Inside the new faculty governance structure

Anna Frazier, News Editor

The Linfield Board of Trustees voted in November to form a faculty senate model of governance. In this system, each of the three schools–College of Arts and Sciences, School of Nursing, and School of Business–will get an equal number of senators. The total number of faculty senators cannot be higher than 12.

Each school will have the power to decide how they elect their senators. 

The amendment to the Linfield bylaws states that the senate will:

meet on a regular, at least monthly, basis during the calendar year and shall review and make     recommendations to the Deans, Provost and President regarding: changes to the general education requirements of the University; curricular changes by one school or college that impact a department or academic program in one of the other schools or college; adoption of or changes to University-wide educational programs; matters affecting faculty working conditions; facilitating population of University-wide committees; and reviewing compliance and fairness of the promotion and tenure recommendations of the schools and colleges with their respective promotion and tenure policies.

This replaces the previous structure of a Faculty Assembly, which was a larger governing body that made similar decisions and included all faculty members. 

The entire faculty, called Collegium, will still meet twice a year. The faculty senate has the power to call additional Collegium meetings as necessary.

A Bylaws Task Force, comprised of five trustees, was formed earlier in the year to assess the need for a new governance model and recommend a new structure. Professor Daniel Pollack-Pelzner, the only faculty trustee, was in the group.

The task force’s report was included in an email sent to Linfield community members on November 18. In the report, Pollack-Pelzner noted opposition to several tenets of the new system. 

Pollack-Pelzner said the faculty should form a governance structure that “promotes collaboration” between the three schools. 

The faculty already voted on a governing structure in November, prior to the Board of Trustee’s adoption of the senate model, Pollack-Pelzner stated in the task force report. “Faculty should have control over their own governance structure,” he wrote. “It shouldn’t be dictated to them by the board.”

The task force report said over 90 percent of faculty were in favor of a senate-style governing structure. However, the report did not explicitly state whether faculty were in support of the model recommended by the task force or some other model.

The Linfield Review contacted Sharon Bailey Glasco and Jackson Miller, the Faculty Governance Revision Committee co-chairs, and Amy Orr, the faculty secretary, but they declined to comment. Instead, Miller elected to write an op-ed that explained his views on the Board of Trustee’s actions. Though Glasco declined to comment, she expressed support for Miller’s op-ed.