College recognized with SUNY Shared Governance Award

Chancellor: Collaborative approach permeates throughout the college

June 21, 2021

SARANAC LAKE -- The State University of New York has recognized North Country Community College’s effort to build and sustain a collaborative and effective system of shared governance.

Chancellor Jim Malatras presented the college with SUNY’s 2020-21 Shared Governance Award during an online ceremony Monday, June 7. The chancellor said the selection committee was impressed with the progress made by the college over the past decade.

“Of particular note is the cross-representation of the senior leadership team and College Senate working collaboratively to establish a strong shared-governance ecosystem that now permeates throughout the campus, touching every governance entity,” Malatras said. “Despite having multiple campus locations across your service area, NCCC effectively promotes a ‘One-College’ philosophy in all operations and governance, in which the entire College community is encouraged to participate.”

“I am incredibly proud of the work and contributions of our faculty, staff and students over many years that led to this recognition,” said NCCC President Joe Keegan. “I’d like to thank Chancellor Malatras and the nominating committee for selecting us to receive this prestigious award. At NCCC, shared governance is a priority, and we continuously strive to improve so that it remains an essential part of the fabric of the college. When practiced well, shared governance leads to better decision-making, which is good for our students, our employees and the communities we serve.”

 At North Country, shared governance involves engaging and working with the college community – including the College Senate, President’s Council, academic departments, college-wide committees, student government, and the boards of affiliated organizations such as the NCCC Foundation and the NCCC Association – on items ranging from academic programs, academic and college-wide policy, and fiscal and strategic planning. Those efforts provide the college administration and the Board of Trustees with recommendations that have been well-considered by the college community.

“Shared governance is not the norm in most organizations,” noted Shir Filler, Chair of the College Senate and an English professor at NCCC. “It is not easy or quick to gather input from all constituencies before making decisions. However, at NCCC, we have found that this consensus-based model has created a collegial and inspiring workplace that allows us to focus on making the student experience exceptional.”

In a letter to the college announcing the award, Chancellor Malatras noted some of the many criteria that resulted in the selection of North Country for this award, including:

  • The explicit inclusion of shared governance among the college’s core values
  • The regular assessment – formal and informal – of shared governance to ensure it is effective
  • The administration’s work to create a more inclusive President’s Council and host frequent college-wide forums and town halls
  • Partnership with the Student Government Association to determine how to best improve the student experience

“North Country Community College has clearly demonstrated strength in each of the standards for the Shared Governance Award and has a well-defined system of governance that resonates across the entire college community,” Malatras said.