Friday, November 27, 2009

A quick note on shared governance

After our last discussion about the issue of administrative pay increases last week, another publication wrote a story and an editorial on the topic, essentially agreeing with our take on the matter.

It is important to note that the concern we and many others voiced about the increases in salary and new positions was due in large part to their concentration not because "raises could be approved for one department while other departments are having to trim costs because of state budget cuts" but because the hirings and salary increases were focused in a single administrative unit.

Moreover, and this is the true moral of the story from our perspective, we at UNLV are governed by a set of institution by-laws (PDF) and by the Code of the NSHE . These documents in turn are based on a fundamental legal and moral principal of higher education, that of shared governance.

This means that it is not, in fact true, as another publication wrote, that President Smatresk "does not need [Faculty Senate] approval for realigning departments."

Indeed, this is a significant issue, because the review process now going on, which could well lead to program eliminations and realignment of academic departments, is one in which Faculty Senate appointed faculty members are working in conjunction with administration selected members. Their recommendations will be reported back to academic units which will each be asked to vote to approve or not approve the recommendations. Then and only then will final recommendations be sent to President Smatresk.

So while we agree with the other publication's point, it is not merely a show of good faith by President Smatresk that is evident in his pledge of greater openness --- it is the good, ordinary functioning of a university.

Happy Holidays to all!

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