Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 47.37
Liaison Holly Andersen
Submission Date Jan. 26, 2021

STARS v2.2

Bennington College
PA-3: Inclusive and Participatory Governance

Status Score Responsible Party
2.50 / 3.00
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have formal participatory or shared governance bodies through which the following stakeholders can regularly participate in the governance of the institution?:
Yes or No
Students Yes
Academic staff Yes
Non-academic staff Yes

A brief description of the institution’s formal participatory or shared governance bodies:

Essential to the operation of the College is shared responsibility, cooperative action, and strong communication among constituencies and areas. The College is committed to a robust model of shared governance. This joint effort unfolds in a variety of ways. The faculty has responsibility for the content and integrity of the curriculum and for the setting and maintenance of academic standards at the College. This responsibility is exercised through members of the faculty participating in the governance of the College through their work and independent voice on committees, their deliberation in various meetings, including regular faculty and faculty-only meetings, and in the review of their peers.

Here follows a detailed description of the functions and responsibilities of elected and appointed committees. SEPC: The Student Educational Policies Committee (SEPC) consists of a group of elected students who represent the student body on issues affecting academic life at Bennington. In addition to the president and vice-president of the committee, two representatives per discipline serve as liaisons between students, faculty, and the administration. They know the ins and outs of each discipline and are available resources for other students, faculty, and staff regarding each area of study. SEPC coordinates mid-term and end-of-term course evaluations that provide a forum for students to supply course feedback to the college. In addition to evaluating individual courses and teachers, SEPC also considers larger questions of academic policy and articulates concerns and interests of the student community. FPRC: The Faculty Performance Review Committee (FPRC), composed of five elected faculty members, two elected faculty alternates, and the Provost and Dean of the College, reviews and makes recommendations regarding faculty reappointments. CPC: The Curriculum Planning Committee, composed of the Dean of Research, Planning, and Assessment, the Registrar and Director of Enrollment Services, the Associate Dean for Curriculum and Pedagogy, and faculty representatives from each of the disciplines, is responsible for short- and long-term curriculum planning as well as for reviewing and approving the curriculum. The Committee presents the curriculum for final approval to the Academic Policies Committee and the Provost and Dean's Office. CSC:The College Steering Committee (CSC), composed of six elected faculty members, two elected faculty alternates, the President, the Provost and Dean of the College, and the Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs, has regular engagement and participation in College decision making around administrative policies and procedures, admissions and market positions, financial position, advancement and alumni engagement, faculty affairs, health/safety, and diversity/inclusion. The CSC will also co-set the faculty meeting agenda and run the faculty-only portion of meetings as well as meet regularly with the Board of Trustees.


Total number of individuals on the institution’s highest governing body:
20

Number of students representing their peers as official members of the institution’s highest governing body:
0

Number of academic staff representing their peers as official members of the institution’s highest governing body:
0

Number of non-academic staff representing their peers as official members of the institution’s highest governing body:
2

Number of women serving as official members of the institution’s highest governing body:
12

Percentage of official members of the highest governing body that are women:
60

Website URL where information about the institution’s highest governing body may be found:
Does the institution host or support one or more formal bodies through which external stakeholders have a regular voice in institutional decisions that affect them?:
Yes

A brief description of the campus-community council or equivalent body that gives external stakeholders a regular voice in institutional decisions that affect them:

In this reporting year, the presidents office coordinated and had representation at the Bennington County Regional Commission (BCRC). BCRC was created, pursuant to 24 V.S.A. Section 4341, by the seventeen towns and villages it serves and will work with and on behalf of those municipalities to build strong, resilient, and sustainable communities, to foster economic prosperity, and to promote a high quality of life for residents of the region.

​This mission will be accomplished through direct planning and community development assistance to town and village governments, through preparation and implementation of regional plans and studies, and through synergistic working relationships with local and regional organizations. The BCRC will work cooperatively with local governments to establish and advance regional cohesiveness, actively advocate for adherence to adopted regional policies, and facilitate effective communication between local, state, and federal levels of government.

During this reporting year, Bennington College's president's office provided the BCRC an opportunity at each meeting to provide a regular voice to the College community. With the PFOA crisis, the Putnam block redevelopment, and housing crisis in the area-- this partnership was valuable to address issues in our local area.


Number of people from underrepresented groups serving as official members of the institution’s highest governing body.:
3

Website URL where information about the institution’s governance structure is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
---

In addition to BCRC, Bennington College provides students the opportunity to work with the local community and coordinate efforts to volunteer in the local area. Organize an arts event, translate at a local health clinic, mentor youth, help build a home, raise awareness on social issues, participate on restorative justice panels, prepare meals, teach a class, or develop a project of your own. Bennington ACTS provides the resources for you to 'burst the bubble' and make meaningful connections and change in the communities surrounding Bennington College. Details are at:https://www.bennington.edu/office-of-student-life/office-student-engagement/bennington-acts

The College has representation on the Bennington County Regional Commission (BCRC) was created, pursuant to 24 V.S.A. Section 4341, by the seventeen towns and villages it serves and will work with and on behalf of those municipalities to build strong, resilient, and sustainable communities, to foster economic prosperity, and to promote a high quality of life for residents of the region.

​This mission will be accomplished through direct planning and community development assistance to town and village governments, through preparation and implementation of regional plans and studies, and through synergistic working relationships with local and regional organizations. The BCRC will work cooperatively with local governments to establish and advance regional cohesiveness, actively advocate for adherence to adopted regional policies, and facilitate effective communication between local, state, and federal levels of government. http://www.bcrcvt.org/mission-statement.html

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.