After the Board of Trustees passed enhanced protections for academic freedom over the summer, working group of trustees, faculty and administrators begin review of remaining principles.
Working groups created over the summer by the George Washington University Board of Trustees continue to assess faculty governance at GW, including faculty voting rights, appointment and evaluation of deans and other senior academic administrators and tenure and promotion procedures.
The four groups correlate with four of the five principles for future university governance outlined last spring at a meeting of the Faculty Senate: participation in governance, tenure procedures, administrator and dean appointment procedures and rules within departments and schools. A fifth principle, covering provisions for academic freedom in the Faculty Code, was addressed in June when the board codified enhanced protections for academic freedom following a review by the Faculty Governance Task Force, the Professional Ethics and Academic Freedom Committee and the Faculty Senate Executive Committee.
The working groups were created following work conducted by the Faculty Governance Task Force during the 2013-14 academic year. Each working group is chaired by a trustee and composed of trustees, administrators and faculty from across the university.
“I’m very excited about the process and the people involved,” said GW trustee Madeleine Jacobs, chair of the board’s Academic Affairs Committee. “We have a great opportunity to ensure that GW is nimble and well positioned for recruiting the best faculty, administrators and students.”
Since the completion of the strategic plan in 2013, the board has engaged in reviews of the university’s governing documents, beginning with the university bylaws and continuing by establishing the Faculty Governance Task Force to meet with faculty and review the Faculty Code and related documents. The task force, comprised of trustees, faculty and administrators, met 24 times with more than 600 faculty from each of the university’s 10 schools and held six town hall meetings on the Foggy Bottom, Mount Vernon and Virginia campuses during the 2013-14 academic year.
The task force identified five principles related to university governance that arose out of those meetings. After passing the resolutions enhancing protections for academic freedom in June, the board formed the working groups under its Academic Affairs Committee to review the remaining four principles. Each working group is meeting bi-monthly and working with the Professional Ethics and Academic Freedom Committee and the Faculty Senate Executive Committee in the coming months.
“I think it’s a good process because the stakeholders are all there and as long as people are willing to listen to each other I think it has great promise,” said Paul Duff, professor of religion and faculty representative to the working group on appointment and review of administrators. “That’s the best way to make any changes.”
Working groups aim to have final recommendations by the end of the 2014-2015 academic year.