What is Shared Governance?
Shared Governance is a system of university decision-making that formally brings together faculty, administrators, and students to approve and review university policy. Ohio State’s robust Shared Governance system includes the University Senate, as well as many university committees. Each of these bodies gives full voting and participation rights to its student members. Ohio State students are quite fortunate in this respect, as student involvement is less formalized at many other universities.
To USG, Shared Governance is where we apply our student advocacy to real policy proposals. Projects from USG Cabinet Committees and resolutions from USG General Assembly can be introduced into the Shared Governance system for higher-level discussion and consensus-building. Ideas approved via Shared Governance are generally enacted by university administrators.
About University Senate
University Senate legislates educational and academic policy on behalf of the Board of Trustees. There are 137 members, with a faculty majority of 70. The 26 undergraduate Senators are appointed by USG. You can visit the University Senate website at https://senate.osu.edu to learn more.
Most significant decisions at Ohio State reach the Senate in some manner, be it a direct vote, a nonbinding recommendation, or a briefing. Past Senate projects include: textbook affordability, advocating for a mental health statement on course syllabi, revising the summer term academic calendar, and the Comprehensive Energy Management Plan (CEMP).
Undergraduate Senators can propose resolutions and amendments, and they have full speaking rights. As your voice in Shared Governance, your Senators want you to reach out!
Committees and Judicial Boards
USG appoints undergraduate representatives to most standing committees of University Senate, where resolutions are vetted before appearing on the floor. Other units of the university, such as the College of Arts and Sciences and the Department of Recreational Sports, organize their own Shared Governance committees outside of University Senate to collect feedback on their programs. They likewise look to USG for undergraduate members. The table at the bottom of this page contains contact information for your committee representatives, as well as website links (where applicable).
Shared Governance also extends to two judicial boards: the Committee on Academic Misconduct and the University Conduct Board. Students accused of violating university policy can ask for a hearing before a panel comprised of faculty, administrators, and students. USG appoints 7 undergraduate panelists to COAM and 12 to UCB. These students should not be contacted directly about ongoing cases, but you can reach out to the board administrators for general inquiries. For UCB, contact Matt Page (.324), and for COAM, email email@example.com.
University Senate convenes seven times each academic year. These sessions always take place on Thursday afternoons and are open to all members of the university community. Meeting dates can be found on the University Senate website. Meeting agendas are provided at least one week in advance.
University Senate asks USG to name 26 undergraduate Senators. In addition, many other committees organized outside the Senate rely on USG for their undergraduate members. USG chooses these students by competitive application each year in early April. Any undergraduate student may apply, and they need not be a member of USG. Those chosen by USG’s executive team and confirmed in the General Assembly will then serve for the following academic year. The application will link from this page when it opens.
Your representatives want to hear from you! Here’s how you can stay involved with upcoming issues in Shared Governance:
Track the Senate website for monthly meeting agendas and recordings
Reach out to Liz Webb.761, who is the Chair of USG’s Shared Governance Caucus for the 2019-2020 term. For policy issues of special importance to you or your organization, Liz can invite you as a guest presenter at a Caucus meeting.
Ask Liz about serving as an alternate/shadower to the Senate or to a committee of interest.
You can also contact the Vice Chairs that oversee groups of committees by topic:
- Send any general inquiries to Liz!