Shared Governance Frequently Asked Questions
What is Shared Governance?
Shared Governance in higher education varies in meaning depending on the goals and culture of an institution. Within the college, each department, program, or even individual may have a unique perspective of shared governance. According to the Academic Leadership Journal (2011) shared governance is “a mutual sharing of responsibility by faculty, administration, staff, appointed personnel, and students, for making both operational and strategic decisions about institutional mission, policies, and budget and finance priorities” (para. 5).
At Seminole State College, we attempt to share governance by means of transparency in all policies, procedures, and budgeting matters. We encourage each constituency to participate in the vital growth and efficiency of the college. Each member of the college is responsible for contributing to our collective goals while utilizing the tools and resources for shared governance. By becoming involved in your campus daily undertakings we can all be assured that no one person can make strategic decisions without the input of key stakeholders around the campus.
As part of the Great Colleges Initiative, the Shared Governance Implementation Team solicited feedback from the College community to define shared governance at Seminole State. Please take the time to learn our operational definition of shared governance and our guiding principles. We have also provided a summary of feedback on the definition.
What does governance look like at Seminole State?
Review the current governance structure at Seminole State.
Why is there a group of employees working on Shared Governance?
In March 2013, Seminole State participated in the Great Colleges to Work For Survey. In reviewing collegewide responses to the 2013 Great Colleges to Work for Survey, we identified three main aspects of the workplace to be improved: Shared Governance, Employee Excellence, and Supervisor Training.
With the support of the College’s Executive Team, volunteers were solicited from across the College to serve on Implementation Teams to address these three areas. These teams sought to identify the diverse needs of Seminole State’s staff, faculty, and students while conducting research of best practices at other institutions. Since the beginning of this process, our staff and faculty have been engaged in developing both immediate and long-term strategies for improving shared governance at Seminole State.
What work has been done to improve Shared Governance at Seminole State College?
Phase I: Implementation Team (2015-16)
The Shared Governance Implementation Team was charged to:
- Define shared governance
- Research models of shared governance
- Make recommendations for implementation
Define Shared Governance
Creating an institutional definition of shared governance was the first task of the Shared Governance Implementation Team. An initial definition that was generated based upon numerous definitions of shared governance presented in the shared governance literature. In review of literature, it was concluded that several factors that were crucial to the facilitation of shared governance, even if they were not directly a part of the concept definition. Consequently, these factors were incorporated into the draft as guiding principles and a statement of accountability.
In an effort to model the spirit of shared governance captured in our definition and guiding principles, the Shared Governance Implementation Team solicited collegewide feedback regarding the definition, guiding principles and accountability statement in Fall 2015. This survey was made available to all College employees for a period of two weeks and was advertised through a variety of sources. There were 243 responses to the survey, and a summary of feedback on the definition can be reviewed.
Based on research and feedback a final operational definition and guiding principles were created. Please take the time to learn our operational definition of shared governance and our guiding principles.
Research Models of Shared Governance
The team examined both existing examples of shared governance at Seminole State College and external models at other Great Colleges. The goal is to maintain aspects of shared governance that effectively operate in the interests of all College employees. The study of external models will allow us to identify and recommend best practices that may enhance the effectiveness of shared governance across the College.
Internal: The Implementation Team began the process of identifying and reviewing current examples of shared governance at Seminole State College. The team created a template to catalog all standing committees, employee councils/senate, advisory groups, and ad-hoc/task forces.
External: The Implementation Team reviewed models of shared governance at other institutions recognized by the Great Colleges survey for their excellence in shared governance. The team also traveled to another institution to investigate alternate models of shared governance.
Make Recommendations for Implementation
The Implementation Team’s recommendations were based on research outlined above. Feedback from the College community identified several potential impediments to effective shared governance including, but not limited to, continuity and distribution of information, particularly in digital formats.
The Implementation Team presented recommendations to the Executive Team in December 2015. A summary of the recommendations can be found here.
Phase II: Collaboration Team (2017)
The Implementation Team’s recommendations are currently being fulfilled in Phase II. The Shared Governance Collaboration Team was charged with developing the following items to facilitate Shared Governance:
- To inform the College community of shared governance
- To coordinate shared governance across the College
- To identify best practices and maintain continuity in shared governance
The Collaboration Team began meeting in Spring 2017 to complete its charge. Fulfilling these goals will require us to complete the self-assessment began by the implementation team and solicit further feedback from across the College. You can follow the committee activities on our committee page. Please join us by providing feedback on how we can best serve the College’s needs.
How can I get involved with Shared Governance?
There are many ways to get involved with Shared Governance at Seminole State.
- Daily Activities: How many unread collegewide emails have you deleted this week? Oftentimes, we miss opportunities for shared governance due to our busy schedules or simply neglect. Keep in mind that important information is being communicated across the College on a daily basis. Read it, share it, and ask questions.
- Policy/Procedure Feedback: We’ve all seen the emails communicating a new policy or updating previous procedures. The Office of Legal Affairs actively attempts to clarify governing documents and solicits comments to develop revisions as necessary. This is a final opportunity for faculty and staff to offer constructive feedback to benefit the College community.
- Standing Committees: There are 10 standing committees on campus that are governed by College policies/procedure. There are two days to participate in the activities of the Standing Committees. All meeting minutes are posted online. Review committee business and ask questions. A link to all committee minutes can be found here. In addition, a call goes out each year for Standing Committee representation. This is your opportunity to be a representative on shaping and executing College policies.
- Advisory Committees, Working Groups, Task Forces, and Ad-Hoc Committees: There are a variety of opportunities to serve on groups that handle a variety of issues/topics.
- Student Organization Advisor: Our students are an equally significant part of shared governance. Student organization advisors help the group comply with College policies and regulations. The advisor also provides guidance regarding operations and funding. Contact the Office of Student Life for additional information.
- Employee Groups: There are specific ways for each employee group to get involved.
Career Service Employees
Career Service Employee Council: Each career service employee is a member of the council. The purpose of the CSEC is to represent career service employees at every Exchange of Views forum and to serve as the advisory body to the College's senior administration relative to concerns raised by CSEC employees or by the administration.
Faculty Senate: All Senate meetings are open to faculty, and your participation is crucial to shared governance. The Senate relies on its elected members to serve as liaisons for collegewide Standing Committees. Elected Faculty Senate officers also represent their constituents in the Deans’ Council, to the Board of Trustees, and in other administrative decision making. These monthly meetings are a great opportunity to express concerns and collaborate on solutions.
Collective Bargaining: If you are a faculty member, you are already a part of the collective bargaining unit. While bargaining and legal representation are limited to dues-paying members, there are a variety of opportunities for union and non-union members to represent faculty in the formulation of policy. You are encouraged to participate in this process to a degree you are comfortable with, as the union’s decisions impact your role as a faculty member.
Professional and Technical Employees
Professional and Technical Employees Council: The Professional and Technical Employees Council (PTEC) is the officially recognized organization of professional and technical employees at Seminole State. PTEC membership is open to all professional and technical employees at the College. The council meets to discuss the concerns and the needs of its constituents at regular PTEC meetings and bring concerns forward at Exchange of Views meetings.