Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
Sept. 6, 1996

Shared governance among Faculty Senate goals

by Linda Charles
A presidential evaluation will be among the priorities of the Faculty Senate during the coming year.

Senate President William Woodman, professor of sociology, said he is in the process of appointing a committee to conduct the review of the President's Office. The review should be done by late spring.

"My objective is to make this panel so clearly distinguished and respected that nobody's going to have any problem with the angle of vision that they have," he said.

Committee members must be approved by both the senate executive board and its full body. One member will be a university president and the others will be faculty members.

"When it's done right, an evaluation can be a very helpful tool," Woodman said. "It gives any person holding any position an idea of how others are perceiving what he or she does. That may be even more crucial for people at the top of an organization who may not be told as openly as those of us near the bottom."

Shared governance
Another top issue for the senate this year will be shared governance.

"Shared governance is the idea that faculty have a role in setting policy and running the university," Woodman said.

Today, he said, administration has become a profession.

Woodman said in recent years the shared governance system has broken down at Iowa State. For example, he said, faculty have found out about many things, such as a parking study and the issuance of new university identification cards, through the newspaper rather than through consultation by the administration before decisions were made.

"I think there's a clear distinction between routine things and the things we're talking about here," he said, adding that he has been discussing the issue of shared governance with the president and provost.

Having faculty on a committee does not ensure that the Faculty Senate is informed about what a committee is doing, he added. The senate has asked that it nominate all faculty appointments to university committees so it can request reports on committee developments.

Sense of community
Woodman said he also is concerned about the number of faculty who feel unappreciated and isolated. Many faculty do not feel they have time for any social responsibility, such as serving on committees or the senate, because of the amount of pressure on them to produce.

Among Woodman's possible solutions are establishing a location where faculty could meet and more interdisciplinary research.

Woodman also said the senate executive board recently began meeting on a periodic basis with the P&S Council executive board to discuss common interests. For example, approximately 100 P&S staff have teaching appointments, he said. That brings up the issue of how to treat these employees in terms of tenure and performance reviews.

Another concern, he said, is that recent faculty salary increases have not kept up with inflation or the job market. Faculty who have been at ISU for a number of years often find themselves paid about the same as those hired more recently.

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