Joint Statement on Shared Governance
Shared governance is the system designed by an academic institution to define the roles and responsibilities of its stakeholders and to maximize the participation of each in accomplishing the institution’s mission with collective responsibility and accountability. Effective shared governance, actively promoted, is vital to accomplishing the mission of Taylor University because it is conducive to:
- Modeling the ideals of our Life Together Covenant and our common commitments to Christian community,
- Promoting better decisions as it brings more wisdom, experience, and perspective to bear on perplexing university problems,
- Building trust among stakeholders that enables the institution to better handle conflict and challenges,
- Hastening implementation of strategies once ownership is gained, and
- Increasing investment, ownership and satisfaction of all stakeholders.
In keeping with Bahls, we believe that shared governance is best understood and ordered “as a system of open communication aimed at aligning priorities, creating a culture of shared responsibility for the welfare of the institution, and creating a system of checks and balances to ensure that the institution stays mission-centered” (2014, p. 99). Moreover, we agree that “the goal of shared governance is not consensus, but instead the best possible decision” (2014, p.11). Finally, the glue that binds these elements together and which may even create a cushion to protect us when we fail to perfectly achieve these ideals is clear, open, gracious, bidirectional, and routine communication.
- Of highest priority is our commitment to integrate into our shared governance efforts the biblical principles of our common faith commitments
- We affirm our understanding that the Board of Trustees is the ultimate governing authority of Taylor University. As such, it is endowed by the State of Indiana with ultimate authority over all its affairs and activities. Shared governance is possible only because the Board delegates or shares its authority with others.
- Participation of faculty in the governance of the University is a Board of Trustees-delegated right and a responsibility of a scholarly community. Shared governance is essential to sustain and nurture Taylor’s Christian liberal arts academic culture.
- We will work together (trustees, faculty and administrators) to “examine the clarity, coherence and appropriateness of [Taylor’s] governance structures, policies and practices” (AGB Statement on Board Responsibility for Institutional Governance).
- We believe that in effective shared governance: all constituents recognize that there are domains of primary responsibility; that each domain may require a different approach to decision making in order to be efficient, effective and productive; and, within agreed-upon limits decision making should be open and understandable to all members of the community. Issues related to roles and responsibilities of constituents (faculty, administrators, and trustees) in various domains need continuous clarification.
- All proposed activities, initiatives, and improvements must include a careful accounting of the “human costs” that will be incurred.
Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges. (2011). AGB statement on board responsibility for the oversight of educational quality. Retrieved from http://www.nacua.org/documents/AGB_StatementBdResponsibility.pdf
Bahls, S. C. (2014). Shared governance in times of change: A practical guide for universities and colleges. Washington