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Unlike a traditional corporate top-down model of governance, the University of Utah has a multi-layered academic governance process that embodies the concept of shared governance. Shared governance is the process by which the primary stakeholders at the University---faculty, professional staff, students, administration and the Board of Trustees--- all participate in the development and approval of policies and in making decisions that guide the University.

Faculty participation in shared governance at the University of Utah is a long-held tradition and is more than just an aspirational ideal; it is a reality that is codified in University policy and is played out every day in the operation of the institution. By express University policy, faculty have a right to play “a meaningful role in the governance of the University and to participate in decisions relating to the general academic operations of the University, including budget decisions and administrative appointments.”

As but one recent example of shared governance, faculty were intimately involved with the University Administration in making the myriad of decisions that were necessitated by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the University. Should the University resume classes this fall semester? If so, should classes be held in-person, online or using a hybrid teaching model? Should all students, faculty, staff, and visitors be required to wear a face-covering while physically on campus? Should the residence halls be open and functioning during the school year? Should research labs continue to operate? how will the University continue to fulfill its educational mission while providing a safe environment that protects faculty, students, and staff? The answers to all these questions impacted faculty and faculty, primarily through the Academic Senate, had a voice in how those questions were answered.

 

For a more detailed description of the role of shared governance at the University, see this brief video.

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