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Shared Governance


In 2018/19, President Morales charged the Shared Governance Steering Committee, consisting of representatives of the Associated Students, Faculty Senate, and Administration, to conduct a national search for an experienced consultant who could assist CSUSB with strengthening shared governance across the university. The steering committee reached a consensus and recommended that the Association of Governing Boards (AGB) and Dr. James Lyons be selected to serve CSUSB in this capacity.

The desired goal of the Shared Governance Steering Committee is to work collaboratively with campus stakeholders to develop a statement on shared governance to guide CSUSB forward. Dr. Lyons began his work with CSUSB in Spring 2019, meeting with the various governance groups and to get their impressions of shared governance on campus.

Dr. Lyons’ next campus visit will be on October 14 – 15, which will focus on obtaining stakeholder thoughts and guidance on what should be included in the CSUSB Statement on Shared Governance. Dr. Lyons has confirmed a time to meet with each governance group with additional campus forums available. The schedule may be found below.

Dr. Lyons will continue his work with CSUSB into Winter Quarter 2020, with the goal of sharing the finalized statement on shared governance at that time.

What is Shared Governance?

Shared governance is the process by which various constituents (traditionally governing boards, senior administration, and faculty; possibly also staff, students, or others) contribute to decision making related to college or university policy and procedure. When done well, shared governance strengthens the quality of leadership and decision-making at an institution, enhances its ability to achieve its vision and to meet strategic goals, and increases the odds that the very best thinking by all parties to shared governance is brought to bear on institutional challenges. When done well, shared governance engenders an institutional culture of collective ownership and accountability for the institution’s present and future. Further, when faculty, administrators, and boards are actively and collaboratively involved in decision-making processes, decisions are implemented more quickly and more effectively.

Source: 2017 AGB Shared Governance: Changing with the Times 

Features of Shared Governance

  • Partnerships between community constituents and leadership.
  • Including and integrating input from all impacted stakeholders.
  • Being facilitative rather than directive (e.g. mutually planned agendas for meetings).
  • Embracing flexibility within boundaries.
  • Listening to all perspectives as much as possible.
  • Sharing accountability and ownership.
  • Establishing a charter, or public document, that process of engagement, collaboration, and decision-making within the community.
  • Establishing guidelines for how to practice shared governance.
  • Ensuring formal and informal opportunities to communicate within the community.

Source: SDSU Open Conversation about Shared Governance

What Shared Governance is Not

Sharing governance does not mean that everyone gets to participate at every stage of planning or in every decision, nor does it mean that anyone exercises complete control over the process.

It also does not mean that decision-making is always the result of a vote. Importantly, shared governance aims to ensure that no one person is arbitrarily making important decisions absent the input and feedback from key constituents.

Source: SDSU Open Conversation about Shared Governance

Benefits of Shared Leadership and How to Promote It

Studies of shared leadership have identified many positive outcomes for teams and organizations that adopt this approach. These include improvements in attitudes and cognition, such as increased satisfaction and trust among team members; improved behavior, such as more constructive interaction and social integration; and improved effectiveness, including in task performance and student learning.

New research shows great promise in the use of shared leadership on college campuses. Findings show that shared leadership can create greater cognitive complexity, innovation and peer support in times of challenge and crisis. It can increase accountability within organizations and improve the implementation of organizational decisions.

Source: The Whys and Hows of Shared Leadership in Higher Education

AGB’s Winter 2020 Campus Open Forum

Tuesday, January 21, 2020
9:00- 10:00 am
Eucalyptus Room, Lower Meeting Center