Participatory Governance

An institution’s governance is personal. It is personal to the individuals within it. As such, “governance” is a woven fabric of social, historical, cultural, contractual, academic, legal, economic, and organizational elements. It is unique and not easily portable to or from other institutions. Informal governance structures will develop and evolve on their own out of pragmatic necessity. The best governance structures are those specifically and meaningfully designed by an institution.

In 1975, some 13 years before AB 1725, Dr. Richard Richardson, Professor of Higher Education at New York University, did an excellent job of putting shared governance into context for us. He said that community college governance structures come in three forms: 1) the bureaucratic model; 2) the political model; and 3) collegial model. He pointed out that the bureaucratic model describes a traditional, rule bound, hierarchical power structure, concentrated at the top with a “ruling commander” to whom everyone runs for all decisions – big and small. Richardson describes the political model as one that proposes a perpetual state of conflict between constituencies – trustees, administrators, faculty, staff, and students – each with competing interests. Finally, Richardson describes the collegial model as one that proposes a community with consensual decision-making processes involving all constituencies affected by the decisions.

Overall Governance Structure

The Continuing Education governance structure includes committees of the following functions and responsibilities: