Cazenovia College uses a system of shared governance. The Board of Trustees is the legal authority of the College, empowered to set institutional policies, grant degrees, and operate the institution. The Board hires a President who, in turn, encourages active participation by campus constituents in the teaching and learning mission of the College via the governance structure – the various councils and committees that recommend policies, procedures, and priorities at the operational level.
The governance system includes representation from all internal constituencies (administrators, staff, faculty, and students), and places operational decision-making in the hands of the people directly responsible for the work of the College. This sharing of responsibilities is valuable because, as a result of their involvement, the people who participate in the governance process are generally committed to decisions made by the process. It is also important because, through regular open meetings, and publicly posted minutes available to the whole community, the system promotes broad-based understanding of the College’s agenda, and fosters communication between college constituencies regarding important issues.
In addition, the governance system is structurally linked to both the strategic planning and budget development processes. The Council on Long-Range Planning, which brings together members of the Senior Staff and representatives from the various governance councils, is the body responsible for reviewing the strategic planning, the budget development processes, and the multi-year budget.
The governance system was designed both as a practical means of making decisions and as a means of involving a broad range of people in the decision-making process. Great care and attention have been paid to the structure and its implementation. Ultimately, the success of the governance system lies in the hands of those who use it.
According to the Middle States Commission on Higher Education:
"Institutions should seek to create a governance environment in which issues concerning mission, vision, program planning, resource allocation, and others as appropriate, can be discussed openly by those who are responsible for each activity. Within any system of shared governance, each major constituency must carry out its separate but complementary roles and responsibilities. Each must contribute to an appropriate degree so that decision-makers and goal-setters consider information from all relevant constituencies. While reflecting institutional mission, perspective, and culture, collegial governance structures should acknowledge also the need for timely decision-making."
Members of the various Councils and Committees have an obligation to educate themselves and their colleagues about the governance system and to advocate for its effective use. At the same time, the college community should become familiar with and make effective use of the governance system through their constituency representatives.