Brookdale’s newly redesigned Governance structure has begun to take shape, with the announcement of new officers for the 2015-16 school year and the rollout of a more holistic, interest-based approach to college issues and concerns.
During the March 10 forum in the Student Life Center, current Governance Chair Dara Evans formally announced her successor, Associate Speech Professor Howard Miller, who was selected as 2015-16 Governance chair following a college-wide vote earlier this month. Testing Center Supervisor William DeVoe will serve alongside Miller as vice chair of Governance.
The March 10 forum was also the first to include elements of a new operating structure for Governance, which will be phased in throughout the remainder of 2015.
According to Evans, the changes are the result of a comprehensive review conducted by each Governance committee and 18 former chairs throughout 2013 and 2014, following a recommendation made in the 2013 Middle States Periodic Review Report.
While Governance will continue to offer all Brookdale stakeholders a forum to air concerns, hash out ideas and work toward improving the college, Evans said it will now operate more quickly and efficiently.
Existing Governance committees will work together under three new, overarching councils – Academic Affairs, Institutional, and College Life. Going forward, committees can be more easily modified to meet the specific needs and challenges of the college.
Each committee will assign and prioritize work according to specific institutional goals, as opposed to the committee-based “charges” of the past.
“If committees form around the work of the college, as opposed to being assigned work each and every year, there is more opportunity to work on expedited issues,” Evans said. “The purview and mission of many committees will be used to examine issues that arise within any given academic year.
“With more eyes, more missions and more purviews considering a single issue, recommendations will be brought forward faster and voting will take place sooner,” she added. “This is a more holistic approach to the work of the college, creating smoother communication between all committees and ensuring that recommendations made at Forum have been thought through from all perspectives within a council.”
Under the new structure, council leadership will form Governance’s steering committee, which will meet directly with Brookdale President Dr. Maureen Murphy as opposed to a committee of liaisons.
Governance will continue to operate in a “hybrid” structure this spring as elements of the new system are phased in and “rough edges” are worked out. Committees will begin coming together at Governance council meetings on March 31. The new Governance structure will be fully piloted at the start of the 2015-16 school year, Evans said.
“This week we had our first forum in the new format, and had a fantastic turn out for an engaging discussion facilitated by [History] Professor Jane Scimeca,” she said, referencing a wide-ranging forum discussion on possible improvements to basic skills education. “I look forward to more.”
Brookdale History Professor Anthony Snyder, who helped establish Governance at Brookdale in 1989, said he hopes Governance will continue to serve as a source of unity and collaboration for many years to come.
“Governance is the one thing that we have that pulls us together is these troubling times. It keeps us as a community when it would be easy for us to split into competing constituencies or interest groups,” he said. “We had twenty years of pretty much excellent cooperation between the various elements of the college. I hope we can keep that going into the future.”
FEATURED PHOTO: Associate Speech Professor Howard Miller and Assistant English Professor Dara Evans stand together at the March 10 Governance forum.