Faculty and Professional Staff Senates took part in the first annual Shared Governance Day on March 1, 2016. The day started with the ribbon cutting of the Office of University Shared Governance located at 543 Capen Hall. Peter Kneupher, President, and Sharon Cramer, Parlimentarian, for the SUNY University Faculty Senate, were in attendance to assist with the ceremony. In the afternoon, the senates gathered in the Center for Tomorrow to listen to and ask questions to Chancellor Nancy Zimpher via teleconference.
The UB Offices of Shared Governance: Faculty and Professional Staff Senates celebrated the first annual “Shared Governance at UB.” In the spirit of positioning UB as a leader in SUNY shared governance, the two senates declared in a 2016 resolution that the first Tuesday of March be known as “Shared Governance Day at UB” and that it be observed together by the five pillars of shared governance, including faculty, staff, students, administration and councils, as well as our alumni associations, through a series of informative, collegial, and celebratory events.
The featured event of the day took place at 3:00pm in the Center for Tomorrow: a historic joint session of the UB Faculty Senate and the UB Professional Staff Senate. Chancellor Nancy Zimpher and SUNY Faculty Senate President Peter Knuepfer addressed attendees and along with President Satish Tripathi, Provost Charles Zukoski, Faculty Senate Chair Philip Glick and Professional Staff Senate Chair Domenic J. Licata, participated in a panel discussion and audience Q&A on shared governance. Following the joint session, Campus Dining and Shops provided specially prepared selections from UB Big Blue and the first public appearance of UB Little Blue.
The Day of Shared Governance began at noon in 543 Capen with a ribbon-cutting ceremony marking the change in name from the Office of “University Governance” to “University Shared Governance”. In fall of 2015, a resolution for this change was approved by both senates and promulgated by President Satish Tripathi. The change signifies that in regards to each other and with the other members of UB shared governance, the senates will inculcate the values of trust, collegiality, dialogue, sharing perspectives, listening, shared sense of purpose, recognizing differences while remaining open to finding common ground and transparency of information.
At 2:00pm, a special meeting of the UB Campus Governance Leaders with Peter Knuepfer was held. The CGL was convened by previous Chairs Ezra Zubrow (Faculty Senate) and Ann Marie Landell (Professional Staff Senate) and includes leadership from constituent groups across the UB community, including the UUP, CSEA, PEF, PBA, RF, GSA and SA. The CGL meets regularly to discuss governance issues and shared concerns.
The Faculty Senate and the Professional Staff Senate are making significant efforts towards meaningful representation of their constituents and their roles in shared governance. The SUNY Governance Handbook defines shared governance as the “structures and processes through which faculty, professional staff, administration, governing boards and students participate in the development of policies and in decision making that affect the institution.” Policy is not something that “just happens,” but rather should involve those with specific areas of experience and expertise who are directly impacted.