Standard 3. Organization & Governance - Appraisal
The governance of the College continues to become stronger through changes made in the last ten years. In 2001, governance changes were of particular assistance to enhancing the College's Catholic and Holy Cross identity and to strengthening governance for the academic administration and the faculty.
The position of Vice President for Mission has added strategic focus to efforts aimed at strengthening Catholic identity. This position has evolved from overseeing only the Office of Campus Ministry to additionally supervising an Office of Volunteerism and Community Service and a Center for Non-Profit Management. In the academic division, the previous position of Academic Vice President and Dean —which had far too many offices as direct reports — was changed to Vice President for Academic Affairs, and a layer of Dean-level positions below the VP facilitated a more manageable reporting structure. While we have continued to shape the Dean roles throughout the decade, the focus is clearly on the management of the curriculum and on attention to student achievement. The current structure is working well to handle the strategies related to these areas. In 2008, the Trustees added the title of "Provost" to the VPAA's position in recognition of college-wide roles in strategic planning and other areas that she was asked to assume by the President.
The other major change dating back to 2001 was the creation of a Faculty Senate. For the first time, the faculty has a representative legislative body and not an Assembly of the whole faculty. There were some growing pains in the first years but the Senate has become a vital part of Stonehill's governance. While the incorporation of the Faculty Senate into the college's governance structure has given the faculty a more effective and coherent voice, there remain problems of communication and consultation between the Senate and the President.
In 2007, a new VP for Finance made governance recommendations to streamline the work of Departments reporting to her. The major change in this area involved moving the Office of Strategic Planning and Institutional Research into the Finance Division from the Executive Division and placing it under the direction of an Assistant Vice President for Planning. This has worked well for linking strategic planning and financial planning. In 2008, the Trustees created a new Division: the Division of Enrollment Management and Marketing. The Office of Admissions (previously reporting to the VPAA), Office of Financial Aid (previously reporting to the VP for Finance), and the Office of Marketing (previously reporting to the Executive Director for Marketing) merged to create this division. (The Marketing function itself was only developed as a separate Department in 2005.) The Executive Director of Marketing became the first VP for Enrollment Management. When he left the College in Spring 2009, a national search brought us a seasoned VP for Enrollment Management and Marketing who has deep experience in Admissions and Financial Aid. Just as we complete this self-study, we also welcome a new Director of Marketing whose experience will also benefit the College. Finally, in 2009 the President added the title "Dean of Students" to the role of the Associate VP for Student Affairs in recognition of her extensive and direct work with students. These new positions that emerged over the last decade have streamlined the College's business processes and have right-sized senior-level positions and the layers of support below them.
One other important task completed this decade which supports effective shared governance was the revision of all College policies. A team representing every Division of the College reviewed College policies with a view to: (a) clarifying what are "true" policies and what are guidelines or procedures; (b) regularizing a process whereby policies are developed, approved and amended; and (c) ensuring that there is one "official" source where policies can be reviewed not only by the Board of Trustees and College personnel but also by regulators, other governmental entities and others. After a thorough review, the President abrogated every policy heretofore approved; approved all recommended college policies; and placed them on the College's web site which is now the official policy web site. All handbooks (faculty, student, employee, etc.) now refer to the policies on the web site and provide other procedures and necessary information. But no recommended change becomes a College policy until passing through an established review process and is ultimately approved by the President and posted to the website by the Clerk.