Community Governance Hub

WWC Community Governance

Warren Wilson College Community Governance supports the mission of the College: to provide a distinctive undergraduate and graduate liberal arts education. Our undergraduate education combines academics, work, and service in a learning community committed to environmental responsibility, cross-cultural understanding, and the common good.

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Guiding Principles
a) WWC has historically practiced a unique and collaborative approach to College governance. Linking all campus constituencies together—students, staff, and faculty—it seeks to provide a balanced structure for planning and coordinating activities, addressing policy questions, undertaking program development, ensuring effective communications, and solving problems. Such an organized framework with overlapping membership brings all points of view to bear on these matters, provides an ideal learning milieu, molds school unity and pride, and generates sound decisions and advice.

b) Governance processes need to be clear, simple, and as transparent as possible.   It is important to build a shared understanding of processes, definitions, and expectations among members of the College community.

c) Communication is key to building trust, inclusivity, and effectiveness in our governance system. Individuals and committees responsible for making recommendations or decisions must listen carefully and weigh what others say in a clearly defined consultation process that includes early input, joint formulation of procedures, adequate time to articulate responses, availability of information, adequate feedback, and communication of decisions.

d) Governance at WWC has an educational role and seeks to practice the College’s core values.

e) The College provides resources and training that support governance leadership in organizing meetings that encourage participation and further efficient decision-making.

f) The College recognizes community members with knowledge and expertise that gives them particular responsibility and authority in governance issues.

g) The College wants to provide the opportunity for all to lend their voice to campus issues. Community members interested in a particular governance issue have a responsibility to seek opportunities to participate and make their voices heard in the governance process.   The College also takes seriously its responsibility to regularly provide Community Meetings for students, faculty, and staff to discuss issues together.

h) The form of governance at any institution evolves over time. The governance structure needs regular review to ensure that it is efficient, effective, and meets these principles.

Governance Structure
The governance structure of Warren Wilson College shall consist of the Board of Trustees, the President, the Forum, the Caucus, and College Policy Committees. This governance structure is augmented by planning task forces and advisory groups.

Board of Trustees 
The Bylaws of the College state that the College shall be governed by a Board of Trustees which shall be “responsible for establishing policy and overseeing the management of the institution.”  Although it may delegate certain authority to the President, the Board of Trustees has the final responsibility for the determination of policy for the College, the purpose and basic mission of the College, the management of the assets of the College, and the development of the physical plant, its land, and buildings.

President (Bylaws, section 6.2)
The President of the College shall serve at the pleasure of the Board.  The President shall be responsible to the Board of Trustees and shall serve as its executive officer in matters relating to the operation of the College. Specific duties shall include:

a) Giving general direction and oversight to the program and activities of the College;

b) Developing and recommending personnel policies and procedures;

c) Selecting, appointing, supervising and terminating  academic and administrative officers,  faculty and staff in accordance with policies and procedures of the College and as provided in these Bylaws;

d) Preparing an annual budget of income and expenditure for recommendation to the Board

e) Attending all meetings of the Board of Trustees, except at such time as his or her performance, tenure or salary are to be discussed, and serving ex officio as a member of all standing committees of the Board except the Audit Committee; and performing any other duties which may be assigned by the Board.

Forum
Membership: The Forum shall consist of six voting faculty and six voting staff plus a nonvoting staff convener and a nonvoting faculty convener. After the initial election, the Forum may determine the process for choosing representatives and conveners from the faculty and staff respectively, as well as for faculty and staff election of members to College Policy Committees.

Meetings: The Forum shall meet at least monthly and, in the spirit of transparency, in meetings open to the College community.
Responsibility:
a) The Forum is responsible for reviewing College Policies and making recommendations to the President.

b) The Forum is responsible for assigning its members as liaisons to College Policy Committees.

c) The Forum is responsible for establishing its own policies and procedures, subject to approval by the President.

Caucus
Membership: The Caucus consists of those members of the student body who are identified by the Caucus procedures as voting members.
Meetings: In the spirit of transparency, meetings of the Caucus will be open to the College community.
Responsibility:
a) The Caucus is responsible for reviewing College Policies and making a recommendation to the President.

b) The Caucus is responsible for assigning students to College Policy Committees and assuring that they remain voting Caucus members.

c) The Caucus is responsible for establishing its own policies and procedures, subject to approval by the President.

College Policies
A College Policy is a written statement that meets all of the following conditions:

a) It has general applicability to members of the College community or to the members of an individual administrative unit and is not limited to a particular division, department, program, or office within an administrative unit.   Local policies address matters not directly addressed by College Policies and must do so in ways not contrary to College Policies. Vice Presidents and Deans have the authority to institute local policies advised by the Guiding Principles and are subject only to Presidential approval.

b) It addresses basic values of the College, supports the mission of the College, promotes efficient operations, ensures compliance with laws or regulations, or reduces institutional risks.

c) It mandates or constrains particular actions and may contain specific requirements for compliance.

d) It has been reviewed by the Caucus and/or Forum as appropriate to their respective areas of responsibility (Policies on record prior to July 1, 2011 are “grand fathered” as current policy).

e) It requires the formal approval of the President or both the President and Board of Trustees. The Office of the President shall be the office of record for College-wide Policies.

College Policy may be supplemented by Local Policy which has applicability only to a particular administrative area, i.e. an area of responsibility of a particular Vice President or Dean, or a sub-unit within that area.

Administrative Procedures
A College Administrative Procedure is a written statement describing how to implement College Policy. It presents the “how to” procedure to guide individuals and administrative units in performing the tasks needed for an orderly and effectively functioning college. Administrative Procedures are not subject to review by Caucus or Forum. They may require approval of the appropriate Vice President or Dean and the President.

College Policy Committees
a) Establishment:  Each Vice President or Dean will establish at least a single committee to review and recommend Policy in their area of responsibility. Vice Presidents and Deans may establish other advisory committees. In addition, the Forum and Caucus may create committees to manage their internal business. The President may establish ad hoc committees as necessary.

b) Composition:  Each constituency—faculty, staff, and students—will elect one respective representative to each College Policy Committee. In addition, the Forum and Caucus will appoint a member liaison to serve ex officio on each College Policy Committee.    The Vice President or Dean may add other members, either as voting or ex officio members.

c) Procedures:  Policy recommendations will normally be developed by and/or referred to one or more College Policy Committees.  Policies may also be established by the President when a situation requires immediate action. Such policies should be reviewed through regular procedures as soon as possible.

Ratification and Amendments
These Principles and Structure shall become effective after approval by the Board of Trustees and may be amended or rescinded only by the Board of Trustees. WWC Community Governance should be reviewed after two years (spring 2013) and again at least every five years.