Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 66.74
Liaison Krista Bailey
Submission Date Oct. 20, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Pennsylvania State University
PA-3: Governance

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 3.00 Lydia Vandenbergh
Assoc. Dir. Employee Engagement & Education
Sustainability Institute
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Do all enrolled students, regardless of type or status, have an avenue to participate in one or more governance bodies (through direct participation or the election of representatives)?:
Yes

A brief description of the mechanisms through which students have an avenue to participate in one or more governance bodies:

There are three student government associations at Penn State:
1. University Park Undergraduate Association (UPUA) http://pennstateupua.com/
2. Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA) http://gpsa.psu.edu/
3. Council of Commonwealth Student Governments http://ccsg.psu.edu/
Each group elects officers who in turn represent their constituents on various Penn State governance bodies, including the Board of Trustees.

Currently there are currently four student representatives on the Board of Trustees: the president of the University Park Undergraduate Association (UPUA), the president and vice president of the Council of Commonwealth Student Governments (CCSG), and the president of the Graduate Student Association (GSA). These students have a non-voting seat at Board meetings and on four of its standing committees: Academic Affairs and Student Life; Finance, Business and Capital Planning; Governance and Long-Range Planning; and Outreach, Development and Community Relations. See http://news.psu.edu/story/148328/2012/06/19/added-alumni-employee-student-leaders-invited-trustees-meetings

The Student Sustainabiliity Advisory Council was created in 2011. Students are selected through a competitive application/interview process and are commissioned by the President to serve on the SSAC, which acts as an advisory team to the President and the University Administration on sustainability issues. http://sites.psu.edu/ssac/

There also are student representatives on other university governance bodies, such as Faculty Senate, the Alumni Associations, Student Activity Fee Board, and Facilities Fee Board.


Is there at least one student representative on the institution’s governing body who was elected by peers or appointed by a representative student body or organization?:
Yes

A brief description of student representation on the governing body, including how the representatives are selected:

As noted above, there are four non-voting student representatives on the Board of Trustees, each of whom is elected by members of the group they represent: the University Park Undergraduate Association (UPUA), the Graduate Student Association, and the Council of Commonwealth Student Governments.

In addition, the Penn State Board of Trustees is considering changes to its charter and bylaws that would create a permanent seat for a student trustee. For four decades, the governor has opted to designate one of the six governor-appointed seats on the 32-member board as a student trustee, but this tradition has not been codified. The proposed action would specifically designate a trustee to represent the student body, with a two-year term unless the student trustee ceases to meet the criteria set forth in the bylaws. The criteria spelled out for a student trustee is that he or she be an undergraduate, graduate, professional or World Campus student in a degree-seeking program and in good academic standing. The change will require a vote of the full board to be enacted. http://progress.psu.edu/resource-library/story/board-considers-permanent-seat-for-student-representative


Do students have a formal role in decision-making in regard to the following?:
Yes or No
Establishing organizational mission, vision, and/or goals ---
Establishing new policies, programs, or initiatives ---
Strategic and long-term planning ---
Existing or prospective physical resources ---
Budgeting, staffing and financial planning ---
Communications processes and transparency practices ---
Prioritization of programs and projects ---

A brief description of the formal student role in regard to each area indicated, including examples from the previous three years:
---

Do all staff, regardless of type or status, have an avenue to participate in one or more governance bodies (through direct participation or the election of representatives)?:
Yes

A brief description of the mechanisms through which all staff have an avenue to participate in one or more governance bodies:

Penn State encourages staff to become involved in University policy-making through a variety of committees. The broadest oversight is that of the University Staff Advisory Council (USAC), which exists to facilitate open and equitable deliberations over the policies, procedures and programming that impact Penn States staff. All full-time staff employees are eligible to serve. Appointments to USAC are made in an effort to provide a diverse representation of employees in exempt and nonexempt (including non-supervisory) positions from a variety of University units and locations. In addition, many of the University's colleges and organizations have their own advisory councils on which staff and faculty serve. For examples, visit http://ohr.psu.edu/university-staff-advisory-council/resources/


Is there at least one non-supervisory staff representative on the institution’s governing body who was elected by peers or appointed by a representative staff body or organization?:
No

A brief description of non-supervisory staff representation on the governing body, including how the representatives are selected:

Members of the Staff Advisory Council are seated at Committee and full Board of Trustees meetings. Although these may be non-supervisory staff, they are not necessarily so.


Do non-supervisory staff have a formal role in decision-making in regard to the following? :
Yes or No
Establishing organizational mission, vision, and/or goals Yes
Establishing new policies, programs, or initiatives Yes
Strategic and long-term planning Yes
Existing or prospective physical resources Yes
Budgeting, staffing and financial planning Yes
Communications processes and transparency practices Yes
Prioritization of programs and projects Yes

A brief description of the formal staff role in regard to each area indicated, including examples from the previous three years:

Because elected representatives of the Staff Advisory Council are seated at committee and full Board of Trustees meetings, staff have a potential voice (though a non-voting role), in all of the decisions that the Board makes, which includes all of the areas listed above.

The Faculty Senate and the Staff Advisory Council were involved with the recent overview of employee health policies and benefits for Penn State. http://senate.psu.edu/agenda/2013-2014/apr2014/apps.htm
Prior to that initiative, the Council had created an Ad Hoc Committee to review issues relating to Penn State's Flexible Scheduling Policy and Telecommuting policy. From the committee's analysis, they recommended language clarification and consistency, and broader education about the program through the website and training.

Another topic of focus for this committee was Domestic Partner Benefits eligibility.


Do all faculty, regardless of type or status, have an avenue to participate in one or more governance bodies (through direct participation or the election of representatives)?:
Yes

A brief description of the mechanisms through which all faculty (including adjunct faculty) have an avenue to participate in one or more governance bodies:

The University Faculty Senate is the representative body of Penn State's faculty with legislative authority on all matters pertaining to the educational interests of the University and all educational matters that concern the faculties of more than one college. In addition, the Senate is recognized by the University as an advisory and consultative body to the President on all matters that may affect the attainment of the University's educational objectives.

The Senate represents more than 5,600 full-time faculty at 23 Penn State campuses. The Senate is comprised of faculty senators who are elected from each college and campus. In 2011, the Senate legislated a fixed-size of 200 elected faculty seats. Senate seats are allocated proportionately by unit, based on the ratio of full-time unit faculty to the total number of full-time University faculty. "Faculty" includes all persons who hold full-time academic appointments, and who hold one of the following ranks: Lecturer, Instructor, Senior Lecturer, Senior Instructor, Research Assistant, Senior Research Assistant, Senior Scientist, Research Associate, Senior Research Associate, Professor of Practice, Assistant Librarian, Associate Librarian, Librarian, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, or Professor. Other Senate representation includes undergraduate/graduate student senators, ex officio, and members appointed by the President. Senate committee chairs invite other members of the University community to participate in the work of the committees as resources. http://www.senate.psu.edu/index.html


Is there at least one teaching or research faculty representative on the institution’s governing body who was elected by peers or appointed by a representative faculty body or organization?:
No

A brief description of faculty representation on the governing body, including how the representatives are selected:

The Chair, Chair-elect, and Secretary of the Faculty Senate are seated at Committee and full Board of Trustees meetings. Although teaching and research faculty are eligible to hold these positions (and, in fact, this year's Secretary is a Senior Lecturer), there is no required representation of faculty in these ranks. In addition, the Chair of the Senate Committee on University Planning is seated at Board Committee Meetings.


Do faculty have a formal role in decision-making in regard to the following?:
Yes or No
Establishing organizational mission, vision, and/or goals Yes
Establishing new policies, programs, or initiatives Yes
Strategic and long-term planning Yes
Existing or prospective physical resources Yes
Budgeting, staffing and financial planning Yes
Communications processes and transparency practices Yes
Prioritization of programs and projects Yes

A brief description of the formal faculty role in regard to each area indicated, including examples from the previous three years:

Because elected representatives of the Faculty Senate (the Chair, Chair-elect, and Secretary) are seated at committee and full Board meetings, faculty have a potential voice (though a non-voting role), in all of the decisions that the Board makes, which include all of the areas listed above.

In addition, the Faculty Senate has standing committees, other committees, and special committees that act as advisory bodies to the Office of the President. http://senate.psu.edu/about_senate/committees.asp The purview of these committees, in particular the University Planning Committee, includes the decision-making areas listed above.
The Committee on University Planning solely and in consultation with other committees, reports on and/or proposes action on matters of university planning that affect the academic, development, physical and aesthetic resources, issues, and policies of the University. In accordance with the Constitutional advisory and consultative roles of the Senate, specific areas of responsibilities include but are not limited to: the allocation of resources among units and functions as they relate to educational policy; academic planning development planning, and campus and physical planning. http://senate.psu.edu/about_senate/committees/up/up.html

The Faculty Senate and the Staff Advisory Council were involved with the recent overview of employee health policies and benefits for Penn State. http://senate.psu.edu/agenda/2013-2014/apr2014/apps.htm


The website URL where information about the institution’s governance structure is available:

Penn State's highest governing body is its Board of Trustees. http://www.psu.edu/trustees/governance.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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.