Shared Governance Task Force

Final Shared Governance Task Force Report

In May 2022, the Board of Trustees approved the Shared Governance Task Force’s Statement of Principles of Shared Governance and affirmed the roles and responsibilities for the Board of Trustees, administration, and the faculty as reflected in the university’s governing documents.  The documents can be read below.

Read the Statement of Principles and Roles and Responsibilities

Background

In May 2021, Board of Trustees Chair Grace Speights, in a conversation with Faculty Senate Executive Committee Chair Arthur Wilson, called for a joint discussion about the meaning of shared governance here at GW. Now is an opportune time to build consensus among faculty, administration, and trustees around the meaning and expectations of shared governance at GW. A clearer understanding of, and commitment to, shared governance will enrich GW’s academic mission, help our university develop more positive momentum, and strengthen our transition to our third century.  

With an eye toward the future, the Board of Trustees, Faculty Senate Executive Committee, Faculty Senate, and the administration will be working together over the coming months to jointly develop an understanding of shared governance that might inform recommendations and proposals to clarify or modify university policies and practices around shared governance.

Process

Faculty, administration and the Board of Trustees have mutually assured each other of the sincere will to arrive at a common understanding of shared governance by a constructive process that respects the rights and obligations of all, not only in its incarnation in procedures and rules, but also, in particular, in the spirit of all participants, now and in the future.  To that end, the Shared Governance Task Force will undertake the following process:

  • Development and implementation of a shared governance survey of faculty, administration, and trustees.
  • Joint selection of a task force, co-chaired by a faculty member, Interim Provost Christopher Alan Bracey, and a trustee, and appointed after nominations from each group.
  • A series of town halls before and after the survey is administered.
  • A retreat of the Task Force to discuss the results of the shared governance survey.
  • Task Force development of a set of recommendations to be provided to the trustees after endorsement by the Faculty Senate and administration.
  • Review and consideration for adoption of these recommendations by the Board of Trustees at its May 2022 meeting.

Charge

The Shared Governance Task Force is charged with the following objectives:

  1. Propose principles of shared governance, endorsed by the faculty and administration, to be approved by the Board of Trustees, that focus on the future aspirations of GW while reflecting the mission, history, and values of the university;
  2. Enhance the understanding of shared governance at GW by clarifying the expectations of the roles and responsibilities of trustees, faculty, and administrators;
  3. Recommend methods to improve communications among the parties directly involved in shared governance and with the faculty at large;
  4. Review the university’s key governing documents within the context of identifying potential ways to strengthen shared governance at GW; and
  5. Submit these and related recommendations by April 15, 2022 to be considered by the Board of Trustees in May 2022 to ensure the future strength and viability of GW as a preeminent comprehensive global research university and institution of higher education and learning.

Members

Co-Chairs

  • Christopher Alan Bracey, Interim Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
  • Amr ElSawy, Trustee
  • Shaista Khilji, Professor, Human and Organizational Learning & International Affairs, GSEHD

Task Force Members

  • Mark Chichester, Trustee
  • Joe Cordes, Professor of Economics, Public Policy and Public Administration, and International Affairs, ESIA
  • Madeleine Jacobs, Trustee
  • Todd Klein, Trustee
  • Terry Murphy, Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
  • Christine Pintz, Professor, Community of Policy, Populations and Systems, SON
  • Grace Speights, Chair, Board of Trustees, ex officio
  • Paul Wahlbeck, Dean, CCAS
  • Richard Weitzner, Interim Deputy General Counsel
  • Arthur Wilson, Associate Professor of Finance, GWSB; Chair, Faculty Senate Executive Committee

The work of the Shared Governance Task Force is supported by the Office of the Board of Trustees including:

  • Aristide Collins, Vice President, Chief of Staff to the President, and Secretary of the University
  • Rhonda Carter, Executive Associate
  • Edward Howland, Assistant Director of Board Operations
  • Meg McDermott, Director of Board Operations
  • Jonathan Post, Assistant Vice President for Board Relations

Timeline

October

  • Task Force announced

January

  • Task Force meetings
  • Town hall meetings

February

  • Survey launched
  • Update to the Faculty Senate and Board of Trustees
  • Task Force meetings
  • Task Force retreat

March

  • Survey findings shared publicly
  • Task Force meetings

April

  • Task Force meetings
  • Submission of report to Board of Trustees

May

  • Consideration of recommendations at Board of Trustees meeting

Community Engagement

From January 18 through January 20, the Task Force hosted four virtual faculty town halls in which faculty had the opportunity to share their thoughts on different aspects of shared governance.

The Task Force used key themes drawn from these town halls to design a shared governance survey, with the assistance of GW’s Office of Academic Planning and Assessment. The anonymous survey went live on February 3 and was sent to full-time faculty, administrators, and the Board of Trustees. It closed on February 17. 

Survey Findings

We are pleased to share with the community the survey questions, Senior Associate Provost Beil’s summary of key findings presentation to the Task Force, and a narrative discussing the findings:

Survey Questions

Summary of Key Findings Presentation

Narrative of Findings

In considering the survey’s findings, the Task Force concluded that there are a number of areas of agreement among the faculty, Board of Trustees, and administration, and identified several major themes:

  • The importance of timely, transparent communication among the three shared governance bodies, both in formal decision-making and in informal interactions;
  • The need for clarity regarding how formal and informal institutional structures operate, and how roles and responsibilities within these structures are defined; and
  • The importance of achieving and maintaining a culture of trust, respect, generosity of spirit, and collaboration.

Updates

May 2022: The Board of Trustees approves Statement of Principles of Shared Governance and affirms the roles and responsibilities for the Board of Trustees, administration, and the faculty as reflected in the university’s governing documents

April 8, 2022: Faculty Senate passes Resolution 22/13: On Principles of Shared Governance and Recommended Mechanisms for Strengthening Shared Governance at GW

March 11, 2022Shared Governance Task Force Retreat and Survey Findings

February 26, 2022: Task Force retreat to discuss the survey results and begin developing a statement of shared governance and principles

February 3, 2022: Launch of anonymous shared governance survey for full-time faculty, administrators, and the Board of Trustees

January 24, 2022: GW Today - Shared Governance Task Force Holds Virtual Town Halls for Faculty

January 14, 2022: Announcement of Task Force Membership and Town Halls

October 15, 2021: Announcement of Shared Governance Process

Contact

Please contact [email protected] with any questions or comments.