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Education, The University of Tokyo. More about the group here.

A transcript of the presentation follows:

Transcript of "Institutionalization of Faculty Role in Shared Governance: The Faculty Senate at Penn State University"

  1. 1. Institutionalization of Faculty Role in Shared Governance: The Faculty Senate at Penn State University Larry Catá Backer Comparative Study in University Management Summer 2015 Prof. Hideto Fukudome Graduate School of Education The University of Tokyo
  2. 2. Order of Presentation • 1. History • 2. Present Organization and Operation • 3. The Structures of shared governance at Penn State • 4. Challenges and Future Development
  3. 3. Brief History • In the beginning (1600s-1870s) —autocracy – Before the modern American university took shape in the 1870s, institutional governance was mainly in the hands of governing boards and the college presidents they appointed • With the introduction of research move toward internal democratization (1870-1915) • 1915: formation of AAUP among elite faculty—Professionalization – the modern university was “predicated on the increasing professionalization of American faculty, who would use their new status” to make claims to a “greater role in institutional governance” and to the academic freedom necessary to “fulfill their mission as professionals.” • Democratization of Education 1940s-1980s—Institutionalization • Change and Challenge (1980s-present)
  4. 4. Present Organization and Operation • University of Maryland Policy on Shared Governance – II. PRINCIPLES A. Final authority and responsibility for the welfare of the USM and its institutions rests with the Board of Regents. . . . – B. Shared governance procedures and principles apply at all levels within the USM. – C. Shared governance requires informed participation and collaboration by faculty, students, staff, and administrators. – D. Faculty, staff, and students shall have opportunities to participate, appropriate to their special knowledge and expertise, in decisions that relate to: • 1. Mission and budget priorities. . . . ; 2. Curriculum, course content, and instruction; 3. Research; 4. Appointment, promotion, and tenure of all faculty members and the development of policies that affect faculty welfare generally; 5. Development of human resources policies and procedures for exempt and non-exempt staff; 6. Selection and appointment of administrators; 7. Issues that affect the ability of students to complete their education; and 8. Other issues that arise from time to time that affect the overall welfare of the USM and/or its institutions.
  5. 5. The Structures of shared governance at Penn State • Functions – Legislative; Advisory and Consultative; Forensic; Informational; Recognition • Organization – Senate leaders elected by all Senators, Senators represent each unit at the university – Function specific standing committees; Senate Council as gatekeeper; leadership • Operation – Interlocked meetings; Senate Leadership, Senate Council; Senate Standing Committees, Senate Joint Task Forces • Interlinking with Administration – Faculty Advisory Committee, Senate representation on key administrative committees • Interlinking with Board of Trustees – Senate participation on Board
  6. 6. Challenges and Future Development • 10 administrative techniques that undermine shared governance ( : – 1. "You don't have the authority.” – 2. "We can't share that information.” – 3. "Let's form a Task Force" – 4. "This is a technical issue that requires administrative expertise” – 5. "You have a conflict of interest” – 6. "Let us define the premises for you” – 7. "We consulted faculty; we reached out to specific faculty directly who we thought had expertise” – 8. "We consulted. . .we showed you the final draft shortly before roll out and asked your opinion” – 9. "You take too long. . we need to do this now." – 10. "An outside agency is making us do this."
  7. 7. The Future • Structural Challenges – Change in composition of faculty – Changes in character of university • social function – Changing nature of faculty participation – Assessment – Retaliation – Changing nature of expertise • Internal (administrative; faculty); • external (trade organizations and benchmarking)
  8. 8. Thanks • Essays on faculty governance are available at Monitoring University Governance: – • Penn State’s Faculty Senate website can be found here: • /

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