Southeast Missouri State University

Resolution 09-XX - Resolution on Collegiality (Failed)



Voted onand not approved by the Faculty Senate

December 2, 2009


I.WHEREAS: The faculty handbook states that “at the time of academic reorganization in 1976, the Board of Regents approved the Governance Document (Part A of Faculty Senate Bill 76-A-01), which called for a collegial system of governance based on the principles of shared authority and responsibility whereby all members of the University community--administration, faculty, staff, and students--have an opportunity to participate directly in the decision-making process. By endorsing the collegial system of governance, the Board of Regents recognized that the day-to-day internal administration of the University can best be achieved by delegating formal authority to the President who delegates appropriate authority to the various administrative officers” (Faculty Handbook, p. 7), and

II.WHEREAS: The Principles of Collegiality approved by the Faculty Senate, President, and board of Regents in 1976 states that “the collegial theory of governance results in a University organizational structure responsive to the special needs of the professional staff for autonomy and responsible self-government. Other alternatives, such as autocratic or custodial systems of governance, while effective in some types of institutions, do not suit an institution of higher learning. By placing high priority on passive cooperation and dependency on administrative officers, such alternatives are wasteful of the talents of professional educators” (Faculty Handbook, p. 50), and

III.WHEREAS: The Principles of Collegiality further states that “the collegial theory encourages mutual contributions from the various sectors of the University community. Students, faculty, and administrators become involved in the functional and policy-making processes of the University. The system as a whole is truly productive to the extent that each group and each individual contribute to and share the responsibility for decisions that are made” (Faculty Handbook, p. 50), and

IV.WHEREAS: The Faculty Handbook includes a “commitment to the principles of collegiality in governance” among the criteria that both the Provost and College Deans shall substantially meet (Faculty Handbook, p. 15 & p. 33), and

V.WHEREAS: “Under a collegial form of governance, all segments of the University community are involved in reviewing and making recommendations for changes in existing policies. The University vests in its faculty, acting through its representative body, the Faculty Senate, the ultimate authority to make formal recommendations for new University academic policy and changes in existing policy” (Faculty handbook, p. 58), and

VI.WHEREAS: “The Faculty Senate reviews proposals and develops recommendations for changes in academic policy through its committee system. While the function of University committees is to facilitate the administration of existing University policies, the function of Faculty Senate committees is to recommend policy in academic affairs and in all other matters involving the faculty” (Faculty Handbook, p. 58), and

VII.WHEREAS: “Academic policy is understood to consist of those statements of general academic principle, formally adopted and promulgated by the University, within which the academic operations of the University are defined. Thus, a ‘change in academic policy' is understood to refer to an alteration of or addition to the general academic principles of the University which would necessitate changes in academic operations throughout the University or set the context for changes or innovations in academic operations. For instance, a department could propose a new bachelor's or master's degree program without altering academic policy since it would involve a specific change in academic operations within existing academic policy. Such a proposal is routinely routed through the college council, Academic Council, Board of Regents, and Coordinating Board without reference to the Faculty Senate. However, proposals to alter general education requirements, to eliminate pass-fail grading, to require a final examination in all courses, etc., would constitute changes in academic policy, insofar as they affect general academic operations throughout the University, and could not be adopted or changed without the consent of the Faculty Senate” (Faculty Handbook, p. 58), and

VIII.WHEREAS: The recommendations from the 2008 Faculty Senate Performance Survey concluded that “there was some concern by the faculty about the lack of collegiality among the university administration and the Faculty Senate” and “that the Administration, on occasion, does not follow approved policy in the Faculty Handbook. It was also suggested that the administration should respond in a genuinely collegial manner,” and

IX.WHEREAS: The results from the Higher Education Institute Report (HERI) survey (fall, 2007) revealed that when Southeast Missouri State University respondents (137/401; 34.2%) were compared to other 4-year institutions, faculty members at Southeast reported:
i.agreement with the statement that faculty are sufficiently involved in campus decision making was16.0% lower than other institutions;
ii.agreement with the statement that the administration is open about its policies was10.8% lower than other institutions; relation to level of satisfaction (very satisfied or satisfied) with their relationship with the administration responses were 10.5% lower than other institutions; and

X.WHEREAS: The items that Southeast submitted for inclusion in the HERI survey reveal that when asked for their level of agreement with each of the following statements the faculty responded as follows:
i.the administration supports academic freedom, 65.0% Strongly agreed or Agreed, 19.0% were Neutral, and 16.1% Disagreed or Strongly disagreed;
ii.the administration supports collegial governance, 29.2% Strongly agreed or Agreed, 26.3 were Neutral, and 44.5% Disagreed or Strongly disagreed;
iii.the administration is sensitive to faculty opinions 27.0% Strongly agreed or Agreed, 24.1% were Neutral, and 48.9% Disagreed or Strongly disagreed; and

XI.WHEREAS: As a result of a collegial campus-wide process, the Southeast AQIP Steering Committee reported problems with the collegial process through its development of Action Project #1 (1 of 5) titled “Improving Information Distribution and Communication.” This project is identified as being “high among current priorities” based on the Examiner's confirmation of a communication problem: “Southeast has a strategic plan and mission statement that were developed in a collegial process. We also have an extensive framework for shared governance and bidirectional communication to ensure everyone has access to information. However, the Examiner confirmed a communication problem including failure to effectively communicate the values, mission, goals, and direction of the institution, especially distinctive strategic initiatives, as well as a consistent set of values and expectations for ethics, social responsibility, and service. This has contributed to tensions among constituencies and a sense the University is lurching from opportunity to opportunity instead of following a clear path derived through a collegial process, ” and

XII.WHEREAS: As specified in the Faculty Handbook, the roles of Faculty Senate include: "Representation of faculty interests to the administration in University financial matters" (p.57), and "To review, develop, and make recommendations to the President on all matters of concern to the University community" (Faculty Handbook p.57). and

XIII.WHEREAS: The Principles of Collegiality in the Faculty Handbook further state that “at each level of governance, autonomy and responsibility are merged so that decisions that can be made at a lower level are made there without unnecessary interference from above. Only those matters which cannot be dealt with effectively at the department level become concerns at the college level; only those matters which cannot be dealt with effectively at the college level become University-wide concerns” (Faculty Handbook, p. 50), and

XIV.WHEREAS: A pattern of decision-making that is not collegial and does not support the principle of shared governance as specifically stipulated in the Faculty Handbook undermines the welfare and morale of all faculty at the University and can undermine collegiality within colleges and departments and throughout the institution, and

XV.WHEREAS: Attribution of past lapses in collegiality across campus is less important than resolving the matter is discussion about what can now be done to enhance collegiality

I.THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT: The Faculty Senate of Southeast Missouri State University encourages the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate, Chairs of Faculty Senate Legislative Committees, and the administration to engage in a dialogue with a view to enhancing collegiality and shared governance at all levels (university, college, and department) at Southeast Missouri State University, and

II.BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT: In compliance with the Faculty Handbook (p. 58; see V and VI) and consistent with the process that was used in the development of the institutional policy and procedures on Tenure and Promotion, Faculty Senate input (not merely faculty representation) should be sought whenever feasible (as agreed in discussion between the Administration and the Faculty Senate Executive) before decisions are made regarding programs, policies, and matters that relate to academic affairs and in other matters involving the faculty before they are either implemented or conveyed to the Board of Regents for approval.