Subcommittee on Leadership and Governance - Administration (including ITS and Library)
Fundamental charge: This subcommittee is asked to focus on three critical aspects of institutional structure: faculty governance, administration, and the institutional governance by the State University of New York Board of Trustees and the University at Albany University Council. These are the critical leadership structures that ensure that UAlbany stays focused on its mission and objectives, and that it conducts itself with integrity in all regards. Through examination of the Middle States standards of accreditation with regard to these three elements, this subcommittee will describe, with appropriate reference to documentation and evidence, how these leadership groups have effectively performed over the self-study period, and also recommend or suggest avenues for improvement. The subcommittee also will consider how, union agreements, the Research Foundation, University at Albany Foundation, and other organizations influence governance and administration at the University at Albany.
To what extent do members of the various constituencies involved in University governance understand their own functions and responsibilities and those of others within shared governance processes? How well are the established processes of shared governance followed in arriving at University policies and other decisions?
Part I - Institutional Governing Bodies
- Given the dictates of New YorkState statute and the organization, roles, and responsibilities of the University's governing bodies, how effectively have these bodies performed over the self-study period?
- How well defined are the governing bodies' roles? Are their roles communicated and shared with the University community in an effective way? How effectively do the governing bodies of the University interact with administration and faculty governance, and how is this measured or assessed?
- What information about the University and its operation is regularly presented to and discussed by the governing bodies? How effectively are faculty, administration, and students able to communicate regularly with the governing bodies?
- On what basis, and through what mechanisms, do the governing bodies certify to the Commission that UAlbany is in compliance with the eligibility requirements, accreditation standards and policies of the Commission, and that they describe themselves in identical terms to all their accrediting and regulatory agencies, and communicate any changes in UAlbany's accredited status? Do the governing bodies agree to disclose information, including levels of governing body compensation, if any, required by the Commission to carry out its accrediting responsibilities?
- How effectively do the governing bodies implement their conflict of interest policies addressing such issues as remuneration, contractual relationships, employment, family, financial or other interests that could pose conflicts of interest, and assuring that those interests are disclosed and that they do not interfere with the impartiality of governing body members or outweigh the greater duty to secure and ensure the academic and fiscal integrity of the institution?
- To what degree do the governing bodies assist in generating or securing in effective ways the resources needed to sustain and improve UAlbany?
- How effectively do the processes for orienting new members of these governing bodies, and for providing continuing updates for current members on the institution's mission, organization, and academic programs and objectives, operate at the University?
- To what degree have the policies and procedures of the Board of Trustees been implemented in an appropriate manner with respect to the appointment of the chief executive officer? How effectively have periodic assessments of institutional leadership and governance been conducted and the results utilized in a meaningful fashion?
Part II - Faculty Governance
- How effectively defined is UAlbany's system of collegial governance, as reflected in written policies outlining governance responsibilities of administration and faculty that are readily available to the campus community? Do the relationships among the University-wide, school/college, and departmental levels of faculty governance operate in a way faithfully reflecting these written policies?
- How effectively does faculty governance interact with governing bodies and with the administration? How is this measured or assessed?
- How reliably does the operation of faculty governance reflect its written governing documents, such as its constitution, by-laws, enabling legislation, charter or other documents that delineate the governance structure and provide for collegial governance?
- How effectively does faculty governance relate to and/or inform administrative operation given its structure, composition, duties and responsibilities?
- How effective are the working relationships between faculty governance and the president, other administrators, and university governance? How is this measured or assessed?
- How effectively does the University Senate represent the various University constituencies (i.e., faculty, students, and staff) and inform these broader constituencies of the work of the Senate and the administration?
- How effectively do student organizations, particularly the Student Association and the Graduate Student Organization, participate in the University Senate?
- How effectively is faculty governance assessed at the University-wide, school/college, and departmental levels? Do the processes in place for improving governance structures and procedures operate as intended, thereby producing such improvements?
- To what extent are the relationships between union agreements and faculty governance understood at the University, and to what extent do these relationships operate as specified?
Part III - Administration
- How is the president's administrative role formally defined, particularly in regard to the achievement of University goals and responsibility for the University administration? Do the operations of the University closely align with this definition?
- How clearly defined is the president's role in relation to that of the SUNY Board of Trustees, University Council, and the University Senate through written policies? How widely available is information regarding these policies?
- How effectively does the administration interact with governing bodies and with faculty governance? How is this measured or assessed?
- How clearly are the requirements and qualifications of the president and senior administrative officers, such as vice presidents, formulated and defined? How effectively is the performance of the president and senior administrative officers assessed?
- Are the various administrative units appropriately staffed, given the overall institutional mission and goals?
- To what extent do clear lines of organizational authority and responsibility exist to foster an appropriate degree of accountability in administrative offices?
- To what extent do administrative units review their mission and goals, and assess the performance of their activities in pursuit thereof? Are there clear and consistent campus policies and procedures for the regular review of administrative functions?
- What types of professional development or administrative training are regularly offered to administrative staff to promote excellence in their functions, and how effective are they?
- Do adequate information and decision support systems exist to appropriately inform administrative decisions? In particular, is the information technology infrastructure adequate and well functioning to support both the academic mission and the administration's support of it?
- Do the policies and procedures in place to enhance data security, and prevent the inappropriate use of information in University operations, operate in an effective manner?
- How do various union agreements covering University personnel, and other external organizations, relate to and influence administrative decisions? Do these relationships operate as specified in these agreements?
- To what extent does the Libraries' infrastructure effectively support the academic and research mission of the University?
Fundamental elements of integrity to weave into discussions:
- Have the administration and appropriate governance councils worked together to develop fair and impartial processes, published and widely available, to address student grievances, such as alleged violations of institutional policies? To what degree are student grievances addressed promptly, appropriately, and equitably?
- How consistently are fair and impartial practices in the hiring, evaluation and dismissal of employees applied? How effectively and thoroughly are related decisions documented?
- To what degree has institutional leadership instituted sound ethical practices and respect for individuals through its teaching, scholarship/research, service, and administrative practice, including the avoidance of conflict of interest or the appearance of such conflict in all its activities and among all its constituents?
- How well does the University promote a climate that fosters respect among students, faculty, and staff for a range of backgrounds, ideas, and perspectives?
- Has UAlbany modified its structure and operations in effective ways based on periodic reviews and assessments of the integrity of institutional policies, processes, practices, and the manner in which these are implemented?
Data available: New York State Education Law, Article 8, Section 356 under which the University Council operates; the University Senate Charter and bylaws; Undergraduate and graduate bulletins, which contain academic policies and codes of student conduct; UUP and CSEA labor agreements, which detail hiring and grievance policies and procedures; and other documents as to be solicited by the subcommittee.
Methodologies: This subcommittee will review pertinent documents, and may seek to interview campus officials and student representatives in developing its report.
Please click firstname.lastname@example.org to contact Dr. David McCaffrey, chair of this subcommitee, to provide input or comments.