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To: Mr. Thomas Cotton, President, Student Government Association

††††† Ms. Angeline Nunz, Chair, Staff Council

††††† Dr. Robert Hill, Chair, Faculty Council

††††† Dr. Christine Ziegler, Chair, University Senate

 

From: Dr. Tom Keene, President, AAUP@KSU

 

Re:Strengthening Shared Governance at KSU and Presidentís Proposal for an Administrative Faculty Council

 

Since 1915 the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) has sought effective, inclusive governance on Americaís university campuses. I am writing on behalf of the AAUP chapter at Kennesaw State.

 

As leaders in KSUís governance structure, you know better than most that our current governance practices have weaknesses, as well as strengths.Naturally, opinions vary as to what the weaknesses are and what to do about them.At AAUP, we believe that the transition to a new university president over the next few months presents an important opportunity to have a thoughtful and inclusive conversation about the entire governance structure, and perhaps to come to some consensus on changes to recommend to the new president.We wish to invite you, and other leaders in the body you chair, to participate in just such a conversation.

 

AAUP has recently completed a survey of faculty attitudes to shared governance at KSU.We have also used the national AAUP network to learn about new governance models that have worked elsewhere.But we know faculty concerns are not the whole picture. We very much want student and staff participation in the process we envision.†† Working with the leadership of the University Senate and the Faculty Council, we have tentatively scheduled an open forum on improving shared governance in late January.Before that time we would like to have several informal meetings of campus leaders to discuss deficiencies in the current structure and what might be done to correct them. We hope that you and other leaders in your representative bodies will join that discussion.

 

In this context we believe that Dr. Siegelís recent proposal to create an Administrative Faculty Council is unfortunate, and unwise.No doubt the proposal is a sincere effort to address the legitimate concerns of a particular group. With the greatest respect to Dr. Siegel, however, we believe that seeking a major change in the governance structure via a top-down initiative during the final months of her distinguished presidency is unwise, both because of its timing and because it addresses the concerns of only one group. We ask that you and the body you lead formally oppose as premature the implementation of presidentís proposal to create a new council.Such a council may indeed have merit, but its implementation at this time and in this fashion, inappropriately preempts other discussion.

 

What the campus needs, instead, is a more deliberate and more inclusive discussion of shared governance issues. Moreover, our new president must ultimately approve major changes in the governance structure. He or she should be part of the conversation before any such changes are implemented.

 

We look forward to your joining us as we begin just such deliberations.

 

Please share this letter with your members.†† A brief reply to this email would be a good way to begin our conversations.

 

Cordially,

 

Thomas Keene

President, AAUP@KSU

 

CCs:

President Betty Siegel

Dr. Lendley Black

Mr. Earle Holley

Dr. Nancy King

Dr. Randy Hines