HERSHEY, Pa. — The Penn State Board of Trustees heard a report Friday (Feb. 26) about representation of students, faculty and staff in shared University governance and its importance for effective institutional policy-making.
“The concept of shared governance remains vital to Penn State's success,” said Penn State Provost Nick Jones. “Effective shared governance requires engaged students, staff, faculty, and we should thank all of them for being vital constituents in our educational community. The administration's ongoing engagement with all of them, and in particular with members of the University Faculty Senate, will ensure Penn State makes the best, most reasoned, and timely decisions to achieve positive impacts across the institution.”
Jones said that Penn State encourages all members of the University community to be involved in policy-making through different opportunities.
Penn State students have many ways to participate in University governance, including through the University Park Undergraduate Association, the Graduate and Professional Student Association and the Council of Commonwealth Student Governments. Students also hold positions on the Board of Trustees and are representatives of other governance-oriented bodies, such as the Student Activity Fee Board.
University staff also can get involved through the University Staff Advisory Council, which exists to facilitate open and equitable deliberations about policies, procedures and programming that affect staff members. Many of the University’s colleges also have advisory councils on which faculty and staff can serve.
The University Faculty Senate, which comprises individuals who are elected from each college and campus, serves as the sole legislative body representing the University faculty as a whole, with primary authority over all educational matters, including curriculum, student policies, admissions and retention/graduation requirements.
“Ultimately, the Senate seeks ways to improve communication and collaborative decision making across the University,” Jones said, “and its prominence reflects how much Penn State continues to value the expertise and opinions of its faculty.”