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V-1: Governance Structure
Policy Number: V-1
Last Reviewed: September 21, 2017
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)
- Virginia Western publications (Catalog, 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 waive, suspend, or alter Virginia Western policies as necessary to address an emergency situation or extraordinary circumstance.
The President's Executive Staff members are responsible for areas within their scope of responsibility. This group consists of the Vice Presidents, Associate Vice Presidents and the Dean of Institutional Effectiveness. 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 Council consists of representatives from Executive Staff, each Senate and Student Council. The College Council is responsible for reviewing College policy and procedure and for making recommendations on such matters to the President or Executive Staff. In doing so, this Council serves as the official voice of the College.
The Workgroups are annual committees that focus on specific tasks. The workgroups are reviewed annually to determine if they are needed for the following year. Each workgroup is provided with charges and deliverables for the year by Executive Staff. Workgroup memberships are coordinated through the Institutional Effectiveness Office, except where otherwise specified in by-laws and workgroup structures.
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 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.
Each workgroup is expected to work toward its established charges, to make our college stronger and to improve student success,
- Workgroups should meet at least as often as their established schedule. lfthe committee is unable to meet at the established meeting time, such as during college closing due to inclement weather, committee officers will reschedule the meeting, either face-to-face or online.
- Facilitators will distribute an agenda to all committee members in advance of each meeting, along with any other applicable materials.
- All workgroup 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.
- Facilitators will review minutes from each meeting with the members, and post the approved minutes through .
- Recommendations from the workgroup will be handled in accordance with the established recommendations process.
Bylaws are reviewed by the workgroup at the beginning of each year. For workgroups without specific bylaws, the generic workgroup bylaws established by the college apply. The workgroup may list exceptions to these generic bylaws in the workgroup structure document, which includes the workgroup's charges. The workgroup may also review its bylaws again during the year to address changing circumstances. Changes to the bylaws must be approved by a favorable vote of a majority of the workgroup.
Members normally serve for the duration of the year (Fall/Spring/Summer), within the limits of faculty contracts. Except where otherwise noted, members on workgroups continuing from prior years will serve three-year terms where possible.
Facilitators may be elected by the workgroup, permanently appointed, or appointed by Executive Staff, as specified in the bylaws for the workgroup. Permanently filled positions may appoint a representative to act in their behalf on a temporary basis.
If a facilitator is unable to complete the term of office, the committee will select a replacement.
The duties of facilitators include but are not limited to:
- Preparation and distribution of meeting agenda
- Facilitation of meetings
- Taking minutes
- Emailing the agenda, minutes, and other relevant materials to to be posted on VW Connect/Governance
Best practice is for the workgroup to elect a secretary to assist the facilitator with minutes. If a secretary is nominated, the position should be added to the bylaws.
Virginia Western 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 Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Tuesdays and Thursdays when classes are not in session are not included in the rotation.
The alternate workgroup meeting times listed above are not required, but are available for the convenience of any workgroup that occasionally desires an extra meeting in order to accomplish its deliverables.
While most workgroups meet during the times listed above, some groups meet outside of this schedule based on the nature of the work to be accomplished. Subcommittees may meet as necessary to accomplish tasks assigned by the workgroup throughout the academic year or during the summer.
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 are open to members of the college community with prior notification to the facilitator; however, only members officially assigned to the workgroup may have a vote on matters brought before the group. Each member representative, not otherwise specified, is entitled to one vote on matters brought before the Workgroup. Workgroups have the option of allowing proxy voting rights in the bylaws.
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 College Council.
- Recommendations endorsed by the College Council are further discussed by Executive Staff, with referral to the President as necessary.
- Executive Staff members may make recommendations for change directly to the 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 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 must be reviewed and approved by the Executive Staff and accepted by the President prior to becoming official policy. Changes Changes affecting only one department may be handled within that department with the approval of the Executive Staff member.
In accordance with VCCS policy, changes to the Faculty Evaluation process must be approved by a majority of Faculty Senate members who participate in the vote.
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.