Linfield trustees approve plan to add faculty representatives to Board

Linfield Trustees to Consider Adding Faculty Representatives to BoardEditor’s note: The Board of Trustees approved the resolution May 1, 2021.

The Linfield Board of Trustees announced today that it plans to vote in early May on a new organizational structure that changes the role of faculty in university governance, with the intention of increasing faculty representation and giving voice to all three academic units.

While the Faculty Senate preferred retaining the faculty trustee position in its current configuration, four Faculty Senate members working with members of the Board made a creative proposal that would create a new faculty-nominated Board position with full voting rights and add three non-voting faculty representatives – one from each of the university’s academic units: College of Arts and Sciences, School of Nursing and School of Business. If approved, the changes would take effect June 30, 2021, when the term of the current faculty trustee expires.

“Increasing faculty representation as Linfield expands and diversifies has been a top priority of the Board,” said Board Chair Dave Baca. “After two years of productive collaboration with faculty and the University Working Group, this new structure would allow for broader faculty representation and an even more robust exchange of ideas at Linfield.’’

The chair of the Faculty Senate would serve as one of the three non-voting members and the other two would be selected by their respective school or college to serve one-year terms. The faculty-nominated position would be someone with a higher education background and may be a former Linfield faculty member, or current or former faculty member at a different higher-education institution; it would not be filled by a current Linfield faculty member or Linfield University employee. The nominee would be recommended by the Faculty Senate and be subject to full Board approval for a two-year term, renewable upon approval of the Board.

The University Working Group made its recommendations to the Board of Trustees in April 2020, and proposed elimination of the faculty voting trustee. The Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges recommends against having trustees that represent individual constituencies, as trustees are supposed to be fiduciaries of the entire institution. For that reason, only 15% of private universities in the United States have faculty trustees with voting power.

The final plan requires approval from the Committee on Trustees and adoption by the full Board of Trustees.