Early Faculty Involvement in California State University
RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate of the California State University (ASCSU) express with concern that in recent years the CSU has undertaken many major curriculum-related initiatives which began with decisions at the system-wide level and then proceeded with the results of those decisions being announced to the faculty. Examples include the Early Start Program, the SB 1440 Student Transfer Achievement Reform Act (community college transfer degree), the establishment of a process for waiving the American Institutions requirement, and most recently Cal State Online; and be it further
RESOLVED: That the ASCSU affirm that faculty have primacy over the curriculum, specialized knowledge of the skills and subject matter pertaining to their respective disciplines, as well as expertise developed over time and through experience to determine which particular pedagogical methods can most effectively convey those skills and that subject matter to their students; and be it further
RESOLVED: That the ASCSU strongly endorse the Board of Trustee’s own Collegiality Statement which affirms, in part, “Collegial governance assigns primary responsibility to the faculty for the educational functions of the institution in accordance with basic policy as determined by the Board of Trustees. This includes admission and degree requirements, the curriculum and methods of teaching, academic and professional standards, and the conduct of creative and scholarly activities” (emphasis added). The Statement further points out that “Faculty recommendations are normally accepted, except in rare instances and for compelling reasons”*; and be it further,
RESOLVED: That the ASCSU firmly contend that principles of shared governance necessitate that all CSU curricular initiatives include meaningful faculty involvement at the formative stages of development and must draw upon best practices and exemplary programs now in place in the CSU and elsewhere; and be it further
RESOLVED: That the Board of Trustees and Chancellor’s Office include faculty at the formative stage of drafting strategies as well as responses to challenges which confront the CSU in the future, as requested in numerous resolutions, including but not limited to the most recent listed below; and be it further
RESOLVED: That the ASCSU reaffirm its concerns over the lack of shared governance as expressed in the following resolutions:
- AS-3029-11/AA, Approved Unanimously, May 5-6, 2011 Request to the Board of Trustees to Delay Action on Recommended Changes to the Title 5 “American Institutions” Graduation Requirement Until its November 2011 Meeting
- AS-2962-10/FA, Approved, May 2010 Opposition to Participation in the Zemsky-Finney Re-engineering the Undergraduate Curriculum Proposal
- AS-2960-10/FA, Approved, May 2010 Objection to Unilateral Decision Making and the Pursuit of a “Culture of Compliance” in the CSU
- AS-2895-09/APEP/AA, Approved, May 2009 Opposition to Impending Implementation of Mandatory Early Start Programs
- AS-2892-09/FA, Approved Unanimously, May 2009 Faculty Control Over Course Capacities and Mode of Instruction Decisions
- AS-2845-08/FA (Rev) Approved Unanimously May 2008 Shared Governance, Academic Freedom and Principles Governing Systemwide Initiatives with Curricular Implications
;and be it further,
RESOLVED: That the ASCSU distribute this resolution to the Board of Trustees, Chancellor’s Office, Campus Presidents, Campus Provosts/Vice President for Academic Affairs, and campus senate chairs.
RATIONALE: The pattern of announcing decisions and then asking for faculty help in implementing the initiatives is not what is meant by shared governance. Both the administration and the faculty are to have a voice in decision making. This is especially the case when the issue is curriculum, where the faculty have recognized expertise. The research literature is clear: working in a collaborative manner, while involving multiple and sometimes disparate viewpoints, leads to better decision making, enhances buy-in from both groups, and results in greater satisfaction from all parties. Furthermore, as failures such as the University of Illinois' "Global Campus" attest, a top-down approach without robust faculty support and inclusion in decision making is likely doomed to failure.
Kolowich, S. (Sept. 3, 2009). What University of Illinois' "Global Campus" doomed Global Campus? Inside Higher Ed.
Approved Without Dissent – January 19-20, 2012
*The BOT Collegiality Statement is available in the Report of the Board of Trustees Ad Hoc Committee on Governance, Collegiality, and Responsibility in the CSU. Adopted September 1985-Principles and Policies-Papers Of the Academic Senate CSU, Volume 1, 1988.