North Central Self Study
Chapter 3: Criterion One
The institution has clear and publicly stated purposes consistent with its
mission and appropriate to an institution of higher education.
Decision-making processes appropriate to its stated mission and purposes
Roles and responsibilities of key administrators and advisory bodies are outlined in relevant governance documents, including the University Bylaws, College Constitutions, and, for matters subject to collective bargaining, by provisions of the contract between the Board of Regents and the University of Nebraska at Kearney Education Association. Within the Administrative apparatus the Chancellor is advised by a cabinet, consisting of Vice-Chancellors and equivalent staff, and the Administrative Council, composed of cabinet personnel plus deans and major unit directors. The cabinet group meets weekly. The Administrative Council meets at least monthly. The Chancellor and Vice Chancellors are, moreover, broadly accessible to all members of the campus community and the public.
UNK governance is accomplished through consultation and elaboration. It allows internal constituencies both to advise decision makers and to discharge assigned responsibilities. Faculty and student senates are authorized and regulated by University of Nebraska Bylaws (paragraphs 2.12 and 2.13). The Staff Senate, composed of elected members of the nonacademic staff, was established by the Chancellor in July, 1995. Each senate has taken up active roles on matters affecting its constituency. Examples include organizing discussion forums on budget reduction proposals and preparing associated advice for campus leaders, and recommending policy or program initiatives (e.g., staff mentoring systems).
Overall, UNK through the dynamics of shared and collaborative governance seeks to decide matters in light of core strategic values and full appraisal of the informed perspectives of affected units and served constituencies. For example:
- The budget reduction decisions of the last several years. In this decision-making process, (1) Chancellor's planning guidance was issued based on strategic principles and assessment, as well as the declared expectations of the University Regents and President; (2) options were evaluated within major campus elements (divisions, colleges, and major director's units); (3) the most feasible options were assembled into proposed cut packages at cabinet level and discussed extensively in the Administrative Council; (5) the packages were then evaluated in a series of faculty, student, and staff forums, and (6) the Chancellor made final decisions after considering all available input.
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