The Graduate Program of Intercultural Open University Foundation
Governance Agreement – Part A, Constitution
Adopted by the IOU Foundation Faculty –October 2008;
Approved by the Board of Governors - December 2008
(To remain in effect until such time as a successor document is submitted to and approved by the Board of Governors)
The purposes and objectives of this Constitution and its By-Laws are to establish a public and rational basis for the continuation of the heritage of the Graduate Program of Intercultural Open University Foundation in building an academic community that guarantees full and democratic participation of all involved parties in the achievement of the endeavors and goals of the Foundation.
While formalizing governance runs the risk of closing and fixing what was open and fluid, it also removes the risks that informal systems can be unintentionally elusive, that they can be unintentionally inequitable, that they can confound where clarity is essential, and that they can make change difficult by not clarifying just how it is to be proposed, debated, and acted upon. Formal governance, then, for all its risks, must be an effort to give colleagues mutual rights and responsibilities appropriate to their tasks in a form that is public and hence open. To be true to the Foundation's heritage, its governance must be a way of building community and becoming more inclusive.
B. Philosophical Base
The governance principles that follow are those of an institution dedicated not only to quality in education, but to particular concepts of what leads to quality. They reflect the following shared beliefs:
1. Excellence in formal education springs from the central concerns of learners and faculty and results from their collaborative work.
2. The Graduate Program of Intercultural Open University Foundation is a synergistic entity whose faculty’s primary purpose is to work with learners.
3. The faculty assumes and exercises certain rights and obligations which flow from the centrality of its function as facilitator and guardian of the academic life of the Foundation.
4. The faculty, administration, learners, and graduates assume, share, and exercise certain rights and obligations which flow from the fundamental need for the maintenance and improvement of the whole institution.
5. There is a commitment to a consensual form of governance involving faculty, administration, learners, and graduates.
6. The Foundation, for which individualized learning programs are fundamental, requires clarity about what is constant and common; recognizing that governance that is open, shared, and collaborative facilitates responsible individuality.
7. Established knowledge and particular procedures or roles for the members of this community and its processes of learning are open to re-examination.
8. Neither constancy nor change are virtues in themselves: both are important in the maintenance and development of the Foundation, which exists to nurture, evaluate, and communicate among its constituencies a diverse range of educational modes directed toward benefiting the social order.
II. Governance Issues
A. A Rational and Open System
The governance system of the Graduate Program rests upon a foundation of full and responsible participation. A fully open process of shared governance is ensured through a structure of a Council of Representatives and other committees and an appropriate distribution of work, responsibility, and authority as defined in terms of mission and membership in the By-Laws. The relevant relationships of all governance components of the Foundation are set forth in this Constitution.
B. Objectives of the Governance System
The primary objective of the governance system is to provide an open, rational, responsive, fair, supportive, and stable structure to facilitate the academic and personal procedures that pertain to all of the Graduate Program’s constituencies. The system facilitates interaction among all constituencies and publics of IOUF; it encourages the implementation, evaluation, improvement, and dissemination of programs and activities that contribute to scholarly inquiry and professional development; it seeks to establish optimal conditions for adult learning; and it assures that the Foundation strives for optimal quality and functions equitably for all its members.
C. Shared and Timely Governance
Governance procedures are intended to ensure that all constituencies, and the individuals comprising these constituencies, have a voice in matters that affect them as members of the Foundation's community. Moreover, matters shall be considered by the most immediate pertinent level within the governance structure prior to moving through the system for broadly based determinations.
The operating principles of openness and collaborative mutual agreement shall inform matters of shared governance. Excepting specific matters where openness is limited by legal and ethical codes, all governance files shall be available for inspection by interested parties. In the excepted areas, preservation of individual privacy will be assured by the role of anonymity when such matters come under discussion.
The administration and faculty also support an operational value that exemplifies full, open, and timely disclosure of all major issues both internal and external to the Graduate Program, including regulatory and accreditation constraints that impinge upon governance, relational, and academic policies. The Graduate Program is likewise committed to the following:
1. assure faculty access to all learners and programs across the Foundation;
2. assure learner choice of core faculty across the Foundation as well as access to the academic offerings;
3. provide strong linkages across Foundation administrative units to retain the integration of the faculty and its academic programs;
4. provide governance committee structures which allow for access and timely, accurate, and open communication;
5. create and monitor policies that provide for the operational development and well-being of the Foundation; and
6. provide for mutual and timely exchange of information among faculty and administration within the Foundation.
III. Institutional Organization
A. The Foundation
The Intercultural Open University Foundation is a not-for-profit foundation which is registered in The Netherlands and the United States to engage in and encourage research and experimentation in higher education. Intercultural Open University Foundation offers and administers graduate study and grants degrees as authorized by the Board of Governors.
B. Board of Trustees
The Board of Governors, as the legally constituted and responsible governing board of the institution, delegates overall responsibility for leadership and management to the President.
C. The President
The President shall have and exercise general charge, supervision, and leadership of the University, and shall do and perform such other duties as may be assigned by the Board of Governors. These duties include a delegated operating authority and responsibility with accountability for the health and vitality of the institution, its employees, and its programs. The President may delegate specific areas of responsibility to other members of the IOUF community.
The President works with the faculty’s Council of Representatives as the primary deliberative and decision-making team for the Graduate Program.
D. The Vice President for Academic Affairs/Vice Chancellor
The Vice President for Academic Affairs shall have and exercise general charge, supervision, and leadership of the Academic Division of the Foundation, and shall do and perform such other duties as may be assigned by the President. These duties include a delegated operating authority and responsibility with accountability for the health and vitality of the division, its employees, and programs. The VPAA delegates specific areas of responsibility to the Faculty Committees.
E. The Core Faculty
The Core Faculty constitutes the governance body of the Graduate Program and is referred to as the “faculty.” The faculty delegates day-to-day governance responsibility to an elected Council of Representatives.
The Core Faculty and Foundation Administration share responsibility and authority to determine academic requirements, e.g., documentation of learning, proficiency in the field(s) of study, certification, and graduation. The faculty and administration also share responsibility for personnel policies, the hiring of faculty, and the evaluation of faculty performance, formal relationships between the Foundation and other bodies and the governance structure.
Core Faculty have status at full-time, three-quarter time, and half-time levels, as well as part-time independent contractor status. All Core Faculty are expected to engage in the full range of academically related Foundation activities, including governance and the committee structure which supports it.
The core faculty of the Foundation is responsible for the academic programs and governance processes of the Foundation. As such, the core faculty extends full participation rights and faculty privileges to the part-time faculty and External Scholars of the Graduate Program.
F. Council of Representatives
The Council of Representatives is the faculty’s representative body and shares responsibility with the administration for deliberation and decision-making on the major issues and opportunities affecting the Foundation and its academic policies and programs.
Examples of responsibilities include the formulation of plans for the long range development of the Graduate Program, gathering information and data to support discussions of major decisions and alternative visions of the Foundation, and participation in budget recommendations and the development of priorities for the future of the Foundation.
Nothing herein prevents the Council of Representatives from seeking advice and/or action from the entire faculty, or committees appointed by the faculty. (See also the By-Laws for specific descriptions of these matters.)
The Council of Representatives also routes and expedites faculty business among Foundation offices, individuals, and committees; Serves the Vice President for Academic Affairs, the faculty, and learners through specially designated tasks; Ensures timely activities and communication among other committees; Decides when particular issues require faculty voting; Names faculty meeting chairs and confers with them and the administration in establishing meeting agendas; Serves as faculty committee advocate; Adjudicates faculty committee responsibilities; and Serves as the faculty’s elected body with the Administration.
G. Faculty Meeting
Faculty meetings are chaired on a rotating basis on assignment by the Council of Representatives. The Chair of the Council of Representatives, the Faculty Meeting Chair, and the administration work together to assure that timely notices and agendas are distributed to the faculty and that the meeting minutes are issued in a timely fashion. Recording and disseminating the minutes of joint meetings of the Council of Representatives and the President, and all national faculty meetings are the responsibility of the Administration.
Policy proposals that affect the academic, professional, and agendas are distributed to the faculty and that the meeting minutes are issued in a timely fashion.
Policy proposals that affect the academic, professional, personnel, or learner systems will be reported to the faculty by the Chair of the Council of Representatives at national faculty meetings.
H. Governance Relationships between the Faculty and the Learner Council and Graduate Alumni/ae Board
The faculty recognizes and commits to work collegially with the Learner Council and the Graduate Alumni/ae Board as the representative bodies respectively for the learners and graduates of the University. Each of those bodies has its own Constitution and By-Laws which guide those constituents in their participation with the governance of the University in accordance with the Constitution and By-Laws of the Graduate Program.
IV. Intra-institutional Relations
Other Foundation units relate to the Graduate Program through the Council of Representatives and other pertinent committees, the Vice President for Academic Affairs, and other appropriate administrative offices. Specific charges of Foundation committees are given in the Constitution. Methods of determining and changing membership are provided in the By-Laws. Most committees are recommendatory to the Graduate Program, administration or the faculty.
V. Faculty Rights and Responsibilities
The By-Laws and the personnel policies pursuant to them provide guidelines for faculty rights and responsibilities within the Foundation.