Faculty Governance Structure

The Academic Senate serves as an “advisory body to the Board of Trustees and the administration, making direct recommendations to the President and Provost without review by any intermediary.” (Senate Bylaw II).

As specified in Pratt’s Faculty Handbook:

The charter of Pratt Institute vests the Board of Trustees with the primary responsibility for the educational and financial well being of the institution. The Board, in turn, authorizes the president and administration to direct the Institute in its many and complex operations. The Board, the president, and the administration recognize the important role of the faculty in developing, implementing, and monitoring the content and quality of Institute programs, curricula, and courses. To this end the Institute has established an academic senate composed of faculty and chair representatives elected directly by the faculty and chairs of the Institute. The academic senate is a faculty administration governance body that relates directly to the president and provost without review by any intermediary.

As specified in Pratt’s Collective Bargaining Agreement:

3.1 Academic and professional freedom, creativity, and constructive dissent are essential to the functioning of the Institute as well as being a fundamental working condition. The Institute serves its community as an open intellectual forum where varying shades of opinion may be freely expressed and fairly debated. Departmental faculty shall have appropriate input related to new or revised curriculum within their departments

About Shared Governance

American Association of University Professors:

While the stakeholder conception of shared governance affords equal weight in all realms of decision-making to every voice save that of the president, the classic conception of shared governance grants some voices more weight than others, depending on the type of decision. Thus, even though the president and board may possess final authority, the Statement on Government asserts that they should routinely concur with faculty recommendations made in areas of faculty responsibility and that they should reject faculty decisions in those areas only in “rare instances and for compelling reasons which should be stated in detail.” In short, when it comes to academic matters, a faculty decision should normally prevail.

The following documents are from the Department of Academic Freedom, Tenure, and Governance of the AAUP, which has developed well-regarded expertise and a body of knowledge and experience in the issues of responsible, shared governance in university settings.

  1. The Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities, which articulates the classic conception of shared governance. This statement was jointly formulated by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, and the American Council on Education.
  2. What Is Shared Governance Anyway? An attempt to render the main principles of the 1966 Statement into plain English.
  3. On the Relationship of Faculty Governance to Academic Freedom. These documents are from the Department of Academic Freedom, Tenure, and Governance of the AAUP, which has developed well-regarded expertise and a body of knowledge and experience in the issues of responsible, shared governance in university settings.

National Education Association:

Faculty members in higher education should have primary responsibility to: Determine the curriculum, subject matter, methods of instruction, and other academic standards and processes; establish the requirements for earning degrees and certificates, and authorize the administration and governing board to grant same; exercise, where the faculty deems it appropriate, primary responsibility for determining the status of colleagues, especially appointment, reappointment, and tenure; establish procedures for awarding promotions, sabbaticals, research support, and other rewards or perquisites. The administrations and the governing boards of colleges and universities should accept the faculty’s recommendations in these areas. The faculty should have the right to appeal a decision it considers flawed by improper reasons or procedure.

American Federation of Teachers:

Shared governance … arose out of a recognition that: academic decision-making should be largely independent of short-term managerial and political considerations; faculty and professional staff are in the best position to shape and implement curriculum and research policy, to select academic colleagues and judge their work; and the perspective of all frontline personnel is invaluable in making sound decisions about allocating resources, setting goals, choosing top officers and guiding student life … The AFT thus believes that shared governance should be structured to incorporate the views of faculty and staff at all levels of decision-making. The institution’s administrators must provide participants with the time, encouragement and information necessary to be effective.