Wednesday, October 18, 2006

More on Shared Governance at Penn State

A few days ago I wrote a post which illustrated the sorry state of shared governance at Penn State with the example of the new Health Sciences Council. The council, which is made up entirely of administrators, will serve an advisory role which is actually delegated to the faculty through University Faculty Senate. There has not always been this disregard for shared governance at Penn State.

In the early 1990's, during the Joab Thomas presidency, Penn State was reconsidering how research and graduate education in the biological sciences was conducted at the University. This lead to what today is called the Life Sciences Consortium (LSC). In 1996, the Intercom, the print predecessor to Penn State Live, described the process which resulted in the formation of the LSC.
The LSC concept has evolved over a two-year period. A steering committee of senior faculty members from colleges with a life science component was originally charged with devising new approaches to research and graduate education for what was then referred to as a division of biological sciences.
The formation of the LSC, which came to fruition after Spanier's arrival, was driven not by administrators, but by faculty. This is the way shared governance is supposed to work, but no longer does at Penn State.

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