March 11, 2022
On Saturday, February 26, the Shared Governance Task Force, President Wrighton, and facilitators David Maxwell and Ann Franke participated in a virtual retreat. The Task Force retreat had several goals:
- Create a shared understanding of areas identified in the Shared Governance Task Force survey that will inform the Task Force’s recommendations;
- Define roles and responsibilities for the Board of Trustees, administration, and faculty;
- Identify next steps, based on survey findings; and
- Schedule the remaining work for the Task Force.
Cheryl Beil, senior associate provost for academic planning and assessment, presented a summary of the initial key findings from the survey. More than 700 respondents (including trustees, full-time faculty, and administrators) completed the survey. Task Force members broke out into smaller groups to discuss the initial findings and identify key issues to be addressed, and then reconvened to share what they had discussed.
We are pleased to share with the community three documents: the shared governance survey questions; Senior Associate Provost Beil’s summary of key findings presentation to the Task Force; and a narrative discussing the findings. Please refer to the Shared Governance Task Force page to view these materials.
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.
Based on these findings, Task Force will begin to develop a shared governance statement of principles, review key governance documents, and develop communication recommendations.
The Task Force will continue to meet throughout March and early April, with the goal of submitting its report to the Board of Trustees by April 15.
The virtual town halls, the survey, and the fruitful discussion at the virtual retreat have demonstrated that the community is eager to work together to arrive at a consensus around the meaning and expectations of shared governance so that the university can continue to strive for excellence in its third century. Thank you for your engagement, and please contact us if you have any questions.
Christopher Alan Bracey
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
Professor of Law
Shaista E. Khilji
Professor, Human and Organizational Learning & International Affairs
825 21st Street, NW
Washington, DC 20052