Community College of Rhode Island

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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Isn't this just another top-heavy bureaucracy?
  2. Will the governance system change my job?
  3. How does this system facilitate communication across the four campuses?
  4. Does this mean that we will have to dissolve existing committees?
  5. Does this system contradict RI General Law which gives the president and a committee of faculty, with the approval of the board of governors, authority over courses of study, qualifications for admission of students and any rules of study, exercise, discipline, and government as they may deem proper?
  6. I am a member of a bargaining unit. Will governance have any authority over the terms of a contract?
  7. Is governance going to affect a department's authority over academics related to its discipline or area(s) of interest?
  8. What is the role of the college President in the governance system?
  9. Who is included in the governance system?
  10. Will this system allow other constituencies to exercise authority over areas in which they have no interest or expertise?

1. Isn't this just another top-heavy bureaucracy?

The system maximizes participation, recognizes and values expertise, and places authority at the appropriate level. All constituents, faculty, professional and classified staff, the office of the President, and students, can make contributions.
The final level of governance is the Office of the President. The President alone has the authority to approve policies which have traveled through the system. The President is assisted by the Executive Team, Vice Presidents and Deans, who are responsible for implementing those policies.

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2. Will the governance system change my job?

No. Although the system is organized around the work of the college, governance operates at a policy level and is not concerned with the division of labor or operational organization of the institution.

Governance is not to be confused with the business of the college. Governance proposes policy whereas the business of the college involves the implementation of policies. For example, governance may recommend that hours of registration be extended during the first week of a semester; the business of the college is to assign work to specific staff members to cover those extended hours.

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3. How does this system facilitate communication across the four campuses?

At every level of the system, representation from each of the four campuses is required in the composition of each committee or Council.

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4. Does this mean that we will have to dissolve existing committees?

Absolutely not. In fact, the existing committees were the starting point of building the system. Committees will, however, be asked to conduct self-evaluations in the early stages of getting the governance system up and running. These will evaluate a committee's effectiveness and help to determine if a committee meets the standards of cross-campus representation and diversity.

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5. Does this system contradict RI General Law which gives the president and a committee of faculty, with the approval of the board of governors, authority over courses of study, qualifications for admission of students and any rules of study, exercise, discipline, and government as they may deem proper?

The system recognizes the primacy of faculty in academic affairs. Because every aspect of the college has an effect on the academic environment, faculty are given a broad presence in the governance system beyond the academic realm.

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6. I am a member of a bargaining unit. Will governance have any authority over the terms of a contract?

No. The Governance system will not interfere with matters articulated in the contracts between CCRI and unions or any other contractual relationship which may exist. These are inviolable.

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7. Is governance going to affect a department's authority over academics related to its discipline or area(s) of interest?

No. The methods and processes for faculty and instructional department decision-making at the individual course and program level are well established and not the subject of college-wide governance except insofar as they are regulated by college policy and external constraints such as state law and accreditation.

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8. What is the role of the college President in the governance system?

In the governance system, the President is the final authority in the decision-making process, having the authority to accept or reject recommendations.

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9. Who is included in the governance system?

All college constituencies are included in the governance system: faculty, professional and classified staff, the president, assisted by his executive team, and students.

The role of the executive team as a body lies in the executive and administrative realms and, therefore, the executive team is not a constituency of the governance system. Instead, the team may serve as members "by position" on the councils, that is, as ad hoc members whose role is advisory based on their specific area of expertise and responsibility.

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10. Will this system allow other constituencies to exercise authority over areas in which they have no interest or expertise?

A fundamental principle of the system is that authority to make decisions is based on responsibility and expertise. Differences in the weight of each voice, from one point to the next, should be determined by reference to the responsibility of each component for the particular matter at hand and recognition of the expertise that constituency brings to the matter at hand.

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Last Updated: 11/2/12