Campus News

Shared Governance; Shared Values

photo of stone wall at campus entrance that says "University of Kentucky" and has blooming flowers in front of it
Mark Cornelison | UK Photo.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 3, 2021) — In an email to the University of Kentucky community Monday, May 3, President Eli Capilouto stated his commitment to shared governance — a message he took to the University Senate earlier in the day.  His email message is below.

Dear Campus Community,

This afternoon, I spoke for the final time this academic year with our University Senate.

After a challenging year for all of us, I appreciated the opportunity to thank faculty and campus leaders for their incredible efforts this year.

I know our entire community — all of our students, faculty and staff — have faced challenges and made sacrifices during a year unlike any other. Above all, we worked to keep each other healthy and safe. I’m deeply grateful for what you have done and continue to do toward that precious goal.

The meeting also offered the opportunity for me to unequivocally reaffirm my commitment to a foundational value for this institution that is central to our progress: shared governance.

Our Governing Regulations — what are often called the GRs — discuss shared governance as:

“an environment in which the sharing of this expertise is valued and promoted … an environment of shared governance, faculty bodies and administrators will reciprocally solicit and utilize the expertise of the other as each makes decisions in their respective areas of policy-making authority … the administration, faculty members, staff employees and students all share the responsibility of attainment of the University’s goals.”

Over the past 10 years, our work has been driven by shared governance — meaning the collaborative work of faculty, staff, students and administrators. We’ve increased the success of our students to historic levels. We’ve invested more than $2.7 billion in our campus infrastructure. Hundreds of people across our campus have come together to develop plans and infrastructure to keep our community safe and operational during a pandemic. And now, hundreds more in our community are working on initiatives that will make our campus more diverse, equitable and inclusive.

We don’t always agree on every step. But a commitment to shared governance is how we find ways, relying on each other, to move forward. As part of my commitment to shared governance and shared progress, I plan this coming year to significantly increase my engagement with faculty leaders at both the Senate Council and University Senate as well as with staff and student leaders in the Staff Senate and Student Government Association. And I am tasking members of my senior administration to do the same, while also increasing their engagement with staff, graduate students and undergraduate students.

As we return to more normal operations in fall 2021, I am committed to strengthening our efforts to communicate and interact with each other; this collaboration will be pivotal. After all, we are one community. We know that we have reached our most crucial achievements by harnessing our collective talents in a spirit of partnership.

We saw that this year as we accomplished so much — and served so many — together. We’ve met every challenge. We’ve honored our mission. We’ve kept each other safe.

But as we emerge from this pandemic, we must work to reconnect and reestablish community. That is how we will thrive.

I am so proud to be a member of this community.

Eli Capilouto