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this month's articles

Remembering the Forgotten Ones

Selections from the Milton Rogovin Collection
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Outstanding Leaders

Student Personnel Administration (SPA) program presents awards [more…]

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Shared Governance and Institutional Decisions

BY HOWARD M. REID

Howard M. Reid, Chair, College Senate; Professor, Psychology Department

Buffalo State College, as with any complex institution, can be understood in a variety of ways. Our mission statement emphasizes teaching, scholarship, and service. Our core values of openness, embracement of diversity, and individual growth speak to a long-term orientation of which we are proud. But another, perhaps less obvious, perspective can be gained by reviewing how institutional decisions are made at Buffalo State, a process referred to as shared governance.

Shared governance is based on the recognition of a series of "truths": (1) that decisions are best made in a climate of mutual respect; (2) that some issues affect a wide cross section of the institution; (3) that members of the campus community have different perspectives on and knowledge of many issues; and (4) that the institution is best served by an open, democratic decision-making process.

The College Senate is the centerpiece of shared governance at Buffalo State. Composed of students, faculty, staff, and administrators, the Senate meets monthly throughout the academic year to consider issues of broad interest. Standing committees make recommendations to the full Senate, which, in turn, may endorse and submit these recommendations to the administration. The process usually functions cooperatively and efficiently.

Of the three major issues currently on the Senate's agenda for 2003?the academic calendar, Senate bylaws, and general education revision?only the last is nonroutine.

The general education core defines the central, common educational experience that our students share. It should provide the critical foundation on which the rest of the college experience is built. The current general education requirements were put in place?some might say "cobbled together"?under substantial time pressure and direction from Albany. The result was a complex set of requirements that are enthusiastically endorsed by neither students nor faculty. As a result, the Senate created a General Education Select Committee to examine the current system and make recommendations for changes. The Select Committee spent about two years fulfilling its charge and presented its recommendations at the Senate's December 13 meeting. Its efforts are summarized in a 77-page document, available for review in the Senate Office, Cleveland Hall 211; E. H. Butler Library; or academic department offices.

The next Senate meeting, February 14, will focus on the Select Committee's recommendations. The goal, as always, is to ensure a thorough, informed, unbiased exchange of viewpoints. Each senator has been given a copy of the Select Committee's recommendations and has been encouraged to consult with their constituents. Further, each standing committee has been charged with reviewing the proposal and is to come to the next meeting ready to report.

It is important to note that the Senate is a deliberative body. The emphasis is on a careful and reasoned, rather than speedy, consideration of issues. Select Committee members devoted two years to developing a coherent general education proposal. The Senate will take the time necessary to develop its recommendation, and will inform the college community and solicit input throughout the process. Buffalo State's students deserve nothing less.

Howard M. Reid

Chair, College Senate; Professor, Psychology Department

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FEBRUARY 2003/VOL. 01, NO. 4
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Briefs

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Shared Governance and Institutional Decisions

Inside Story
College Foundation Breaks Fund-Raising Records

Plugged In
SABRE Rollout Set to Begin

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Professor Frederick Howe

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