College-wide Faculty Association Definitions

A mutual understanding of key words or concepts is critical for any organization or civic entity. During the summer of 2013, representatives from each Valencia campus and employee group met to develop design options for the College’s shared governance system. As a part of that work, key terms were defined and are useful for our work in the VCFA.

Vision for Shared Governance: Shared governance at Valencia is the collaborative process of the college making courageous, wise choices that moves our work forward. Using the strengths of diverse individuals and giving a voice to various constituencies, everyone contributes with good faith and effort, transparency and integrity. The process articulates clear expectations, includes a timeframe, provides a communication plan, and allows for meaningful and efficient participation. The conclusions are trusted, accepted, and respected by the entire College as the work of good people making the best decision possible at the time.

Accountability is the establishment of individual and mutual ownership, responsibility, and obligation including partners and constituents who are willing and able to make decisions, take actions, and then convey and justify those decisions/actions.

Collaboration is a process of working together and embracing different perspectives that includes appropriate representatives or stakeholders to achieve a clear goal.

Principles of collaboration:

  • The process by which the work proceeds should be clearly defined, including how participation will be encouraged and how communication will be accomplished.
  • Representatives or stakeholders should be a diverse group with a broad view of college functions, specialized expertise, or closeness to the work.
  • All participants should share their best ideas, but they must realize that the work is shared and all will advocate for the outcome that evolves from the work.

Effective communication is the exchange of ideas, messages, and information between individuals and/or a group that considers not only the audience and purpose but also leads to understanding although not necessarily agreement. The sender and the receiver are both responsible for listening.

Representation is the valued expression of the perspectives or interests of constituents through a trustee model where the representative is charged to make the best decision given the information he or she has.

Faculty Opinion on College Policy is the way that the College president hears the VCFA’s thoughts on policy matters or changes. The VCFA does not vote on policy, but uses voting as a means to express its opinion to the College president and the College’s Board of Trustees. At times, the Faculty Council will express the opinion of the VCFA without a direct voting mechanism unless clearly directed by the Constitution.

Consensus is a process of continued discussion until all members honestly agree to one decision.

Integrity is the expectation of a consistent adherence to ethical principles, methods, and actions, which lead all constituents to feel decision-making is honest, open and inclusive. The Valencia College shared governance system should create a policy creation implementation tool that creates real solutions to actual problems that face a forward-looking college.

Courage is the strength and determination to venture in new directions to achieve the goals of the college and to persevere in the face of discouragement. The Valencia College shared governance system not only serves as an important institution for designing and implementing policy but also serves as a source of innovation at the college.

Wisdom is the accumulation of knowledge, insight, and judgment needed to determine a course of action when making decisions and the realization that uncertainty plays a role in making difficult decisions. The Valencia College shared governance system encourages a wide range of talent, interests and ideas that draws from the real strength of the college – the collective teaching and learning experiences of faculty, administration, and staff.

Trust is the assurance that all constituencies can rely on each other to demonstrate integrity when decisions need to be made at the college. The Valencia College shared governance model implies that decisions made are transparent and reflective of the input of college-wide interests. The system is not a vehicle for implementing policies that are narrowly supported by a small cadre of interests.

Effectiveness is the ability to use our best wisdom, talent, and creativity to achieve the goals of the college in an efficient and timely manner. The Valencia College shared governance system is a reliable structure for tackling a wide variety of interests and policy needs. The system should not be unable to manage strategic policy implementation.

Creativity/Innovation is the ability of the College to join in bringing forth new solutions and ideas to campus and college-wide concerns and needs. The Valencia College shared governance system encourages creativity and innovation by allowing for a wide range of perspectives to converge on policy creation.

Annual Governance Retreat was first planned during the 2013-2014 redesign of Valencia College’s governance model. This retreat shall occur in July of each year and is required for all members of all governing councils. The purpose of the retreat is to allow for better coordination between the three governing councils and to help both new and old members maintain clarity as to roles and purpose of the councils and the governance system.

Created: July, 2013