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The Indiana Daily Student

BFC uses Recommended Actions as blueprint for year's agenda

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The Bloomington Faculty Council voted on and approved the Recommended Actions to Enhance Shared Governance at Indiana University Bloomington during its final meeting of last year April 28. These actions are meant to guide the council and its committees in its work for this year and help them better achieve shared governance.

These actions include policies ranging from circulating agendas early to providing stipends for BFC members to having administrators report to smaller committees rather than the entire BFC.

BFC President Cassidy Sugimoto made a list of all of these recommendations, narrowing them down to 52 specific recommendations. She then broke these actions into five larger categories: communication, relationships with school policy and budgetary committees, structure and bylaws, incentives and support and relationships with administrators.

At the council’s meeting Tuesday, Sugimoto said the key challenge the BFC needs to address this year is 
improving communication.

“We need to be better at communicating to our constituencies and ensuring we are listening to them as well,” Sugimoto said. “We need to create open lines of communication across departmental, school and campus governance bodies, and we need to improve transparency and trust between faculty and 
administrators.”

With the policy passed, the BFC will now decide which of these tasks are feasible for implementation.

Sugimoto told the council at the meeting Tuesday that many of the tasks will come back to the BFC floor, some will be decided in BFC standing committees and some in the BFC Executive 
Committee.

According to minutes from the April 28 meeting, before the BFC voted on these actions, Professor Emeritus Herb Terry discussed what the Recommended Actions meant and what the Recommended Actions did. He described different ways these actions can become a reality.

Terry said some of them require changes to the BFC bylaws, some of them require modifying existing policies and some of them are things the BFC Executive Committee and staff can do.

“This is what we tried to do here is write a document that says this is why we have shared governance, and some of what we think are the most important characteristics of it,” Terry said at the April 28 meeting.

All of the actions are recommendations, and most will not be implemented until the BFC approves of them.

“They are, as stated, recommendations, not policies, but they set a clear agenda for the coming year,” Sugimoto said.

At the April 28 meeting, Terry also shared with the council how these Recommended Actions came to be.

He discussed how the BFC Faculty Affairs 
Committee met with people with experience in shared governance, did additional research and met with deans of academic affairs for IU-Bloomington.

“We wanted to make sure we understood what we did,” Terry said at the April 28 meeting.

As far as goals for the year, Sugimoto said the BFC’s policies should focus on meeting the council’s mission.

“They should not be focused on only improving the system of governance for the sake of governance, but on creating policies that allow us to meet our mission,” Sugimoto said. “That is, to create a world-class institution of learning, research and service to the community.”

Sugimoto said the Recommended Actions are a 
blueprint for agenda setting.

“They do not encompass all that we hope to accomplish this year, but will hopefully serve to propel us forward into a rigorous and energetic year of shared governance,” Sugimoto said.

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