Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
March 19, 1999

Newlin defines shared governance

by Linda Charles

State Board of Regents president Owen Newlin, in response to a request by the Faculty Senate president, offered his definition of shared governance at the senate's March 9 meeting.

Newlin said the responsibility for the state's universities and special schools rests squarely on the shoulders of the regents, but that the regents have chosen to delegate certain responsibilities to the heads of their institutions and faculty in the form of shared governance.

"It is clearly the regents who are both responsible for the institutions and accountable to the people of Iowa in seeing that they fulfill their missions," Newlin said.

However, he added, one of the strengths of the system is that the regents also know their limitations.

"We are not professional educators in higher education," he said. "We are not experienced administrators of a complex, multi-faceted higher education institution. We are not experts in developing curriculum. And we are not experts in working with and serving university students.

"That's where a very important part of the higher education governance enterprise we employ here in Iowa comes into play, and that's the concept of shared governance," he said.

The board delegates to the university presidents the responsibility for the day-to-day operations and ongoing faculty governance matters and to the faculties the responsibility for developing and implementing curricula, all according to the policies and procedures of the board, he said.

Newlin went on to say, "The board also embraces the concept of shared governance by encouraging broad input and participation in its procedure-making process." He noted that representatives of the institutions, faculties and student bodies have many opportunities to make their positions known.

(For more in-depth coverage of Newlin's talk, check the following Web site:

Post-tenure review

The senate also began considering amendments to a proposed post-tenure review policy, but due to the lateness of the evening, recessed until Tuesday, March 23.

The proposed policy calls for a post-tenure review at least every seven years. The review would cover teaching, research/creative activities, extension/professional practice and institutional service within the context of a faculty member's position responsibility statement. The end result would be recommendations to enhance performance and provide a plan for future development.

The proposed policy states the review would not change the university's commitment to academic freedom or the circumstances under which tenured faculty can be dismissed from the university, as listed in the Faculty Handbook.

(For more information about the proposed policy, check the following Web site:

The senate will reconvene at 7:30 p.m. March 23 in 260 Scheman. The meeting is open to the public.

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