Really?…Shared Governance Sans Students…

I recently had the pleasure of having lunch with a number of the Chief Information Officer finalists for UW Madison. I must say that all the candidates are extremely qualified and the search and screen committee has a really tough decision to make. The lunches were attended by key stakeholders including representatives from the University committee of the Faculty Senate, DoiT, unclassified staff, and the Academic Staff Executive Committee, as well as myself there as the student representative.

One thing that the lunches were meant to achieve was to explain to the various candidates how UW Madison’s Shared Governance process works. At each lunch the conversation turned to shared governance and a faculty member or ASEC member would explain what shared governance is and how and why we execute it here at Madison. And at every lunch students were never mentioned. The faculty members would explain how there are 3 groups that you must include in decision making policy: faculty, staff and unclassified staff. They would then go on to explain how it is very important to include them otherwise you get pushback on initiatives and the faculty are unwilling to support your mission. And every time I had to somewhat rudely interrupt and state how students also need to be included in the shared governance process.

This actually came to me at somewhat a surprise. I mean I know the faculty and staff at Madison have historically committed huge blunders if not egregious violations of shared governance policy codes. See here and here. But to not even mention them as a group you must include in the process is just absurd. I hope this is not indicative of how the entire campus feels towards student, for I have had some very good experiences with including students in shared governance.  As for now I’m left wondering what can be done to make it clear the faculty and staff here that students must be included in this process. As always I welcome your thoughts.

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3 responses to “Really?…Shared Governance Sans Students…

  1. There are a lot of misconceptions about what Shared Governance means on campus. Even the Chancellor and Dean have used the terms “advisory” before, as if it has no authority. Shared Gov case law disagrees.

  2. Thanks for bringing this up Tom. Did you mention anything afterward … to the candidates? How about to the person that said that? I’m curious how it all went down. I think students really are never respected whether it comes to fair labor practices, or something like this which relates directly to student life. Let me know how it all goes!

    • I didn’t say anything to the people after the lunch however I did make it known to everyone including the candidates that ASM appoints students through shared gov and that state law requires that we also be included. It was actually somewhat humorous because each of the different groups talked about how there organization (faculty senate, academic staff assembly) represented the roughly 2000 faculty or 6000 academic staff and all I could think about was the 42,000 students that they weren’t even recognizing as a legitimate group. All the candidates were very interested in what students opinion was in regard to campus IT and such so I think that shows something good. It’s just ironic and frustrating to see members of this institution try to explain the importance of shared gov but then not explain it right and completely fail to mention students. To me it felt like they were saying “yeah we have shared gov here on campus which means you have to consult us and get approval from us before you do anything”.

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