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The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 51.71
Liaison Jeffrey Severin
Submission Date July 17, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

University of Kansas
PA-3: Governance

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 3.00 Jeff Severin
Director
KU Center for Sustainability
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Do all enrolled students, regardless of type or status, have an avenue to participate in one or more governance bodies (through direct participation or the election of representatives)?:
Yes

A brief description of the mechanisms through which students have an avenue to participate in one or more governance bodies:

At the University of Kansas, student senators are elected each spring semester, along with the student body president and student body vice president. Any student from any background or any status on campus has the ability to run for a position in the student senate. A majority of the Senate seats are dictated by the school or college with which a student is affiliated, and allocated based upon the enrollment of each school or college. Additional seats represent on-campus residents, the off-campus community, non-traditional students, international students, and other student governance systems. However, it is not required that you be elected to student senate in order to participate in the student government process. If any individual on campus attends two senate committee meetings, they automatically become voting members of that committee but not the full senate.


Is there at least one student representative on the institution’s governing body who was elected by peers or appointed by a representative student body or organization?:
Yes

A brief description of student representation on the governing body, including how the representatives are selected:

Not only does the University of Kansas have a uniquely active student senate in that it oversees the allocation of its own $25 million annual budget, but the University also requires that there is at least 20% student representation on all University boards, committees, or governing bodies. Each student senator must participate in at least 2 University boards or committees. The student body president appoints these senators to the boards and committees. However, students need not be student senators to be appointed to boards and committees. A non-senator student may request that the student body president appoint them to a board or committee and the president has the ability to do so.


Do students have a formal role in decision-making in regard to the following?:
Yes or No
Establishing organizational mission, vision, and/or goals Yes
Establishing new policies, programs, or initiatives Yes
Strategic and long-term planning Yes
Existing or prospective physical resources Yes
Budgeting, staffing and financial planning Yes
Communications processes and transparency practices Yes
Prioritization of programs and projects Yes

A brief description of the formal student role in regard to each area indicated, including examples from the previous three years:

1. Organizational mission, vision, and goals: During the strategic planning process, students were included in much of the mission and goal development. Namely the goals associated with the new KU Core Curriculum.

2. New policies, programs, or initiatives: In an effort to divert waste from University athletic events, the student body president, student body vice president, and a student senate representative from the Student Environmental Advisory Board approached the Kansas Athletics Department and the Athletic Director about starting a new game day recycling initiative. Two football seasons later, Rock Chalk Recycle has diverted nearly 40,000 lbs. of recycling and compost from landfills, giving the program notoriety with the Game Day Challenge and in the Big 12 Conference.

3. Strategic and long-term planning: Over the course of the last two years the University has been involved in a master planning process in which students, faculty, staff and community members have come together for numerous planning sessions (some of which focused solely on sustainability) to map the mission, vision, and goals of the University for the next 50 years.

4. Existing or prospective physical resources: The master planning process that recently took place had numerous forums in which students were invited to assess the current and prospective physical resources of the University and plan for changes that are soon to come.

5. Budgeting, staffing, and financial planning: All student fee dollars go through the Student Senate. Every year students pay $440 in student fees for student health services, sustainability, women's and non-revenue sports, etc., and the allocation of those fee dollars are largely under the discretion of the student senate, if not more specific boards and committees comprised of students.

6. Communications processes and transparency practices: Student Senate recently instituted efforts to increase the use of websites and social media to get more students involved with the functions and processes of University governance at all levels.

7. Prioritization of programs and projects: The Student Senate has the opportunity to pass resolutions that allow for students to give administration a sense of what students feel need to be solved on campus. For example, the Student Senate recently passed a resolution that the University should offer benefits to same-sex partners of University employees. As a result, University-wide governance is currently assessing the feasibility of and timeline for enacting that request from students.


Do all staff, regardless of type or status, have an avenue to participate in one or more governance bodies (through direct participation or the election of representatives)?:
Yes

A brief description of the mechanisms through which all staff have an avenue to participate in one or more governance bodies:

The University Senate consists of thirteen student members elected from the Student Senate, six members of the university support staff elected from the University Support Staff Senate, six members of the Unclassified Senate Staff elected from the Unclassified Senate, and thirty‑nine Faculty members elected to the Faculty Senate. The Chancellor and the Provost are ex-officio, non-voting members. The presidents of the Student, Faculty, Unclassified Senate, and University Support Staff Senate are also ex-officio, non-voting members of the University Senate if they are not among the elected members of the University Senate.


Is there at least one non-supervisory staff representative on the institution’s governing body who was elected by peers or appointed by a representative staff body or organization?:
Yes

A brief description of non-supervisory staff representation on the governing body, including how the representatives are selected:

The University has a Support Staff Senate to represent the interests of all support staff employees of the University of Kansas (Lawrence campus), to provide an open forum for the expression of their interests, and to bring their interests to the attention of the University of Kansas administration and other concerned individuals, organizations, and government entities.


Do non-supervisory staff have a formal role in decision-making in regard to the following? :
Yes or No
Establishing organizational mission, vision, and/or goals Yes
Establishing new policies, programs, or initiatives Yes
Strategic and long-term planning Yes
Existing or prospective physical resources Yes
Budgeting, staffing and financial planning Yes
Communications processes and transparency practices Yes
Prioritization of programs and projects Yes

A brief description of the formal staff role in regard to each area indicated, including examples from the previous three years:

1. Organizational mission, vision, and goals:

2. New policies, programs, or initiatives: University Senate worked to establish policies regarding domestic partner benefits for faculty employees

3. Strategic and long-term planning: University Senate, which includes a number of staff representatives, contributed to the development of Bold Aspirations, the University's recently instituted strategic plan.

4. Existing or prospective physical resources: University senate, facilities services staff, and KU Design and Construction Management staff have played a significant role in developing the KU master plan

5. Budgeting, staffing, and financial planning: University Senate, which has staff representatives, voted to increase tuition assistance for University employees.

6. Communications processes and transparency practices: The University Senate, which includes staff representatives, recently approved a policy to allow audio and visual recordings at its meetings.

7. Prioritization of programs and projects: During the spring of 2013, staff senators on the University Senate made recommendations to various University stakeholders stating that the University should strongly consider new initiatives to improve community health and air quality, including a proposed campus smoking ban.


Do all faculty, regardless of type or status, have an avenue to participate in one or more governance bodies (through direct participation or the election of representatives)?:
Yes

A brief description of the mechanisms through which all faculty (including adjunct faculty) have an avenue to participate in one or more governance bodies:

The Faculty Senate acts on behalf of the Faculty, and reports at each meeting of the University Senate. The Faculty Senate recommends rules, regulations, and policies on behalf of the University’s faculty for the Faculty Senate Rules and Regulations. The Faculty Senate consists of 39 faculty members who serve simultaneous terms on the University Senate. All of the professional schools, the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, and the libraries are represented on the Faculty Senate. The Faculty Senate usually meets once each month during the fall semester, and twice a month during the spring semester.


Is there at least one teaching or research faculty representative on the institution’s governing body who was elected by peers or appointed by a representative faculty body or organization?:
Yes

A brief description of faculty representation on the governing body, including how the representatives are selected:

Members of the Faculty Senate serve staggered three-year terms, with one third of the members elected each spring by the faculty at large through a mail ballot. The University Senate includes 39 peer-elected Faculty Senate members.


Do faculty have a formal role in decision-making in regard to the following?:
Yes or No
Establishing organizational mission, vision, and/or goals Yes
Establishing new policies, programs, or initiatives Yes
Strategic and long-term planning Yes
Existing or prospective physical resources Yes
Budgeting, staffing and financial planning Yes
Communications processes and transparency practices Yes
Prioritization of programs and projects Yes

A brief description of the formal faculty role in regard to each area indicated, including examples from the previous three years:

1. Organizational mission, vision, and goals:

2. New policies, programs, or initiatives: Faculty senate worked to establish policies regarding domestic partner benefits for faculty employees

3. Strategic and long-term planning: Within the last three years, KU went through an intense strategic planning process, which included an entire revamp of the KU general education curriculum. Faculty from all schools, and namely associated with the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences contributed their thoughts and preferences regarding what the new curriculum should look like.

4. Existing or prospective physical resources: Faculty senate and the faculty at-large were consulted during the previous 2 year master planning process

5. Budgeting, staffing, and financial planning: During fiscal year 2013 the Faculty Senate increased tuition assistance for university employees

6. Communications processes and transparency practices: During the spring 2013 semester, University senate developed a policy to allow for audio and visual recording of faculty senate and University Senate meetings.

7. Prioritization of programs and projects: Within the last year, University faculty have been helping to develop the way the University approaches online education. This includes efforts to expand the number of courses offered and increase the number of students participating in such courses.


The website URL where information about the institution’s governance structure is available:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.