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
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