Shared Governance and Communications at CMU

Shared governance at Central Michigan University is understood to be a dynamic collection of best practices for engaging, voicing, listening and discussing the interests of all groups (faculty, staff, students, administrators and trustees) when planning, making and implementing decisions for the university.

This definition incorporates two important qualifiers:

  • Many, but not all, of CMU's shared governance practices are embodied in the established collective bargaining agreements with our labor unions.  These practices address and protect due process, conflict resolution and academic freedom — all of which are fundamental to the university's community and mission.
  • Following appropriate and substantive consultation by established means with all affected constituencies on campus, shared governance provides that final decisions be made by the group or individual held accountable, even when there is no clear consensus reached by all parties potentially affected by the decisions.

The following hallmarks were identified in the 2013 report issued by the original committee charged with defining a path forward with effective shared governance and communications.

1.     At CMU, shared governance requires all constituencies to seek an optimal balance between rights and responsibilities, authority and accountability, prerogatives, and proper action to achieve the mission and vision of the University.

2.     At CMU, clear and timely announcements regarding major impending decisions affecting the university widely are expected from those who might be the final authority on an issue.

3.     At CMU, staff, faculty, administrators or Board members who are the final authority on key matters will, in a timely manner, seek and acknowledge input from all those affected by an impending decision; the final authority will communicate in advance how information is to be collected (e.g., how a committee is to operate) and how and by whom a decision is to be made.

4.     It is incumbent on all those potentially affected by a decision to communicate precisely and fully their points of view at the appropriate time and to specify reasons for their positions on an issue to be decided.

5.     Faculty members' unique roles in accomplishing the mission and vision of the university are recognized in our documents, which assign a primary role in decision-making to the faculty members in the vast majority of curricular, faculty hiring and promotion, departmental operations, and many other academic matters. However, the documents also recognize that the final decision-making and responsibility for some of these actions lies with the deans and the provost.

6.     Whenever key decisions are made by a final authority, at any level, the decision and reasons for it will be communicated as fully and adequately as possible with all affected by the decision. Sensitive personnel matters and decisions made in collective bargaining negotiations are excluded from this provision.

7.     At CMU, the performance of leaders at all levels will be periodically reviewed and will include feedback from the members of their constituencies, with respect to their stated goals among other measures, in a manner consistent with best practices already in existence or modeled on others from our peer institutions.