Willamette University

Bearcat Bulletin
Special Edition June 7, 2016 | View this email online

Faculty vote in favor of agreement on shared governance, consultative decision-making and communication

The agreement was developed by a workgroup that included President Thorsett, students, CLA faculty and members of the Board of Trustees.

During a meeting this afternoon, the College of Liberal Arts (CLA) faculty adopted a joint agreement on shared governance, decision-making and communication. The vote was 85 in favor, 2 opposed.

“Today’s meeting marked a rare occasion where faculty convened over the summer to address pressing issues,” said Seth Cotlar, professor of history and incoming Faculty Council chair. “Though we have much work ahead, the general consensus is that we are moving in the right direction to strengthen the university we all care about so deeply.”

At the end of the spring semester, CLA faculty members and students raised concerns about several important issues on campus that ultimately addressed processes and practices of shared governance, transparency and equity in decision-making.

Conversations among the faculty, students, the Board of Trustees and President Thorsett resulted in a workgroup to explore the issues in depth and to draft a joint agreement on steps to take moving forward.

“I am optimistic about the progress made by the working group,” said Liz Gill ’17, incoming ASWU president. “At a school like Willamette, it is essential to have student voices involved in governance and decision-making processes. Through the working group's efforts, students will be able to more effectively advocate for themselves and be heard by campus administration, the Board of Trustees and faculty.”

Three guiding principles emerged from the agreement: consultative and transparent decision-making, responsibility and accountability, and equity. The agreement then describes 11 actions to support these principles.

“I deeply appreciate the spirit and commitment to walk the talk of Willamette's motto that every member of the working group brought to this shared work. We now look forward to continued engagement and work together to advance Willamette's strategic plan, mission and values on the various committees, councils, and fora we have outlined together,” said Eric Friedenwald-Fishman ’88, a member of the workgroup and the Board of Trustees.

“The process to develop the agreement was one of cooperation and sincere good will,” said President Steve Thorsett. “It is a foundation for stronger shared governance and, ultimately, for building a stronger Willamette.”

Read the complete agreement online.

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