3.7.5 Faculty Role In Governance

The institution publishes policies on the responsibility and authority of faculty in academic and governance matters.


Compliance Certification Rationale for Judgment of Compliance

Southwest Texas Junior College (SWTJC) recognizes the importance of giving faculty primary responsibility for maintaining the quality of educational programs. The extent of the participation and jurisdiction of the faculty in the academic affairs is published in the SWTJC Policy Manual, available in its entirety online via the SWTJC website. The following policies and derivative documents illustrate those responsibilities and authority.

SWTJC policy EJA Local establishes college policy on academic freedom and academic responsibility. Specifically related to responsibility, EJA Local states:

The fundamental responsibilities of faculty members include recognition that the public shall judge their profession and their institution by their statements.  Therefore, they shall strive to be accurate, to exercise appropriate restraint, to show respect for the opinion of others, and to avoid creating the impression that they speak or act for the College District when they speak or act as a private person.

SWTJC policy EFA Local establishes faculty’s representation and responsibility toward the oversight of current programs and the development of new programs via the Curriculum Committee. EFA Local explicitly outlines policy and procedures for the establishment of new programs; it also establishes the Curriculum Committee as the governing body for the oversight and evaluation of current programs.

The SWTJC Faculty Handbook (p. 53) further delineates the authority and responsibility of the Curriculum Committee, opening with the following summary:

A recommending body to the President’s Cabinet, the Curriculum Committee collects and analyzes educational program data and thereby:

  1. Recommends and initially approves changes to SWTJC curricula and to educational policy and procedures;
  2. Recommends and initially approves changes to relevant portions of the College Catalog and the Faculty Handbook;
  3. Serves as a forum for the presentation and exchange of general information regarding all educational functions of the college;
  4. Ensures that college curricula comply with rules and regulations of the SACSCOC, THECB, the Texas Board of Nursing, and all other relevant agencies;
  5. Ensures that the curricula directly relate to the statement of purpose and strategic goals of the institution.

The Curriculum Committee, which includes all nine academic (i.e. faculty) supervisors and five additional faculty members, maintains primary responsibility for content, quality, and effectiveness of curriculum via its program review and approval processes. The process for program approval is outlined in the Faculty Handbook.

The SWTJC Faculty Handbook section on “Faculty Regulation and Procedures” establishes specific responsibilities and authority of faculty in academic and governance matters including faculty titles, duties and responsibilities, and committee assignments.

The SWTJC Faculty Handbook section on “Faculty Committees” establishes SWTJC committees requiring faculty representation and describes the responsibility and authority of those committees in college governance.

In addition, the SWTJC Faculty Handbook section entitled “Professional and Academic Conduct” contains an explicit call for “Faculty Advice and Counsel.”

Faculty are encouraged to:

  1. Give advice and counsel to administrative officers regarding matters of academic policy.
  2. Assist in the improvement of instructional resources, by recommending needed additions to the library, and to classroom and laboratory equipment.
  3. Assist in studies to improve college policies and procedures.

Assist student groups in the management of extra-curricular activities.

Off-Site Committee Judgment and Commentary: Non-Compliance

The institution documents that its faculty are involved in the institution through their service on the Curriculum Committee and other committees listed in the Faculty Handbook. The Curriculum Committee is charged with collecting and analyzing educational program data and making recommendations to the President’s Cabinet.

However, the committee was unable to locate the institution’s policy that addresses faculty role in academic and governance matters. The institution does not provide such a policy, nor do they provide evidence of a publication (i.e. faculty handbook) that documents its faculty governance policy.


Institutional Response

The Southwest Texas Junior College Faculty Handbook has been revised to include the following policy on the Faculty’s role in institutional governance. The policy reads:  

Faculty Role and Responsibility in Institutional Governance     

The responsibilities and authority of the Faculty on academic and governance matters are established through faculty representation on College committees. These committees provide Faculty a voice in policy development and in decisions related to College governance. Faculty members also play a role in governance matters through participation in institutional planning and the annual budget planning process.  

This policy was adopted by the SWTJC Board of Trustees at its July 16, 2015 meeting when it approved adoption of the 2015-2016 SWTJC Faculty Handbook. The policy appears on page 89 of the current SWTJC Faculty Handbook.


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