Shared Governance and the Strategic Work Plan
Shared governance, in which faculty and administrators participate in significant decisions about the operation of the institution, is the hallmark of the American university system. This system is a bulwark of academic freedom and of the process of free inquiry, open expression, dissent and discovery that have given the American university system its international prominence.
The shared governance system is founded on the recognition that
- University faculty, by virtue of their disciplinary expertise, are in the best position to make decisions about curricular, instructional, academic personnel and research policy;
- Decisions about academic policy should be independent of short term or political considerations, and;
- The perspective of faculty members is essential for making sound decisions about allocating resources, setting goals, choosing administrators and promoting an environment for students most conducive to the university's educational mission.
Shared governance invests the faculty in the university, ensures the engagement of an enormous pool of talent, creativity and institutional memory in pursuit of the university's goals and increases productivity at every level.
In the words of Robert Maynard Hutchins, one of the twentieth century's great university presidents, “We get the best results in education and research if we leave their management to people who know something about them.”
The university's success in the future will depend on the ability of faculty members to formulate a vision for their units and to initiate strategies to realize unit goals. Shared faculty governance at the University of Florida has undergone a renaissance in recent years, and is expressed through the structures of the Faculty Senate and their further articulation in colleges and departments.
Through these structures, faculty members participate in setting important academic policy directions for the institution. It must be a central goal of the university to nurture and expand the university's shared governance structure and to develop a deeply engaged culture of mutual respect and trust between faculty and administrators in the goal of bringing the university into the top ten of public AAU institutions.
As a part of this process, the Faculty Senate-Presidential Task Force on the Implementation of Shared Governance Structure identifies several goals, best practices and recommended principles for shared governance.
- Goal 1: Ensure the continued development of shared faculty governance at the University of Florida and its integration into all aspects of academic life at college and department levels.
The President's 2007 Strategic Work Plan
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