Last week, the University Faculty Senate’s University Governance Committee finalized a report with recommendations for the Board of Trustees to improve its governance and communication with students, faculty and staff — one of those suggestions being to add two current faculty members to the board.
The report — provided to the Collegian via email from Faculty Senate Chairman Larry Backer — comes as a product of work completed by the committee since its formation in March of 2012.
According to a letter from former Senate chairman Dan Hagen addressed to the Committee on University Governance members, the recommendation report was supposed to be assembled by May 31, 2012. But Backer said the trustees did not receive it until last week.
Penn State spokeswoman Lisa Powers said the university and the trustees still have yet to see the recommendations, as the report is expected to be officially presented to the Senate in March.
She said the Board of Trustees will carefully review any recommendations it receives because the committee’s report is of great importance for the board’s ongoing effort to increase transparency.
The report was compiled as a result of exploring four main objectives in response to questions raised by the community about the structure and function of the board, according to the letter. Those objectives included examining the structure, functions, practices and responsibilities of the board, including its interactions with students, alumni, faculty, staff and administration, according to Hagen’s letter.
Through the examination, the committee planned to compare those attributes with peer institutions to identify and to recommend ways to improve and enhance those interactions, according to Hagen’s letter.
The report suggested the board members be chosen from a greater, more diverse background, based on their qualifications to perform governance functions rather than what groups they represent. It also suggested that two members of the board include at least two current Penn State faculty members.
But before the report was released, board members had already begun to review the election process, Trustee Al Clemens said, adding that the board members plan to discuss the process at their March meeting.
Backer said in an email that he hopes the trustees will benefit from the committee’s efforts in the future.
“We expect that the board will draw on a wide variety of sources and thinking to develop a reform plan that will reflect the most up to date thinking and that will best serve the interests of the university,” Backer said.
Trustee Anthony Lubrano said he is currently reviewing the recommendations made by the committee but declined to comment until he has thoroughly completed his review.
Trustee Keith Masser declined to comment.