Shared Governance & Academic Freedom

Shared Governance

With a recognition of shared governance as a mainstay of academia, institutional governance at UNLV is grounded in meaningful faculty participation in university planning and decision-making. The University’s system of shared governance gives faculty a prominent voice in important decisions regarding the management and operation of the institution.

Through an established framework of elected or appointed committees, advisory groups, and other bodies, UNLV faculty engage in institutional governance in a variety of ways. For example, within their departments, schools, and colleges, faculty members shape personnel policies and procedures (including those related to faculty appointments, annual reviews, tenure, promotion, etc.), admissions standards and graduation requirements, curricula and instruction, and much more.

While each of these mechanisms provides opportunities for local impact on academic units of different levels, the Faculty Senate is the principal governing body through which faculty exert broader influence on institution-wide policies and procedures. Composed of elected representatives from every college and major administrative unit at UNLV, the Faculty Senate is an assembly designed to act as the collective voice of the faculty in matters of University governance.

Policy development on the UNLV campus is a measured and deliberative process. Proposed policies must undergo thorough vetting by the Faculty Senate, its standing Policy Committee, and the entire faculty community. Every faculty member, whether a member of the Faculty Senate or not, has an opportunity to comment directly on proposed policies before they are moved forward for vote.

Shared governance is both a faculty right and a responsibility. All faculty are encouraged to become involved in unit-level shared governance initiatives and render service to the Faculty Senate and its standing committees.

Academic Freedom

Closely linked with shared governance is academic freedom. At UNLV, shared governance is conducted on the principle of collegial governance, or the idea that authority and responsibility for institutional governance is shared among administrators and faculty who act as colleagues in the spirit of collaboration and open dialogue. Faculty input is critical to academic policy development because their specialized knowledge and training particularly qualifies them to determine best practices in teaching and research within their field. Implicit within the governance framework is the understanding that faculty are free to express their views on academic issues and voice other professional opinions without fear of reprisal or coercion.

Acknowledging that successful shared governance gives voice not only to the concerns and views common to most but also to the issues and perspectives that are unique to a few, the University fosters a culture of intellectual debate and civil discourse where dissent from the majority perspective is not only tolerated but valued. The open expression of ideas is an intrinsic part of the tradition of academic freedom and intellectual diversity at UNLV.

Open Communication

The Office of Faculty Affairs invites input from faculty members on how this Office may facilitate stronger ties between the University administration and the faculty at large on matters of institutional policy and procedure. Please feel free to reach out to any of our staff with your feedback and ideas.