A Status Report on Two Crucial Tests of Faculty Governance: Deans’ Reviews and Budget Committees
By Steve Newman, Editor
There are many processes underway at Temple that will test whether the new administration is serious about shared governance, but two of the most important are faculty review of deans and the establishment of budget committees to advise Deans as we move into De-centralized Budgeting. It is important, then, that the faculty be informed on the status of these two processes.
Just last week, the faculty were informed that a new policy on reviewing Deans had been passed. Among the Deans to be reviewed next year are those at the Schools of Law and Dentistry. It is gratifying to see the President and Provost make good on this promise; It is also gratifying to see that the pressure exerted by the Faculty Senate Steering Committee had an effect, putting paid to the notion that Faculty Senates never get anything done. If faculty end up having a real voice in this process, it will provide new opportunities for Deans to receive feedback that will improve their performance or, in some cases, be told that their contracts will not be renewed. Individual colleges and schools will benefit and so will Temple as a whole. So this looks like potentially very good news. But I do wish that the Faculty Senate Steering Committee, as it requested, had been given a chance to offer some suggestions about the policy. Speaking just for myself, I would have liked for the policy to have included more of the elements proposed by Senate President Mark Rahdert in a column published in The Herald. And we on the faculty will need to be vigilant that these reviews occur as designed.
As the chart below indicates, the current status of the second issue—the establishment of committees to advise Deans on the budget—is more mixed. When I asked President Theobald at the December 6 Senate Meeting to identify best practices for these review committees, he said he didn’t want to assume that one particular form would suit all colleges and schools. But he did say that "meaningful faculty participation” was essential; that is the standard we should hold the Deans to. For that to happen, the FSSC would like to see committees that are at least partially elected by the faculty, meeting regularly, and provided with the training in De-Centralized Budgeting and data they need to offer truly informed counsel. The delay in some of these cases seems to be due to the remarkable number of Deans recently-hired, including one who will not be starting until March 1st. And it is good to see that in these Colleges and Schools, that there has been some movement. But with De-centralized Budgeting going live next year and decisions already being made to prepare for it, it is crucial that these committees be given a representative faculty voice, be convened as soon as possible, and be provided with the training and data they need as soon as possible.
The Herald will keep running this chart to track the progress of this effort, and I look forward to changing the many “To Be Determined”s and question marks. If I have made any error in gathering this data, please let me know and I will rectify it as soon as possible.
I also invite members of the faculty to write Letters to the Editor on this issue or any other issue of interest to the faculty. Please send them to email@example.com. •
Click here for the Committee Chart