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3.2 Governance and Administration

Comprehensive Standard:

3.2.2.3 The legal authority and operating control of the institution are clearly defined for the following areas within the institution's governance structure: institutional policy. (Governing board control)

Statement of Compliance:   In Compliance.

Narrative:

The Board of Regents (BOR) of the University System of Georgia is the governing body for the University of West Georgia.  The Board’s authority to govern, control, and manage the University System of Georgia and each of its institutions is established in the Constitution of the State of Georgia, Article VIII, Section IV, with Paragraph b stating:

"The Board of Regents shall have the exclusive authority to create new public colleges, junior colleges, and universities in the State of Georgia, subject to approval by majority vote in the House of Representatives and the Senate. Such vote shall not be required to change the status of a college, institution or university existing on the effective date of this Constitution. The government, control, and management of the University System of Georgia and all of the institutions in said system shall be vested in the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia" [1].

The policy making authority of the Board of Regents is further defined in the Official code of Georgia Annotated Title 20, Chapter 3, Article 2, Part 1:  

"The Board of Regents shall have power:              

(1) To make such reasonable rules and regulations as are necessary for the performance of its duties;
(2) To elect or appoint professors, educators, stewards, or any other officers necessary for all of the schools in the university system, as may be authorized by the General Assembly; to discontinue or remove them as the good of the system or any of its schools or institutions or stations may require; and to fix their compensations;               
(3) To establish all such schools of learning or art as may be useful to the state and to organize them in the way most likely to attain the ends desired; and 
(4) To exercise any power usually granted to such corporation, necessary to its usefulness, which is not in conflict with the Constitution and laws of this state"(O.C.G.A 20-3-31)” [2].

The narrative for Core Requirement 2.2 stipulates to the composition of the Board of Regents and its policy-making function.

The distinction between the policy making authority of the Board of Regents and that of the University of West Georgia is most clearly delineated in Section 3.1 of the Board of Regents Policy Manual:

"The Board of Regents shall rely on the Chancellor, the presidents of all USG institutions, and their deans and faculties to develop, adapt, and administer the academic methods and procedures deemed by them to be most effective in promoting efficiency of operations and most appropriate to the advancement of learning.

Without limiting the generality of the preceding paragraph, it is recognized that the following are proper functions of the academic authorities rather than of the Board:

  1. To prescribe the teaching load to be carried by each member of the faculty;
  2. To determine the maximum and minimum number of students permitted in a class; and,
  3. To define the nature and form of records, if any, to be kept of the members of the faculties and of activities of administrative personnel.
  4. The Board of Regents shall expect of each president, his/her faculty and staff, the deans, and the faculties of each USG institution efficient service measured by approved academic standards, and shall look to them to promote effective higher education, having in view resources available to them, and, in the discharge of its duties as a Board, must hold them responsible for a failure to achieve these results. The Board is of the opinion that it would not be reasonable to make USG academic authorities accountable for results obtained and at the same time deny them the power to choose ways and means they believe to be best adapted to achieve the ends desired" [3].

All Board of Regents policies, which are available in published manuals or handbooks depending on the subject matter, are posted on the Board of Regents website [4].  The Board of Regents strives to maintain an appropriate distinction between its role in policy making for the university system governance and its service to the role each educational institution in the university system has in managing their operations so that they are in compliance with Board of Regents’ policies. This can be seen in the structure of the meeting agendas as evidenced in the specificity of approach which does not allow the conflation of policy-making with institution oversight [5].

Within these guidelines the University administration and the Faculty Senate are responsible for developing institutional policy and programs that both conform to the parameters of BOR policy and that meet the specific needs of the Institution.  An example of this balance can be seen in the discussion of promotion and tenure procedures as recorded in the agenda and minutes from the University Faculty Senate meeting of December 9, 2011. At this meeting, the Faculty Senate set meeting Board of Regents compliance standards for length of credit hours as the goal underpinning their creation of an academic calendar "that will best serve the pedagogical needs of faculty and students" [6]. It needs be noted that although Board of Regents' policies are a crucial factor in University of West Georgia policy on the academic calendar, the design and criteria of the academic calendar necessarily reflect the characteristics and mission of the University of West Georgia. 

Another clear example of the distinction between Board of Regents' responsibilities for University System of Georgia policy for the state and the University of West Georgia's responsibility for institute policy is found in the Core Curriculum requirements of the University of West Georgia.  For a comprehensive treatment of this issue the narrative for Comprehensive Standard 3.4.5.  The mandatory correlation which must be maintained between University of West Georgia policy and Board of Regents policy is fixed in Board of Regents' policy. Section 3: Academic Affairs: § 3.1: General Policy states:

"The Board shall look to the Chancellor to survey USG institutions and to report thereon to the Board, as may be necessary to keep it fully informed of the standards of scholarship maintained at each USG institution and the efficiency and effectiveness of the administration of the institutions (BOR Minutes, 1947-48, pp. 170-172; 1989-1990, p. 179)" [3].

Additional evidence of the effects of the correlation between University of West Georgia policy and Board of Regents is seen in the policy making activities and their results as reflected throughout the University of West Georgia Faculty Handbook. For example, Section 200: Classroom Procedures (200.01-200.05) show clear evidence of the interplay Board of Regents policies and the demands on faculty to meet the needs of the University of West Georgia and the criteria of University System of Georgia policies [7].

Supporting Documentation: