Pilot Proposal of Shared Governance Task Force

This report of the Shared Governance Task Force is the result of many hours of discussion among different constituencies of the university. The Task Force began its deliberations with a draft decision-making matrix which had been proposed by an earlier configuration of this task force and with an extensive set of forums at which all members of the university were invited to express their views and share their ideas. Members of the university community who were not available to attend these forums were invited to submit comments through e-mail, and the Task Force invited e-mail suggestions from all members of the university community throughout this past academic year. Following the forums, the members of the Task Force engaged in an intensive series of discussions which frequently involved weekly meetings, some lasting four or five hours each. In fact, through December, January and February, the members of the Task Force participated in a series of mini-retreats lasting on occasion for half a day at which a wide range of issues were discussed and considered.

In March, the Task Force released an initial proposal and held a series of forums to gather reactions to that initial proposal. The Task Force reviewed the comments that were offered both at the forums and through e-mail. Additional meetings were held in March and April with various university constituencies at which further input was received. Throughout the process, input has been sought from multiple parties, and a wide range of university constituencies have been present through their representatives on the Task Force. This proposal reflects a series of changes made by the Task Force to reflect various recommendations emerging from those meetings, and this proposal is now offered by the Task Force for approval by all affected constituencies. As such, this proposal serves as both the matrix narrative and the governance structure in fulfillment of the Task Force's charge under Letter of Agreement #13.

While there has certainly not been unanimity of agreement on all issues discussed by the Task Force, throughout the process the deliberations have occurred within the context of respectful exchange of views, underscored by a shared commitment among all to the university and its mission. No member of the Task Force believes that the proposed structure set forth in this report is perfect; every member of the Task Force agrees that it reflects an important step forward for the university.

The Forums

The Task Force was guided in its deliberations by a set of underlying principles and ideas, some of which were expressed at the forums mentioned above and others of which emerged through discussions among Task Force members. Several points that emerged from the forums are important to note at the outset:

  1. There is a wide range of differing views across the university regarding the extent to which a shared governance structure for the university is either necessary or desirable. While certain participants at the forums spoke strongly in support of the university's moving toward implementation of a shared governance structure, others expressed serious concerns about such a development. In particular, there was substantial opposition expressed by the professional schools to any structure that would tamper with or impinge upon in any way the arrangements already existing within those schools.
  2. There is also a wide range of differing views across the university regarding what a shared governance structure should look like or hope to achieve. Some participants in the forums expressed the hope that a new shared governance structure would dramatically change the way the university currently functions. Others offered suggestions for what would be essentially incremental changes. In addition, participants differed widely in terms of the role that shared governance could play. For some, the notion of shared governance offered a panacea for all the ills besetting the university; for others, shared governance was seen as more a part of the problem than a part of the solution. It is clear to members of the Task Force that different constituencies have very different goals and hopes for shared governance.
  3. The level of involvement suggested for different constituencies in shared governance also differed dramatically. Some asserted that any shared governance structure should encompass the entire UDM community including faculty, administrators, staff, students, alums, etc. Others proposed a shared governance arrangement that focused more on enhancing faculty involvement in university governance. Even those who agreed on the groups that should be included in shared governance often disagreed on the extent of involvement of those groups. For example, some faculty argued for extensive faculty involvement while other faculty expressed concern over the demands that any shared governance structure would impose on their already busy schedules.
  4. Despite the disparities in perspective mentioned above, there was general agreement on several key items:
a. There was a general consensus that the level of communication at the university and among university constituencies needs improvement. This applies to communication in all directions, whether moving up, down, or across the different components of the university structure.
b. Many participants expressed the hope that shared governance would lead to more effective decision-making at the university. While participants and commentators differed regarding the causes of current weaknesses, there was agreement that the university as a whole is not taking maximum advantage of the wealth of expertise and ideas generated by community members who are not directly in the line of decision-making authority.
c. Many parts of the university also expressed a desire for a structure that would enhance the level of interdisciplinary interaction among faculty and that would encourage intellectual exchanges that cut across organizational lines.

The Overall Context of Shared Governance

While it is never easy to devise a shared governance structure for a university, the task before us is perhaps even more daunting than is customary. This is so because it is no secret that the university faces a series of immediate challenges (increasing enrollment being the prototypical example) that need to be addressed in very short order and in rather dramatic fashion. Other challenges, from the deterioration of the physical plant to continuing financial and budgetary constraints, have been frequently noted at the highest levels of the university administration. This situation poses a particular challenge in creating a shared governance structure. This is so because on the one hand, the shape of an enduring structure should not be unduly influenced by the problems of any particular moment. On the other hand, the challenges faced by the university are of sufficient severity and magnitude that any shared governance structure that ignores the need to help address them has little chance of success. The Task Force has made an effort to balance both the longer-term structural issues together with a recognition of the challenges that all the constituencies of the university need to face immediately.

The specific challenges faced by the university together with the particular needs and concerns expressed at the forums led the Task Force to conclude that we needed to devise a shared governance structure specifically tailored to the particularities of UDM. Thus, we did not feel that we could use the shared governance structure at any other university as a template. Similarly, we tried to push ourselves to "think-outside-the-box" as any typical university-wide shared governance structure that merely succeeded in adding a level of bureaucracy and slowing down the decision-making process would represent a step backwards rather than progress. In short, the Task Force recognizes that the university faces a critical moment in its history, and the shared governance process needs to help the university surmount its current challenges in an expeditious manner.

Having written this, it must be recognized that shared governance alone will not solve the critical current challenges faced by the university. Our goal is for shared governance to be a part of the solution.

Underlying Principles

Given the above realities, the Task Force enumerated a set of principles upon which to base the proposed shared governance structure. While the Task Force does not believe that it has achieved all of these principles perfectly (in fact, some of them are in tension with each other), we hope that we have at least captured some of their essentials and reflected them in the shared governance structure described in more detail below. These core principles are described briefly:

  1. Thinking outside the box - As noted above, we have tried to create a structure that addresses the most pressing concerns faced by UDM, and as will become clear in the details described later in this document, we have created very much of a hybrid structure. We hope that what is lost in uniformity will be more than compensated for in effectiveness.
  2. Common commitment to teaching and learning - University constituencies frequently speak in terms of mission, and the entire Task Force embraces the special mission which lies at the heart of UDM. At the same time, we feel a need to make explicit a point which is often left unsaid in terms of mission, and that is at its core, everyone at the university shares a common mission related to both teaching and learning. The creation of a shared governance structure provides a tremendous opportunity to identify and bring to life new approaches that can further that common mission.
  3. A new more stimulating environment as part of a new culture - Related to our common commitment to teaching and learning is our desire for a more stimulating intellectual environment at the university. The entire university community should be part of a common culture that "crackles" with intellectual excitement and exploration. Our required focus on immediate needs and challenges should not obscure the broader need for what would indeed be a significant cultural change at the university. This cultural change goes beyond the desire for greater intellectual stimulation to also encompass more sharing of information, as well as a recognition by all relevant players that honest disagreements can - and will - occur among people acting in good faith. We recognize that there is no structure which can single-handedly shape a culture - indeed the causation often runs the other way. The members of the Task Force hope, however, that the shared governance process can serve as a building block in introducing a new culture of participation.
  4. Mission as a Catholic urban university - All university constituencies agree that we also share a common mission as a Catholic urban university. While as a university we have done much to make us proud in fulfilling this mission, the shared governance process needs to incorporate this essential element in its very structure. As will be described in more detail below, this led the Task Force to contemplate some ways to move forward rather dramatically in furthering this mission. We do not believe for one moment that we have a monopoly on ideas for furthering the mission, but we do want the shared governance structure from its inception to reflect that mission in its very framework.
  5. Autonomy/don't fix what ain't broke - A key principle behind our proposal is recognition that different parts of the university need to have substantial freedom and autonomy. There is no purpose in uniformity or centralization for its own sake. This principle came into play most obviously with regard to the treatment of the law and dental schools. Both schools already have their own well-functioning shared governance processes; and no constituency at either school expressed any desire for change. Especially given the enormity of the challenges facing the university, there is no rationale, and it would be counterproductive, to meddle with processes that are working well. The Task Force also recognizes that various undergraduate and graduate entities also have their own internal processes, and no effort is made to change those. Rather, what we have done is to identify the areas in which we need to come together on a more comprehensive university level to address problems and challenges that cut across individual organizational lines.
  6. Communication is key - As noted above, there was general agreement that serious improvements are needed in the transmission of information among constituencies at the university. We recognize the steps that have been made recently by the university administration to improve the sharing of information, and we intend for the shared governance structure to expand on that foundation. At the same time, we recognize that an important part of that improved communication must be a level of transparency and availability of information sufficient for each part of the shared governance structure to be able to do its job.
  7. Encouragement of entrepreneurship - Both good practice and the current challenges facing the university require a level of entrepreneurship that has been lacking. Many constituencies feel that there is no way for them to either suggest or develop entrepreneurial ideas that could both enhance enrollment and promote educational excellence. There needs to be a mechanism by which new ideas can be developed, vetted, and either adopted or rejected expeditiously.
  8. Assessment and accountability - Hand in hand with the encouragement of entrepreneurship needs to go a commitment to continuous assessment and enhanced accountability. There need to be measures to determine successes and failures, with the opportunity to rectify weaknesses and the wisdom to abandon approaches that are not working. In order for assessment to have teeth, there need to be ways to hold accountable for poor performance those who have or share decision-making authority.
  9.  Rights and responsibilities - As will become clear below, involvement in a shared governance structure is more than the recognition of rights, it also involves the imposing of responsibility. In order for shared governance to work, there needs to be a general recognition of this duality. Without the commitment of time and energy needed from every member of the university community, this or any other shared governance structure will fail.
  10. Taking advantage of expertise - Related to the notion of rights and responsibilities is the recognition that there are many people with different areas of expertise throughout the university. As an institution, especially one facing the challenges currently confronting us, we need to take greater advantage of the breadth of expertise available. We want to achieve an environment in which we can get "all pistons firing" as we move forward as a university.
  11. Involvement of all elements of the community - While much of the discussion below focuses on the sharing of governance with and among faculty and administrators, it is important to recognize that staff, students, alums and others have important roles to play in governance as well. In fact, the proposed membership of many of the entities proposed below reflects this commitment.

In addition to the principles outlined above, the Task Force was guided by the agreements that have already been entered into between the university and the UDMPU. In particular, Letter of Agreement 13 (attached as Appendix A) outlines a vision of shared governance which guided and shaped the Task Force's approach. Finally, the very compact time frame within which the Task Force was required to make a broad range of important decisions reflected the common desire to implement a workable shared governance structure prior to the upcoming North Central accreditation review in 2007.

General Conceptual Structure

The Task Force has endeavored to create a structure that reflects the principles enumerated above. We have devised a set of university-wide teams to address issues where the entire university community needs to be included; a McNichols Faculty Assembly (MFA) to address issues that cut across the individual McNichols units; and McNichols committees to address specific identified cross-cutting McNichols concerns. These are described in more detail in the narrative below, but the framework within which they operate is based on the following:

First, based on the concerns regarding autonomy and not fixing things that aren't broken, the existing law and dental school governance processes would continue as they currently exist. In order to provide greater faculty involvement in the fundamental academic decisions that cut across the undergraduate and graduate entities, a new shared governance process would be established that would include a set of committees (described more below) and a broader MFA. While the narrative below identifies in more detail those areas of MFA responsibility, in general, the more a fundamental academic issue cuts across different college/school or organizational lines (and, therefore, is not amenable to resolution within a particular entity), the more likely that it would be appropriately referred to consideration by the MFA. For purposes of this document, McNichols faculty includes full-time faculty in the schools and colleges on the McNichols campus as well as librarians reporting to the Dean of Libraries.

The MFA would serve as a representative body of the McNichols faculty in shared governance. As stated in the "Joint Policy Statement on a Faculty Rights and Responsibilities Framework" adopted by the university's Board of Trustees and the UDMPU "The faculty has primary responsibility for such fundamental areas as curriculum, subject matter and methods of instruction, research, faculty status (everything except hiring and firing decisions), promotion and tenure process, and academic/program standards, and with shared responsibility for supporting those procedures for admission of students and other aspects of university life that relate to the educational process." It is through the MFA that the McNichols faculty will exercise its primary responsibility for these academic matters through its own deliberations and those of its committees.

MFA determinations in areas in which the faculty has primary responsibility would be communicated to the Vice President for Academic Affairs (AVP) (or, in certain instances indicated below, another Vice President) for consideration. If the AVP decides to take a course of action different from that recommended by the MFA or one of its committees, the AVP would be required first to make herself available to explain the reason for the contrary decision to the MFA or its appropriate committee, providing an opportunity for discussion so that the MFA or such committee could raise additional issues that the AVP may not have considered. As shared governance matures and there is meaningful consultation throughout the process, such instances are expected to become the exception rather than the norm.

In addition, the MFA would also make recommendations to the AVP and the President regarding academic issues of concern to the McNichols faculty as a whole, including issues related to the protection of academic freedom as well as major reorganizations that cut across multiple schools or colleges on the McNichols campus. The MFA would also have the authority to review proposals for new degree programs or new majors, with the MFA recommendation to the AVP to be made according to a stringent timeline that requires expeditious review. While the MFA would be required to have the committees described below, it would also be able to establish additional committees or task forces of McNichols faculty members to advise the MFA on various issues or to develop ideas for the MFA. While the Tenure and Promotion Committee would not report to the MFA, the MFA would have the authority to explore and make recommendations regarding broader academic issues regarding tenure, such as common baseline criteria, investigation of tenure and promotion systems at other universities, etc. The MFA would also participate in a 360-degree evaluation system to be established by the university administration for review of non-academic programs.

Second, as indicated above, a series of McNichols faculty committees will be created to address important crosscutting undergraduate and graduate academic concerns. As a general matter, these committees will report to the broader MFA regarding their deliberations. They will also be able to make recommendations directly to administrators where appropriate.

Third, a series of university-wide teams would be created to provide meaningful input and advice into administrative decisions (such as strategic planning, budgeting, etc.) as they impact university-wide academic concerns. In order to take advantage of the expertise available, these teams will include representation from all the university's campuses. These teams would also provide a mechanism for the sharing of information in these areas with the university community as a whole. This structure will encourage the sharing of information in manifold directions without hampering the need to make important decisions in an expeditious fashion. While university administrators may receive a wide range of formal and informal advice from these teams, if an administrator acts contrary to a formal recommendation of a team, the administrator will make him/herself available to explain to the team the reason for the contrary action.

In certain circumstances, some of these teams will also be responsible for actual implementation as well as involvement in policymaking. For example, a team would focus on identifying and implementing dramatic improvements in the university's role as a leading urban institution with a commitment to social justice. An entrepreneurial team would provide faculty and other members of the university community with the support and advice needed to develop their own entrepreneurial ideas for addressing enrollment issues.

Fourth, on occasion, task forces would be created to help the university address specific pressing problems. The initial such task force would focus on development of an undergraduate core curriculum.

In summary, teams operate on a university-wide level; committees operate on the McNichols campus; and task forces deal with short-term specific issues.

In structuring these governance bodies, we have operated under the principle that the representatives of different faculties will be determined through elections among the affected faculty members. Similarly, students will vote for student representatives. It should be noted that, except where otherwise stated, each group is free to elect as representatives any one that group chooses, whether the representative be a member of that group or not. It should also be noted that the structure of each body is based on the current university structure. We recognize that all universities occasionally add or subtract pieces as they grow and develop. It is anticipated that during the pilot year we will develop a process by which team and committee memberships can be modified to reflect changes in organizational structure over time.

Narrative

A description of each of the bodies proposed to be established as part of the new shared governance process follows. As a general matter, under the shared governance structure, initial terms for elected members will be either one or two years so as to create staggered terms. Elected representatives on any body will be limited to two consecutive terms, except as noted below.

University-wide Teams

  1. Mission and Vision Team - Central to all of the above is the university's broader mission as an urban Catholic university. To fulfill our potential as a mission-driven university, we need a dedicated team of faculty, administrators, staff, students, and alums who work together to foster our Jesuit and Mercy traditions. This team would develop ongoing education and promotion of mission fulfillment; they would coordinate awards to recognize those who foster the mission; and they would constantly seek out ideas from other similarly situated universities to promote even further the development of mission at UDM. This team will replace the existing Mission Effectiveness Committee. This ten-member team, which will report to the President of the University, will be comprised of one alum, two students, three administrative or staff representatives (at least one of which should be a representative of the University Ministry); one Law School representative, one Dental School representative, one faculty member selected by the MFA from among its members, and one faculty member elected by the McNichols faculty.
  2. Urban/Service/Social Justice Team - One of the aspects that distinguishes UDM is a clear commitment to our role as an urban university with a passion for service and social justice. Shared governance needs to include a mechanism for faculty to participate actively in developing and implementing that commitment in an interdisciplinary fashion. What would this team do? It could coordinate a faculty effort to publish an interdisciplinary journal regarding urban issues. Or it could coordinate a university-wide effort to analyze proposed legislation (whether in Lansing or Washington, D.C.) for its impact on urban areas. (Imagine the benefits if UDM became known as the place that issues Urban Impact Statements.) Or it could develop a mechanism to create a student-run non-profit that would give our students hands-on experience managing a non-profit that serves the community. Or it could find opportunities for university-supported community projects, volunteer opportunities, and the like. These are just examples of things for the team to think about. We have every confidence that it will develop a far more exciting and innovative plan - and, once approved by the appropriate authorities, then coordinate its implementation. This team will report to the AVP and through that office to other bodies as appropriate. Membership on this team would include one Law School representative; one Dental School representative; one faculty member selected by the MFA from among its members, two elected representatives of the McNichols faculty; three administrative representatives (at least one of which should be a representative from Leadership Development Institute), one staff representative, one alum, and one student.
  3. Entrepreneurial Team - One of the innovations of our shared governance process will be the establishment of a team to provide expertise and advice for members of the university community seeking to develop new ideas that can enhance the quality of education at the university and address critical revenue issues. We need to create a system and a culture in which the faculty is encouraged to be entrepreneurial, and in which there is a clear channel through which faculty ideas can be vetted, developed further, and then recommended to the Deans and university-wide administrators for implementation. In addition to providing a source of technical expertise to members of the university community developing new ideas, this team would also be constantly on the lookout for new opportunities (including grants, programs, markets and efficiencies) that the university should consider. An example of an immediate concern that the entrepreneurial team would be expected to address would be working with faculty in developing ideas to enhance enrollment. However, over time, it is anticipated that this team will provide a forum for members of the university community with a wide range of ideas for better addressing many problems/issues, from residence halls to classrooms and beyond. This team will report to the AVP and through that office to other bodies as appropriate. Membership on this team would include one representative of the Law School; one representative of the Dental School; one faculty member selected by the MFA from among its members; three elected representatives of the McNichols faculty; two administrative representatives; two alums; and one representative of the graduate and professional students.
  4. Strategic Planning Team - The last thing that the university needs at the moment is to spend months on developing a new strategic plan. Prioritization and the Highest and Best Use processes involved many constituencies at the university. However, while there is no need to engage in an extensive strategic planning process, there would be significant value from a strategic planning team that enables different university constituencies to gather ideas to be shared with key administrators, and to think through different strategic options. This group would be available for consultation with the administrative leadership of the university, especially regarding strategic planning necessary to address academic issues. When the university next undertakes a formal strategic planning process, this team would function as a university-wide strategic planning team to provide input into a SWOT analysis of the university, provide input into long range planning processes, and suggest ideas for how college/school or unit strategic plans could be more consistent with those of the university. The team would also be available to provide input into strategic issues such as adjustments to become more competitive in the marketplace and more flexible in delivering instruction. During the time period that a strategic planning process is not underway, this group would assess trends at other schools and suggest innovations that could be introduced at UDM. This team would also participate in meetings with the administrative leadership of the university at which major strategic issues facing the university would be discussed. This team will report to the President of the University (or designee). Membership in this team will include one representative of the Law School; one representative of the Dental School; one faculty member selected by the MFA from among its members; one elected representative of the McNichols faculty; four administrative representatives, one staff member; one alum; and one student. While the other bodies created under this shared governance structure will have initial terms of either one or two years (so as to create staggered terms), the initial terms for this team will be either two or three years (with future terms expiring at two year intervals thereafter).
  5. Budget Team - The budget team will provide advice to the President regarding budget priorities and concerns as they relate to core academic issues. Members will also work with university constituencies to seek out and develop potential revenue-raising opportunities. As part of the annual budget process, this group would be expected to serve in an advisory capacity as needed for the President regarding issues such as budgeting assumptions, capital spending plans, and tuition and fee increases. This group is not intended to advocate regarding the amount of funds for individual units, but rather to provide expertise and input on broader budgetary issues that impact core academic concerns. Membership in this team would include one Law School representative; one Dental School representative; one faculty member selected by the MFA from among its members; one elected representative of the McNichols faculty; and five administrative representatives.
  6. Information Technology Team - This team will provide recommendations to the Vice President for Business and Finance and the information technology staff of the university about planning for academic technology needs; technology needs regarding the possible development of online courses/programs and courseware; recommendations regarding software; web standards; planning for IT infrastructure, and strategic IT planning for the university. The activities of the existing Knowledge Support Group and the Web Supervisory Committee would be assumed by this team. The membership will be comprised of one Law School representative; one Dental School representative; one library representative; one IDS representative; two students; two administrative or staff representatives; one faculty member selected by the MFA from among its members; and two elected representatives of the McNichols faculty. Two representatives of the university IT staff will be ex officio members of the team.
  7. Facilities Planning, Standards, and Safety Team - Given the challenges facing the university in these areas, a process for greater input by affected constituencies is needed. This team will make recommendations to the Vice President for Business and Finance regarding: ways to prioritize among needed renovation/repairs as well as new projects; compliance with ADA in facilities; ideas for improving campus aesthetics; ideas for improving campus safety and OSHA compliance; and development of the university's emergency response plan. The team would have particular responsibility for advising the Vice President for Business and Finance regarding the academic implications and concerns stemming from various facilities plans. This team will assume the responsibilities of the existing Emergency Response Planning Committee and will work to integrate its activities with the existing Facilities Planning and Standards Committee. This team will be comprised of four administrative or staff representatives; one Law School representative; one Dental School representative; one faculty member selected by the MFA from among its members; one elected representative of the McNichols faculty; and two students.
  8. Faculty Development Team - In order to create the exciting intellectual environment in which we all want to work, there is clearly a need for greater faculty involvement and participation in learning together. Accordingly, a special university-wide team involving faculty from all parts of the university would be created to coordinate and oversee a wide range of initiatives. This team would have responsibility for coordinating a broad range of interdisciplinary discussions among faculty at all the schools. Regarding orientation and mentoring of new faculty, this team would share best practices among the schools and, if any school fails to establish processes for orientation and mentoring, this team would establish and coordinate as needed such processes. This team will also be responsible for the development and designation of faculty awards as well as making recommendations to the appropriate administrators regarding, and where appropriate, implementing steps that can be taken to further faculty professional development. It should be noted that the fact that a university-wide faculty development team exists does not mean that individual schools or disciplines would not continue to enjoy the autonomy to develop programs more tailored to the needs of their particular units. This team, which will replace the existing Faculty Development Committee and the Faculty Excellence Committee, will report to the AVP and through that office to other bodies as appropriate. Membership on this team would include one representative of the Dental School faculty; one representative of the Law School faculty; one faculty member selected by the MFA from among its members; four elected representatives of the McNichols faculty; one librarian; and two administrative representatives.
  9. Staff/Administrator Development Team - In order to create an exciting learning environment for staff and administrators who continually work with the students and faculty as well as to provide for the administrative functions of the university, opportunities for professional development must also be provided. This team would make recommendations to the Department of Human Resources regarding orientation for new employees; make proposals regarding professional development opportunities for staff; and develop training programs for employees. This team would also have responsibility for the development and designation of a staff award. This team will report to the Associate Vice President for Human Resources for the university; its membership will include three staff and four administrative representatives.
  10. Assessment Team - The university needs to insure that assessment is occurring throughout its academic programs. Accordingly, a university-wide team will be established with membership from units across the university. This team will replace the current Educational Outcomes Assessment Committee. This team will share best practices around the university regarding assessment, review the assessment methodologies being used by each school, and will identify those schools in which assessment activities require improvement. The Assessment Team reports to the AVP, and its membership will be comprised of one representative of the Law School; one representative of the Dental School; one representative from each of the colleges/schools (selected by the college/school); one representative from the library; one faculty member selected by the MFA from its members; and two administrative representatives.

McNichols Faculty Assembly

The McNichols faculty need an organized structure through which members can exercise meaningful decision-making responsibility on fundamental academic issues, develop innovative faculty ideas, and engage in discussion regarding areas of common concern. The MFA will be comprised of elected representatives from the relevant schools/colleges/library. Each of the six units (School of Architecture, College of Business Administration, College of Engineering and Science, College of Health Professions and McAuley School of Nursing, College of Liberal Arts and Education, and Library) will have at least two representatives; in addition, those units with more than 20 full-time faculty will receive one additional representative for every additional 10 such faculty or part thereof. For example, a school with 1-20 full-time faculty would receive two elected representatives; a school with 21-30 full-time faculty would receive three elected representatives; a school with 31-40 full-time faculty would receive four elected representatives, etc. Given the current sizes of the existing units, there will initially be approximately 27 members of the MFA. All representatives would be elected by votes of the full-time faculty within their respective school/college/library. For these purposes, full-time faculty include faculty on phased retirement who are considered full-time. In addition, there would be two additional Adjunct Faculty representatives who would be elected by the McNichols adjunct faculty. In order to be eligible to vote or serve in this capacity, the individual must have served as an adjunct for four or more terms over the last five years.

While the MFA will be responsible for proposing its own internal organizational structure, it is anticipated that the MFA would select from among its members five officers: President, Vice President, Secretary, Parliamentarian, and Communications Officer. The officers will function collectively as an Executive Committee and a liaison on behalf of the MFA to the university administration.

In order to assure communication among teams and committees, elected MFA representatives (except the five officers) will also serve as a faculty representative on either a committee or a team (as indicated in the membership discussion regarding each such group). The MFA will be responsible for coordinating the election of McNichols faculty members to fill other McNichols faculty seats on the teams and committees. Given its unique circumstances, members of the Tenure and Promotion Committee will continue to be separately elected by the McNichols faculty within their respective schools/colleges/library.

During the pilot period, stringent timelines will be established both for committee and MFA processes and actions.

Determinations by the MFA in areas in which the faculty has primary responsibility would be communicated to the AVP (or, in certain instances indicated below, another Vice-President) for consideration. If the AVP decides to take a course of action different from that recommended by the MFA or one of its committees, the AVP would be required first to make herself available to explain the reason for the contrary decision to the MFA or its appropriate committee, providing an opportunity for discussion so that the MFA or such committee could raise additional issues that the AVP may not have considered. As shared governance matures and there is meaningful consultation throughout the process, such instances are expected to become the exception rather than the norm.

McNichols Committees

  1. Core Curriculum Committee - Once the Core Curriculum Task Force (described in more detail below) has completed its work and an undergraduate core curriculum is in place, this committee will be formed. Since it is unclear at this point what that core curriculum will look like, it is not possible at this time to determine the appropriate structure for this Committee. At the appropriate time, the number and composition of faculty members on this team will be determined by the MFA. Its members will be elected by the McNichols faculty; the AVP will appoint administrative representatives. It will have the responsibilities described in more detail under the discussion regarding the Core Curriculum Task Force, and will report to the MFA and, through the MFA to the AVP.
  2. Tenure and Promotion - The tenure and promotion process as it currently exists for McNichols faculty (including research leaves) would be essentially retained. The committee would also be charged with considering self-evaluation and other processes to enhance faculty performance in future years. The Dental School and Law School tenure and promotion processes would continue to operate as currently structured.
  3. Undergraduate Standards Committee - The basic academic standards for the undergraduate programs need to reflect the wisdom and judgment of the faculty exercising their primary academic responsibility. Accordingly, an undergraduate standards committee would be created to make determinations regarding minimum cross-cutting admissions-related standards; undergraduate grading policy; minimum graduation requirements; and the determination of standards that apply for study abroad and the transfer of credits. The committee would also be tasked with developing a set of guidelines/checklist of standards that need to be met by non-accredited undergraduate certificate programs. The committee would report to the MFA, and the MFA determinations would be communicated to the AVP and, with regard to any change to minimum admissions standards, to the Vice President for Enrollment and Student Affairs as well. Membership on this committee would include two administrative non-voting representatives designated by the AVP; one faculty member selected by the MFA from among its members; and four elected representatives of the McNichols faculty.
  4. Student Retention Committee - In order to enable the university to address the serious challenges of undergraduate student retention, a committee would be established to make recommendations to the appropriate administrators regarding, among other items, student life issues, ways to improve student-faculty interaction, and ways to more effectively welcome students to the McNichols campus. This committee would also be able to make recommendations to the MFA on issues of common concern. This committee should consider whether to propose for consideration by both the MFA and the AVP a restructuring of academic advising procedures. This Committee and the Graduate Education Committee will replace the current Retention Committee. Membership of this committee would be three administrative and one staff representatives designated by the AVP; one faculty member selected by the MFA from among its members; four elected representatives of the McNichols faculty; one librarian representative, and two students.
  5. Graduate Education Committee - In order to address the specific academic concerns of graduate programs, a separate committee would be established. This committee would have essentially the same responsibilities as it relates to graduate programs as the Undergraduate Standards Committee and the Student Retention Committee. The committee would also be responsible for providing recommendations regarding common recruitment efforts. This committee would be comprised of two administrative non-voting representatives designated by the AVP; one faculty member selected by the MFA from among its members; and four elected representatives of the McNichols faculty. All five of the MFA and McNichols faculty representatives must be from departments with graduate programs. This committee reports to th