In a shared governance system, faculty, professional staff, administration, governing boards, and students participate in the development of policies and in decision making that affects the institution. SUNY has three main bodies that interact with each other and the Board of Trustees: The University Faculty Senate, Student Assembly, and Faculty Council of Community Colleges. By coming together with different constituent groups who have different opinions on how an institution should be governed, the shared governance process can become the desired way to help institutions implement changes.
SUNY Shared Governance groups include:
The SUNY Board of Trustees approved the creation of the University Faculty Senate on October 8, 1953. Article VII of the SUNY Policies of the Board of Trustees states "the Senate shall be the official agency through which the University Faculty engages in the governance of the University. The senate is comprised of 33 campuses making it one of the largest faculty governance organizations in the nation. Beginning in July of 2007 the UFS president serves as a non-voting member on the SUNY Board of Trustees.
The Faculty Council of Community Colleges is the official agency in which the SUNY community college faculty engages in the governance of the university. The first meeting of the Faculty Council was in May of 1967 in Albany, New York. They developed as a parallel structure to the University Faculty Senate, and they work together on matters of common concern in the conduct of university affairs. Beginning in July of 2009, the president of the FCCC serves as a non-voting trustee on the SUNY Board of Trustees
The SUNY Student Assembly was created in 1973 with the passage of Article XVII of the SUNY Board of Trustees Policies. They are the official organization where students can participate in university wide governance. The Student Assembly is the direct line of communication between SUNY’s 463,000 students and the Chancellors and SUNY Board of Trustees. On August 5, 1975 Governor signed a bill creating the 16th trustee on the board. The president of the assembly also serves as the student trustee and voting member on the SUNY Board of Trustees.
The Association of Council Members and College Trustees (ACT) provides a representative organization for Council members and College Trustees of the State University of New York. The ACT Members serve as advocates for quality public higher education by advising presidents on important campus issues and encouraging discussion and awareness of substantive academic and other issues at individual institutions and throughout the system. The ACT improves liaison among SUNY institutions and with and the Board of Trustees through participation at Board meetings and other communications means.
The SUNY Voices initiative is a branding mechanism for giving visibility to SUNY’s unique focus on shared governance throughout the system, but it also provides support for strengthening shared governance at the system level, at the campus level, and between and among the campuses and SUNY System Administration.