Shared Governance and You
Everyone is responsible for shared governance!
Every person at the college makes a decision that affects other employees at some point during their employment. And every person is, at some point, affected by a decision someone else makes. Sometimes it’s as simple as the decision several years ago to pick up garbage twice a week from office spaces, and other times it’s as complex as drafting a new strategic plan. Whether you’re making a decision or being affected by a decision, you have a role in shared governance at Clark College!
So what does shared governance mean for you? That depends on the decision.
Before You Make a Decision
You should note that involving people in the decision-making process is essential to shared governance. For decisions related to the College, final decision-making falls with Executive Cabinet and the Board of Trustees.
If you’re making a decision, you should do the following:
- Consider who will be affected by the decision. Cast your net far and wide.
Make separate lists for each of these four groups of people:
- Responsible for the work that needs to be done.
- Accountable for the work having been completed.
- Needs to be Consulted to ensure the change is successful.
- Needs to be Informed once the decision is made.
- Engage in a two-way discussion with Responsible and Consulted individuals.
- Present the problem you’re trying to solve, your preferred solution, and why it’s your preferred solution.
- Listen to their feedback. Ask clarifying questions so you understand their viewpoints.
- Take notes so you can address specific points later in the process.
- Take the feedback you’ve been given and work through your solution, incorporating the suggestions you can, and addressing those you cannot. Sometimes your new solution will bear no resemblance to what you presented initially, and other times you won’t have to change a thing. Document what you incorporated, what you didn’t, and WHY you made the decisions you made.
- Take your new solution back to Responsible and Consulted individuals. Present the new solution. Use the document you created in the last step to address how you incorporated the feedback you were given, or why you weren’t able to.
- Present the solution to the people or person who were on your Accountable list.
- Inform those who were on your Informed list.
When a Decision May Affect You
When you may be affected by a decision, you should do the following:
- Seek opportunities to give feedback about the decision;
- Engage in discussions with others who would also be affected by the decision;
- Find out what date the final decision must be made by so that you can provide timely feedback;
- Seek to understand the constraints the decision-maker is working within (Are there portions of the decision that are legislated, contractual, or otherwise beyond their control?); and
- Seek to understand the interests of others who will also be affected by the decision. (It’s rare that there is only one stakeholder or stakeholder group in a decision. The decision-maker will ultimately have to balance your needs with the needs of other stakeholders. The more you understand about others’ positions, the more clearly you can communicate what parts of your position are most important to you, and which you can compromise on—even if they’re points you don’t want to compromise on.)