RIP Shared Governance

RIP also stands for Retirement Incentive PlanSAC’s new College Plan is being aligned with the District Plan. It includes a new list of “values” for SAC. One value formerly in the SAC plan, Shared Governance, has been deleted. Dr. Zeigler reportedly explained that this deletion was okay because the new values include the wording “cooperation” and “respect for all.”

Respect is a moral value that we are already expected to exhibit in a professional work environment. Cooperation is not the same as collaboration. So what is shared governance and why is it so important to the health of an academic institution?

Shared governance actively promotes shared responsibility among the different components of the institution.  Shared governance demands interdependency among governing board, administration, faculty, students, and others. Shared governance is based on a community of interest and joint effort. All voices offer experience and expertise in different areas. When one voice is left out of the decision making process the communal institution suffers. Under a shared governance model, faculty have primary responsibility for the following: curriculum, subject matter, methods of instruction, degree requirements, appointments, dismissal, tenure, salaries, faculty government and communication between faculty, administration, students and governing board.

See: AAUP 1966 Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities for specific roles and responsibilities of the Governing Board, the President, faculty and students.

The faculty voice has been ignored in matters of curriculum design (alignment), methods of instruction (one textbook), internal operations (50/50 ratio, faculty status of librarians, new administrative appointments, department chair appointments, transfers), professional judgment (tenure, Progressive Discipline Policy), salary (summer pay) and various channels of communication (Professional Protocol Statement).

The message is very clear from Dr. Zeigler. The removal of “shared governance” from the SAC College Plan is simply reflective of the current District and College administrative culture and attitude towards the faculty voice.

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