The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

March 29, 2013

MSSU committee to study, manage shared governance on campus

JOPLIN, Mo. — A newly formed permanent committee of administrators, faculty, staff and students is taking a hard look at how shared governance works — or doesn’t work — at Missouri Southern State University.

The 13 committee members representing all facets of the university met in an organizational session Friday for their first discussion of shared governance, which was established on the principles of transparent communication, accountability, and informed and engaged decision-making.

The committee will be responsible for reviewing the philosophy, goals, principles and framework of shared governance; reviewing and analyzing shared governance surveys, and reporting results to the campus; ensuring that all committee reports are posted; and making recommendations to maintain open channels of communication, according to a statement from Sherry Buchanan, chairwoman of the Board of Governors.

Some members of the committee told the board earlier this month that they still see communication issues on campus, but that they sought to change that.

Molly Shumaker, a student representative, said many MSSU students don’t feel as though they have a voice on campus.

“This committee, I see it as a way to show the other students that we are interested in what they have to say, and I hope to bring the general consensus (of students) so maybe you know where we’re coming from,” she said.

Aaron Lewis, a representative of the faculty senate, said he hopes the committee will help keep open communication between the campus and its administration.

“It’s pretty clear that sometimes the lines of communication get mixed up,” he said. “People want to know what’s going on, and when they feel like maybe they’re being neglected, they start wondering what’s going on with their job situation or with their campus family.”

Olive Talley, representing secretarial staff, said the committee would have to “foster some kind of trust” with other campus organizations to ensure a fluid flow of information. She said it would also have to enforce policies already in place, such as posting information to the campus Intranet system and ensuring that it’s up to date.

Steve Jordan, who represents the physical plant staff, said he thinks part of the committee’s goal should be to clearly define shared governance.

“I think one of our biggest problems is getting people to actually understand what shared governance is and what is everyone’s role,” he said.

That was a comment echoed by Pat Lipira, vice president for academic affairs, who asked for clarity on individual roles in the university’s decision-making steps.

“Truly, I don’t know sometimes when does a decision go through the board and when does it not go through the board,” she said. “Honestly I’m not clear sometimes on what is the protocol and who is involved.”

MSSU President Bruce Speck said the committee will meet at least three times per semester, and members will serve four-year terms. He said shared governance would be successful if those who sit on the committee report back to and engage the campus communities that they represent.

“It’s really going to be incumbent upon you to make sure you’re going back to the people you’re representing and sharing those issues,” he told members of the committee earlier this month.

The directive for implementing shared governance at MSSU came from the Higher Learning Commission, an organization that oversees the accreditation of degree-granting colleges and universities.

A task force formed in 2008 was charged with strengthening the university’s framework, policies and procedures for shared governance. But issues with its implementation appeared to remain, and were sometimes linked to some of the controversies that have plagued the university.

Faculty complaints leveled against Speck in fall 2009 included assertions of breaches of shared governance, and the faculty later delivered a no-confidence vote against the president that was driven, in part, by accusations of poor communication and the withholding of information.

Surveys that were administered on campus reported that 68 percent of responding faculty members in 2009 and 70 percent of responding faculty members in 2010 were either “dissatisfied” or “very dissatisfied” with the level of shared governance for the faculty and staff.

A 2011 follow-up visit by representatives of the Higher Learning Commission noted progress in shared governance, and MSSU officials credited that to listening sessions, economic summits and increased meetings between faculty senators and administrators. Yet the results of another survey of faculty last year found that an overwhelming majority of respondents disagreed that the president and the board communicate effectively, and suggested that neither seeks faculty input on decisions.

Committee chairman

Brian Fronzaglia, an assistant professor in the music department and a representative of the faculty senate, was elected chairman of the new permanent shared governance committee at Missouri Southern State University.

Text Only
Local News
  • Pension funding improving, actuary reports

    An extra $1 million contribution by the city of Joplin last year to the Police and Firemen’s Pension Fund boosted the funding ratio of the plan by 2 percent, the plan’s actuary told the board Thursday morning.

    April 17, 2014

  • Special counsel to be appointed in ethics complaint against Neosho council members

    The Neosho Ethics Board on Wednesday voted to ask the City Council to appoint a special counsel to provide legal advice to the board’s remaining two members as they investigate a complaint against two members of the council.

    April 17, 2014

  • Mike Pound 2010.jpg Mike Pound: Will new Earth-like planet have better cable offerings?

    When I read that astronomers have discovered the most Earth-like planet yet, I had a couple of deep scientific questions. First: What’s the Wi-Fi like? And: Are their TV channels better than ours? Hey, I didn’t get an “Incomplete” in college astronomy for nothing.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Christian ministry plans Missouri camp expansion

    A nondenominational Christian ministry is planning a $21.5 million expansion on land it owns near Table Rock Lake in southwest Missouri, with a goal of offering gatherings beyond the traditional summer camps.

    April 17, 2014

  • 041714 School safe rooms4_72.jpg Joplin school district readies community safe rooms for storm season

    Thousands of Joplin residents will soon be able to stay safe during storms in some of the region’s newest shelters. Community safe rooms at Cecil Floyd, Stapleton, McKinley and Eastmorland elementary schools, which double as gymnasiums, and Junge Field, which will double as a field house, are expected to be open within the next few weeks, according to Mike Johnson, the school district’s director of construction.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • 041714 Treble Makers.jpg Carl Junction ‘Treble Makers’ to sing at Springfield Cardinals’ stadium

    Next month, 75 Carl Junction sixth-grade students will sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Hammons Field before a Springfield Cardinals game. And with more than 600 parents, family members and other residents planning to attend, the May 3 event has been dubbed “Carl Junction Day.”

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Public hearing set on posed TIF district

    Financial details of a proposed new tax increment financing district for the Silver Creek Galleria area will be discussed in detail at an April 28 public hearing, members of the city’s TIF Commission were told Thursday. Chris Williams, a TIF attorney representing the city of Joplin, told the panel the Thursday meeting was intended to walk commissioners through the public hearing steps.

    April 17, 2014

  • Volunteer projects spark two bills in Jefferson City

    Bills moving through the Missouri House and Senate were inspired by a volunteer project in Carl Junction last year that stalled over a question of whether those volunteers had to be paid prevailing wage under Missouri law. “This bill is very simple. All it says is if someone is a volunteer, they won’t be forced to be paid prevailing wage,” state Rep. Charlie Davis, R-Webb City, told lawmakers during a hearing on his bill last week.

    April 17, 2014

  • Chairman of Neosho Ethics Board resigns

    The chairman of the Neosho Ethics Board unexpectedly resigned on Thursday as the board investigates a complaint against Neosho City Council members David Ruth and Steve Hart.

    April 17, 2014

  • CWEP receives top honor from national power group

    The Carthage Water and Electric Plant has received the top award for reliable electrical service from the American Public Power Association.

    April 17, 2014

Must Read


Would you use a community safe room when the area is under a tornado warning?

     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter