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Standard Three Organization and Governance
The charter and by-laws of Wesleyan University specifically define the responsibility of the Board of Trustees to establish and maintain a university in the city of Middletown. The by-laws have evolved over time and the Board periodically conducts an audit of the by-laws to ensure that they conform with modern practice while representing the intent of the original charter. The last by-law audit was conducted in x.
The Wesleyan Board consists of no more than 33 members including the president, the majority of whom must be Wesleyan alumni. Nine members of the Board are selected by direct ballot of the alumni body, with three elected for a three year term each year. The slate for the alumni ballot is determined by the Alumni Council. Other members are elected by the Board for terms of six years. The Governance Committee of the Board is responsible for nominating individuals for election by the Board at its annual meeting. While there are no term limits, the current expectation is that Board-elected trustees will serve one term, unless there are compelling institutional needs for an individual to continue for a second term. The Governance Committee is responsible for tracking the membership of the Board and identifying new candidates for nomination to ensure that members reflect the diverse needs of the institution. Wesleyan Board members are volunteers and are required to sign a no-conflict of interest resolution each year.
The Board meets three times per year and also gathers for an annual retreat, usually at the start of the academic year. The Board periodically conducts a survey to evaluate its performance. The last self evaluation was conducted during the 2005/2006 academic year. Feedback from the survey is used to enhance the quality of the board meetings and the information exchange with the senior administrative staff.
The Wesleyan Board is responsible for electing the president. The recent search for Wesleyan’s next president is the most recent example. Beginning in fall 2007, a search committee of board members, faculty and students was convened by the chair of the Board. The committee was chaired by a trustee emeritus and charged with presenting to the full Board two or three candidates, any of whom would be qualified to be Wesleyan’s next president. Following interviews of the finalists by the full board, they voted on March 23rd, 2007 to elect Michael Roth ’78 the 16th president of Wesleyan. The Board is responsible for negotiating the contract of the president and each year a subcommittee reviews the performance of the president and reports to the full Board in executive session.
The President works with the senior staff to provide the necessary administrative support for the academic mission. The senior staff works with the faculty and students through the governance structure established by each group. For example, senior staff meets with the faculty executive committee several times each semester. The faculty executive committee consists of the chair and vice-chair of the faculty, the past chair of the faculty, the chairs of the standing committees of the faculty and the faculty representatives to the Board. The purpose of the meetings are to review key issues and to preview topics that will be discussed at each board meeting. Most recently, senior staff has attempted to provide more insight and detail about the development of the annual operating budget.
The vice president for academic affairs and provost (VPAA) is the chief academic officer and reports directly to the president. The faculty monitor the academic program through the Education Policy Committee on which the VPAA is an ex-officio member. For example… Faculty lines are determined by the VPAA in consultation with the academic deans who represent the academic departments and programs. Over the past ten years twenty new faculty positions have been created and latest strategic plan recommends an addition six to eight positions.
Faculty conduct searches and recommend candidates for hiring to the VPAA. Tenured faculty in the departments and programs evaluate untenured faculty in the second year of their initial four-year appointment, recommend them for reappointment if appropriate the following year, and evaluate them again in their fifth year. Departments and programs ordinarily evaluate candidates for tenure in their seventh year. Their recommendation, positive or negative, is forwarded to the elected faculty Advisory Committee for review. The Advisory Committee’s recommendation is further reviewed for procedural consistency by the Review and Appeals board, which also hears appeals when necessary. he recommendations are then forwarded to the president who decides whether to recommend tenure to the Board of Trustees. The current process has been in place since 2001. It was reviewed by an elected faculty task force in the spring of 2006, discussed by the faculty in the fall of 2006, and reapproved by a large margin. — William Stowe 2007/04/10 21:05
Faculty hire the faculty and play a primary role in the evaluation for promotion and tenure through the Advisory Committee and the Review and Appeals Board. Since the 2002 reaccreditation report, the faculty have strengthened the tenure process and redefined the composition of the Advisory Committee. In addition, in March 2005, President Bennet issued a policy statement defining the role of the president in tenure decisions and the high standards required for promotion and tenure at Wesleyan.
Senior Staff work with student representatives to the Wesleyan Student Assembly. Students have representation on the Educational Policy Committee and members of the WSA attend faculty meetings. Students elect their own representatives to the Board of Trustees where they have voting rights on the standing committees, for example the finance committee. Members of senior staff meet with committees of the WSA for example the Undergraduate Student Life Committee. Might be better to say, “Members of the WSA are members of several standing committees where they work closely with administrative staff on policy and programming issues.” The SLC is actually an administrative committee on which the members of the WSA Student Affairs Committee serve. Students serve on many ad hoc committees, for example on building committees such as the committee for the Usdan University Center, the ad hoc committee to select the new food service vendor, and the Presidential Search Committee. Senior Staff members are often invited to the weekly meeting of the WSA to discuss topics of interest to the student body.
Wesleyan has developed two strategic plans in the last ten years. The first, Strategy for Wesleyan, developed the priorities for the last capital campaign which successfully raised $281 million. The most recent, Engaged with the World, also identifies new priorities for the future, for example, a comprehensive plan for the sciences, new faculty positions where demand in the curriculum is greatest, and enhanced financial aid. The administration attempts to engage the campus community in the development of the important themes within the plans. Throughout the development of each plan, the Board engaged by debating both the merit of ideas presented and the priorities for implementation.