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Ralph S. Brown Award for Shared Governance

Gustavus Adolphus College Board of Trustees, including President Rebecca M. Bergman, Will Receive the AAUP’s Ralph S. Brown Award for Shared Governance

June 8, 2015
For more information, please contact: Jordan Kurland, or Max Hailperin,

Washington, DC— The members of the selection committee for the Ralph S. Brown Award for Shared Governance (consisting of the president, the executive director, and the current and immediate past chairs of the Association’s Committee on College and University Governance) voted unanimously to confer the award this year on the Gustavus Adolphus College Board of Trustees, including President Rebecca M. Bergman. Gustavus Adolphus College is a private liberal arts college located in St. Peter, Minnesota.

Gustavus’s Faculty Senate, chaired by Professor Max Hailperin, nominated the Board for having “dramatically revitalized the College’s previously strained shared governance culture, at the same time documenting elements of the process, which could serve as a model for other institutions facing similar challenges. Starting from a situation in which the College had received attention for conflicts around governance, the trustees engaged the faculty and the administrative staff in a collaboratively planned, sustained, open dialog about shared governance. This process resulted in greater understanding as well as endorsement by all parties of a statement reaffirming and explicating shared governance principles. The results are already apparent in the College’s functioning, even as the parties continue to collaborate on a process to clarify specific shared governance topics identified as needing joint examination in greater depth.”

The Brown Award is given to American college or university administrators or trustees “in recognition of an outstanding contribution to shared governance.” It was established in 1998 in memory of Ralph S. Brown, who served as AAUP president and general counsel and headed many AAUP committees, not least among them the governance committee when the seminal 1966 Tripartite Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities was formulated and then adopted as AAUP policy.  The award is not conferred annually; the Association reserves the distinction for those occasions when some accomplishment in the area of shared governance is truly outstanding.

The mission of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) is to advance academic freedom and shared governance; to define fundamental professional values and standards for higher education; to promote the economic security of faculty, academic professionals, graduate students, post‐doctoral fellows, and all those engaged in teaching and research in higher education; to help the higher education community organize to make our goals a reality; and to ensure higher education's contribution to the common good. Founded in 1915, the AAUP has helped to shape American higher education by developing the standards and procedures that maintain quality in education and academic freedom in this country's colleges and universities.

Publication Date: 
Monday, June 1, 2015