Shared governance and self-governance are words that have been tossed around the Antioch community since the days of Algo Henderson, and more often since the Board of Trustees commissioned its plan to renew the college three years ago. The college faculty have recently implemented a new governance structure to ensure empowerment in light of the changes charged by the Renewal Commission. Until recently, the faculty have operated under a shared governance structure facilitated by the Faculty Executive Committee (FEC). The FEC worked to set the agenda of faculty meetings and often reported to AdCil for review of curriculum and personnel issues. Over the last two years, the FEC realized the frustration and dissatisfaction the faculty expressed over AdCil’s decisions and processes.
“This is definitely one of the most crucial issues we need to address,” said Dean of Faculty Andrzej Bloch, of the dubious balancing act of the two bodies.
In the effort to address the tension lying between AdCil and the faculty, the Faculty Senate was created and recently implemented in the hopes of self-governance, rather than shared governance with a “shared leadership” amongst the faculty. One of the most contentious areas of distrust and frustration have been over AdCil’s authority to review personnel cases. The Faculty Personnel Review Committee (FPRC), a sub-committee of AdCil, which seats fi ve faculty and 2 students, (currently chaired by Jean Gregorek) works to thoroughly review, promote, and grant tenure to faculty on a case by case basis. FPRC makes decisions which then go to AdCil for review, but ultimately rest the decision in the hands, mind, and heart of the President, and fi nally, the Board of Trustees.
Julie Gallagher, current facilitator of the Steering Committee of the Faculty Senate, said that the FPRC “process has greater trust and integrity in the faculty.” The rigor and seriousness of FPRC is married to outside expectations employed at other universities and colleges that require faculty to have researched and published work in scholarly, peer-reviewed journals, attended conferences and professional development seminars, and to have good evaluations from students and fellow faculty. These efforts take time and dedication from FPRC members. When AdCil fi nally gets a hold of FPRC cases at the end of a term, AdCil members have little time to review cases and make informed recommendations to the President.
Recently, AdCil has had a few cases where they undermined or changed the decision made by FPRC. This practice has not been congruent with past AdCil deliberations when “in the past, the presidents were careful not to let AdCil re-review the cases,” commented Andrzej Bloch.
Some faculty have concerns that AdCil has become “too political,” emphasized AdCil member, Hassan Rahmanian. “Politicized decisions made in AdCil,” said Julie Gallagher, “have undermined the hard work of FPRC.”
Despite the makeover of the FEC, “a lot of the functions of a normal personnel committee… AdCil is still doing that, and until the new Faculty Personnel and Policy Procedures of the faculty to go the President and to the Board, and once the Board approves it, it will change,” AdCil member, David Kammler explained.
The continued frustration of the faculty has become the impetus to change the oversight and reporting of FPRC decisions to a Faculty Senate sub-committee, though this process is still vague and undergoing review among the faculty. While having diverse constituencies in AdCil, the broader interests of the college are not always considered, often debating curricular and personnel issues rather than being a deliberative, educational body.
“I think part of the concern with faculty review procedures had to do with the evolution of AdCil from a faculty body with students on it for educational purposes, to something closer to a body representative of different campus constituencies (including faculty, students, union, and the proposed non-union seat),” remarked Ben Grossberg.
Negotiating the role and constituencies of AdCil is also being revisited in an AdCil subcommittee made up of Rahmanian, Anne Bohlen, a Community Government member, and at least one student.
“Faculty should be the sort of intellectual, moral compass of the institution…leading the guidance and direction of the institution,” said Rahmanian.
Bloch agreed, “Without the faculty deciding issues of curriculum and personnel, you have no curriculum, no program. AdCil should advise the president on allocation of resources, not control the curriculum.”
If and when the Faculty Senate receives jurisdiction over the personnel review process, AdCil will still have a full agenda of enrollment and retention issues, budget quarrels, and facilities and technology improvements to discuss, as well as the everlasting debate on the meaning of shared governance. “There are always community issues to be discussed [at AdCil],” assured Kammler.