Administrators need to feel part of the whole organization, not just their unit. They need to take responsibility to higher level.
We talk about what shared governance IS. What is it NOT?
How We Work Together
Administration vs. administrators. While “administrators” might be a more direct analogue of “faculty” in discussing the three-groups involved with shared governance, administrators lack specific power or voice. Some administrators may not see themselves as having a role and maybe administration is actually the third leg of the stool.
I understand that shared governance is represented as collaboration among three bodies: the Board, faculty, and the administration. I think of the administration as a body that makes decisions (it could include the Cabinet, budget committee, or various other groups). However, as the faculty has the faculty senate and a process of collective decision making (or at least a way of expressing their collective voice), there is no parallel for administrators (or support staff, for that matter) in deliberating and presenting a voice in the strategic planning, budgetary, or decision making process of the College.I'm not suggesting that we assemble an "administrative senate", as the range of issues addressed by the faculty senate (and faculty at large) is much broader than what would be addressed by a body of administrators. However, over my time at Gustavus, we've been unsuccessful (for the most part) with structures that take the pulse of administrative staff collectively.
There is talk of egalitarianism, but we cannot be completely equal or decisions can’t get made. Administration has to be granted authority in certain areas to act without being second-guessed by faculty and pounced upon. The fear of attack by faculty is keeping administrators from moving forward. We need to recognize that we must have some hierarchy or we can’t be nimble enough to respond to a rapidly changing environment.
I don't know that administraTORS really seem to have a role and/or know it in shared governance. Administration, or the Cabinet as I think of it, certainly does. But the rest of us? Not sure. The referenced documents intended to inform the discussion (faculty manual, board operations, etc.) do not involve administrators in any way. This seems like a big gap that at least should be addressed somehow, especially as roles are clarified.
Our Roles in Working Together
Administrators could not act like faculty or it would be insubordination. They are accountable to their VPs, but faculty are not accountable to the Provost in the same way.
It is healthy to have a tension between the three entities. We have seen the tension in a dysfunctional state, but how does it look when the tension is healthy?
How do disagreements and varying interpretations of roles and responsibilities get worked out? Who is the final arbiter?
What is the end game? How do we convince all three groups to accept and adopt the final outcome documents from this process?