CBS not to define department forums in revised statutes

Skrevet af Bjørn HyldkrogFelix Kasperek, translation - Foto: ikke oplyst - 15. februar 2012 - 11:120 kommentarer
CBS President Per Holten-Andersen aims to secure employee and student influence and active involvement through a codex for leadership and a paradigm for the departments’ rules of procedure.

University staff and student influence and involvement is to be ensured on all levels, without this lessening the university’s unitary management structure. 

That is how the main point in the ministerial initiative towards a revision of the Danish universities’ statutes was expressed. CBS is putting the final touches on its recommendations and definitions.

Influence and involvement without lessened managerial authority
CBS’ draft of its revised statutes, revised in order to strengthen and ensure employee and student influence and active involvement on all levels, was discussed by CBS’ newly assembled Board of Directors on its meeting on Friday February 3rd. Treating the agenda point turned into a longer discussion, both among the members of the board and with Peter Lotz, Head of Department of Innovation and Organizational Economics and chairman of the statute group that had composed the proposed draft of CBS’ revised statutes.

The result of the discussion at the board meeting was that the revised statutes for CBS, soon to be sent to the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Higher Education, will not include formalized procedures for the forming of departmental liaison forums, as will be the case at the University of Copenhagen and the University of Southern Denmark. This is not to say that such forums will not be established, but if their mandate, composition and procedural guidelines are to be formally defined, this will be done in the individual departments’ rules of procedure. A paradigm for the establishment of department forums is to be formulated by the president of CBS along with a codex for good leadership and staff involvement at CBS.

Departmental staff assemblies and forums not in CBS’ statutes
The statute revision work group had proposed a new paragraph in CBS’ statutes, committing Department Heads to consult with department staff on questions of importance for the department’s development and daily operation’ could ‘happen either via employee assemblies or via a department forum chosen by the staff’. The staff assembly was here formally defined as all of the employees in a given department, and the department forum was defined as representatives from all position categories in the department. Regardless of whether the first or second solution was chosen, CBS’ statutes would establish that at least two meetings were to be held every year.

As chairman of CBS’ statute revision work group, department head Peter Lotz expressed concern as to whether the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Higher Education would find that CBS’ draft would live up to the ministry’s intentions for the revision of the Danish universities’ and accept the codex, paradigm and department rules of procedure solution. He also stressed that there is a very explicit wish to have department forums established by way of being defined in CBS’ statutes among the academic staff. The chairman of the CBS Association of Academic Staff:

- On behalf of the employees I find it regrettable that CBS will not establish models for department forums in its revised statutes as is being done at the University of Copenhagen and the University of Southern Denmark. We are not talking about bringing back the department councils and their mandate to intervene in management decisions. We are talking about formal bodies with the right to be fully informed about and consulted regarding affairs that are outside the auspices of the General Liaison Committee. The problem with a codex for good leadership and involvement and a paradigm for how to secure these, formulated and enforced by the president of CBS is that they to a certain extent are dependent on the commitment of an individual. I would definitely have preferred a statute-defined solution, says Ole Helmersen.

President’s codex and department rules of procedure
While there was no disagreement about the ends (greater influence and involvement for CBS’ staff and students), there was about the means. Throughout the discussion, the board member stances were pretty much as could be expected. CBS’ staff-elected board members primarily (but not exclusively) argued that changes in the statutes should be as specific, concrete and binding as possible. The two student-chosen board members primarily (but not exclusively) sought to ensure that involvement and influence of the students were written into the statutes in as many instances as possible. The external board members the students’ focused on the unitary management structure and ensuring the clearest possible decision making hierarchy. The discussion ended with a reasonable consensus that formulating a fairly explicit commitment to drawing up a codex for good leadership and staff involvement and having the models for departmental forums written into their rules of procedure set out in the statutes could ensure the objective.

- I expect that CBS will have to work out a codex of good leadership, involvement and a paradigm for institute rules of procedure, that the president will have to set the work to do this into motion and that this is to be done relatively quickly. The upside of not having it explicitly written into the statutes is that it gives a certain flexibility for finding the right solutions for the individual departments, and that the codex and rules of procedure can be evaluated and adjusted continually, says Board Chairman Peter Schütze.

The codex will be drawn up in any case, and this will be done with full staff involvement:

- We will start out the process of drawing up the codex for good leadership and staff involvement as fast as possible. We do not have to wait for the statutes to be approved by the ministry to do this, and it has to be done in any case. To me, it is obvious that this has to be a process involving stakeholders and that the resulting codex will have to be approved by the Academic Council, Human Resources, the Heads of Department Group and the senior management, says president Per Holten-Andersen.

Broad consensus after meticulous review
While all changes were subject to careful considerations, most of the statute work group’s recommendations were passed smoothly. The right to be called CBS (after using the proper name Copenhagen Business School – Handelshøjskolen the first time) was established. A broad consensus was achieved about adding the possibility of employing a vice president to the statutes. The Board of Directors no longer has to formally approve the establishing or closure of departments, decide which programs CBS should offer or give recommendations for documentation systems for evaluations and ongoing work. Furthermore, the Board of Director’s involvement in the process of employing deans has been strongly reduced.

A new addition to CBS’ statutes is that when appointing new external members to the CBS Board of Directors, former managerial experience at a university, ideally with an international perspective, should be represented among these. Furthermore, the procedure for appointing new external members was clarified, hereunder the establishment of two separate committees for nominating and appointing new members, that the chairman or vice-chairman of the Academic Council (although not the president of CBS) should be a member of the appointing committee, and that FUHU (a Danish association promoting business education) should be the provider of a CBS-external member of both committees.