Portrait of Rhine, Ramon J.

Rhine, Ramon J.

June 3, 1998

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Ray Rhine, professor, noted researcher and former chair of the Academic Senate, analyzes the importance of Shared Governance in the university and discusses the process of the chancellor search selection.
Excerpt from Transcript
Rhine: Shared Governance. Well, at the University of California, probably even more so than almost any other place that exists, there is a concept of Shared Governance which means shared between the administration and the faculty. So that many of the things we do at the University of California, we do together. Very often the administration will consult-either it's written out that you must consult with the faculty on this matter-or it's just done as a matter of tradition and good sense.

My feeling is the very best administrators in the university-and we've had some excellent administrators-understand this very well and take advantage of it. They always try to find out what the faculty is thinking before they do something that might impinge heavily. I shouldn't say always, but usually, because people can't always recognize who is going to be sensitive about what, but they try to do that.

Erickson: Sure.

Rhine: So, Shared Governance literally is that. The university is run by an administration which has responsibilities, particularly of course for budget and leadership, all the financial matters and administrative matters like new buildings and so on, as they should. And the faculty has responsibility delegated to them by The Regents for curriculum matters.

Rhine: The administration, for example, could not say, "We are going to change the courses you teach in the Psychology Department." Not allowed-out of their hands. Not open to disagreement or argument, that's the way The Regents set it up some years ago. That's a faculty prerogative, but most of the things we do, we do together.

And I would say 90% of what gets done (I mean there's all kinds of details where people just do 'em), but 90% of policy things and things that are beyond details, we are in agreement, faculty and administration, pretty good agreement, close enough that we are reasonably comfortable. Maybe 95%. There's 5% where we might have trouble and we have to argue about it.

Sometimes the administration has just got to say, "Hey, someone's got to make a final decision. Time has come, and here's your decision, and I know you don't like it." We can live with that because we know that there's 95% agreement, and we know people are trying hard to follow the principal of Shared Governance.

It's a wonderful, wonderful way of doing things. It's a bit slow at times and that frustrates people, frustrates people here and frustrates people off the campus, because it takes time to do all this back and forth. It's very seldom that we have a major issue that we haven't gone over tooth and nail from every point of view. We may do the wrong thing, but we have looked at just about every alternative.

Erickson: Right.

Rhine: One thing the faculty is very good at is thinking that something is wrong with everything.


So, every alternative you can think of has been thought about. I think people (administrators) who get in trouble at the university-could be anything, but one of the things is when they don't understand the real value of Shared Governance and take advantage of it. Because good administrators know how to use this and make it a positive thing, which it is. And the good faculty leaders know that also.

Questions Regarding this Oral History Project should be directed to Jan Erickson at jan.erickson@ucr.edu.