Beyond the senate: College and senate leaders' perceptions of campus-wide committees as venues for faculty participation in shared governance
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The American university is at a point in its history where it seems that the faculty's role in governance is being diminished by the real or perceived weaknesses of its most conspicuous venue for involvement: the senate. Regardless of the number and types of solutions offered by those who would see shared governance and senates join the graveyard of history, the fate of shared governance can not be determined until researchers explore how or even if the cause of faculty involvement in shared governance is being served by means external to the senate. The purpose of this qualitative case study conducted at four major research universities is to explore presidents', provosts', and senate leaders' perceptions of one type of possible other-than senate venue for shared governance---the campus-wide committee---to determine what form these committees take, what their relationship is to more traditional governance structures, and whether they provide a valuable and legitimate outlet for faculty participation in shared governance all with an eye toward positing some nascent theories for the use of nonsenate committees as a means of achieving shared governance. While not all the committees discussed in the case studies fit a single set of criteria, there is a subset whose members share significant traits that suggest they represent something new to the literature of governance. Dubbed Extra-Senate Executive Advisory Committees , or ESEACs, the committees in this subset are created by the executive; include faculty in their membership; provide advice and data relative to the executive; intersect with, but are not of the senate; and, in the view of study participants, provide a valued and legitimate outlet for the inclusion of faculty in the governance process external to the senate. The four nascent theories---or emergent principles---that arise from consideration of these committees not only tie back to the senate, but also suggest that, while there are other ways to involve faculty in governance, the senate may not be in as bad a shape as some detractors suggest.