Santa Clara University

University Governance

Santa Clara University

The Santa Clara University governance system recognizes that private universities are unique institutions that need to follow a style that combines elements of the participatory democratic model of politics and the hierarchical merit-based model of business.

Major University policy issues are routed through University-level committees whose members are appointed by the University Coordinating Committee. Appointments are made on the basis of competence and representation of constituencies.

The University’s system of shared governance was recognized by the American Association of University Professors when presented the first Ralph S. Brown Award to the President and Trustees in 1998.

The Santa Clara system is based on the following principles:

  • A collaborative model of shared governance
  • Fora to include all components of the campus community: students, staff, faculty, and administration
  • A set of six policy committees that bring together representatives from these communities
  • A balance of elected and appointed (for interest and expertise) representatives to make the system both efficient and representative
  • Structures of communication to ensure participation, feedback, and timely information
  • Regular and broadly participatory opportunities for critical appraisal and assessment
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