The Association’s Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities, jointly formulated with the American Council on Education and the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, rests on the premise of appropriately shared responsibility, constructive collaboration, and cooperative action among a college or university’s various constituents in determining educational policy and in addressing educational problems within the academic institution. Under principles of shared governance, even where primary responsibility rests with one of the other institutional components, the faculty should be afforded a meaningful participatory role in the significant decision-making processes affecting the future well-being of the institution.
In recent years, meaningful faculty participation in matters of shared governance has declined throughout the higher education community. This alarming trend is seen most clearly in the growing reliance on corporate managerial concepts in the governance of colleges and universities. On many campuses the atmosphere is increasingly adversarial and polarized, relations between the faculty and the administration (as well as the governing board) are marked by turmoil and mistrust, with a breakdown in normal governance patterns and a resulting erosion of faculty rights on matters of central concern to the faculty. On some of these campuses the faculty's collective frustration has intensified to the point where they have voted no confidence in the incumbent president's leadership, policies, and practices.
The Statement on Government and derivative AAUP policy documents are abundantly clear that the faculty should be able to participate meaningfully in the selection, evaluation, and retention of institutional leadership. This Meeting deplores the apparent tendency of many governing boards to give little or no weight to faculty participation in these crucial matters.
The Association's New York State Conference has issued a “Profile for a Twenty-First- Century President” that supports principles of sound decision making in the selection and retention of college and university leadership. We commend the “Profile” as a template to the entire academic community.