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V-1: Governance Structure
Policy Number: V-1
Last Reviewed: May 23, 2016
Responsible Dept.: Office of the President
Policy Document (PDF)
Policies and Procedures Structure
Virginia Western Community College is a component of the Virginia Community College System (VCCS). As such, Virginia Western is subject to the policies and procedures established by the VCCS. In addition, Virginia Western is a Virginia State agency, and is subject to state policies which apply to state agencies generally. The College issues local policies to comply with and implement VCCS and State policies, and to address issues that are not fully addressed by higher authority as listed in the following hierarchy:
- The Higher Education Reauthorization Act and other federal mandates such as IRS regulations
- The Code of Virginia and Governor of Virginia Executive Orders
- VCCS and other State central agency policies such as the Commonwealth Accounting Policies and Procedures (CAPP) Manual
- Virginia Western publications (Catalog, Student Handbook, Faculty Handbook, etc.)
- Other Virginia Western written policies such as parking regulations
In the event of a conflict or contradiction, the highest applicable level in the hierarchy takes precedence.
Internal Governance Structure
The President is the final authority with regard to College governance. The President also has the authority to approve, waive, suspend, or alter Virginia Western policies as necessary to address an emergency situation, extraordinary circumstance or changes in Federal and State Law.
The President's Executive Staff members are responsible for areas within their scope of responsibility. This group consists of the President, Vice Presidents and Associate Vice President. They identify the need for new or revised policies, recommend appropriate policies, and review College-wide policies. All new governance policies and substantive revisions to existing policies must be reviewed and approved by the President s Executive Staff prior to becoming official policy.
The College Council consists of representatives from all of the Governance Committees and Senates, plus all members of the President s Executive Staff. The purpose of the Council is to provide shared input into decision making between the President s Executive Staff and representatives from across the College. The College Council reviews recommendations from the governance committees to ensure each division of the college is aware of the recommendation and can provide input to the President's Executive Staff as to how it may impact each area. The College Council may refer recommendations back to the originating governance committee or to other applicable groups for further review. If further review is not deemed necessary, the College Council makes a recommendation to the President's Executive Staff.
The Governance Committees are responsible for facilitating communication between different areas of the college, identifying strategic initiatives to strengthen the quality of the college, reviewing College policies and procedures, and for making recommendations on such matters to the College Council.
The Governance Committees are established by the President's Executive Staff. The Governance Committees and Senates may be charged with addressing special projects, or strategic tasks of the College. These projects or tasks may be accomplished through workgroups which report their findings and recommendations through their assigned committee. These workgroups may vary somewhat from year to year based on the changing needs of the College.
Committee and workgroup memberships are coordinated through the Institutional Effectiveness Office, except where otherwise specified in committee by-laws.
Faculty Senate, Administrative Faculty, and Staff Senates are forums to discuss the concerns of teaching faculty, administrators, and College staff, respectively.
Student Council is a forum to discuss the views of students. All students are welcome to participate. Representatives from each student organization also attend Student Council meetings. Student Council nominates students who are in good standing to serve as members of the Governance Committees.
To facilitate timely action on issues and recommendations, face-to-face meetings throughout the governance structure will be supplemented extensively by electronic meetings and communications. This is especially true for the recommendations process and for College Council deliberations.
Governance Committees will submit recommendations electronically using the Recommendation Form by the Thursday prior to College Council meetings. Items submitted will be discussed at the College Council meeting, or electronically in advance of the meeting. Requests for additional information will be sent by the College Council back to the Governance Committee electronically.
Each Governance Committee is expected to work toward its established objectives, to make our college stronger and to improve student success;
- Governance Committees should meet at least as often as their established schedule. If the committee is unable to meet at the established meeting time, such as during a college closing due to inclement weather, committee officers will reschedule the meeting, either face-to-face or online.
- Governance Committee officers will distribute an agenda to all committee members in advance of each meeting, along with any other applicable materials.
- All Governance Committee members are expected to attend each meeting, and be prepared to discuss the agenda items. A list of attendees will be maintained as part of the minutes for each meeting.
- Governance Committee officers will review minutes from each meeting with the committee members, and post the approved minutes through .
- Recommendations from the committee will be handled in accordance with the established recommendations process.
Committee Structures are reviewed by the committee at the beginning of each year. The committee may also review its structure again during the year to address changing circumstances. Changes to the structure must be approved by a favorable vote of a simple majority of the committee. Changes to the structure may be made electronically. Changes must also receive the approval of the applicable member of the President's Executive Staff.
Members normally serve for the duration of the year (Fall/Spring/Summer), within the limits of faculty contracts. Committee members will serve three year terms, except where otherwise specified. If a member is unable to complete their term, a replacement will be appointed to finish out the term, using the selection procedure specified in the committee s Structure for that member's role.
Governance Committee chairs may be elected by the committee, permanently appointed, or appointed by Executive Staff, as specified in the structure for the committee. Committees with elected chairs also have an elected vice-chair and secretary.
Nominations of officers for the following year are made at the second meeting of the spring semester. Elections are held at the final meeting of the spring semester.
Permanently filled positions may appoint a representative to act in their behalf on a temporary basis. If an officer is unable to complete the term of office, the committee will select a replacement.
The duties of officers include but are not limited to:
- Preparation and distribution of meeting agenda (Chair)
- Facilitation of meetings (Chair)
- Taking minutes (Secretary)
- Emailing the agenda, minutes, and other relevant materials to to be posted on VW Connect/ Governance (Secretary)
Virginia Western sets aside time for each group of the internal governance structure to meet. Most Governance Committee, Workgroup and Senate meetings are held in rotation starting after the first week of classes. Meetings are typically held on Tuesdays from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Tuesdays when classes are not in session are not included in the rotation.
Week 1 - Workgroups
Week 2 - Senates
Week 3 - Governance Committees Week 4 - College Council
Other committees or workgroups meet as provided in their by-laws.
Robert's Revised Rules of Order shall be the guiding document for the governance of all meetings, except where otherwise specified. These rules are available in the Library and in the Institutional Effectiveness Office.
Meetings of the full committee normally take place based on the Virginia Western Committee Schedule. The committee may authorize additional meetings if needed. Subcommittees may meet as necessary to accomplish tasks assigned by the committee. The committee may also authorize summer meetings of a portion of the committee.
Governance Meetings are open to members of the college community with prior notification to the committee chair; however, only members officially assigned to the committee may have a vote on matters brought before the committee. Each member representative not otherwise specified is entitled to one vote on matters brought before the committee. Committees have the option of allowing proxy voting rights in the committee structure.
Recommendations for changes that impact multiple areas of the College may be initiated by any member of the College community.
- Individuals or other interested parties, including Senates, workgroups, or Student Council may make recommendations for change through the appropriate Governance Committee using the Recommendation Form.
- Recommendations endorsed by the Governance Committee are then forwarded to College Council for discussion of implications to the overall college community. This discussion may be in person or through electronic means.
- Recommendations endorsed by College Council are forwarded to the President s Executive Staff.
- The President is the final authority with regard to any recommendations for change.
A simple majority (50% or more) of the voting members of the governance committee or College Council meeting in person or electronically shall be necessary and sufficient to constitute a quorum.
All new governance policies and substantive revisions to existing policies and structures will be reviewed by College Council, approved by the Executive Staff and signed by the President prior to becoming official policy. Policy changes that are mandated externally will be approved by Executive Staff, signed by the President and shared with College Council for informational purposes.
Changes to the Faculty Evaluation process must be approved by the President and a majority of the faculty.
Distribution of Policies
After the President approves a policy, the Executive Staff member who presented it is charged with implementation. The Assistant to the College President incorporates the policy changes into the Virginia Western Policy Manual and other publications, and distributes the policy changes to the College community.