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This document identifies the principles and mechanisms by which the Academic Assembly and the administration of Arizona State University shall seek to affect their commitment to the university’s mission and fulfill the shared government responsibilities mandated by the legislature and the Board. This memorandum supersedes all previous memoranda and agreements and does not assume powers not granted to Arizona State University faculty or administration by the State of Arizona or the Arizona Board of Regents.
Basis of Shared Governance
Shared governance establishes the ethos and the structures that enable divergent ideas to be placed on the table, debated for their merits, shaped for the larger good of the university community, and put to use in a timely manner. Shared governance is the keystone that enables the Academic Assembly and the administrative leadership to sustain and advance the university’s mission, effectiveness, and reputation.
The university’s connection with students, alumni, the immediate community, and the academic community travels directly through faculty and academic professionals, their actions, and their works. The Academic Assembly bears significant responsibility for policies and actions dealing with curriculum, promotion and tenure, budget community outreach, service to academic and community entities, research, and organization. Individual faculty members who have demonstrated exceptional organizational skills and seek administrative service are typically selected for positions in which they have the primary responsibility for academic administration.
Faculty and academic professionals generate significant funding and research, create and sustain the academic stature of the university, broaden the horizons and citizenship of students and society, and establish and extend future fruitful alumni relationships. Because of these important contributions by the faculty and academic professionals, a commitment to shared governance is essential to the advancement of the university’s mission. At a minimum, shared governance leads to better decision-making, stronger collegiality, and the construction and maintenance of relationships of trust and mutual accord; it sets for all to see an extensive example of democratic governance, warrantees that decisions are based on a vast array of cutting-edge knowledge and information, and ensures that policies and actions are based on long-term values rather than short-term goals.
Shared governance requires collaboration through established structures and procedures between the university’s administration and elected representatives of the Academic Assembly -- the University Senate, University Academic Council, and Senate committees. This collaboration occurs as administrators and their staff often serve as ex officio members of these bodies or otherwise meet with them. Assembly members, in turn, serve on university committees and other bodies outside the Senate’s direct authority. When administrators solicit the counsel of individual faculty or of faculty who hold administrative positions, they are indeed involving “faculty” in their decision making, but this does not substitute for collaboration with elected faculty representatives. Shared governance requires such collaboration to maximize diverse perspectives, promote a sense of efficacy among Assembly members, and enable administrative leaders to make the most informed choices about policies and resources.
The vast majority of instances of shared governance carry the burden of careful collaboration wherein appropriate Assembly bodies and administration have reached general agreement. General agreement means that appropriate elected Assembly representatives and administrators, through a spirit of mutual respect, have weighed matters and options and have reached consensus.
The University President or designee(s) may sometimes make a final decision that is not the outcome of general agreement. In these cases, the President or the President’s designee will provide the elected Assembly leaders with an explanation for why such actions were taken.
University Academic Council
The University Academic Council shall have the following functions and responsibilities:
The President, Provost and members of the University Academic Council will discuss the status of shared governance processes at their regular meetings from time to time as needed.
University-wide committees will consist of faculty, administrators, and members of other sectors of the University community, as appropriate. Faculty and administration shall make every effort to accommodate one another’s needs, to achieve balance between faculty and administration perspectives, and to achieve fair representation of sex, race, and ethnicity in committee composition.
Faculty shall advise in the selection and review of academic unit chairs and directors, deans, vice provosts, and academic vice presidents. Search and hiring committees and meetings will provide for both faculty and university administration input and collaboration.
Decision-making in universities is dispersed. Colleges, schools, divisions, departments, and centers all have the capacity to enact some policies and certain procedures within their own sphere of operation. Decision-making authority often rests with the administrative heads of those units. Shared governance, however, is intended by the legislature, Board of Regents, and the university to operate within these units as well. In those units that comprise home to members of the Academic Assembly, bylaws must provide for structures, policies, and procedures that establish collaboration between the administrators and the Assembly members of the unit regarding those policies and procedures. Members of the Assembly may solicit the assistance of the University Academic Council and the University Senate to help promote effective shared governance in these units.
The University Senate will meet monthly in regular sessions during the academic year and in special sessions as needed. Locations at each campus with appropriate audio-visual equipment and support personnel shall be provided by the university in order to provide for synchronous, real-time meetings of the Senate in a single session. The chair or designee of the University Academic Council shall preside over the meetings.
Administrators at every level should give due consideration to faculty and academic professionals who perform service for the university and campus communities. This is especially true for campus-wide Senate officers, who will also have responsibilities in the University Academic Council. The following policies and procedures permit recognition of their significant service commitment and enable them to professionalize their work.
Summer stipends for campus presidents:
Support and Space: To facilitate the work of the University Senate and the University Academic Council, the following support should be provided:
Approved and Implemented by the University Academic Council and ASU Administration in July of 2008