Inclusive and Participatory Governance

For details about this credit, including the criteria, reporting timeframe, applicability, scoring, and more, please review the full credit language:

Data Accuracy Video

Frequently Asked Questions

How has this credit changed from STARS 2.1 to 2.2?

Substantive changes have been made to this credit. A requirement that stakeholders of the highest governing body be elected and that staff representatives directly represent non-supervisory workers have been removed. A new part recognizing gender equity in governance is introduced, a subject addressed in the SDGs that has not been well addressed in STARS. A comprehensive list of differences can be found in the 2.2 Summary of changes.

What is considered a “highest governing body”?

An institution’s highest governing body is the body with ultimate decision-making authority over the institution (e.g., the power to hire and fire the institution’s chief executive). This body might be called the board of trustees, board of governors, board of overseers, board of visitors, or some other nomenclature. For institutions that are part of larger systems, the highest governing body is typically the system-wide board.

Do students, staff and/or faculty on the highest governing body have to be voting members to count for this credit?

No, they don’t have to have voting privileges to count as representatives, but they do need to be “official” members of the highest governing body and elected by their peers.

Can representatives of a subcommittee of the highest governing body count under this credit?

No, in order to earn points, students, staff and/or faculty representatives must be “official” members of the highest governing body (such as the Board of Regents or Board of Trustees). Simply attending or reporting at meetings is not sufficient, nor is participating on a subcommittee of the highest governing Body if formal membership is not evident.

Example Responses

Version 2.2

  • Lawrence University – All affirmative responses are supported, with good detail on the respective councils and committees for students, academic staff and non-academic staff.

Version 2.1

Common Issues Identified During Review

  • Numeric outlier: Parts 2 & 3: High rates of student, academic staff, non-academic staff, and women representation on the highest governing body should be confirmed.
  • Part 1: Affirmative responses for Students/Academic staff/Non-academic staff under “Does the institution have formal participatory or shared governance bodies…” must be supported in the descriptive field.
  • Part 2: Response must reference the institution’s highest governing body, which has ultimate decision-making authority over the institution (board of trustees, board of governors, board of overseers, board of visitors, etc.). For institutions that are part of larger systems, the highest governing body is typically the system-wide board. 
  • Part 4: A Yes response under this section must be supported by information provided in the subsequent descriptive field. Responses must mention a campus-community council or equivalent body that gives external stakeholders a regular voice in institutional decisions that affect them. If local community organizations have seats on the Board, that could count, but just having Board members who live in the community would not.

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