University of Houston-Clear Lake's Shared Governance System (SGS) is a participatory, advisory system charged with supporting the university's mission. The SGS provides a collaborative avenue through which the constituent groups advise the university's president on matters of policy and assist in the development of procedures. The responsibilities of the SGS also include monitoring and overseeing the implementation of policies and procedures.
The Governance Process
Governance refers to the process of policy making and macro-level decision making within higher education. Academic (or internal) governance is defined as the manner in which issues affecting the entire institution, or one or more constituents, are decided. Constituent groups are expected to handle their internal affairs and every item need not go through the shared governance process.
The SGS shall consist of the following committees:
- University Council (UC)
- Academic Council (AC)
- University Life Committee (ULC)
- Planning and Budgeting Committee (PBC)
- Facilities and Support Services Committee (FSSC)
The University Council will direct a review of the University Shared Governance Policy every five years.
Any member of any constituent group or any person at UHCL may introduce a policy proposal or other item into the appropriate SGS committee.
Upon introduction of the item to the chair of the SGS committee, the chair of the committee may:
- Place the item on the committee's next available meeting agenda
- Return the item to the person or group with notice that the item is not an SGS concern
- Route the item to the appropriate SGS committee, or
- Inform the person or group that the item needs further development before being introduced into the SGS
Committee recommendations may be forwarded to the appropriate person or committee with a vote to support, a vote not to support, or a vote of "no action." A 60 percent majority of the committee membership will be required to forward a recommendation. All other voting within the SGS committees will be by simple majority of all voting committee members. All forwarded recommendations shall be communicated to the university community via the UHCL Website.
History of Shared Governance at UHCL
In the latter part of the 1980s, members of the UHCL Faculty Senate, with support from key administrators, constructed a new kind of shared governance in which consensus within the UHCL community of faculty, staff, students and administrators would produce policies and related procedures for operating the university. The university discussed the new system for a year, modified it, and accepted it. Five shared governance committees were established. All policies within the university entered the governance process and were approved according to the Faculty Senate Constitution.
A tenured faculty member who was elected by a vote of the faculty for a two-year term chaired each governance committee. Each committee had at least one representative from the Office of the Provost, one or two students from the Student Governance Association (SGA), one support staff representative from the Support Staff Association (SSA), one professional and administrative staff representative from the Professional and Administrative Staff Association (PASA), one representative of Administration and Finance, and at least four faculty members. Each college has at least one representative on each governance committee.
The shared governance system was based on consensus (majority of faculty and 60% of committee membership).