Sharing Shared Governance: The Benefits of Systemness

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Issue Date
2013-08-16
Authors
Cramer, Sharon
Mozlin, Rochelle
Publisher
Keywords
Shared Governance , Systemness
Abstract
Shared governance in higher education refers to the structures and processes through which faculty, professional staff, administration, governing boards and, sometimes, students and staff participate in the development of policies and in decision making that affect the institution. As an organization, the SUNY University Faculty Senate began in 1953, and is included in the Board of Trustees Policies (Article VII. Title A): § 1. Name. There shall be a University Faculty Senate of State University of New York. §2. Purposes. The senate shall be the official agency through which the University Faculty engages in the governance of the University. The Senate shall he concerned with effective educational policies and other professional matters within the University. This poster highlights both the challenges to and benefits of shared governance in the context of systemness. Systemness provides challenges to shared governance; however, members of the SUNY University Faculty Senate (UFS) have learned to capitalize on the benefits of systemness – within campuses, as well as across the system, to advance shared governance throughout the University. By incorporating the voices of campus governance leaders (CGLs) as well as the University Faculty Senators at the UFS plenary meetings, campus faculty and unique campus concerns are represented. Through the involvement of the Chancellor at these plenary meetings, an administrative perspective is incorporated. The end result, in many cases, is the ability to capitalize on the resources available, while being respectful of the different campus needs and characteristics. And yet, it is the uniqueness and the idiosyncrasies of the individual campuses that have created the experiences, perspectives and voices that have contributed to SUNY’s dynamic processes of shared governance. It is the challenges faced by individual campuses as well as the System that foster the use of all the options discussed. In this way, the “System is bigger than the sum of its parts.”
Description
Shared governance in higher education refers to the structures and processes through which faculty, professional staff, administration, governing boards and, sometimes, students and staff participate in the development of policies and in decision making that affect the institution. As an organization, the SUNY University Faculty Senate began in 1953, and is included in the Board of Trustees Policies (Article VII. Title A): § 1. Name. There shall be a University Faculty Senate of State University of New York. §2. Purposes. The senate shall be the official agency through which the University Faculty engages in the governance of the University. The Senate shall he concerned with effective educational policies and other professional matters within the University. This poster highlights both the challenges to and benefits of shared governance in the context of systemness. Systemness provides challenges to shared governance; however, members of the SUNY University Faculty Senate (UFS) have learned to capitalize on the benefits of systemness – within campuses, as well as across the system, to advance shared governance throughout the University. By incorporating the voices of campus governance leaders (CGLs) as well as the University Faculty Senators at the UFS plenary meetings, campus faculty and unique campus concerns are represented. Through the involvement of the Chancellor at these plenary meetings, an administrative perspective is incorporated. The end result, in many cases, is the ability to capitalize on the resources available, while being respectful of the different campus needs and characteristics. And yet, it is the uniqueness and the idiosyncrasies of the individual campuses that have created the experiences, perspectives and voices that have contributed to SUNY’s dynamic processes of shared governance. It is the challenges faced by individual campuses as well as the System that foster the use of all the options discussed. In this way, the “System is bigger than the sum of its parts.”
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