Bulletin News

Cortland earns SUNY’s Shared Governance Award


SUNY Cortland has earned the State University of New York’s 2023-24 Shared Governance Award, a system-wide honor given to an institution for strong collaboration between the university’s Faculty Senate and campus leadership.

The university will be recognized in April at the statewide University Faculty Senate’s spring plenary meeting hosted at Cornell University. 

“This award validates the wonderful work that takes place on our campus,” said Kathleen Lawrence, professor of communication studies and chair of SUNY Cortland’s Faculty Senate. “The partnership between our campus leadership and Faculty Senate is rooted in mutual respect and responsiveness, and the progress we’ve made in the past several years certainly reflects our efforts and commitment to maintaining a culture of collaboration.”

SUNY Cortland President Erik J. Bitterbaum echoed those sentiments.

“So many faculty and staff members play a role in this type of honor,” President Bitterbaum said. “This truly is a ‘team effort’ that speaks to the extraordinary work being done at SUNY Cortland to educate engaged students who benefit from outstanding teaching, scholarship and service.”

In its application for the award, the university outlined evidence related to clear bylaws and procedures, defined roles and committee structures, a commitment to collegiality and inclusion, and open communication.

Examples included:

  • Revised committee responsibilities for SUNY-wide awards and honors, specifically the policies and procedures outlining calls for nomination, review and selection;

  • The work of many Faculty Senate sub-groups, including the Academic Faculty Affairs Committee to establish better communication regarding continuing appointment, reappointment and promotion for academic faculty; and

  • The university’s recent review of governance process, which occurs every five years and included focus group interviews and as well as input from Faculty Senate committee chairs and steering committee members.

Chancellor John B. King, Jr. credited the university’s strides in his award notification. 

“Your leadership team and Faculty Senate, with the assistance of students, faculty, and administrative staff have worked intentionally and collaboratively to establish a solid shared governance ecosystem that now permeates throughout the campus, touching every governance entity,” Chancellor King wrote. “The spirit of ownership regarding SUNY Cortland’s structures, policies and practices creates trust and transparency that reflects the mission, vision and values of SUNY Cortland.

“You continue to promote an inclusive community where respect and responsiveness have guided several efforts, helping to nurture an institutional culture that encourages collaboration.”