What I Learned in the Faculty Senate

By Michael Bérubé


Shared governance is not well understood as an aspect of academic freedom. In this essay, I describe my experience in Penn State’s University Faculty Senate, a 200-member body comprised of faculty across all twenty-four Penn State campuses, on and off the tenure track. Detailing some of the major (and a few of the minor) negotiations and initiatives the senate has undertaken in recent years, I argue that shared governance is not merely a matter of faculty and central administration but, rather, a matter of faculty involvement in every aspect of university management, from human resources and risk management to facilities usage and legal affairs.

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