Thursday, October 12, 2006

Shared Governance at Penn State

A new advisory council was announced today at Penn State.
Penn State President Graham B. Spanier has announced the formation of the University Health Sciences Council. The council, which will build on the work of the Health Sciences 20/20 team, will be responsible for developing, recommending and promoting initiatives across the University to advance health sciences education, research, service and outreach.
The advisory role that this council will play is supposed to be preformed by the University Faculty Senate (UFS). This is from the UFS web site.
The University Faculty Senate is the representative body of Penn State's faculty with legislative authority on all matters pertaining to the educational interests of the University and all educational matters that concern the faculties of more than one college. In addition, the Senate is recognized by the University as an advisory and consultative body to the President on all matters that may affect the attainment of the University's educational objectives.
This council amounts to an end run around the UFS.

Now consider this. The council will be chaired by Harold L. Paz, senior vice president for health affairs, dean of the College of Medicine and chief executive officer of Penn State Hershey Medical Center. Here is the list of the remaining members.
Nan Crouter, director of the Social Science Research Institute and director of the Children, Youth and Families Consortium; William E. Easterling, director of the Institute of the Environment; Davie Jane Gilmour, president of Penn College; Madlyn L. Hanes, chancellor of Penn State Harrisburg; Peter Hudson, director of the Huck Institute of the Life Sciences; Daniel J. Larson, dean of the Eberly College of Science; Paula Milone-Nuzzo, director of the School of Nursing; Carlo Pantano, director of the Materials Research Institute; Robert D. Steele, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences; Fred W. Vondracek, interim dean of the College of Health and Human Development; Susan Welch, dean of the College of the Liberal Arts; and David N. Wormley, dean of the College of Engineering.
Do you notice anything about the make up of this council which which has usurped the advisory powers of the UFS, a faculty body? It is made up entirely of administrators. So much for shared governance at Penn State.

So dear undergraduate students, when you contemplate the fate of the USG, don't think that you are alone in having power unilaterally stripped from you. Faculty too have lost power as Spanier has gradually, over the course of his presidency, consolidated power in Old Main. Unfortunately the faculty, for the most part, are not as vocal as the students about the erosion of their power. But they should be even more vocal, because they are not transitory and consequently have far more at stake than do the students.

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