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Charge

Reviewing policies, procedures and financing strategies to ensure the institution is aligned with the state’s needs. This process will include a review of relationships with the CPE, K-12, government agencies and the private sector, as well as the University’s Governing and Administrative Regulations to ensure the institution is poised to accelerate its progress and growth.

At its meeting on Friday, Feb. 23, the University of Kentucky Board of Trustees directed President Eli Capilouto and the campus community to formulate recommendations to streamline institutional rules and regulations that are impeding responsiveness to the state’s needs and priorities.

Read the February 2024 CR1. 

March 27, 2024

After engaging in conversations with staff, faculty and students across campus, and based on their valuable feedback, President Capilouto sent a message to campus with proposed recommendations for potential changes to the university's Governing Regulations. You can read the first draft of principles here

April 12, 2024

Based on the feedback from the second round of listening sessions, President Capilouto sent a message to campus with recommended revisions to the first draft of proposed principles. You can read the second draft here and provide feedback through survey until April 17, 2024. 

April 19, 2024

Proposed revisions to university regulations

President Capilouto will present to the Board next week significant revisions to UK’s Governing Regulations (GRs). The GRs are the most important principles we have as an institution. They describe what we value in terms of shared responsibilities. The Administrative Regulations (ARs) serve as the day-in-and-day-out rules for how we manage operations. You can read all the proposed revisions to the Governing Regulations and Administrative Regulations here. 

Recommended Revisions to GRs and ARs

A message from E. Britt Brockman, MD, Chair of the UK Board of Trustees

“There are changes that must occur if we are to accelerate our efforts to advance this state and, specifically, to align with the needs and priorities of the Commonwealth,” Brockman said. “The findings and our dialogue this morning are undergirded by a belief that this is a place that learns and grows and that is willing to meet any challenge. And, in my view, that is not a choice we have, it is a calling we must meet. And I believe we will.”

Read the UKNow article here. 

Work Group Members

  1. Penny Cox (University Financial Services) co-facilitator
  2. Lisa Cassis (Research) co-facilitator
  3. Bill Thro (Office of Legal Counsel)
  4. Joe Reed (UK Internal Audit)
  5. Heather Bush (College of Public Health)
  6. Jay Miller (College of Social Work)
  7. Bart Hardin (University Relations)
  8. Britt Morgan (EVPFA Business Support Center)
  9. John Andrew Segebarth (College of Arts and Sciences, Student Government Association Representative)
  10. Roger Brown (Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, University Senate Representative)
  11. Courtney McCalla (Student Organizations and Activities, Staff Senate Representative)
  12. Recorder: Tiana Thé (PR and Strategic Communications)
Blue graphic with white text of timeline identifying project milestones
26 Institutions reviewed

These institutions (including UK) were spread across three main peer groups: SEC peers (excluding Vanderbilt), contiguous campus peers ("The Eight") and Kentucky public institutions.

50+ Documents analyzed

Across all peer benchmarking institutions, more than 50 publicly available regulations and policy documents were analyzed.

14 Governing Regulations (GRs)

Each of UK's 14 GRs were analyzed and compared to those of the peer institutions.

FAQs

Did the Board of Trustees initiate this “more responsiveness” charge in 2021 after passing the UK-PURPOSE strategic plan?

Yes. The first key objective in the Trust, Transparency and Accountability guiding principle clearly states, “To ensure a more responsive institution that can timely adapt when necessary or during challenges, assess language and application of university guidance and policies to better structure and define roles with respect to the bedrock principle of shared governance among faculty, students, staff and administrators.” 

If UK-PURPOSE was passed in 2021, why is the Board now directing the president to engage Project Accelerate?

Per Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS164.131), “The Board shall periodically evaluate the institution's progress in implementing its missions, goals and objectives to conform to the strategic agenda. Officers and officials shall be held accountable for the status of the institution's progress.” 

On evaluating the institution’s progress toward implementing UK-PURPOSE, and given the president’s role as the university’s “chief executive officer”, our Board of Trustees decided that we could better advance our state and meet our students’ needs if we reviewed the language and application of UK’s policies. 

Frankly, our GRs are well overdue for refinements. More than half have not been reviewed in more than a decade, which includes shared governance.

Why did work group 5 start with GRs related to UK's goverance?

The work group agreed on the front end about the process that would be used in determining its first steps. Guided by the Board’s charge, the work group then identified three primary goals it sought to accomplish, which included a review of Senate Joint Resolution 98 relating to the Council on Postsecondary Education, an assessment of state relationships to improve our responsiveness and a review of our institutional ARs and GRs to ensure alignment with UK-PURPOSE (as per the first key objective in the UK-PURPOSE TTA guiding principle passed in 2021.)  

Together, and informed by the representation in the work group itself, the group engaged with our community to get feedback on where we could be more responsive. In those discussions, a common theme and desire emerged among staff, faculty and students to assess shared governance as a first step in reviewing our GRs. The work group heard similar comments about the importance and value of shared governance; it also heard common struggles in understanding and operationalizing shared governance at UK to equitably serve all groups.   

Why hasn’t the work group released the individual interview data or quotes which led to this decision of addressing GRs and, as a start, shared governance?

Because these were frank conversations with campus stakeholders regarding their experiences and perspectives, many respondents asked to remain anonymous as they were concerned about being identified by colleagues. We respect, and take seriously, the commitment made to anonymity.

What’s the “problem” with shared governance at UK today?

Shared governance is a bedrock principle at UK; however, not all faculty, staff and students across our expansive and evolving community feel heard, valued and respected, especially when it comes to the areas where they are the experts, the ones most affected, the implementers of our rules and regulations. 

All our people, regardless of role, have extremely valuable insights that can help us progress at a pace that keeps up with our changing world. We must ensure our policies and regulations do not stifle innovation. 

What worked for us in the past no longer sustains our present nor empowers our future. 

Principle 2 outlines three distinct shared governance bodies. Don’t we already have those bodies?

Right now, we have a Staff Senate, Student Government Association and a University Senate. However, the University Senate functions largely as a Faculty Senate. There are no staff voices on the University Senate and very few student voices. 

Why do we need three distinct bodies for staff, faculty and students?

Frankly, feedback from students, staff and even faculty who have engaged with what is in name the university’s representative body speaks to uncomfortable moments where they often feel dismissed and even, in their own words, like “second-class citizens.” That is not okay. And it’s no one’s fault; this kind of structure — built at a time when our institution was very different — just does not facilitate the trust, candor, equity and collaboration that should fuel shared governance. We must engage all our people in decision-making processes around issues that impact them the most through respectful, unencumbered conversations devoid of power differentials that silence voices instead of strengthening them.  

Our students care deeply about this community and their place in it. They are passionate and eager to take on leadership roles or speak up on behalf of their peers. But many have expressed they feel more comfortable doing so in an environment that they control, where they have autonomy and are afforded the opportunity to grow through leadership, collaboration and collective problem-solving. These are formative years for our students, and we have a profound responsibility to facilitate spaces and structures where they can take charge, as growing adults, and form their own opinions. Where they are encouraged to learn about the power of respectful discourse and disagreement. Where their confidence is built up in speaking out. Where they truly have a voice and a vote. Now, more than ever, our students face a barrage of external pressures and will graduate into a world that will challenge them in still unforeseen ways. What’s one way we can prepare them? By teaching them how to challenge. By allowing them to challenge. To be clear, our students are excellent at doing that on their own, but we can do more to encourage them. 

Our staff should be empowered to share their wealth of knowledge and expertise, especially on matters that directly concern or involve them. They are experts in so many areas across our campus —our academic health system, our main campus and our staff across the Commonwealth. They are deeply involved in student success and ensuring the success of academic programs. They also are in charge of implementing many policies and regulations, caring for our people and our places, facilitating and conducting innovative work. They must therefore have a voice and a vote in those decisions. 

Our faculty are the experts in their respective fields. They are essential in enhancing the quality and value of the education we guarantee to our students. And while we have had success in the past with the current system, it is not working for all faculty, or all disciplines, anymore. That is the nature of a growing institution. Our smaller colleges must be engaged in the same way as our larger ones. And we have an opportunity to shed some administrative burdens in our current structures to give faculty more time and bandwidth to accomplish their goals. Creating a true faculty senate represents the accountability and responsibility of that body to its constituents who entrust and elect them. 

Wouldn’t having three bodies for staff, faculty and students create three different silos?

No. There are currently three elected bodies participating in the shared governance process. None of the feedback from the groups indicate a feeling of silos between the groups.  The recommended change from the University Senate to a Faculty Senate that represents the unique issues related to the faculty, is intended to have more voices and more control over issues that impact their unique needs. Then, as will be reflected in Administrative Regulations, the goal is to ensure clearer lines of communication to better facilitate those times when all must be involved in conversations and decisions that affect the entire community.

What does it mean to have the faculty structure work with the Provost?

The Provost is chief academic officer and will continue to work hand-in-hand with faculty, colleges and departments in some level, on all matters related to the academic success of students and the scholarly success of faculty. The Provost also will ensure there are no redundancies or conflict when it comes to curriculum and programs. This is part of ensuring clearer, more distinct lines of communication and accountability. 

Will faculty lose primacy over things like curriculum and tenure?

No. Tenure will stay with the faculty process. Faculty will also continue to have primacy when it comes to issues such as curriculum, program approvals and content and the evaluation and assessment of students. 

In fact, the proposed principles seek to give faculty more local control over the curriculum they develop. They are the experts in their respective areas and should continue to develop innovative programs and maintain robust curriculum without being bogged down by unnecessary rules and procedures. 

Do these proposed revisions to the GRs put us at risk with accreditation bodies like SACSCOC?

No. The proposed principles present no accreditation issues. 

What is the planned end result to CR1 for the More Responsiveness Work Group?

In October 2023, the Board of Trustees (Board) provided clear direction that it wants to see recommended changes to UK's Governing and Administrative Regulations that better align the university with the state’s needs and priorities. This effort is part of a larger, campus-wide project, and embedded in the University’s 2021 Strategic Plan, both of which were initiated by the Board and aimed at accelerating UK’s efforts to advance Kentucky.

Why are we moving so quickly?

This process has been underway for more than two years, beginning with the Board of Trustees’ unanimous approval of The UK-PURPOSE: The Strategic Plan to Advance Kentucky 2021. In October 2023, the Board further directed that the President and the campus focus on five initiatives related to our Strategic Plan progress in advancing Kentucky around: (1) strategic and thoughtful enrollment growth focused on Kentucky’s workforce needs, (2) a review of our general education requirements, (3) examining how to grow partnerships across the state, (4) a focus on recruitment and retention of employees, and (5) a review of policies and regulations internally and externally. In February 2024, the benchmark was reported to the Board and based on its findings the Board directed President Capilouto to move quickly to formulate changes to our Governing Regulations at the next meeting.  The Board directed that those changes should define and distinguish the Board’s policy-making function from the responsibilities of the President and faculty to administer and implement the Board’s educational policy in a shared governance environment that is consistent with our peers and reflects the Board’s primacy as the university’s policy-making body.  

Is UK really an outlier in our current shared governance structure?

Yes, twenty-six institutions were benchmarked including UK; those in the SEC, excluding Vanderbilt; the eight institutions with a similar range of programs on a single, contiguous campus and Kentucky public institutions. The results of completed analysis found UK to be the only one of the 26 institutions which did not allow for involvement of its governing board and/or administration in educational policy decisions.  

I have heard UK's shared governance model is similar to institutions like Auburn University, Missouri State University, University of Alabama, University of Arkansas and University of Wisconsin. Why are we characterized as an outlier?

Project Accelerate’s Work Group V examined 26 institutions — universities in the SEC, excluding Vanderbilt, which is a private institution; the other public universities in Kentucky and 8 institutions that, like UK, have the full range of academic and professional programs on one contiguous campus along with an academic medical center.  

Some key findings:

That examination found that all other peer institutions clearly indicate that the president and/or board have final authority.

Out of the benchmarked institutions, 15, including UK, were found to have “beyond advisory” authority and 11 were found to have “largely or completely advisory authority”.

UK was the sole outlier in the depth and breadth of authority given to its University Senate.

Moreover, of the institutions referenced, Auburn University, Missouri State University and University of Alabama have only advisory authority.

And, while the University of Arkansas and the University of Wisconsin have “more than advisory” authority (similar to UK), there are also clear bounds to this authority as described below.

For more background about those institutions, read below:

Auburn University:

Article II, Section 2.02(a) of its Bylaws (pg.G-3-2), the Auburn board states: “The entire management and control over the organization, administration, activities, affairs, operations, businesses, properties and funds of the University and its constituent parts shall be completely and absolutely vested in the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees shall have all powers granted pursuant to Section 266 of the Constitution of Alabama and by Alabama Code Section 16-48-1 et seq., and all implied powers necessary, proper or convenient for the accomplishment of the mission of the University and the responsibilities of the Board of Trustees including, without limitation, the unfettered right to request and inspect all University financial, property, academic, personnel, and other administrative records and materials, in each case subject to such bylaws, policies and procedures as the Board of Trustees may adopt in order to fulfill its obligations, of which these Bylaws form a constituent part (collectively, the ’Policies and Procedures’).”

Missouri State University:

Article III of the Faculty Constitution constrains the power of the Faculty Senate as follows: “The Faculty Senate shall have the power to establish policy in the areas of authority assigned to the faculty in the Bylaws of the Board of Governors and for such other areas or problems as may be assigned to it by the president of the university or the Board of Governors. Shared governance, as delegated by the Board in the Faculty Handbook, recognizes the essential interdependence of governing boards, administration, faculty, staff, and students. This shared governance is indispensable to the development of educated persons. The Faculty Senate shall have the power to establish specific functional bodies to carry out powers granted to the Faculty Senate. The Faculty Senate and its established bodies shall have the power to initiate action in such curricular and non-curricular matters as it deems fit, or in such matters as are brought to its attention by one or more members of the faculty. Faculty Senate Actions, as perfected and passed by the Faculty Senate, represent the collective reasoning of the faculty through its governance process as to policies and procedures to be followed by the University. Every Faculty Senate Action is subject to challenge by the faculty and subject to final approval by the president and, when necessary, by the Board of Governors.”

University of Alabama:

The Alabama Faculty Handbook begins with a required prefatory statement: “In the event of a conflict, current statements of Board policy contained in the Bylaws, Rules, official minutes, and other pronouncements of the Board or Chancellor, or superseding law, shall prevail.”

In addition, the advisory role of the faculty is reaffirmed in Chapter 1, Section IV. Faculty Participation” which states: “The advice of faculty members concerning administrative leadership and academic programs is sought actively and systematically. Faculty and administrators are partners in the enterprise of education at The University of Alabama. Processes guiding all important decisions that shape the University's educational potential and that allocate its resources are the joint responsibility of faculty and administrators.”

University of Arkansas:

Board Policy 100.4, Chapter III, Section 5.1: “Scope and Purpose The constituency of each principal campus shall develop a system of campus government to establish policies and procedures for campus governance. The purposes shall be to provide a system that permits a broad base for governance of that campus through appropriate participating involvement of the administration, students, faculty, and staff in the determination of guidelines and policies for campus affairs and to generate and promote understanding, collaboration and a sense of community on the campus. The responsibility and authority hereinafter described in this section shall be vested in the campus organization by the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees and shall be subject to review by the Board.”  

Section 5.2:  “Authority and Responsibility The campus governance organization on each campus shall, under the Board of Trustees, be the legislative body responsible for developing educational policies and programs on that campus. Among other matters, this responsibility includes such areas as: (1) Admissions requirements (2) Curriculum and courses (3) Degrees and requirements for degrees (4) Calendar and schedules (5) Academic honors (6) Student affairs (7) Interpretation of its own legislation. The campus government shall have the authority to make recommendations to the Chancellor, President, and the Board of Trustees on any matter of general faculty or campuswide concern, including such matters as appointment, promotion, tenure, dismissal, and non-reappointment. Through the Chancellor, action on any matter under this paragraph is reported to the President and, when requested by the campus government or considered necessary or desirable by the President, through the President to the Board of Trustees.”

University of Wisconsin:

Wisconsin Statutes 36.09(1)(c): “The board shall determine the educational programs to be offered in the system and may discontinue educational programs as it deems necessary.”

Wisconsin Statutes 36.09(4): “The faculty of each institution, subject to the responsibilities and powers of the board, the president, and the chancellor of such institution, shall have the primary responsibility for advising the chancellor regarding academic and educational activities and faculty personnel matters.”

Faculty Policies and Procedures: 1.20. Authority and Responsibilities of the Faculty: “The faculty is vested with responsibility for the immediate governance of the university, subject to the responsibilities and powers of the chancellor and under other provisions of 36.09, Wisconsin Statutes, and shall actively participate in university policy development. As such, the faculty has primary responsibility for academic and educational activities and for faculty personnel matters.”  

“In cases where authority to act without subsequent review has been delegated by the Board of Regents to the faculty, that authority is exercised in accordance with these rules. In cases where the function of the faculty is to formulate recommendations to the chancellor or the Board of Regents, the authority referred to herein is for the formulation of such recommendations.”

I have heard that what is happening at University of Kentucky related to shared governance is similar to what happened at West Virginia University in the Summer 2023. Is this true?

While UK can’t speak to policy issues and decisions regarding programs at other institutions, West Virginia University had a $45 million budget deficit, which has been well documented in numerous news accounts. That budget deficit — along with declines in enrollment — led to proposals to make significant programmatic cuts. UK's enrollment has grown over the last decade — from 27,000 students to nearly 34,000 students. The university’s budget has also grown — from $2.7 billion to about $7 billion — during the past decade. Unlike West Virginia, UK does not have a budget deficit.  

 

Will this process remove curriculum leadership and academic freedom from faculty?

No. President Capilouto and the Board have publicly reinforced and supported the faculty’s essential role in the curriculum.

What do you mean by educational policy?

UK's Governing Regulations do not clearly define educational policy — especially when compared to policies at other institutions. This lack of clarity is one of the reasons why the Board’s resolution in February directed the President to recommend changes that would (a) “define a clear and appropriate distinction” between the Board’s function, the administration’s function and the faculty’s function in developing and implementing educational policy and (b) “define and clearly articulate” our shared governance structure.

 

Why did UK engage with a third-party consultant for this project?

All five work groups determined whether and how they would use external assistance. Those groups drove the processes and determined what groups throughout campus should be interviewed, what questions should be asked and how data and responses should be handled.  

UK has partnered with Deloitte for other projects – like Project Gateway – which has proven to be effective and fruitful in furthering our mission in the past. They provide UK with invaluable resources to accomplish our shared goals.