What is ‘Shared Governance’?
California University believes decisions affecting University constituencies will be based upon mutually supportive and respectful dialogue, which involves broad and unending two-way communication. University authorities have a responsibility to inform potentially affected constituencies and provide them sufficient opportunity for dialogue before decisions are reached. All such constituencies will have the opportunity to influence decision-making and retain the right to receive a reply.
The shared governance model at PennWest California gives a “voice” to all constituent groups potentially affected by a decision. This “voice” involves mutual participation in the decision-making process, no matter who initiates or responds to recommendations, which are broadly considered any suggested course of action whether or not formally presented in writing. Participation in this process recognizes administrators’ authority to make final decisions and depends upon timely responsiveness of all interested parties.
History of Shared Governance at PennWest California
The Council of Trustees for PennWest California dissolved the University Forum in June 2013, and created the Task Force to Study Shared Governance at PennWest California.
The task force included representatives of California University’s faculty, staff, students, administration and bargaining units. It was asked to review the remaining governance structure with an eye toward continuous improvement.
Specifically, then-interim University President Geraldine M. Jones set a deadline of July 1, 2014, for the task force to:
- Review and codify the existing shared governance system on campus and describe how the various governing entities relate to one another.
- Formulate recommendations as to whether the current shared governance system simply needs minor adjustments or if a larger overhaul/revision is needed.
- Develop recommendations for improved shared governance with a goal of streamlining, simplifying and formalizing the system while permitting all campus constituencies to have a voice.
- Review any unfinished business from the University Forum for current relevance.
The Task Force met regularly from November 2013 to May 2014, and delivered its Final Report and Recommendations after concluding its deliberations.
Current Shared Governance Model
- The PennWest California shared governance process was updated in 2018 during the initial
cycle of our revised institution-wide assessment process to better display the connection
between university-wide assessment processes and institutional budgeting and planning.
Basic Principles of Shared Governance
- Administration should inform potentially affected constituencies and provide them sufficient opportunity for dialogue before decisions are reached.
- All constituent groups should be able to participate and influence decision making, and they should receive a reply to their contributions.
- Administration retains the authority to make final decisions, and participation in this process should not impede timely decision-making.