TITLE: Shared Governance and the 21st Century University AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: February 06, 2013 10:06 AM DESC: ----- BODY: Mitch Daniels, the new president of Purdue University, says this about shared governance in An Open Letter to the People of Purdue, his initial address to the university community:
I subscribe entirely to the concept that major decisions about the university and its future should be made under conditions of maximum practical inclusiveness and consultation. The faculty must have the strongest single voice in these deliberations, but students and staff should also be heard whenever their interests are implicated. I will work hard to see that all viewpoints are fairly heard and considered on big calls, including the prioritization of university budgetary investments, and endeavor to avoid surprises even on minor matters to the extent possible. Shared governance implies shared accountability. It is neither equitable or workable to demand shared governing power but declare that cost control or substandard performance in any part of Purdue is someone else's problem. We cannot improve low on-time completion rates and maximize student success if no one is willing to modify his schedule, workload, or method of teaching. Participation in governance also requires the willingness to make choices. "More for everyone" or "Everyone gets the same" are stances of default, inconsistent with the obligations of leadership.
I love the phrase, inconsistent with the obligations of leadership. Daniels recently left the governor's house in Indiana for the president's house at Purdue. His initial address is balanced, open, and forward-looking. It is respectful of what universities do and forthright about the need to recognize changes in the world around us, and to change in response. My university is hiring a new president, too. Our Board of Regents will announce its selection tomorrow. It is probably too much to ask that we hire a new president with the kind of vision and leadership that Daniels brings to West Lafayette. I do hope that we find someone up to the task of leading a university in a new century. -----