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C-5. Open Communication and Shared Governance
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Value Statements:

  • Shared govenance leads to stronger commitment to institutional goals by faculty, staff, and students.
  • Open communication and collaboration in determining the policies and rules by which ACC will operate contributes to greater institutional effectiveness.

Shared Governance is a collaborative decision-making process by which trustees, administrators, faculty, staff, and students work as a community of colleagues to advance the mission, goals, and values of the college. Shared Governance requires open communication among stakeholders in an environment of mutual respect, collegiality, and accountability.

The implementation of shared governance should involve self-correcting and self-monitoring processes that result in:

  • effective decision-making at appropriate organizational levels
  • appropriate and timely dissemination of information
  • efficient and effective management of resources
  • responsiveness to the experiences and expertise of stakeholders
  • consideration of the ideas and opinions of those most impacted by decisions
  • individual and institutional accountability
  • a trusting and respectful community of colleagues

Accordingly,

[1] Decision makers at all levels of the College shall encourage and make use of free exploration and expression of different ideas, viewpoints, and analyses on College issues.

[2] Internal employee associations, affiliate organizations, and the Student Government Association will select their representatives to representative bodies, such as Councils, committees, administrative task forces, etc.

[3] Representation by associations and functional roles within the college on representative bodies should be reviewed in the Spring of each year as part of the budget cycle and through the shared governance process and structure itself.

[4] In accord with the self-monitoring nature of shared governance, a report on the state of shared governance in the College should be presented each year to the President and the Board. This report should derive from a broadly representative shared governance process and structure within the College and should

  • address the quality of decision-making processes in the light of this policy, and
  • provide recommendations for the improvement of decision-making processes in accord with this Board policy.

[5] College decision-making and consultation processes shall be open except in unusual cases that clearly meet confidentiality criteria established by the President (which shall include any privacy protections required by law). This openness includes access to data being used in deliberations and to the decision options being considered; such information should be made openly available as early in the discussion/decision process as possible.

[6] Employees with information that they feel would improve the accuracy of decision-related data should make it available to all decision makers and at all stages and levels of decision-making. Information that would aid the Board and President in assessing the compliance of the operation of the College with Board policies and directives should also be made available to them.

[7] Everyone participating in College discussions and decision-making processes should strive to express his or her opinions in a constructive, complete, and accurate manner, without retribution. While dealing honestly with any perceived problems, people should strive to interact in a manner that creates and sustains mutual respect.

[8] College management directives, decisions, guidelines, and standard procedures shall be made generally accessible through an electronic system (with appropriate print-based support) that shall also indicate who issued each item and if anyone is authorized to waive its provisions.

[9] Employees may use College premises to distribute clearly-attributed materials related to education or employment to other employees; this permission does not imply College endorsement or recognition of views or organizations referred to in the materials.

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The Austin Community College Board of Trustees adopted this policy on January 5, 1998 and amended it on October 4, 1999, March 31, 2003, and July 7, 2008.

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