Governance and Policies

Shared Governance, Academic Freedom and Educational Responsibility

Governance of Colleges and Universities
American Association of University Professors

Promoting Shared Governance
American Association of University Professors

Academic Freedom and Educational Responsibility
Association of American Colleges and Universities

Academic Freedom
American Association of University Professors

Academic Freedom Is Not a Divine Right
Fish, S. (September, 2008). The Chronicle of Higher Education

Academic Freedom News
University World News


Governance and Policies

Governance structure of a university
A university is a complex organization with multiple divisions and departments. Understanding this structure and the policies, practices, and procedures that keep it running will help you navigate the system in ways that make you more productive, more satisfied with your job, and even help your students learn more effectively. We will use the CSU as one model of governance for a large and diverse public university system.

Governance structure of the California State University (CSU) system
The California State University system is led by a chancellor and a group of vice-chancellors. The chancellor in turn reports to a board of trustees who establish system-level policy. Each of the 23 campuses of the CSU system is led by a president and a group of vice presidents, each with a defined set of responsibilities. While policy in some areas is established at a system level, individual campuses within the CSU have considerable autonomy to establish their own policies and practices.

Know the mission
One of the ways that universities set a course, determine priorities, and create a common sense of purpose is through development of a mission statement for the institution, college, department, or program. New faculty members should become familiar with the various mission, vision, and goal statements that govern their work. Both the process of creating the statements and the statements themselves can be powerful guidelines for faculty members as they make decisions concerning their teaching, research, and service responsibilities.

Faculty role in setting policy
The CSU has a strong history of shared governance, in which the faculty members make recommendations to the administration concerning such areas as curriculum, academic standards, and the criteria by which faculty members are appointed and evaluated. Faculty members become involved in the governance of each CSU campus through participation in the Academic Senate and service on committees that report to the senate. Typical campuses are divided into colleges (and sometimes schools) that are further subdivided into departments or programs. Committees of faculty members recommend policies and practices at the department, school / college, and university levels. Faculty representatives from across the campus typically serve on university-wide committees. Faculty members from each campus form the CSU state-wide academic senate. As a result of these structures, faculty voice is prominent in the governance of the CSU.

Strategic planning
In a well-functioning university, all facets of the governance structure of a campus and university system work together toward common goals. These goals come out of a shared sense of purpose. Strategic planning involving all campus constituent groups contributes to this shared sense of purpose. In effective strategic planning, multiple perspectives are included, and each individual component of a campus works toward shared outcomes.

Possible questions to ask about Governance and Policies:

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