Principles and Practice of Shared Governance

Shared Governance is the transparent process by which the University community (i.e., faculty, staff, administrators, alumni, and students) influences decisions on matters of policy and procedure, and/or to present alternatives on such matters. Shared governance fosters mutually reinforcing relationships that expand cooperation and develop leadership while facilitating judicious, yet creative, university governance.

Shared Governance includes issues of values, culture, management, finance, and administration.  The intent of this process is to balance efficiency and effectiveness with equity and fairness within the context of our operating frameworks, such as legislation or accreditation.  Consideration and utilization of data is paramount.

At the core of successful Shared Governance is open communication among the constituents of the University.  Seeking input, listening to it, and considering it as part of a decision-making process strengthens confidence among the various components of the University to mutually benefit each other and the University.

Principles of Shared Governance

  • Shared governance expects those who will be affected by a decision on policy or procedures can be informed and can influence governance decisions by their input.
  • Shared governance relies upon consistent, trustworthy communication that is multidirectional and reciprocal and focused on our mutual goals of student success and institutional effectiveness.
  • Shared governance requires mutual accountability of all members of the University community for the proper execution of their roles in a timely manner.
  • Shared governance permeates all levels of decision-making within the University community.
  • Full and active participation at all levels of shared governance is encouraged.
  • Recommendations made through shared governance processes will influence university decision making.

Practice of Shared Governance

A.  The University shall have procedures and formal structures providing for appropriate collaboration and communication between and among administration, faculty, staff, and students. The structures and procedures shall be developed cooperatively, disseminated widely prior to adoption, and reviewed periodically according to procedures and timelines established in the documents governing institutional practice.

B.  Recognizing the institution’s main educational focus on its students, identification of subject matter appropriate for administration, alumni, faculty, staff, and student participation in the shared governance process shall recognize:

  1. The responsibility of administrators for forming and articulating a vision for the institution, providing strategic leadership, and managing human resources, finances, and operations;
  2. The central role of faculty, including part-time faculty, in teaching, scholarship, and service, including assessment of these activities through peer review. This is further evidenced by having representation on the Board of Trustees Academic and Student Affairs Committee and by actively participating in the Academic Senate, the Graduate Council, and university and departmental committees.
  3. Staff provides a unique awareness of day to day operations that are essential in the consideration of university and college level decision making and in the development of policy and procedures, as evidenced by their inclusion in university and college level committees.
  4. The students’ interests in matters pertaining to student life and the academic environment; and
  5. The role of each constituency in the selection of key institutional administrators.

C. Exigent circumstances may require institutional leaders to act promptly in the best interest of the institution without full benefit of shared governance. In such cases, representative bodies shall be informed and will comment on actions taken.

D. Shared governance requires a commitment of resources and time from the institution. The University shall support faculty, staff, and students in their responsibilities to shared governance.

E. The final responsibility for decision making, including solicitation of input through shared governance, rests with the President and the Board of Trustees, who are ultimately held accountable by University constituencies, the public and its elected leaders.

F. Collective bargaining is an avenue of input separate and distinct from Shared Governance.

Endorsed by the Academic Senate on November 1, 2017. As modified by Board of Trustees on December 6, 2017.

Prepared by the YSU Excellence Steering (YES) Committee: Martin Abraham (Co-Chair), Rayann Atway (Student), Chet Cooper (Co-Chair/Faculty, CSTEM), Ramesh Dangol (Faculty, WCBA), Rosalyn Donaldson (Staff), Adam Earnheardt (Faculty, CCAC), Rachel Faerber-Ovaska (Part-time Faculty), Amy Flick (Faculty, CLASS), Meghan Fortner (Part-time Faculty), Connie Frisby (Staff), Max Grubb (Faculty, CCAC), Holly Jacobs (Administration), Neal McNally (Administration), Phyllis Paul (Dean, CCAC), Maura Picciano (Staff), Ted Roberts (Board of Trustees), Carole Weimer (Board of Trustees), Mary Yacovone (Faculty, BCHHS)


† Adapted, in part, and with permission, from “Principles and Practices of Shared Governance” from the University of Louisiana at Monroe (http://www.ulm.edu/sharedgovernance/)