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Governance Committee

Governance Committee

Year-End Report
Governance Committee

Members: Chairperson-Kathy Conway; Mike Cobb, Matt Mardanov, David Powell, Pat Willingham, Phil Nacy, Walt Paquin, Shuju Wu

The Governance Committee met ten times during the year, beginning on September 9, 2009 and concluding on April 28, 2010. The committee worked diligently to accomplish several priorities. This report will highlight the items and actions taken as well as those priorities that were not addressed.

1.Issues related to Collegiality/Campus decision making.

This issue was identified by the committee as being the top priority based on the results of the 2008 Faculty Survey conducted and summarized by the Governance Committee and the HERI survey that were completed during 2008-2009 and summarized by a committee of the Faculty Senate. A resolution was drafted by the committee to begin the discussion on this issue. This was submitted to the Faculty Senate on October 21, 2009. Senators took the resolution to their constituents for discussion following which an alternate resolution was proposed. This resolution was also taken to the faculty for discussion. The Faculty Senate, on December 2, 2009, voted to not support it. However, the Administrative Liaison indicated that the President was interested in engaging in discussions on this issue and the Senate unanimously voted to charge the Senate Chair and the Executive Committee with opening a series of discussions with the entire University community regarding the issue of collegiality. The Senate Executive Committee and Legislative Chairs met with the President, Provost, and Vice Provost and developed a plan to hire a facilitator to lead a university wide “discussion” of the issue of Collegiality/Shared Governance. This action was stopped on February 25 when the President suspended collegiality discussions. He also instructed the AQIP Steering Committee take over shared governance as an action project in fall 2010. On March 3 the Faculty Senate asked the governance committee to negotiate with AAUP regarding possibility of sessions that will move the discussion of shared governance forward and requested that these explorations be open to anyone on campus. On April 21, 2010 a presentation was made by Dr. David Robinson, VP Missouri Conference of AAUP to the Faculty Senate followed by an open Town Hall meeting on April 22, 2010. These sessions were titled "Shared Governance and Faculty Involvement in Times of Budget Crisis." The 2010-2011 Governance Committee and Faculty Senate need to decide if and how they wish to pursue the matter.

2.Satisfaction and Issues Survey. This item was listed under unfinished business from 2008-2009. The committee was asked to develop an annual survey to measure faculty perspective of support areas such as Facilities Management, Computer Services, CSTL, DPS, Bookstore, Textbook Services, Printing & Duplicating, etc.

The list of areas was edited to include: Facilities Management, Information Technology/Computer Services, CSTL, Library & Writing Lab, Marketing and University Relations, Human Resources and the Department of Public Safety. The Governance committee generated possible questions and individuals in charge of each area were contacted to let them know that the survey was being developed and to ask for input. The questions were further developed and checked for consistency before submitting them to the individuals in charge of the areas. Responses were received from two supervisors and the survey was discussed with the provost. The draft survey was submitted to the Faculty Senate for review and advice. The Governance Committee made its final review of the survey in April and decided that due to the time of the semester that it would be best to wait until Fall 2010 to administer the survey. The Provost had suggested that the survey might be reviewed and further developed by a committee that included representation from the areas to be surveyed. The Governance committee were in agreement that including others would be a good idea, but suggest that Faculty Senate insist on assuming a leadership role in developing and analyzing such a survey. The Governance Committee also suggests that there be an annual survey of faculty satisfaction with the service areas.

3.Course Cancellation Policy for Fall and Spring Semesters. Following the development of a Course Cancellation Policy for Summer School, the Governance Committee was asked to examine the policy for Fall and Spring semesters. Committee members discussed the issue with chairs to see if there was a consistent policy. Additionally, the Faculty Handbook was examined for information and the Provost was consulted. The committee concluded that generally there is some consultation with the chair, but the decision is made by the dean. The level of faculty input was variable. Additionally, no explicit policy was located in the Faculty Handbook and the Provost indicated that he assumed that “course cancellation is generally part of the regular course assignment and scheduling responsibility of the Chair operating within College and University parameters.” The committee requested data for Fall and Spring semesters from the Provost. (Similar to the data provided by the Vice Provost for summer cancellations.) This request was clarified on April 16 and the Provost said that he would get this information for the committee. The concern is that faculty should be consulted and that decisions should consider programmatic needs.

Items that were on the Governance Committee's priorities, but were not completed include the following:
1.Several items were expected to be resolved through the discussions of Collegiality – shared Governance, but as a result of our failure to thoroughly examine this issue, these issues remain unresolved. They include:
a.Faculty representation and access to information (Board of Regents, University Committees & Councils, Financial Information)
b.University Committees and councils' Minutes. Request that agendas and minutes be published for these groups in a format that is easily available to faculty.
c.Items assigned to our committee from HERI survey that relate to this item include:
i.Compared to other 4-year institutions fewer faculty members at Southeast reported that faculty are sufficiently involved in campus decision making (16.0% below comparable institutional average)
ii.Compared to other 4-year institutions fewer faculty members at Southeast reported that the administration is open about its policies (10.8% below comparable institutional average)
iii.Compared to other 4-year institutions fewer faculty members at Southeast, when asked about aspects of their job which they found very satisfying or satisfying, reported that they were very satisfied or satisfied with their relationship with the administration (10.5% below comparable institutional average) than other institutions.
d.Items from the Institution questions in the HERI survey that relate to this issue include (Strongly agree or Agree), (Neutral), (Strongly Disagree or Disagree) recorded respectively:
i.The administration supports academic freedom (65.0, 19.0, 16.1)
ii.The administration supports collegial governance (29.2, 26.3, 44.5)
iii.The administration is sensitive to faculty opinions (27.0, 24.1, 48.9)
e.Faculty Senate Approval of all Policies Related to Academics

2.Senate Executive council. Establish this council as a formal committee composed of Senate executive committee and past Senate chairs. Purpose – help retain institutional memory.
3.Representation for Collective Bargaining.
4.Fair treatment of gay and lesbian faculty members
5.Budget for Senate