Volume 2   Issue # 12
Monday, March 6, 2000

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The President's Post
  One of the primary goals when I came to the University of the Ozarks was to involve people in decisions that affect them. Formally, that is known as participatory governance. Involving as many people as possible in the decision-making process, at all levels of a campus, takes a great deal of time. But it is time well spent.
    Participatory decisions are usually more correct, logical, and effective because a variety of individuals are involved in making those decisions. Also, when more individuals have the relevant facts and information that go into a decision, they are able to communicate to others the reasons for that decision.
    Two examples of participatory governance recently occurred on campus. For the past three months we have been developing the 2000-2001 budget. Twenty faculty and staff members plus two students (Matt Young and Brian Owens) worked to build the budget. We had a great deal of give and take, discussion, and debate during our meetings. Because of the input and involvement of a number of individuals representing every constituency on campus, we produced a fair and financially sound budget. This budget was approved by the Board of Trustees during their February retreat.
    The second example of participatory governance was our “Student Open Forum” on February 16. I do not know of any other campus where the administration presents the annual budget to students, makes copies of the budget available, and explains how tuition increases will be spent. We had a great student turnout and answered a variety of excellent questions. And thirty pizzas were quickly consumed!
    Participatory governance is shared governance, and shared governance is one of the reasons for our continued success. And shared success is the best kind.

Dr. Rick Niece

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