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V-1: Governance Structure
Policy Number: V-1
Last Reviewed: October 5, 2015
Responsible Dept.: Office of the President
Policy Document (PDF)
Policies and Procedures Structure
Virginia Western Community College (VWCC) is a college of the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) and is subject to the policies and procedures established by the VCCS System Office, In addition, VWCC 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
- The State Council of Higher Education in Virginia (SCHEV)
- Virginia Community College System and other State central agency policies such as Commonwealth Accounting Policies and Procedures (CAPP)
- VWCC Policies and Publications (Catalog and Student Handbook, Faculty Handbook, etc.)
- Other VWCC 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's Executive Staff members are responsible for areas within their scope of responsibility. This group consists of the Vice Presidents and the Associate Vice President of Human Resources. 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 Executive Staff and accepted by the President prior to becoming official policy.
Deans and department heads are responsible for assuring adherence to established policies in the conduct of College business. Deans and department heads may issue procedures associated with a policy within their areas or departments, and are responsible for the accuracy and timeliness of policies and procedures relating to their areas or departments. This responsibility includes proper notification to respective faculty and staff of changes and updates to these policies and procedures, and conducting a review of policies at least annually.
The College Committees and Senates are responsible for reviewing College policy and procedure and for making recommendations on such matters to the President or Executive Staff. In doing so, these organizations serve as the official voice of the College.
The College Committees are established by the President's Executive Staff. The Committees and Senates may be charged with addressing special projects or strategic tasks of the College such as academic program reviews, curriculum approval, reviewing new technology needs, etc. Committees may vary somewhat from year to year based on the changing needs of the College. Committee membership is coordinated through the Institutional Effectiveness Office, except where otherwise specified in committee by-laws. Faculty members typically serve on at least one committee each year. Most administrators and staff members serve on at least two committees each year.
Faculty Senate, Administrative Faculty, and Staff Senates are forums to discuss the concerns of teaching faculty, administrators, and College staff, respectively. The Senates make recommendations to the President or Executive Staff.
Student Council is a forum to discuss the concerns of students. All students are welcome to participate. Representatives from each student organization also attend Student Council meetings. Student Council selects the students who also become members of the College Committees.
Recommendations for changes that impact multiple areas of the College may be initiated by any member of the College community. Executive Staff members may make recommendations for change directly to the Executive Staff. Other interested parties may make recommendations for change through College Committees and Senates using the College Recommendation form. Recommendations for change by faculty and staff may also be presented to the respective Vice President. Recommendations from Student Council are presented to the appropriate College Committee by the Coordinator of Student Activities.
The originating Committee or Senate sends the College Recommendation form to their associated Executive Staff member, to other groups that may be affected by the change, and to the Institutional Effectiveness Office (IEO). The Executive Staff member for the Senates is the President of the College. The Executive Staff member for each committee should be specified in the committee bylaws. Changes to the Faculty Evaluation process must be approved by a majority in the Faculty Senate. The Executive Staff member presents the recommendation to the President's Executive Staff.
All new governance policies and substantive revisions to existing policies must be reviewed and approved by the Executive Staff and accepted by the President prior to becoming official policy. Changes affecting only one department may be handled within that department with the approval of the Executive Staff member.
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 VWCC Policy Manual and other publications, and distributes the policy changes to the College community.
VWCC sets aside time for each group of the internal governance structure to meet. Most College Committee and Senate meetings are held in rotation starting after the first week of classes. Meetings are typically held on Wednesdays from noon to 1:00 pm. Wednesdays when classes are not in session are not included in the rotation. In order to ensure that staff are available to assist students during peak lunch hours, Staff Senate meets in the morning or later in the afternoon. The list of Schedule A and Schedule B committees is revised and published at the beginning of each academic year.
Week 1 - Schedule A Committees
Week 2 - Schedule B Committees
Week 3 - Senates
Week 4 - Division/Department meetings
Other committees meet as provided in their by-laws. Any subcommittees meet as needed to accomplish the specified tasks.
Each of the committees and senates operates under by-laws which include the group s purpose, objectives and general membership requirements. Committees and Senates may be given specific tasks by the Executive Staff. Each group may have subcommittees that focus on particular issues.