The purposes of the Study on System-wide Shared
Governance are to suggest policies, procedures, and
practices that can strengthen shared governance in the CSU
at the system level and to engender discussion among
California State University (CSU) constituencies to improve
system-wide shared governance.
Largely through the results of surveys of CSU academic
leaders and through interviews with experts nationwide and
system leaders of the CSU, a set of suggestions for
improving governance has been distilled.
The survey found strong support for the value of shared
governance in all groups, administrators and faculty alike.
It also indicated strong support for the ideal of mutual
trust and openness but found that the perceived reality was
far from what would be desirable. Attitudes and behaviors
necessary to make shared governance work most often noted
were trust, mutual respect, civility, honesty, truthfulness,
early and effective communication, broad and frequent
consultation, transparent processes, and open and frank
Faculty viewed administrators as having taken the
initiative in the creation of academic policy relegating
faculty to a reactive mode. Respondents often commented that
informal structures of shared decision-making and
communication are as powerful, if not more powerful, than
the formal ones.
Survey responses stressed the need for improved
communication at all levels. Good communication is widely
recognized as essential for shared governance to function
well. Open and transparent procedures help build trust and
provide the necessary information to make good decisions.
Decisions made behind closed doors or in isolation breed
distrust and exacerbate "us v. them" attitudes.
Broad issues identified that should be at the core of
future discussions are:
- Attitudes: Expect collegial behavior of faculty and
administrators alike. Build trust and respect.
- Agenda: Set agendas jointly. Involve the Senate early
and regularly in identifying policy issues and developing
policy. Permit adequate time for consultation.
- Informal interactions: Develop more opportunities for
informal interactions between faculty and administrators
and trustees. Reduce the isolation of trustees from
- Communication: Study ways to improve communication
among the system and its campuses, and to strengthen the
Senate as a communication link.
- New Faculty: Encourage efforts to recruit new faculty
participants in governance and train them in effective
This report contains specific suggestions for improvement
included recognizing the importance of participation in
governance activities in personnel policies and by
university leaders; orientation and training for faculty and
new university leaders; evaluation of administrators based
on their effectiveness in shared governance; greater faculty
involvement in budget processes and in selection and
evaluation of administrative leaders; greater consultation
and collaboration regarding academic issues between faculty
leaders and administrative leaders; joint establishment of
agendas and issues to be addressed; allowing adequate time
for formal consultation and assuring the timeliness of
responses for urgent matters; increased informal contact
between Board of Trustee members and faculty leaders; hiring
professional staff for the Senate; improved communication
and interaction among campus and system senates and
administrative leaders; establishing a task force to
recommend specific improvements in system-wide
The full report, including appendices, will soon be
placed on the CSU Senate web site.
May 10, 2001