[The following report was adopted by the University Senate on October 19, 1970.]
September 22, 1970
Report of University Senate Committee on University Governance
||Members of the University Senate
||Special Committee on University Governance
||September 22, 1970
At a special meeting on June 1, 1970, the University Senate approved the establishment of a Special committee on University Governance and formally requested that the Chancellor and that the President of the Student Government Association appoint similar committees to work parallel to the Senate committee on possible changes in the governing structure of the University and then to meet together with the Senate committee to develop a joint plan, if possible. Specifically, the Senate committee was instructed to work with the other committees in an effort to:
a. define, insofar as possible, the appropriate division of interest and responsibility among the administrative, faculty, and student constituencies of the University;
Pursuant to the Senate's instructions, five committee members were elected by mail ballot in mid-June. Those chosen were Professors Mary Rose Gram (Home Economics), Jack Jones (Law), John Moore (Economics), W.K. Stair (Engineering) and Charles Patterson (Political Science). At the first meeting of the committee on June 22 Professor Patterson was elected chairman. The committee then met every Monday afternoon through August 10 to discuss the problems assigned it and resumed weekly meetings on September 15. Considerable attention, in particular, has been given by the Committee to the report of the By-Laws Subcommittee of the Advisory Council, which during the Fall and Winter quarters of 1.969-70 attempted to provide an outline of an overall plan of governance for the University. Also, the report of the Advisory Council, dated May 27, 1970, in which it set forth a statement entitled "General Principles of Academic Governance at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville," has been discussed at length.
b. establish a mechanism for dealing with those issues which involve a conflict or identity of interest among these constituencies;
c. determine the appropriate steps to be followed in establishing the structure of University governance outlined...
d. prepare the necessary resolutions for submission to the Board of Trustees...
e. investigate and report on any other matters deemed by the committee to be pertinent.
On July 31 Professor Patterson met with the SGA Restructuring Committee that had just been named by John Smith, President of SGA. This Committee consists of Chip Conrad, Pat Condon, John Ergen, Frank Moore, and Charles Huddleston, who is the chairman. On August 5 Professors Patterson, Gram, and Jones met with the student committee and reviewed with them the deliberations of the Senate Committee. It was agreed that the full student and faculty committees would try to meet together again in September, when Professors Moore and Stair could be present. No other definite commitments emerged from these meetings. However, the student group is thinking in terms of developing, during fall quarter, a plan for a stronger SGA, with the expectation that it will be reviewed by the full SGA in the Winter quarter and possibly voted upon by the student body in a referendum next spring, Also, the student group did indicate that they feel what the students want, in general, is a stronger SGA and better means of communicating with the faculty and the administration and that a voting block of students in the University Senate would not contribute materially to this.
on August 20 Chancellor C.H. Weaver named an Administration Committee on University Governance consisting of Dr. J.F. Bailey (Head of the Department of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering), Dr. C.S. Hobbs (Head of the Department of Animal Husbandry), Dr. H.L. Johnson (Head of the Department of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering), Dr. K.L. Knickerbocker (Head of the Department of English), Dr. A.H. Nielsen (Dean of the College of Liberal Arts), Dr. D.A. Shirley (Head of the Department of Chemistry), and Dr. H.A. Smith (Vice Chancellor of Graduate Studies and Research). So far, no joint meetings have been arranged with this group.
Our society seems to be changing so rapidly that universities are hard pressed to adjust their programs to changing imperatives of science, technology, social values, and class structure. Expansion in the size of both the faculties and the student bodies of our universities has been commonplace and with rapid expansion has come much disruption of traditional practices. University campuses have undergone great physical development. For years many of our campuses, including this one, have looked much like construction camps. New programs and new degrees have been added to the curriculum. There have been great changes in the scope and variety of class offerings and many innovations in teaching methods, although perhaps not enough considering the strain being placed on the universities by both a knowledge explosion and a numbers explosion. Concurrently, there have been many changes in management practices on university campuses. Heavy reliance has come to be placed on computers for record keeping and system control. Offices of institutional research have appeared at most of the larger universities for the purpose of internal analysis and planning. Experimentation with program budgeting and tighter fiscal controls have been introduced. Consequently, the universities, which were often run in a rather casual, low pressure way in the past (even though presidents and chancellors had great formal powers) have tended to become increasingly bureaucratized. This process has produced wide-spread charges, especially among faculties and students, that the universities have become too impersonal, that administration has become too remote from the administered. In recent years we have all become familiar with a climate of alienation and revolt. Whether such feelings are fully justified is probably impossible to determine. That they must be dealt with as serious threats to the nature and purpose of our universities our committee takes for granted.
Now more than ever before there is a growing demand by both faculty and students for a larger role in the determination of academic policies and practices. That is true at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and throughout the country. We concede that there may be a small number of faculty and students, a tiny minority, dedicated to the disruption and even destruction of our universities as a step toward a social and political revolution in this country. However, we believe that it would be a tragic mistake for anyone to lump such radicals together with the far more numerous faculty members and students sincerely and seriously dedicated to reform of our institutions in a peaceful, democratic fashion. We accept the contention that if you make reform impossible then you make revolution certain. So reform we must. We must broaden the practical basis for participation by faculty and students in university governance at the University of Tennessee even though the final legal governing authority remains with the Board of Trustees and the State Legislature.
We maintain that universities are special kinds of communities within the society which they serve. They-are dedicated to the accumulation and dissemination of knowledge--to research, teaching, and public service. They are communities composed primarily of scholars. There are the senior scholars, the faculty, who have developed special professional competence in teaching and research. Then there are the junior scholars, the students. Both faculty and students are learners, but differences in age, experience, and skills set them apart. Some of the students will become faculty someday. Most will move out of the university community of learning into other walks of life, If their attitudes towards learning have not been broadened, if their knowledge and their learning skills have not been refined, then the university has failed them and society. However, faculty and students are not, and cannot be equals, yet there are many matters of academic importance in which the views of students should be formally taken into account. It is for the students themselves to determine whom their spokesmen should be, although, the channels of communication to be used must be developed jointly with the faculty and administration. There is no justification for violence on a university campus, for it is a place dedicated to reason and order.
Against this background of analysis, the Senate Special Committee on University Governance wishes to state that it fully recognizes (1) that the University of Tennessee, Knoxville is a part of the University of Tennessee System, (2) that it was chartered by the State of Tennessee, (3) that the State of Tennessee is its principal source of funding, (4) that general policy-making responsibility for the University has been vested in the Board of Trustees, (5) that the Chancellor is the chief executive officer of the Knoxville campus, and (6) that the University Senate itself was formally created by the Board of Trustees. To most senators this may sound like stating the obvious, but amidst the rhetoric of controversy over American universities today it seems necessary to us to make it completely clear that we recognize and accept these facts. We do not believe that the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is the faculty alone. it consists of faculty, students, and administrators., Furthermore, it exists within a broader social context that includes the State Government and the people of the State of Tennessee. The Board of Trustees stands as the legal link between the State and the University. In a strict legal sense the Board is the governing body of the University and the Chancellor is its administrative agent. All faculty rights, duties, privileges and "power" are derived by delegation either directly from the Board of Trustees or through the Chancellor and his administrative subordinates--the Vice Chancellors, Deans, Directors, and Department Heads---although the basis of such delegations is the special professional competence of the faculty in academic affairs. In view of this special competence, faculty involvement in decision-making is already extensive, but we believe that it can be broadened and that to do so would be in the best interest of faculty morale and a better university.
We do not favor a strict hierarchical institution run on patriarchal lines by administrators and senior faculty. At the same time we recognize the dangers in a strict collegial model in which all decisions would have to be determined by vote of the faculty. Also, observations of some foreign universities, especially in Latin America, make us very fearful of a student dominated institution and its implications for academic freedom. Turning to American experience in establishing a government for a new nation, what we favor is a system of shared responsibilities characterized by checks and balances and a scrupulous respect for the rights of all. This should be institutionalized in a set of explicit rules and fair procedures which will provide for due process and open communications.
We do not believe, of course, that every policy and practice of the University can, or should, be clearly stated and fully communicated to every member of the University community, but rules should be as explicit as possible. Decisions should not be made arbitrarily by administrative or faculty intuition. Consultation with representative faculty and student groups should be a precondition for all regulations affecting either group. In other words, no regulations without consultation, and full explanations should be provided.
The Board of Trustees has long recognized, as stated in the original resolution establishing the Senate, that "The faculties of the various Colleges of the University of Tennessee have exercised certain functions concerned with the educational policy of the University, and have made rules and regulations as may be desirable from time to time to promote the educational interests of the University." It recognized in that resolution, too, that it was necessary, by the elective process, to reduce the University faculty to "a more effective, workable and deliberative group" by creating a representative body--the Senate. Frequently, in the midst of all the changes and all the problems it may be forgotten, but the Senate does represent the faculty. The great majority of its members are elected by the faculty as organized into colleges and divisions. It is an honor to be elected a senator, but every senator has a duty to represent the faculty as faithfully and effectively as he can.
As indicated in the results of the self-study questionnaire sent to the faculty last spring, however, a substantial number of those who responded do not believe that the Senate at present adequately represents the faculty. out of 722 who responded, 165 disagreed and 116 strongly disagreed that the Senate adequately represented the faculty, 147 were undecided or had no opinion in the matter, while 10 strongly agreed and 271 agreed that it did. In other words, among those who expressed an opinion, sentiment was equally divided between those who were satisfied and those who were not. This certainly cannot be interpreted as an overwhelming vote of confidence in the present arrangements!
Although this committee has not conducted a follow-up survey of the whole faculty, private investigations lead us to believe that most of the dissatisfaction with the present Senate rests upon two things in general. One, the Senate is viewed as not having acted forcefully and expeditiously enough in presenting a faculty response on a number of critical issues which have arisen over the years. We believe that this is largely a matter of the style or tone of the Senate membership and will change as the membership changes. The Senate has great potential influence as a faculty institution if its membership will only recognize this and assert itself. A second source of complaint, however, stems from the fact that the Senate, as presently constituted, is viewed as having less of a faculty orientation than it should. It is presided over by an administrative officer of the University who serves in an ex officio capacity. It does not elect its own presiding officer! Also, it contains a large number of other administrators who serve ex officio. While it can be argued that this facilitates communications, we believe that the communication problems can be handled better in other ways, while criticism of the Senate could be substantially reduced if the administrative representation was cut to a maximum of seven (approximately one-tenth of the elected membership), and a portion of the administrators elected by other administrators, the ex officio membership being limited to the Chancellor and Vice Chancellors.
In the rapidly moving, tension ridden atmosphere that it seems to us has developed on this campus, we believe that it is imperative for the Senate to make clear now its full commitment to the principle of no regulations without consultation. As a first step toward reforms in university governance we intend to move that the Senate adopt the following declaration:
1. It is the opinion of the University Senate of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville that the smooth and effective functioning of the University requires that faculty and students be delegated a degree of policy control in certain areas of close concern to them and in which they possess special competence;
Also, we intend to move that the Senate adopt as instructions to its Special Committee on University Governance that it seek to develop a set of resolutions, including a new set of by-laws, which will provide for the following:
2. that the size of the University of Tennessee requires that these powers be exercised through elected representative bodies;
3. that the areas of primary student and faculty concern and competence are sufficiently distinct to demand separate faculty and student governing organizations;
4. that, at the same time, mechanisms for effective and frequent communication among faculty, student, and administrative policy-making (and policy implementing) groups must be provided, and
5. that the Senate respectfully recommends that these principles be formally reaffirmed by the Board of Trustees and by the Student Government Association and thus become the guidelines for further consultation among the faculty, student, and administration committees on university governance in working out the specifics of a new system of university governance.
1. That the present University Senate be reorganized as a Faculty Senate; that the number of administrative officers (above the rank of department beads) be reduced to the Chancellor, the Vice Chancellors of Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, and Graduate Studies and Research and three other administrative members selected from among the Deans and Directors of the academic units concerned with student instruction by the Deans and Directors for non-consecutive three year terms;
We have provided the Secretary [Copies available in Henson 119. Professor Jones urged the committee to distribute its illustrative by-laws to all the members of the Senate. However, the majority felt this should be done later after a discussion of basic principles has been conducted.] of the Senate with several copies of a set of by-laws which we have developed in tentative form in accordance with the principles stated above. Also, we have provided the Secretary with draft copies of resolutions that might be submitted to the Board of Trustees, with Senate endorsement, for the purpose of reconstituting the University Senate as a Faculty Senate and for the purpose of creating a University Council. All this material, however, is illustrative only. We are not asking the Senate to endorse by-laws or resolutions for the Board of Trustees at this time.
2. that the presiding officer of the Faculty Senate be elected annually by the Senate and that arrangements be made whereby he may have released time from teaching in order to adequately function as the faculty's principal spokesman on campus during his term of office;
3. that a University Council consisting of elected representatives of the Faculty Senate and the SGA, together with members of the central campus administration, be established to confer on a frequent and continuing basis with the Chancellor to make recommendations to the Chancellor, Faculty Senate, and SGA concerning any question of University policy, any aspect of governing the University, and any general issue relating to the welfare of the University; the purpose of this body being primarily to promote more effective communications among the various components of the University community in such a way as to insure that all rules protect the rights of individuals and the legitimate interests of the University, and that they are clear in meaning, fair, enforceable, and in conformity with the laws and the Constitutions of the United States and the State of Tennessee.
4. that the President of the Student Government Association (or his designate) and at least two other representatives of the SGA have full privileges of the floor at any Faculty Senate meeting; and
5. that student membership be provided on all Faculty Senate committees which deal with subjects directly affecting the lives of the students on campus.
Without a clearer sense of the will of the Senate, the Special Committee on University Governance does not believe that it can proceed effectively. We hope that the above recommendations have truly stated the will of the Senate. If we are wrong, we await your issuance of other instructions, but we do believe that we need more specific instructions before we engage in an extensive dialogue with our administration and student counterparts.
Mary Rose Gram
W. K. Stair
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