Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
January 22, 1999

Senate to examine shared governance definition

by Linda Charles

Shared governance and the election of a new president-elect were on the agenda at the Jan. 12 Faculty Senate meeting.

Senate President Denise Vrchota, adjunct assistant professor of journalism and communication, noted that the senate's executive board plans to review shared governance during its Jan. 25 meeting.

There is no official definition of shared governance at Iowa State, though in general it is considered to mean that faculty are consulted on matters that pertain to them. Vrchota noted, "We all have a sense of what we think it means, but is there a common view?" She said the executive board will try to define what shared governance means at Iowa State.

The discussion of shared governance was prompted by a motion presented by Bryan Cain, professor of mathematics, calling for the senate to express its "disappointment that the administration has not joined us (the senate) in working for shared governance."

In support of his motion, Cain maintained that the senate wasn't consulted in the selection of the interim provost and was assigned an "ignorable role" in the selection of the search committee for a new provost. Cain also mentioned other examples of ways he thought the faculty had not been consulted properly by the administration.

"I often feel the faculty have been left out, ignored," he said.

The senators in general seemed to favor the intent of the Cain motion, but many were not in favor of the wording of the motion. Several spoke for a motion that presents a more positive statement to the administration, encouraging shared governance.

In the end, the senate tabled Cain's motion and asked that the executive board present the results of its review of shared governance at the February meeting. The senate then will decide what to do next. It may decide to issue a statement or it could decide to work with the administration on developing a definition of shared governance, Vrchota said after the meeting.

The senate also elected Dave Hopper, professor of veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine, as president-elect. He will assume the office at the May meeting and serve in that position for one year, then will automatically become senate president the following year.

Hopper voiced his support for the senate's newly created Council on University Resource Policies and Allocations. The senate approved the creation of the council during the meeting. It will propose budgetary and other resource initiatives, working with the university president and other administrators.

In other business, interim provost Richard Seagrave told the senate he would do all he could to help it formulate a post-tenure review policy, but warned the senators that a policy must be sent to the State Board of Regents in December. "It would be really nice to have faculty support," he said.

Tom Emmerson, professor of journalism, also asked the senate to consider whether it wanted to work toward having a faculty representative from one of the three regents' institutions on the Board of Regents, noting that there is a student representative.

The next senate meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 9, in 260 Scheman.

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