Reaffirming the Principle of Shared Governance Within the California State University

AS-3236-15/FA (Rev)

RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate of the California State University (ASCSU) reaffirm the principle of shared governance legislated in the Higher Education Employer-Employee Relations Act (HEERA) 3561 (b) as follows: “The Legislature
recognizes that joint decision making [sic] and consultation between administration and faculty or academic employees is the long-accepted manner of governing institutions of higher learning and is essential to the performance of the educational missions of these institutions….”; and be it further


RESOLVED: That the ASCSU request that the Chancellor clearly articulate, in the written response to this resolution, how the principle of “shared leadership” – to which he has often referred – either conforms with, or differs from, both the HEERA statute
and the “long-accepted manner” of shared governance as defined in the American Association of University Professors’ (AAUP’s) “Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities”1; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the ASCSU express ongoing concern that, when faculty leaders from CSU campuses have called upon the Chancellor to intervene when serious violations of shared governance on their respective campuses have been documented, the
Chancellor’s responses at times reference “shared leadership” yet fail to offer solutions that are responsive to the requests; and be it further

 

RESOLVED: That the ASCSU distribute this resolution to the CSU Board of Trustees, CSU Chancellor, CSU campus Presidents, CSU campus Senate Chairs, CSU campus Senate Executive Committees, CSU Provosts/Vice Presidents of Academic Affairs, California Faculty Association (CFA), California State Student Association (CSSA), CSU Emeritus and Retired Faculty Association (CSU ERFA).

RATIONALE: During the tenure of the former Chancellor, the Academic Senate of the California State University (ASCSU) found that it was necessary to pass a number of resolutions decrying the erosion of shared governance within the system. The history of such resolutions, at least since 2000, has included the following:

AS-2489-00/FGA: Shared Governance in the CSU
(http://www.calstate.edu/acadsen/records/resolutions/1999-2000/2489.shtml);

AS-2599-03/FGA/FA: Shared Governance as a Criterion for Presidential Evaluation (http://www.calstate.edu/acadsen/records/resolutions/2002- 2003/2599.shtml);

AS-2845-08/FA (Rev): Shared Governance, Academic Freedom and Principles Governing Systemwide Initiatives with Curricular Implications
(http://www.calstate.edu/acadsen/records/resolutions/2007-2008/2845.shtml);

AS-2934-10/FA: Affirming Shared Governance Within the California State University: Adoption and Use of Deliverology as a Tool to Achieve Administrative Action
(http://www.calstate.edu/acadsen/records/resolutions/2009-2010/2934.shtml);

AS-2960-10/FA: Objection to Unilateral Decision Making and the Pursuit of a“Culture of Compliance” in the CSU
(http://www.calstate.edu/acadsen/records/resolutions/2009-2010/2960.shtml);

AS-3051-11/FA: Early Faculty Involvement in California State University Initiatives (http://www.calstate.edu/acadsen/records/resolutions/2011- 2012/3051.shtml);

AS-3074-12/Shared Governance Committee (Rev); Procedures for CSU Administration and Board of Trustees Responses to Academic Senate CSU (ASCSU) Resolutions (http://www.calstate.edu/acadsen/records/resolutions/2011- 2012/3074.shtml);

AS-3092-12/AA: Faculty Consultation on Baccalaureate Unit Limits (http://www.calstate.edu/acadsen/records/resolutions/2012- 2013/documents/3092.shtml);

There was the expectation among faculty that, when Chancellor White assumed the position of Chancellor of the CSU at the beginning of 2013, he would reverse course, and thus, further resolutions protesting violations of shared governance would become unnecessary. Indeed, the hope had been that such resolutions could be relegated to the archives of past practice.

 

Sadly, this has not been the case. Like his predecessor in the office, the current Chancellor has demonstrated a distinctly different understanding of shared governance from that which has characterized the principles and practice of the ASCSU. Whether in disregarding nearly all of the faculty’s findings of duplication between CSU programs and those proposed in the pilot baccalaureate programs in the California Community College system last year without curricular justification; or in the administration’s recently enacting, without consultation with the ASCSU, a background check policy to which all new faculty are now subject, “shared leadership” in practice has left much to be desired as a reinterpretation of the principle of shared governance.

 

Additionally, responses from the Chancellor’s Office to well-considered ASCSU resolutions have rarely matched those resolutions either in substance or in intent; actions requested through formal resolutions are often deferred or ignored. Rather than being engaged in genuine collaboration on matters of academic policy, faculty often find that they are the “last to know” and are placed in a mode of reaction rather than one of collaboration. This was the case recently when the ASCSU called for a joint effort in revising the policy on academic freedom (AS-3197-14/FA). Instead of first forming a joint task force as requested in the resolution and then collaboratively drafting a policy, the administration has delayed formation of a joint task force and circulated its own draft policy.

 

Finally, requests from campus faculty leaders for investigations by the Chancellor into the erosion of shared governance on individual campuses have been met, at times, with tepid responses.

 

In contrast to the universally accepted principle of shared governance, “shared leadership” itself is a concept not native to academe but rather to business settings wherein the lexicon and practice of “team-building” is more normative than is the practice of governance. In matters related to curriculum, in particular (though certainly not limited to curricular matters), there is growing evidence that the expertise of the faculty, and, in fact, faculty’s responsibility to preserve quality, is being threatened not only from without (for example, through continual under-funding; performance-based metrics; initiatives lacking evidentiary justification) but also from within.

 

    Approved Unanimously   March 3-4, 2016
 

 

 


 
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