Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 75.92
Liaison Christina Goodwin
Submission Date March 5, 2021
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Sterling College (VT)
PA-3: Participatory Governance

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 3.00 Matthew Derr
President
Administrative
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Do the institution’s students have a representative body through which they can participate in governance (e.g. a student council)? :
Yes

Do the institution’s students have an elected representative on the institution’s highest governing body?:
No

A brief description of the bodies and mechanisms through which students are engaged in governance, including information to support each affirmative response above:

Equity Council - Sterling has made a commitment in its strategic initiative to become an anti-racist and anti-biased institution, including dismantling white supremacy culture, structural racism, and the persistence of oppression that impacts human and ecological wellbeing. The Equity Council takes those actions that contribute to improving the experience for underserved members of our community by supporting an institution-wide approach that supports a culture of inquiry, grounded in a commitment to equity, aimed at supporting the success of all our students. The Equity Council also serves as an advisory group to the President and other councils to support Sterling’s commitment to developing inclusive educational programming and to recruiting and retaining a diverse community of faculty, staff, and students.

Student Life Council - The Student Life Council is open to all students, faculty, and staff and meets weekly. This weekly gathering is chaired by the Dean of Student Life with representation on a rotating basis from the student body. The aim of this council is to promote community dialog and elicit input on campus life and College wide issues. The Student Life Council serves as an advisory group to the President to support student success. Issues needing College approval are brought to the President’s for review, decisions are made accordingly.

Community Meeting - While not a governance body, Community Meeting is an important weekly convening of the students and employees to make announcements, share and discuss concerns, and express appreciation for each other and the work of the College. Community Meeting provides an open platform for communication from the President of the College and others and ideas, topics, and issues - both inside and outside of the Sterling College community - that might not otherwise have a venue in the work of the councils and committees. Attendance at Community Meeting is required of employees and a community expectation of students.


Do the institution’s staff members have a representative body through which they can participate in governance (e.g. a staff council)?:
Yes

Do the institution’s non-supervisory staff members have an elected representative on the institution’s highest governing body?:
No

A brief description of the bodies and mechanisms through which staff are engaged in governance, including information to support each affirmative response above:

Equity Council - Sterling has made a commitment in its strategic initiative to become an anti-racist and anti-biased institution, including dismantling white supremacy culture, structural racism, and the persistence of oppression that impacts human and ecological wellbeing. The Equity Council takes those actions that contribute to improving the experience for underserved members of our community by supporting an institution-wide approach that supports a culture of inquiry, grounded in a commitment to equity, aimed at supporting the success of all our students. The Equity Council also serves as an advisory group to the President and other councils to support Sterling’s commitment to developing inclusive educational programming and to recruiting and retaining a diverse community of faculty, staff, and students.

Faculty Council - Faculty Council has authority for and oversight of the credit-bearing academic curriculum, including learning outcomes from study and work. The Council provides vision and direction of the College’s holistic approach to student advising from entry to life after Sterling. The Council meets weekly and convenes annual retreats to plan and to advise the Dean of Academics on all matters related to the academic program. The Council is chaired by the Dean of Academics. In the absence of the Dean, an Associate Dean serves as chair. Employees designated as faculty by the President and Dean of Academics are members of the Faculty Council. The Faculty Council routinely seeks student feedback on certain proposals.

Finance Council - The Finance Council meets monthly to review financial performance relative to the College’s budget and prior year results, current financial needs and to surface and discuss any changes in the near term financial outlook for the College. The Council is chaired by the Dean of Finance and Operations. Council Membership comprises the Dean of Finance and Operations and key budget managers. When warranted, staff and faculty members who have direct responsibility and accountability for creating and managing departmental budgets attend.

Student Life Council - The Student Life Council is open to all students, faculty, and staff and meets weekly. This weekly gathering is chaired by the Dean of Student Life with representation on a rotating basis from the student body. The aim of this council is to promote community dialog and elicit input on campus life and College wide issues. The Student Life Council serves as an advisory group to the President to support student success. Issues needing College approval are brought to the President’s for review, decisions are made accordingly.

Degree Planning Committee - The Degree Planning Committee is a committee of Faculty Council and oversees assessment of student progress toward degrees, hears appeals of policy from students, reviews student proposals including self-designed majors, and any other special requests. The Committee meets as needed, and is convened and chaired by the Dean of Academics. Its membership is made up of the Dean of Academics, Associate Dean of Academics, Registrar, and full-time faculty appointed by the Dean of Academics.

Employee Engagement Committee - The Employee Engagement Committee reviews and provides recommendations on the full experience of employees, including recruitment, hiring, onboarding, professional development, evaluation, and change of employment status. Employee compensation and benefits programs, including, non-academic, professional development allocations, will be reviewed and benchmarked on an annual basis, with results and recommendations forwarded to the President for consideration. The Committee is chaired by the Dean of Finance, this committee is composed of employees.

Revenue Committee - The Revenue Committee has responsibility for implementing the institutional efforts that support meeting the revenue goals of the College. The Committee has oversight for the College’s brand and coordinates external communications efforts to encourage the most effective reach and efficient use of budget resources. Membership of the Committee is drawn from admission, advancement, and professional education. The Dean of Advancement chairs of this weekly meeting.

Professional Studies Committee - The Professional and Online Learning Committee reviews, discusses and offers counsel on courses, programs, and initiatives involving professional education and online learning opportunities. The Committee offers insight and recommendations to the President, as needed, and serves as a liaison between the Office of Professional Education and Faculty Council, with full-time faculty representatives reporting the work of the committee to the broader faculty. The Committee is chaired by the Dean of Professional Education and includes the Associate Dean of Professional Education and three full-time faculty members. The Committee typically convenes and reports to the Faculty Council on a monthly basis.

Risk Management Committee - The Risk Management Committee reviews, discusses and collects data that they then use to make recommendations to the President’s Cabinet to ensure campus safety and functionality. The information they collect is gathered from incident reports and the daily operations of the College campus. The Committee membership comprises the Director of Buildings & Grounds, Wellness Coordinator, Dean of Student Life, and representatives from outdoor education, farm & forest, and kitchen. This Committee has oversight of and manages the Incident Response Team, which is a group of faculty and staff that respond to incidents on campus and rotate a pager throughout the calendar year 24/7.

Student Engagement Committee - The Student Engagement Committee is the body through which the College supports its holistic student success advising model. The Committee meets weekly to review, assess, and make decisions and recommendations regarding individual and whole-institution student success, engagement, and enrollment across academics, work and community. The Student Engagement Committee is charged with responsibility, in collaboration with the Dean of Academics, for professional development across the College. This Committee is chaired by the Associate Dean of Academics and Advising, and membership comprises the Dean of Academics, Dean of Student Life, Assistant Dean of Academics & Registrar, Associate Dean of Student Life, Director of Learning Support.

TASK FORCES

Task forces are temporary groups that focus on addressing specific topics and issues. The President appoints a chair of each task force and collaboratively, with members of the community, a charge and timeline are established for the task force’s work. The chair, in collaboration with the Dean of Academics and Dean of Student Life, appoints task force members. Task Force membership will typically include faculty, staff, and may also include students.

PRESIDENT’S CABINET

The President's Cabinet meets weekly to inform and advise the President on all matters related to the wellbeing of the College. The meeting facilitates communication with and between the President and the Vice President, Dean of Academics, Dean of Advancement & Alumni Relations, Dean of Admission & Financial Aid, Dean of Student Life, Dean of Finance & Operations, and Dean of Professional Studies. Members of the Cabinet play a critical role in communicating about the activities of the College with employees and students. Importantly, the Cabinet also oversees emergency response.

COMMUNITY MEETING

While not a governance body, Community Meeting is an important weekly convening of the students and employees to make announcements, share and discuss concerns, and express appreciation for each other and the work of the College. Community Meeting provides an open platform for communication from the President of the College and others and ideas, topics, and issues - both inside and outside of the Sterling College community - that might not otherwise have a venue in the work of the councils and committees. Attendance at Community Meeting is required of employees and a community expectation of students.


Do the institution’s teaching and research faculty have a representative body through which they can participate in governance (e.g. a faculty senate)?:
Yes

Do the institution’s teaching and research faculty have an elected representative on the institution’s highest governing body? :
No

A brief description of the bodies and mechanisms through which teaching and research faculty are engaged in governance, including information to support each affirmative response above:

Equity Council - Sterling has made a commitment in its strategic initiative to become an anti-racist and anti-biased institution, including dismantling white supremacy culture, structural racism, and the persistence of oppression that impacts human and ecological wellbeing. The Equity Council takes those actions that contribute to improving the experience for underserved members of our community by supporting an institution-wide approach that supports a culture of inquiry, grounded in a commitment to equity, aimed at supporting the success of all our students. The Equity Council also serves as an advisory group to the President and other councils to support Sterling’s commitment to developing inclusive educational programming and to recruiting and retaining a diverse community of faculty, staff, and students.

Faculty Council - Faculty Council has authority for and oversight of the credit-bearing academic curriculum, including learning outcomes from study and work. The Council provides vision and direction of the College’s holistic approach to student advising from entry to life after Sterling. The Council meets weekly and convenes annual retreats to plan and to advise the Dean of Academics on all matters related to the academic program. The Council is chaired by the Dean of Academics. In the absence of the Dean, an Associate Dean serves as chair. Employees designated as faculty by the President and Dean of Academics are members of the Faculty Council. The Faculty Council routinely seeks student feedback on certain proposals.

Finance Council - The Finance Council meets monthly to review financial performance relative to the College’s budget and prior year results, current financial needs and to surface and discuss any changes in the near term financial outlook for the College. The Council is chaired by the Dean of Finance and Operations. Council Membership comprises the Dean of Finance and Operations and key budget managers. When warranted, staff and faculty members who have direct responsibility and accountability for creating and managing departmental budgets attend.

Student Life Council - The Student Life Council is open to all students, faculty, and staff and meets weekly. This weekly gathering is chaired by the Dean of Student Life with representation on a rotating basis from the student body. The aim of this council is to promote community dialog and elicit input on campus life and College wide issues. The Student Life Council serves as an advisory group to the President to support student success. Issues needing College approval are brought to the President’s for review, decisions are made accordingly.

Degree Planning Committee - The Degree Planning Committee is a committee of Faculty Council and oversees assessment of student progress toward degrees, hears appeals of policy from students, reviews student proposals including self-designed majors, and any other special requests. The Committee meets as needed, and is convened and chaired by the Dean of Academics. Its membership is made up of the Dean of Academics, Associate Dean of Academics, Registrar, and full-time faculty appointed by the Dean of Academics.

Employee Engagement Committee - The Employee Engagement Committee reviews and provides recommendations on the full experience of employees, including recruitment, hiring, onboarding, professional development, evaluation, and change of employment status. Employee compensation and benefits programs, including, non-academic, professional development allocations, will be reviewed and benchmarked on an annual basis, with results and recommendations forwarded to the President for consideration. The Committee is chaired by the Dean of Finance, this committee is composed of employees.

Revenue Committee - The Revenue Committee has responsibility for implementing the institutional efforts that support meeting the revenue goals of the College. The Committee has oversight for the College’s brand and coordinates external communications efforts to encourage the most effective reach and efficient use of budget resources. Membership of the Committee is drawn from admission, advancement, and professional education. The Dean of Advancement chairs of this weekly meeting.

Professional Studies Committee - The Professional and Online Learning Committee reviews, discusses and offers counsel on courses, programs, and initiatives involving professional education and online learning opportunities. The Committee offers insight and recommendations to the President, as needed, and serves as a liaison between the Office of Professional Education and Faculty Council, with full-time faculty representatives reporting the work of the committee to the broader faculty. The Committee is chaired by the Dean of Professional Education and includes the Associate Dean of Professional Education and three full-time faculty members. The Committee typically convenes and reports to the Faculty Council on a monthly basis.

Risk Management Committee - The Risk Management Committee reviews, discusses and collects data that they then use to make recommendations to the President’s Cabinet to ensure campus safety and functionality. The information they collect is gathered from incident reports and the daily operations of the College campus. The Committee membership comprises the Director of Buildings & Grounds, Wellness Coordinator, Dean of Student Life, and representatives from outdoor education, farm & forest, and kitchen. This Committee has oversight of and manages the Incident Response Team, which is a group of faculty and staff that respond to incidents on campus and rotate a pager throughout the calendar year 24/7.

Student Engagement Committee - The Student Engagement Committee is the body through which the College supports its holistic student success advising model. The Committee meets weekly to review, assess, and make decisions and recommendations regarding individual and whole-institution student success, engagement, and enrollment across academics, work and community. The Student Engagement Committee is charged with responsibility, in collaboration with the Dean of Academics, for professional development across the College. This Committee is chaired by the Associate Dean of Academics and Advising, and membership comprises the Dean of Academics, Dean of Student Life, Assistant Dean of Academics & Registrar, Associate Dean of Student Life, Director of Learning Support.

TASK FORCES

Task forces are temporary groups that focus on addressing specific topics and issues. The President appoints a chair of each task force and collaboratively, with members of the community, a charge and timeline are established for the task force’s work. The chair, in collaboration with the Dean of Academics and Dean of Student Life, appoints task force members. Task Force membership will typically include faculty, staff, and may also include students.

PRESIDENT’S CABINET

The President's Cabinet meets weekly to inform and advise the President on all matters related to the wellbeing of the College. The meeting facilitates communication with and between the President and the Vice President, Dean of Academics, Dean of Advancement & Alumni Relations, Dean of Admission & Financial Aid, Dean of Student Life, Dean of Finance & Operations, and Dean of Professional Studies. Members of the Cabinet play a critical role in communicating about the activities of the College with employees and students. Importantly, the Cabinet also oversees emergency response.

COMMUNITY MEETING

While not a governance body, Community Meeting is an important weekly convening of the students and employees to make announcements, share and discuss concerns, and express appreciation for each other and the work of the College. Community Meeting provides an open platform for communication from the President of the College and others and ideas, topics, and issues - both inside and outside of the Sterling College community - that might not otherwise have a venue in the work of the councils and committees. Attendance at Community Meeting is required of employees and a community expectation of students.


Does the institution have written policies and procedures to identify and engage external stakeholders (i.e. local residents) in land use planning, capital investment projects, and other institutional decisions that affect the community?:
No

A copy of the written policies and procedures:
---

The policies and procedures:
---

Does the institution have formal participatory or shared governance bodies through which community members representing the interests of the following stakeholder groups can regularly participate in institutional governance?:
Yes or No
Local government and/or educational organizations No
Private sector organizations No
Civil society (e.g. NGOs, NPOs) Yes

A brief description of the bodies and mechanisms through which external stakeholders are engaged in institutional governance (including information about each stakeholder group selected above):

The Board of Advisors is an advisory body, comprised of friends and supporters of Sterling College, dedicated to advancing ecological thinking and action. Members of this board act as informed advisors to the President and trustees on issues of strategic importance to the College through volunteering expertise and cultivating relationships that lead to support for new ideas. Advisors also act as ambassadors and promote the interests of Sterling College and ecological education worldwide. The Board of Advisors meets only once each year in October, in conjunction with a meeting of the Board of Trustees.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
---

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.